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How To NOT Ask For Help

Please Help, Ottawa, 2012

Please Help, Ottawa, 2012

As a blog­ger, I believe in interaction—this is why I always enable com­ments on arti­cles and why I have a ded­i­cated “con­tact” page. Most of the emails I received are from prospec­tive immi­grants who have ques­tions about the visa process or life in Canada. I make a point of answer­ing every com­ment and every query.

But some­time I can’t help think­ing “seri­ously peo­ple, what the fuck?”

Guillermo recently wrote two inter­est­ing arti­cles on a sim­i­lar topic: How to write an effec­tive email that brings you to Canada and Stop feel­ing sorry for your­self and start doing something!

I get his point. Some days, I’m that close to hit the “delete” or “spam” but­ton because I can’t believe how rude or strange some peo­ple can be.

I have received what I call “WTF ques­tions” before, includ­ing the ever-popular “please send me a copy of your old com­pleted immi­gra­tion forms so that I can fill my own forms eas­ily”. Because of course, I’m dying to share per­sonal infor­ma­tion, includ­ing exten­sive back­ground info, work and fam­ily his­tory, with ran­dom strangers on the web.

So this is how to NOT ask for help for help when con­tact­ing a blogger:

Don’t bother say­ing “hi”, “please” or “thank you”. These words are way over­rated and you don’t have time for that shit—you need your answer fast.

How­ever, do stress that you need me to reply right away, prefer­ably before the end of the day. Oth­er­wise, it might jeop­ar­dize your entire exis­tence since you are about to board the plane and have lost your passport/haven’t decided where to land/just real­ized you lied on your visa application.

Be as vague as pos­si­ble—I have a good crys­tal ball. As in “How long will it take to get to Ottawa?” (from where?) and “Please rec­om­mend a good air­line” (again, to fly from where to where?).

Don’t do research, that’s what I am here for! I love when you ask “I need to immi­grate to Canada, pro­vide detail steps re. the process”. And if I sug­gest you to check the com­pre­hen­sive web­site of Cit­i­zen­ship and Immi­gra­tion, sim­ply restate the orig­i­nal query: “I need detailed steps”, just in case I didn’t get it the first time.

If you are about to do some­thing ille­gal or at the very least ques­tion­able, do ask for my help. As in “I am mar­ried to a woman in Canada and I need to bring my sec­ond wife to Canada, can I divorce my first wife after I get the visa?”

Please, do use me! “I am a 22 yrs old male, sin­gle, I want to live in Canada. I want to get a mar­riage visa. Are you inter­ested?” I can’t get enough of these sin­cere dec­la­ra­tions of love. I mean, it’s not like I’m mar­ried and just had a kid. I’d love to spon­sor you—I am a roman­tic at heart and I think mar­ry­ing some­one for a visa is exciting.

Threaten me, it makes me reply faster. Like this guy recently who explained that if I wasn’t will­ing to help him get to Canada, it would encour­age him to join Al Qaeda.

Do not read this blog. What’s the point? I know every­thing any­way. I mean, glanc­ing at the header, my pro­file or the FAQ may give you a clue that I live in Canada but you have a ques­tion about immi­grat­ing to the United King­dom or the US and I can very well do research for you. Immigration—different coun­try, same shit, right?

Do not fol­low up. Ever. You got your reply, why say­ing “thank you”? I am not really a human being behind the com­puter, merely a some­what sophis­ti­cated com­puter pro­gram who deals with ques­tions. Beep.

Punc­tu­a­tion and gram­mar are over­rated, make me deci­pher your ques­tion. And no, I am not mak­ing fun of peo­ple who make mis­takes in French or Eng­lish but those who “text” me as in “u no hw long process is? Mths? Yrs. Y so slow?”

Do blame me. I designed the entire immi­gra­tion sys­tem. It’s entirely my fault if your appli­ca­tion is stuck in pro­cess­ing limbo or if you can’t get a job as a brain sur­geon in Toronto.

Don’t be real­is­tic. Recently, I had two emails of very angry appli­cants who wanted to sue Cit­i­zen­ship and Immi­gra­tion because their visa was denied. I wrote that I was sorry to hear that but unfor­tu­nately, visas are a priv­i­lege and not a right (I did pro­vide a link to appeal and all though). Guess they weren’t happy with my reply—they wanted to sue me for pro­vid­ing wrong info in this blog. Oh well.

How about you? Do you get strange ques­tions from strange peo­ple too?


  1. Oh, my! I so feel your frus­tra­tion. And even though it hap­pened and still hap­pens to me, I can’t really appre­hend how can peo­ple be so shame­less and dumb (or think­ing I am dumb). When I lived in Shang­hai, I was reg­u­larly get­ting e-mails from strangers back in Latvia want­ing to do busi­ness in China and ask­ing me every­thing from the price of cop­per (!!) and the sta­tis­tics on use of dis­pos­able wooden chop­sticks (!!!) to the requests to post their resumes in local job web­sites… I still don’t get why some peo­ple assume, if you live in a cer­tain coun­try, you must know every­thing about every­thing there…
    Since I am in Canada, I get a weird e-mail here and there. But noth­ing ever topped a per­son liv­ing here once ask­ing me if he could use my SIN num­ber to apply for a job (as he said — since I am at home tak­ing care of baby and not using it any­ways). –_–

    • What kind of peo­ple think you’d be will­ing to share you SIN? Seri­ously…!! This is crazy, not to men­tion offen­sive and rude. Gosh.

      Peo­ple are strange with China. Back when I lived in France, there was always a friend of a friend of a friend who wanted to start a busi­ness with China and would ask me to find clients, mate­ri­als, etc. Er… I am not qual­i­fied to do so (espe­cially for free!). You know, China is a big coun­try. You can’t just email ran­dom peo­ple and ask them to buy/sell your products!

    • Seri­ously???? Lend­ing your SIN??? Some peo­ple are sim­ply stu­pid. I can’t believe they ask for that.

  2. I can’t belive. If these peo­ple is this way even hop­ing for help from total strangers, how they will be work with colleague.

    When you aspire to emi­grate to other coun­try you be long to work, bet­ter to start off on the right foot.

    As prospec­tive immi­grants, sorry for them. You have infi­nite patience.

  3. OMG!! DO YOU SERIOUSLY GET THOSE QUESTIONS?!?! Where are these peo­ple from?!

    (What was your reply to the 22-year-old — LOL!)

    I can’t believe some­one would actu­ally ask you for a copy of your immi­gra­tion form. I am sin­cerely astounded.

    Well. Great arti­cle! And I am def­i­nitely shar­ing with oth­ers because all of it is SO TRUE!!

    xx Mil­sters


  4. I think some peo­ple take too casual of an approach when ask­ing for help, espe­cially if it’s online help they’re seek­ing. It’s like they come across your site, see that you help with immi­gra­tion issues and at the spur of the moment, decide to ask you some­thing and see what happens.

  5. Hahaha! Oh God, there really are some rude feck­ers out there! The inter­net is a great place but it’s also full of crazies!

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