The Two Immigration Myths (1/10)

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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.

The first thing I’d like to tackle today are the two most common “immigration myths”. I used to spend a lot of time in various immigration forums, and the same questions would always pop up.

Somebody (such as a lawyer) can help me speed up the process“.

To go through the Canadian immigration process, you normally do not need to hire an immigration lawyer or an immigration consultant (both known as immigration representatives). Although the process appears complex at first, if you spend a little bit of time trying to understand it, you can perfectly fill up all the forms by yourself.

Knowing that, many immigration representatives advertise that they can improve your chances of obtaining the permanent residence in Canada. Some even claim that your application will be processed faster if you use their services.

Can they really improve your chance of receiving the permanent residence? Well, I’d say that is a bit exaggerated. Sure, they probably know how to fill up the paperwork. But if you are eligible, you are eligible, if you are not… well, an immigration lawyer or consultant can’t change that!

One thing is for sure, hiring an immigration lawyers will not speed up you claim with Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Nobody has this power… application are treated on a first come first serve basis, with some possible exception due to status (refugee for example).You will not have better chance to be accepted if you go with an immigration representative.

Bottom line: immigrating to Canada is not cheap. Between the application fees, the right of permanent residence fees, the medical exams etc. you already have a lot to pay. Hiring a representative can easily double your budget. That said, if your case is very complicated, you may benefit from professional advice. In this case, choose your representative carefully.

Citizenship & Immigration states that “the only representatives who may charge a fee to represent or advise you on immigration and refugee matters with the Government of Canada are […] lawyers members […] of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society, immigration consultants who are members […] of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants, and notaries who are members […] of the Chambre des notaires du Québec. The Government of Canada will not deal with non-authorized representatives who charge a fee for their service.

They are a lot of frauds reported with so-called immigration lawyers:

I need to be married to a Canadian citizen to immigrate to Canada“. Variant: “It’s much easier to immigrate to Canada when you are married to a Canadian citizen.

Sign up on any immigration forum, add in your profile that you are “in Canada” and you will soon receive dozens of private emails: “you are so pretty, I love you, let’s get married!“, or “u r sexy pls IM me I want come Canada“.

I have no doubt that you are indeed very sexy, but there is another explanation to your sudden sex-appeal. Indeed, a lot of people think that if you marry a Canadian citizen, you automatically are accepted to immigrate to Canada (some even think you automatically get Canadian citizenship!).

Let me get that straight: it is absolutely not true.

If you are married to a Canadian citizen, you have no special rights. Same thing if you are the common-law partner of a Canadian citizen by the way. Yes, you heard me: no special rights. I think in the U.S.A, you can get a “fiancé visa”… well, not in Canada.

Now, if you want to live with your spouse in Canada, you will have to go through the immigration process like everybody else. You will probably apply in the sponsorship category (more on that in a couple of weeks), and it will take a few months (even sometimes a few years) to obtain the permanent residence. Besides, be aware that Citizenship & Immigration agents are trained to detect “marriage of convenience” and take marriage fraud very seriously…

Now, I’m not telling you to not marry a Canadian (they are very nice, I have one at home!) but it’s by no mean a guaranteed way to immigrate to Canada. You have been warned!

Next week, we will see how to apply for Permanent Residence in the “skilled worker category”. Enjoy your weekend!


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Good post I don’t even know how my parents immigrated here. It seems like the system is quite complicated.

    Oh, you should also mention that Quebec’s immigration system is different than the rest of Canada (after all, Quebec likes to be different).

  2. i read once that one can buy canadian citizenship. when hong kong changed to chinese rule, british columbia let HK citizens immigrate if they had “x” amount of dollars to bring with them.
    or is that another rumor?

  3. Very good post about an interesting theme!

    I’m glad about the thing you said about lawyers or consultants. Isn’t is so in most matters of like – that they try to make money on others and their feeling of uncertainties?

    Also interesting to read about ‘no special rights’ if you are married. That was the only way for me to ‘import’ my Diane from the US to Norway you know. Mind you; I did it for love 😆

    ?: Are most of the immigrants now from the US? I guess some are from Europe too – some from Norway I might know? 🙂

  4. Very nicely written! I agree wholeheartedly with both of your points. In our situation I can’t imagine what a lawyer could have done to help us speed things up; we knew our situation better than anyone. And in support of the other point about marrying a Canadian – well I’ll tell you, it was a painstaking and difficult process for us (I’m Canadian, husband from Turkey), so yes, it sure doesn’t make it easier. This is a great informative part of your website!

