The Benefits of Working with a Consultant Regulated by the ICCRC

Choosing to work with an immigration consultant regulated by the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) offers significant advantages:

  • Assurance of Professionalism: The ICCRC is a national regulatory body that oversees regulated Canadian immigration consultants.
  • Accountability: Regulated consultants are bound by a strict code of ethical conduct that protects clients’ interests. In the rare event of professional misconduct, clients have a channel to file complaints, ensuring accountability and recourse.
  • Up-to-Date Knowledge: ICCRC members are required to complete ongoing professional development to maintain their registration.
  • Security: Working with a regulated consultant provides a sense of security, knowing that your immigration process is being handled by a qualified and accountable professional.

Temporary Visas

Navigating the array of temporary visa options Canada offers is crucial for those seeking to study, work, or simply visit this diverse country. Temporary visas are designed to cater to individuals’ specific purposes for entering Canada, whether for tourism, education, or employment.

Visitor Visas

Visitor visas, also known as Temporary Resident Visas (TRVs), allow individuals to visit Canada for a short period, typically up to six months.

  • Purpose and Eligibility Criteria: The primary purpose of a visitor visa is tourism, visiting family or friends, or business visits (such as attending conferences or meetings). Applicants must also prove they have enough money to support their stay in Canada and intend to leave at the end of their visit.
  • Typical Documentation Required and Processing Times: Applicants typically need to submit a valid passport, proof of financial support, ties to their home country, and a letter of invitation from someone living in Canada, if applicable. Additional documents may include proof of a hotel reservation and a return flight ticket. Processing times vary depending on the applicant’s country of residence but can range from a few days to several weeks.

Student Visas

Student visas, officially known as Study Permits, are issued to individuals accepted into a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada.

  • Criteria for Eligibility: To be eligible for a student visa, applicants must have a letter of acceptance from a Canadian institution that is recognized as a DLI.
  • Financial Requirements and Options for Working While Studying: Students must demonstrate financial capability, which can include personal savings, scholarships, or financial support from family.

Work Visas

Work visas are categorized into various types, primarily open work permits and employer-specific work permits, catering to different employment scenarios in Canada.

  • Different Types of Work Permits: An open work permit allows the holder to work for any employer in Canada, excluding those listed as ineligible by the IRCC or those offering striptease, erotic dance, escort services, or erotic massages. In contrast, an employer-specific work permit restricts the holder to work only for the employer, location, and position specified in the permit.
  • The Importance of a Job Offer and the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA): For most employer-specific work permits, a valid job offer from a Canadian employer is essential. The employer may need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which proves that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker is available to do the job.

Permanent Residency Options

Express Entry

The Express Entry system is Canada’s primary method of managing applications for permanent residence from skilled workers. Here’s an overview:

  • Overview: Express Entry is a competitive immigration system, ranking all eligible candidates against one another and then inviting the best-ranking candidates to apply for permanent residency. The system is designed to fast-track the processing of Canada’s most qualified and skilled immigrants.
  • Criteria for the Federal Skilled Worker Program: Candidates must have at least one year of full-time (or equivalent) skilled work experience, meet or exceed a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 7 in English or French, and obtain at least 67 points out of 100 on the immigration selection factors, which include education, work experience, and age.
  • Canadian Experience Class: This category is for those with at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada within the last three years. Language ability requirements vary by the level of the job.
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program: Applicants must have at least two years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade within the five years before applying, meet the required language levels for each language ability (speaking, reading, writing, and listening), and have a valid job offer for a full-time position for a total period of at least one year or a certificate of qualification in that skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial, territorial, or federal authority.

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

The PNP allows Canadian provinces and territories to nominate individuals who wish to immigrate to Canada and who are interested in settling in a particular province.

  • Local Labour Market Needs: Each province and territory targets specific groups within their PNP streams, such as students, businesspeople, skilled workers, and semi-skilled workers, based on the local labour market and economic development needs.
  • Variations in Eligibility Criteria: Eligibility criteria and application procedures vary significantly across provinces.

