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10 Common Immigration Questions (8/10)

The Canadian Parliament In Ottawa
The Canadian Parliament In Ottawa

Welcome to my new series, “How to immigrate to Canada“!

I recently received quite a lot of emails, asking me questions about the immigration process. So I decided to explain the whole process in 10 posts, which will be published every Saturday.

I also encourage you to ask any question you may have. I’m not an immigration consultant, but from experience, I may be able to point you to the right direction!

In the series, we will see the different options you have to come to Canada, as well as your rights and duties as a Permanent Resident, what happens after you arrive etc.

Here are the answers to the ten most common immigration questions.

I hate living in my country, I’m desperate to come to Canada

I often receive emails that basically explain that. This is a tough one: as much as I can sympathize with someone living in a country at war, or with a lot of economic problems, there is no perfect answer.

Canada does welcome refugees. However, the situation has to be pretty severe in your home country: the applicant must “have been, and continue to be, seriously and personally affected by civil war or armed conflict, or have suffered massive violations of human rights“. This is not always easy to prove…

If you don’t fit in the refugee category, you may apply in one of the many immigration categories.

I don’t have enough point to immigrate through the skilled worker category

In order to immigrate in the skilled worker category, you must meet the minimum pass mark. You can use the free eligibility tools to see if your application would be eligible to be processed. For those who plan to settle in Quebec, take the test here, for those who plan to settle anywhere else, it’s this test.

If you don’t pass the test, it’s not the end of the world! Don’t send your application, because it won’t be processed. Instead, take some time to see if you can improve your chances of being selected.

The selections factors (education, language abilities, experience, age, arranged employment and adaptability) can usually be improved. Focus on taking some French or English classes, improve your work experience or take a trip to Canada. These can help you get more points! And don’t worry too much about finding a job in Canada before immigrating. This is every immigrants’ dream but it is notoriously difficult and CIC knows it… this is probably why you only get a maximum of ten points for it!

Am I too old to immigrate?

This is a touchy question. To immigrate in the skilled worker category, you get the most points between 21 and 49 years old. This is because Canada needs immigrants who will work, pay taxes, have children… and won’t retire too early. Studies probably showed as well that younger immigrants are more adaptable overall.

Cynical? Not really. Immigration meets a need after all.

If you are over 50, it’s not the end of the world. Some people managed to obtain the permanent residence, albeit with a lot of motivation and a strong plan. It is your job to show that you want to live in Canada, and that you are aware of the problems you may face.

What’s the best way to immigrate in Canada fast?

In short, in you are in a hurry to leave your country for whatever reason, don’t apply for permanent residence. No matter how loud you complain, processing your application will take a while: 6 to 12 months if you are lucky, much longer if you are not. This is just the way it is!

Take a second and think of it: Canada must evaluate whether you fit in the category you applied in, check your background, your medical results etc. in order to grant you the right to live in Canada. This is quite a responsibility!

There are some basic advices to make you your application gets processed as fast as it can, and to avoid any delays. But that is the best you can do!

On a side note, stay clear of any organization that promises a faster process. Nobody has this power.

Is it faster if I immigrate to Quebec?

This is a strong myth among the francophones. Because Quebec is French, a lot of applicants think it can be much faster to go through the Quebec process (which is a slightly different one).

However, be aware that immigrating through Quebec adds an additional step: the CSQ (Certificat de Sélection du Québec). Besides, waiting times are also long for Quebec now… so no, it’s not really faster.

Make your life easier. If you plan to settle in Quebec, apply through Quebec. If you plan to settle anywhere in Canada, don’t bother applying through Quebec and go through the regular process.

If I marry a Canadian citizen, will I be Canadian automatically?

The stronger myth ever…! In short: no, absolutely not. This is a common immigration myth.

First of all, to be eligible to become a Canadian citizen, you must have been a permanent resident first. There are some exceptions, like if you are adopted — but I don’t think this is the most common case!

Second, to be married to a Canadian citizen does not give you the right to come to Canada, much less live, work or study there. You may however be eligible to be sponsored by your spouse (the sponsorship category).

I was told to come for an interview, what it is about?

It is fairly common to be required to meet with a Citizenship and Immigration Canada Officer.

During the interview, the officer will typically check your credentials, test your language abilities and evaluate your chances to establish yourself successfully in Canada. This may be a chance for you to present a strong immigration project, as the officer may possess wide discretionary authority to accept you even if you lack a few points to qualify.

If you applied in the family class (i.e. you are sponsored by a spouse), the officer will focus on evaluating whether the union is genuine or is a marriage or convenience. Questions will be asked about your relationship with your spouse: where did you meet, how did the relationship develop etc.

In any case, make sure you prepare your interview because this could be your chance to be accepted!

How do I apply for citizenship?

To apply for citizenship, you must first be a permanent resident. You are eligible after three years of permanent residence, and 1095 days of physical presence in Canada.

Applying for citizenship is relatively easy compared to applying for permanent residence. However, it involved a little bit of paperwork, a test and a sometimes long processing time!

My application was refused, what do I do now?

If your application is refused, you will be given a reason, such as not enough points because of lack of work experience, work experience not on the Canadian National Occupational Classification, lack of language skills etc. Basically, they give you something to work on, in most cases.

Being refused for security reason or because of a health problem is a much more complex problem, for which you may need specific help.

In the spouse category, the main reason for which applicants are refused is if the immigration officer believes the relationship is not genuine.

If you believe the decision was unfair, in most case, you can appeal the decision at the Immigration Appeal Division. Otherwise, you may improve your chance of being selected (such as getting more work experience) and re-apply for permanent residence.

Will my life be better in Canada?

Don’t we all hope!

Experiences vary greatly. Some immigrants embrace their new life, some have more trouble adapting. Even though everybody can have the occasional frustrating experience, generally speaking, prospective immigrants should do a lot of research before they apply for permanent residence to avoid disappointment.

Typical complaints involve not being able to work in the applicant’s field of choice (medicine, accounting, law are tricky because your experience in your home country may not be recognized), difficulty finding a job, problems adapting… A lot of these problems could be avoided by doing researches beforehand. So, be curious before deciding to come to Canada!

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