Over 35 million people come to Canada temporarily every year for various reasons. Some enter the country for conference, tourism, research, vacation, family reunification, while others enter to work and study, do business and engage in investment activities, and many more. This is besides over three hundred thousand foreign nationals who become permanent residents annually. Considering this huge influx of people into Canada, one tends to ask the question, why so much interest in this country? While it may be difficult to have a singular answer to that question, it is however obvious that Canada is a land of many opportunities, making it a country of first choice for many seeking a prosperous residence. To better underscore the attractiveness of Canada, a former Canadian Prime Minister described the country in glowing terms:

"Canada is the place where people want to come and stay, to learn, to pursue opportunities, to raise children, to enjoy natural beauty, to open new frontiers, to set the standard for the world for a high quality of life; a Canada that is a leader and example to the world.“

_Stephen Harper

As if that was not enough, the current Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau also recently twitted as follows:

“Canada is an open and welcoming society. But just as we welcome & encourage newcomers, we are also a country of laws”

_@JustinTrudeau

The Canadian immigration system is very dynamic and robust. As a matter of fact, there are over 60 programs under which foreign nationals can come to Canada. With the array of routes, a prospective applicant has a wide range of options open to him or her to come to Canada. Better still, refusal of authorization or visa to enter Canada under one program does not preclude making application under another program as permitted under the law.

Perhaps, the most important point to note about the Canadian immigration system and the opportunities it presents is the structure of the country itself. Canada is a federation and under its Constitution, both the Federal and the Provincial/Territorial governments share power in making immigration decisions. Although the Federal government has the final say on the admissibility of foreign nationals to Canada, the role of the provincial and territorial constituents of Canada on immigration matters are by no means negligible. Under bilateral agreement, both levels of government collaborate to operate the immigration law and attract foreign nationals to Canada for social and economic objectives listed in the law. Both the Federal programs and Provincial/Territorial nominee programs running side by side by side by side explains this position.

As earlier said, there are over 60 programs under which a client may apply to come to Canada. While some of the programs are listed on this website, prospective applicants must however take caution, because they are subject to change at any time. Apart from quotas limiting number of applications under certain programs, it is also not unusual for the governments to either suspend certain programs permanently or temporarily. Sometimes, levels of government create new programs to meet certain economic needs in Canada.

On a general analysis, each immigration program requires that applicants meet certain requirements or criteria. As a matter of fact, an applicant may only apply under a program after meeting the stated eligibility factors. These include age, education, skill, work experience, funds in account or job offer, medical test, security check and many others. It needs be mentioned that refugee applicants, by virtue of their circumstance, need not meet the aforementioned requirements.

Yes, of course! The Canadian immigration system encourages prospective applicants to file applications on their own. As a matter of fact, many people who are knowledgeable do make application to Canadian immigration authorities without recourse to professionals. Sometimes, self-packaged applications scale the huddles of the standard prescribed by the immigration authorities, but more often than not, such applications fail to meet expectations. So, while a prospective applicant may decide not to engage a professional, it is however expedient to seek assistance. The consequence of decision not to use the services of a professional may be unquantifiable, when a visa application fails; the applicant suffers loss of time, opportunities and money. Ironically, many failed applicants who are still interested in coming to Canada may now have to turn to a professional for help. However, it needs be stated with clarity that engaging a professional in making application does not guaranty hundred percent successes. With a note of caution, if for whatever reason an application fails, it may not be due to incompetence, but factors beyond the experience and skill of the professional engaged by a client.

On a final analysis, every prospective applicant must make an informed decision on what to do. Each applicant should note that, Canadian Immigration law and policies change so often that it requires professional expertise and due diligence to know the current requirements for different immigration programs. It is also very important to warn applicants to be wary of quacks and unscrupulous immigration consultants who are operating illegally and in business to commit fraud.

Yes, of course! The Canadian immigration system encourages prospective applicants to file applications on their own. As a matter of fact, many people who are knowledgeable do make application to Canadian immigration authorities without recourse to professionals. Sometimes, self-packaged applications scale the huddles of the standard prescribed by the immigration authorities, but more often than not, such applications fail to meet expectations. So, while a prospective applicant may decide not to engage a professional, it is however expedient to seek assistance. The consequence of decision not to use the services of a professional may be unquantifiable, when a visa application fails; the applicant suffers loss of time, opportunities and money. Ironically, many failed applicants who are still interested in coming to Canada may now have to turn to a professional for help. However, it needs be stated with clarity that engaging a professional in making application does not guaranty hundred percent successes. With a note of caution, if for whatever reason an application fails, it may not be due to incompetence, but factors beyond the experience and skill of the professional engaged by a client.

On a final analysis, every prospective applicant must make an informed decision on what to do. Each applicant should note that, Canadian Immigration law and policies change so often that it requires professional expertise and due diligence to know the current requirements for different immigration programs. It is also very important to warn applicants to be wary of quacks and unscrupulous immigration consultants who are operating illegally and in business to commit fraud.

Every applicant who engages the services of an immigration representative needs be advised generally that there are two levels of payments. First, there is the application fee payable to the government of Canada for processing. Second, there is the professional fee to be paid to an immigration consultant helping an applicant to make application. While government fee is usually fixed, professional fees vary because each professional set a distinct scale of amount to be paid based on complexity of service a client requires. On a final analysis, the choice of a program and the amount charged by a representative will determine the ultimate cost of an application.

Canada is one of the safest countries in the world and as part of its effort to safeguard security of life, certain persons are generally or specifically considered inadmissible to Canada. Apart from denial of visa to applicants who fail to meet eligibility criteria or requirements under the immigration programs, immigration authorities may deny entry to persons considered to be inadmissible to Canada. However, issues of inadmissibility may be resolved on the ground that the Canadian immigration law provides for exceptions under certain circumstances.

