Originally published by Forbes
President Trump's March 5th deadline for Congress to come up with a solution for the so-called Dreamers was set aside as legal challenges to the president's attempt to end the DACA program wind their way up to through the court system. The Dreamers were given this reprieve that made it possible for them to continue renewing their DACA status by a recent ruling of the Supreme Court. Nonetheless, the future is uncertain for these illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children, and many are looking for other options.
There is one program that could help at least some Dreamers out of their quandry. It is the Canadian Express Entry Federal Skilled Worker Program. Under that program, an ideal candidate is someone who is in his or her 20s, speaks, writes, listens and reads excellent English, has one year of post graduate work experience in a skilled job and has a masters degree. Such a person would very likely qualify to be invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada.
Express Entry works on a point system grading your age, education, work experience and connections to Canada assigning a point score which you post with your profile. Once you post your profile on line, the Canadian federal government reviews your scores and if they fall into line with what is needed at the time, you are invited to apply for permanent residence. The advertising for the program indicates that the application can be processed within six months and it would lead to Canadian permanent residence. The last Canadian federal government draw invited applicants with a score of 446 or higher to apply. Married applicants are scored on a combined spousal basis. So in theory at least, within six months of applying a Dreamer with the right qualifications could be landed in Canada by applying through Express Entry.
The process involves passing an English language test, (yes, even if you went to a U.S. college that taught in English) and getting your credentials evaluated by an evaluation service like World Educational Services (WES). You can write the English language test at a test site in the United States, which can be located here. Note the test you want is the general test, not the academic one. WES has offices in the USA. (One happens to be in my building in Manhattan.) You can locate where to reach them here. These two items are the prerequisites for getting started with Express Entry because they are needed to post your profile on line.
There's one problem, however. It lies in Section 11 of the regulations under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of Canada. That section requires an applicant who is applying to immigrate to Canada permanently to apply from the applicant's home country unless the applicant entered his or her country of residence legally. In the case of Dreamers, this disqualifies them since, by definition, they entered the United States illegally. There are many articles that discuss the prospects of Dreamers coming to Canada. But they seem to miss the point raised by this regulation.
As best as I can make out, the challenge the Dreamers will have is they will need to return to their country of origin to obtain an immigrant visa to enter Canada, assuming they are accepted under Express Entry. One could ask for an exception on the basis of humanitarian and compassionate considerations pursuant to Section 25 of the Canadian Act. But in the absence of such an exception being made at the Canadian Consulate in the United States to facilitate a direct entry, a trip home would be required. For some Dreamers, those from Mexico, this would not pose much of a problem. For others, travelling home en route to Canada could be a significant challenge.