Petition Update to Keep Husam in Canada

First and foremost, thank you all so much for your support. While we are still unable to declare this petition a victory, it has already been very useful throughout the journey. In excess of now 3200 signatures, we attracted the attention of a leading Immigration Consultancy here in Calgary: Canada Immigration and Visa Services. As a local community leader and supporter they stepped up and offered to take on Husam’s case on a pro bono basis. Without your incredible support, this connection would not have been made, thank you.

During this time, Husam worked on a digital product for HustleCo, known as HUSAM (HustleCo User and System Administrator and Manager). Essentially it is a digital platform to replace at least some of the roles Husam has at HustleCo by automating some processes and digitizing some of our community initiatives so that in the event Husam is deported in April, HustleCo can be operated at least partially remotely. One of the additions was the HustleCo Store, a store selling HustleCo themed gear and products. To check out the alpha version of HUSAM please check out https://hustleco.space/digital and for the first iteration of the store visit: https://hustleco-life.myshopify.com/

It has been a challenging and stressful time for Husam. The country he learned English in, studied in, started a company in, and has spent the last 10 years continuously living in, may be kicking him out. He’s been working non-stop since the Christmas break to make progress on not just his immigration situation but to position HustleCo for success should he have to leave. As his business partner, friend, and advocate, I ask that you read this update in its entirety and continue to help us ensure Husam can stay in Canada.

Proceeding Forward

3 days before Husam’s status expired on Jan 1st 2019, based on the recommendation of a previous consultant, he filed an extension to stay in Canada. Without arranged employment (because he is self-employed) it will most certainly be rejected, however, the processing time for Husam to receive his rejection is at least 90-120 days. Between now and then, let’s say early April, he exists on what is called “implied status” which allows him to stay in Canada until the decision is received. This was done to buy time to find a positive path forward. Implied status is not the same as being on the status of a work permit as Husam was in the past. There are a few disadvantages including the fact that Husam cannot leave the country during this time as he will not be allowed back and he also has lost health coverage in the meantime.

Husam originally applied under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) acknowledging his self-employment as skilled work experience. Since the IRCC does not recognize any form of self-employment as skilled work experience, the immigration consultants at CIVS recommended Husam apply under the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Stream. Under the Federal Skilled Worker stream, Husam would be approved for his Permanent Residency to immigrate to Canada based on the governments’ “selection grid” for a FSW. The great news is he meets all the requirements to be approved but there’s a caveat.

Before his application can be processed, he needs to be “Invited to Apply” from a pool of candidates. These rounds of invitations occur every two weeks and there is a minimum “CRS” - Comprehensive Ranking System score that is needed to meet the cutoff. This score fluctuates as it is scaled to the pool of applicants. Husam’s current score, after rewriting his IELTS English exam three times has improved to 437. The last draw had a cutoff score of 439. He is 0.5% off the latest cutoff. Typically the cutoffs fluctuate between 440 and 455. It is unlikely that Husam will get invited to apply in the two months he has left on implied status as his points are just below the majority of the previous cutoff scores. Husam needs to improve his score in less than 1.5 months.

So how can Husam improve his score?

There are a few ways including: learning French, arranging employment, and writing the English proficiency exam for a 4th time in an attempt to go from near-perfect to more-perfect scores. He can also try studying and writing a different government approved English exam CELPIP as opposed to IELTS. However, these options either: take too much time, take Husam away from the business, and cost $300 every time the English exam is rewritten and there’s a waiting period to receive the results

However, Husam can instantly get 1000 points on his CRS score and immediately receive an invitation to apply for PR if he is sponsored by the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP). Thousands of applicants are nominated by the province of Alberta every year if they meet the minimum CRS score of 300 points (which Husam does at 437 points). According to the government of Alberta:

You may receive a Notification of Interest letter if you:

  • Have an active Express Entry profile in the federal Express Entry pool
  • Have stated an interest in immigrating permanently to Alberta
  • Are working in an occupation that supports Alberta’s economic development and diversification, and
  • Have a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System score of 300.

If you have one or more of the following adaptability factors, this may increase your likelihood of receiving a Notification of Interest letter:

  • Alberta job offer and/or work experience
  • A graduate of a Canadian post-secondary institution
  • A relative that is living in Alberta: parent, child, brother and/or sister

For those of you that know HustleCo, you know how as a company HustleCo contributes to the diversification of the Albertan economy. HustleCo provides space, service and products for startup entrepreneurs, remote workers, freelancers, and the digital economy. We also provide training through our internship program and have graduated cohorts of interns that have proceeded to achieve paid employment after their tenure with HustleCo.

Rooted in Alberta

There should be more than sufficient evidence that Husam is firmly rooted in Alberta. He has spent the majority of his time in Canada in this province. He has a corporation registered in Alberta and pays taxes here. He has a commercial leasehold in this province. His vehicle is registered in this province. His business is headquartered here. I could go on and on but I think you all get the point.

In order to receive a letter of interest by the province, the regulations are quite vague to allow subjectivity when the province wishes to nominate candidates such as Husam. If you wish to read the information the government indicates regarding the AINP program for Express Entry applicants, here is a full link: https://www.alberta.ca/ainp-selection-criteria.aspx#toc-2

After contacting 6 MLA's (members of Legislature) and 3 MP’s (Members of Parliament), Husam was able to get on a phone call with the Managing Director of the AINP Program, Brad Trefan. After a short chat, he simply told Husam “it’s unfortunate that you’ve chosen to start your own business in the province of Alberta but there’s nothing we can do.”

I simply do not believe that to be true. Brad is in charge of the nominee program that every year pulls and invites thousands of qualifying Albertans from the Express Entry pool by nominating them to receive a letter of interest to lead to their “Invitation to Apply” for PR based on situations just like this. Based on Albertan’s like Husam that meet the qualifications but are under-scored because of their self-employment. Albertans like Husam that have been rooted in this province for 5 years. Albertans like Husam that are diversifying the economy and creating jobs for Canadians.

Brad works in the Ministry of Labour under Christina Gray and Jeff Parr and the AINP program falls under this department. All these individuals have the discretion and ability to nominate or at least send Husam a letter of interest to immigrate to Alberta. They’ve been provided with letters from our consultant. They’ve been provided with the petition. They’ve been provided with all the evidence that Husam is firmly rooted in Alberta. They’ve been provided with all the posts of support for Husam. They’ve been provided with the CBC media coverage for Husam. They’ve been provided with everything they need to prove that he is most deserving of a nomination from the province and they continue to brush it off. There’s nothing more I can do to push a nomination for Husam from the province of Alberta than to continue to put pressure on these individuals and contact them to right this wrong.

I hope that Christina, Jeff, and Brad do respond to me. I will forward them this update. In the event I do not receive a positive response from any of them by Friday February 15th, I will need to ask for your support in contacting them and your local MLA’s to support Husam’s nomination to receive a letter of interest from the Alberta Government.

Signed - a disappointed Canadian

Steven Paolasini

Click here to read my original letter to MLA Christina Gray - Minister of Labour