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Moses Law Office

Providing Canadian Immigration Services since 1988

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What you need to know

General Pitfalls of Immigration to Canada and What to Know in Advance

Immigrants continue to see Canada as one of the best countries in the world to come to live. The demand among immigrants to immigrate to Canada continues to remain strong. In survey after survey, Canada is still ranked at the top as one of the best countries in the world to live. Canada is considered safe, stable, with high educational standards, a strong public health system, moderate taxes, and low crime.

However, recent changes in the immigration system have started making perspective immigrants think twice. Not because of a change in the rank or the perception of Canada but because of the loss of predictability and the overly high requirements placed on perspective immigrant applicants. For example, with respect to increased requirements, until recently, federal business program immigrants did not require mandatory language testing. Canada is now one of the only if not only country that places language requirements on the business immigrants seeking to come to Canada. For those with a very high net worth, but little if any English, Canada may find it is no longer their first choice. And, until a few years ago, immigrant applicants in all immigration programs could be assured that if their applications were received by Immigration, their file would processed and not cancelled midstream due to a sudden change in policy at the government level. This has changed with the introduction of Ministerial Instructions that allows the Immigration Minister to change the rules of the game with little or no notice.

Immigrants seek predictability, transparency and procedural fairness when they file an application with Immigration. In the past few years, these cherished features have undergone significant change. The government can now change the rules on the spur of the moment with little or no notice. Retroactivity or retrospectivity legislation and regulations are now more common. Lack of transparency is apparent in the new Express Entry system where draws are conducted without any visibility as to how the point cut off is determined.

The government often suggests that a lawyer is not necessary for the immigration process. However the system, contrary to government claims, has become more complex, not less. In some cases we see self-represented applicants contact us and inform us that they were informed that their case is refused for reasons that are not grounded in the Immigration legislation and regulations. In some cases, these applicants did not know there was another route. In some cases the applicants did not know that even if not stated on the Immigration website or in the Immigration application kit that certain documentation was required, without that particular documentation, the applicant’s chances of being approved were greatly reduced.

In the case of international students who have come to Canada and intended to pursue the Canada Experience Class category for immigration to Canada, the new Express Entry system that started on January 1, 2015, has crushed the expectation of many. Most international students will have a difficult time to qualify for immigration under the new Express Entry system because they will have too little post-graduate work experience to obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment, that would result in a great boost in points under the Express Entry system and greatly increase the chances of immigration. Immigration suggests that these students still have a chance. This is true but it becomes even more important for these students to obtain a skilled immigration lawyer’s advice on the alternatives and what can be done in their particular situation to maximize their chances of immigration to Canada.

When Express Entry was first announced, international students relied on policies that were put into place by Immigration to help post-graduate international students transition to permanent residence. Recent international student graduates tried to beat the January 1, 2015 deadline by getting their application in during the Fall. As late as December 2014, the Immigration website had said that thousands of spots were still available under the old regulations. This gave rise to the expectation that these international students could still file an application under the Canada Experience Class until the end of December 2014. However, in mid-January 2015, many of these interaction students who had filed applications in the latter part of 2014, learned that the 8,000 cap for Canadian Experience Class was reached on October 20, 2014, and that their applications would be returned. This has devastated many of those late filers. In sum cases, the international students could have taken another route, perhaps through a Provincial Nomination Program, if they had known and if they had received immigration advice from a skilled immigration lawyer.

There are many more examples that can be given, but I will stop here. The need for a perspective immigration applicant to involve a skilled immigration lawyer should start early in the process, not once obstacles have been reached. Advanced planning and continued planning at all stages of the process are critical to maximizing the chances of a successful outcome.

However despite the many immigration programs around the world to which an immigrant can select, Canada continues to remain popular and will continue to draw more applicants than spots.

For those seeking to select Canada for immigration, whether in the economic or business category, the need of skilled counsel able to guide the applicant through the ever increasingly complex immigration system is a must. Better advance planning is needed and more knowledge of the options and risks are also needed. All too often, immigration applicants only seek a lawyer’s advice once the applicant hits an obstacle or has been refused. Seeking out a skilled immigration lawyer’s assistance at the start will often save the applicant much hardship and disappointment. Although an immigration lawyer cannot guarantee a particular outcome, given Immigration makes that final decision, having an immigration lawyer’s guidance can greatly increase the chances of success for the applicant.

If you are interested in applying for immigration to Canada or seek to preserve your hard won immigration status, for more information, please contact Marvin Moses Law Office.