Family Sponsorship

  • Requirements for Sponsoring: To sponsor a spouse, common-law partner, dependent child, or other eligible relatives, the sponsor must be 18 years of age or older, a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, and able to prove that they can provide the basic needs for the person being sponsored.
  • Financial Obligations: Sponsors must sign an undertaking agreement, promising to provide financial support for the basic needs of the sponsored family members and repay any social assistance received by the sponsored family members during the undertaking period. The length of the undertaking varies depending on the age and relationship to the sponsored person and can range from three to 20 years.

Special Visa Categories in Canada

Canada’s immigration policy includes provisions for special visa categories that cater to unique circumstances and contributions to the country. Among these, the Start-up Visa Program and the option to apply for residency under Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds stand out for addressing the needs of entrepreneurs and individuals in exceptional situations, respectively.

Start-up Visa Program

  • Eligibility Criteria: To be eligible, entrepreneurs must have a qualifying business, obtain a commitment from a designated organization (venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator) that is willing to invest in their start-up, meet the language requirements (CLB 5 in English or French), and have enough money to settle and live in Canada before making money from their business.
  • Process of Obtaining Support from Designated Organizations: Entrepreneurs must pitch their business idea and convince a designated organization to support their project. If the organization is convinced, they will issue a letter of support required for the visa application. The entrepreneur must then submit this letter along with their application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds

This category is for people who are not eligible to apply for permanent residence from within Canada in any other category but have compelling humanitarian or compassionate reasons to be granted the chance to stay in the country.

  • Criteria for Applying: Applications on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Factors considered include how settled the person is in Canada, general family ties to Canada, the best interests of any children involved, and what could happen to the applicant if the request is not granted. It’s important to note that these applications should not be based on refugee claims or the risk of persecution.
  • How an Immigration Consultant Can Help Build a Compelling Case: Given the subjective nature of these applications, an immigration consultant can play a crucial role in building a strong case.

The Application Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

Preparing Your Application

  1. Understand the Requirements: Each visa category has its unique set of requirements. Start by carefully reading the official Canadian immigration website or consulting with an immigration expert to fully understand what is expected for your specific visa category.
  2. Checklist of Documents: Create a checklist of all required documents based on the instructions provided for your visa category.
  3. Organization: Organize your documents in the order specified in the application guide. Use labels or tabs to divide sections, making it easier for the visa officer to review your application.
  4. Accuracy and Completeness: Ensure that all forms are accurately completed and that no required section is left blank. Double-check that all documentation is complete and up to date.
  5. Translations: If any documents are not in English or French, get them professionally translated. Ensure that translations are accurate and include the translator’s declaration.
  6. Copy and Save: Make copies of all documents and forms submitted. Having a record of your entire application can be useful for future reference or in case additional information is requested.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid in the Application Process

  • Incomplete Applications: One of the most common reasons for visa application delays or rejections is incomplete applications. Ensure every question is answered and all required documents are submitted.
  • Incorrect Information: Providing incorrect information, whether mistakenly or intentionally, can lead to the refusal of your application or, in severe cases, a ban from entering Canada.
  • Outdated Forms: Immigration forms are updated periodically. Always use the most current form available on the official immigration website to avoid application rejection.
  • Ignoring Processing Times: Be aware of the processing times for your specific visa category and plan accordingly. Submitting an application too close to your intended travel date may result in not receiving the visa in time.

Understanding Processing Times and How to Check the Status of Your Application

  • Processing Times: These vary significantly based on the visa category, the volume of applications, and the specific office handling the application. Check the official Canadian immigration website for the most current processing times.
  • Online Status Check: For most visa categories, you can check the status of your application online through the Canadian immigration website.
  • Updates and Correspondence: Ensure your contact information is up to date in your application to receive any requests for additional documents or information without delay.