Specifically, some of the grounds on which a foreign national may be denied entry into Canada are listed below:

  • Security may be an issue, when this happens; there is evidence of engaging in espionage, violent crime or terrorism, being a danger to Canada.
  • Evidence that a foreign national has been involved in human and international violations including war crimes, crimes against humanity.
  • There are facts showing serious criminality, committing a crime punishable by at least ten years of imprisonment in Canada.
  • Other forms of criminality may also be a factor, having been convicted of an indictable crime, including driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Organized criminality, where a foreigner national is a member of an association engaged in organized crime such as human smuggling, trafficking or money laundering.
  • The issue of health, especially any chronic disease capable of endangering public health or public safety or constitute an excessive demands on health or social services
  • Financial, applicants who are unable or unwilling to support themselves or family members in Canada.
  • Misrepresentation is a serious issue, applicants who provide false information or withhold information contrary to the immigration law.
  • Evidence of now non-compliance with the Act, failure to abide by terms and conditions under which visa was granted.
  • Foreign national may also be denied entry to Canada by reason of an inadmissible family member, especially where accompanying or non-accompanying family member is inadmissible to Canada.

There are various reasons why an application for visa may be denied, so it is impossible to conjecture a general answer for refusal decision. However, the fact that a visa is denied may not foreclose an application, but it is the prerogative of the applicant to decide what next step to take. An application that is patently bad may have no remedy, for example where the applicant is ineligible under a program ab initio. In such a case, an applicant may have to reapply if he subsequently resolves the issues surrounding the decision on his first application. On the other hand, immigration officers are not always correct in their decision-making, so where there is an error of judgment, an applicant may go the way of appeal.

There is abundance of cases in which the courts or tribunals overturn decisions that denied visa application; especially on the ground that the conclusion reached was not sound in law or because of a breach of procedure. Besides, there is room for substituted evaluation of application and this happens when, though an applicant fails to meet certain eligibility criteria, there are other grounds that may be considered

Besides all of the above, an applicant whose application under a provincial nominee program is denied may apply to another province with the possibility of success, except such applicant is not qualified.

When granted a temporary residence status, a foreign national may have no problem as to choice of where to live in Canada, but a permanent resident will need to make an informed decision. Canada is a vast and diversified country, so the issue of where to live is very important. Made up of ten provinces and three territories, Canada is generally a beautiful country, especially in summer, but weather can be very harsh and unfriendly in winter. However, a province like British Columbia may be good for someone coming to Canada from Africa where the weather is clement, neither too cold nor too hot.

In terms of culture, Quebec is predominantly a Francophone province in Canada, so someone from an Anglophone country may find it difficult integrating into the Quebec society. Also, for a foreign national seeking a quiet life, living in the city of Toronto, Ontario or Calgary in Alberta may not be a good idea because of the population density. Besides, the cost of living, especially accommodation, is unnecessarily prohibitive in Vancouver, British Columbia and Toronto, Ontario. For those in love of agriculture, Saskatchewan, a province in the prairie is usually the destination, while those accustomed to maritime life will definitely find joy in Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Islands. Most importantly, the purpose of coming to Canada in the first place needs be considered so as to determine an appropriate destination.

The summation from all of the above is that Canada presents different options as to choice of where to reside, but it is good to know ahead of time the peculiarities of the Canadian communities.

Every foreign national in Canada should always note that living in the country, notwithstanding the length of stay is a privilege. Accordingly, it is wisdom to respect the law and abide by the terms and conditions of authorization granted to stay in Canada.

Clients are advised to renew their authorization at least thirty days before expiration in order to avoid been out of status. Since authorizations such as visitor visa, study permit and work permit are issued for specified duration; it is common for temporary residents to be out of status. However, if a resident under the circumstance is out of status, the next step to take is to apply for a restoration of status, but this must be done within ninety days of expiration of authorization.

A person who seeks an extension of stay is entitled to remain in Canada until he gets a response from the appropriate immigration office. In the case of a foreign national who has exhausted his stay, the best thing to do is to either apply under a different program or leave Canada; otherwise such a person may be subject to a removal order for breach of condition under which authorization was granted initially. Overstaying the permitted period is a violation of the immigration law and may result in deportation.

Yes, dual intent is allowed for a temporary resident in Canada. Dual intent under the immigration law explains a situation where a foreign national in Canada simultaneously apply for temporary and permanent residence at the same time. For example, a spouse visiting her husband who is a citizen or permanent resident of Canada, though on a visitor visa, may have her sponsorship application filed by the husband while still enjoying the status of a temporary resident.

It is also explained by a student studying in a Canadian institution, but has filed for permanent residence under one of the federal or provincial or territorial immigration program. However, pending a grant of permanent resident status, a foreign national must meet the condition of his stay in Canada.

Just like any other civilized society, laws respecting rights and obligations of residents govern Canada. In addition, Canada is a signatory to many international conventions that safeguard human rights and privileges. For a better appreciation of what rights foreign nationals enjoy in Canada, recourse must made to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, the guaranteed rights and freedoms come with obligations under the law.

It is not uncommon for certain foreign nationals to be deported; however, removal is not done whimsically or without a good reason. There are various grounds under which someone in Canada may be deported, including overstaying the period allowed under the immigration, crime and other inadmissibility factors. However, in certain cases, there may be good reasons to seek an appeal of a deportation order. So, a foreign national who is to be deported needs the service of a professional to make an application seeking a stay of removal order. Once a request for stay is granted, the foreign national set to be deported has a temporary relief and may in the interim, remain in Canada.

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