  5. There was a time in late 2004 when Susan and I talked semi-seriously about moving to Canada where people and politics seem more rational. With the election of Mr. Obama however, we are less keen on moving. Maybe there is hope.

  6. Hi Zhu. I agree that an immigration lawyer will not help speed up the process. It is a big waste of money. But there are people who can help you speed up the process though. In my case to speed up the process of my application, I use the Six Degree of Separation theory. Just look for someone who knows the Immigration Minister, a Labour Minister or a President of a Crown Corporation who has the power and MUST BE WILLING AND ABLE to help you speed up the process. With their help, your application will definitely be prioritized. You will be able to migrate to Canada in less than a year.

  7. @Bluefish – Thank for mentioning! I will definitely add a post on “how to immigrate to Quebec” in this series.

    @Seraphine – I have never heard of that! I know you can “buy” citizenship in some Caribbean island of you invest. I should know about HK from my studies but I don’t remember anything like that.

    @RennyBA – Canada is a true melting pot. I think most immigrants currently come from Asia and South East Asia, but the previous wave was mostly from Europe. I don’t think they are so many immigrants from the USA, mostly because I think they can get a work visa more easily. Just my two cents!

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – Glad I can help! Don’t hesitate to email me any question you have.

    @Brenda – Thank you! I went through the same process, except I’m the immigrant, also married to a Canadian. I know what you mean… it’s a tough process, having to prove your relationship is real!

    @Celine – Thank you!

    @Bill Miller – The USA is a great country — it has ups and downs but I would stay right now. I’m sure change is on the way, even though Obama is not messiah!

    @Nelson – Hi and thanks for your comment! I’m sorry to disagree though 😉 I did heard of MP helping if a case was really stuck, but unfortunately, when it comes to immigration, pretty much each case if a priority 😉 I got my Permanent Residence in exactly 4 months — no help received! However, it’s good for you.

  8. Merci beaucoup pour toutes ces informations. C’est super intéressant et ça va profiter à beaucoup de monde. Je connais moi-même des personnes d’Amérique Latine (mexicains surtout) qui se posent plein de questions, je leur conseillerai de lire ton blog (et je les aiderai pour ceux qui ne comprennent pas bien l’anglais).
    C’est tout simplement super et très généreux de ta part de nous éclaircir un peu toutes les informations qui nous arrivent de toutes parts et qui se mélangent parfois.

  9. Hi Zhu,
    This series will be useful. Many people are un informed (or worse – ill informed) about the process. CIC website is very simple to understand but there is a huge fear and lack of self confidence. I became a perm resident last year.
    cheers, Priyank

  10. Yes, indeed very useful especially when you have gone through the process 😀

    Thanks for sharing, I have no intention but who knows what lies ahead for my children 😉

  11. @Caroline – Thank you!

    @Anna – Gracias! J’aurais aimé traduire l’article en espagnol, chinois etc. mais je ne veux pas massacrer la grammaire trop! Donne-moi le lien s’il est publié sur Canadamigos, je l’ajouterai en bas de l’article. 😉

    @Final_Transit – It seems simple once you are done with the process, but I remember a few sleepless nights preparing the paperworks… after that, it’s easy 😉 Congrats on your “new” PR!

    @shionge – You just want an excuse to visit Canada again, don’t you! 😉

  12. Something very important that many people do not realize is that you need to spend time researching the subject and gathering the papers, one of the advantages of getting a professional to do that for you, is that you have somebody holding accountable for your process, at least to be calling them to know how things are going, most of the people are procastinators and if they dont hire somebody they would not be able to get the process done

  13. Hi there,

    Indeed it is true that many immigration consultants claim that they “can help you speed up the process“, but this is less and less true, fortunately. Members in good standing of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants are prohibited from making such statements. Rule No 11 of the CSIC Code of Professional Conduct is very clear: “an Immigration Consultant shall not provide false or unrealistic expectations as to either results or processing times.” If you hear or see an authorized representative making such a statement you are strongly encouraged to advise their regulatory body.

    About the marriage-for-a-visa myth, though it is true that a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor a foreign national after getting married, let us remember that immigration officials were not born yesterday and they have seen more than one attempt from people getting married for the benefit of a visa. If you try to fool the canadian authorities into a fake marriage for the sake of a visa, consequences can go as far as being prohibited from entering Canada for many years. Besides there is no need to try to immigrate the wrong way, it is an unnecessary risk. There are dozens of immigration programs for you to qualify and none will be more complicated or costly than going through the process of a fake marriage.

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