The Truth About Canada’s Complex Immigration Processes

When immigrating to Canada, it’s important that you have all the right facts to ensure you don’t run into any problems upon your arrival. Unfortunately, there are a lot of common misconceptions regarding Canada’s immigration system that are disguised as truths.

To help you better understand the different processes for immigrating to Canada, we explain what these myths.

Myths About Immigrating to Canada/Applying for Refugee Status

Myth #1: An Immigration Decision Made by A Judge Is Final

When an immigration officer’s decision is not in your favour, this can be an incredibly stressful time as it can feel like your only chance for starting a new life in Canada has been ripped away. However, it’s important to know that most immigration decisions may be appealed or judicially reviewed, giving newcomers a second chance at a life in Canada.

Even if you have been issued a removal order, these decisions can also be fought as well through an appeal.

If you find yourself in this position, be sure to seek guidance from an immigration and refugee lawyer right away to learn about all your options and to start the appeal process immediately if you are eligible.

Myth #2: You Must Return Home Immediately If Your Refugee Claim is Denied

Just like with immigration decisions, a decision regarding your refugee application can be appealed,.

In fact, often in refugee cases, a removal order does not come into force until all avenues of recourse have been exhausted.

However, there are some exceptions as to who can file an appeal and/or judicial review, so be sure to seek advice from an immigration and refugee lawyer to find out if you are eligible.

Myth #3: Marrying A Canadian Citizen Automatically Guarantees Citizenship

Contrary to what movies and television programs often portray, marrying a Canadian does not guarantee that you yourself will be immediately granted permanent residency and citizenship.

Not only do you have to apply for spousal sponsorship after the marriage, but your spouse also has to meet certain conditions. These conditions include being over the age of 18 and being able to provide evidence that they are financially secure enough to support their spouse for at least 3 years after they become a permanent resident.  You also have to establish the genuineness of the relationship, as it cannot be entered into in bad faith for immigration purposes.

In addition, if you are not living in Canada at the time of your marriage, you won’t be able to come to Canada to live with your new spouse until your sponsorship application has been approved and you have obtained a permanent residency visa.

The sponsorship process itself can also be lengthy and complex, requiring both partners to prove the validity of the marriage and evidence in support of a genuine relationship.

This kind of evidence can include:

  • Joint assets
  • Correspondence
  • Social media posts
  • Wedding invitations
  • Proof of cohabitation
  • A relationship questionnaire
  • Marriage registration and certificate
  • Photos taken throughout the relationship

Myth #4: You Need a Sponsor

While being sponsored by a spouse or family member is a common way to immigrate to Canada and obtain permanent residency, it’s not a requirement, as there are other immigration pathways available, such as economic immigration.

Myth #5: You Need a Job Lined Up to Immigrate to Canada

Canada’s immigration policies are designed to attract skilled foreign workers more than any other class, creating a misconception that the only way to become a permanent resident is to have a job offer already lined up when you apply.

In fact, most Canadian economic immigration programs do not require a job offer. And while certain provinces require applicants of their Provincial Nominee Program to have a job offer in that province, many others only require applicants to have experience in certain fields or occupations, or a connection to the province like past experience or family that resides there.

It’s also important to remember that while employment immigration is one pathway that leads to permanent residency in Canada, it’s not the only avenue you can take. Speak with an immigration lawyer to find out what programs you may be eligible for.

Myth #6: You Can’t Work in Canada If You Have a Study Permit

When coming to Canada with a study permit, it’s a common misconception that all you can do during your time in Canada is study. However, the truth is, Canadian study permits do allow you to work in Canada without having a designated work permit, but there are some limitations.

You can work either on campus, or off, but you can only work up to 20 hours a week, equivalent to the hours required for most part-time jobs.

And if you’d like to remain in Canada and continue to work after you have graduated from your post-secondary program, you must apply for a post-graduation work permit.

Myth #7: Passing A Language Test Is Not Required

Contrary to what you may have been told, in most cases, proficiency in English or French must be proven by taking an official language test in order to gain entry to Canada through most economic immigration programs.

Be sure to check the current requirements for the immigration program you’re applying for to find out what test you will need to take. Right now, the majority of programs require you to pass a language test, usually either the:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)
  • Test d’évaluation de Français (TEF)
  • Test de Connaissance du Français pour le Canada (TCF Canada)

Myth #8: Express Entry Is A Path to Citizenship

While it may seem like Canada’s Express Entry system is a pathway to obtaining Canadian Citizenship, this program is actually an application management system that helps to expedite the process of finding and welcoming skilled workers into Canada.

Only those who have received an invitation to apply to one of the immigration programs offered in Canada through the Express Entry system are able to apply for permanent residency.

In fact, you won’t be able to apply for citizenship until you have lived in Canada as a permanent resident for at least 1,095 days out of the last 5 years.

Myth #9: All Types of Skilled Workers Are Accepted Through Express Entry

While there is a long list of all the different types of workers that can seek residency in Canada through the Express Entry system, not all skills are considered equal in the application process.

Canadian legislation limits the number of Canadian jobs that can be filled by newcomers, which also limits the type of applicants that are accepted into the system.

Plus, Canadian businesses also have to prove that their needs can’t be met by Canadian workers in order to hire immigrants through the Express Entry system.

Therefore, when filling out your Express Entry profile, it’s important to list any and all work skills and experience you have to increase your chances of being selected.

Myth #10: Immigrating to Canada Is Easy

While it’s not a myth that Canada is incredibly welcoming to immigrants and offers several immigration pathways for newcomers to live, work, and build a life in Canada, these processes can be complex and are not always easy to understand and navigate on your own.

For this reason, if you are considering immigrating to Canada, it’s important to consult with an immigration lawyer who can help you understand the proper immigration processes and determine which pathway is the best option for your specific situation.