Canadian immigration is complicated, and programs change pretty frequently. It can be hard to keep up with the latest news, especially since there’s a lot of misinformation, or out-of-date information, out there. How many of these myths did you believe?
MYTH 1. You need a job offer to come to Canada.
There are basically four ways to come to Canada. You can come temporarily as a visitor, a student, or a temporary worker, or you can immigrate permanently.
As a visitor or a student, you absolutely do not need a job offer to come to Canada. Most work permits do require a valid job offer, but there are some exceptions.
If you want to immigrate permanently, there’s a wide variety of immigration programs you might be eligible for. Most Canadian immigration programs do not require a job offer. Some Provincial Nominee Programs are designed for applicants with a job offer in the province, but many others are for applicants with experience in specific occupations or those with a connection to the province like past experience or family.
Most federal economic immigration programs are managed by Express Entry. A job offer is not a requirement for Express Entry. If you’re eligible for one of the programs under Express Entry, you’re entered into a pool of candidates and assigned a ranking score based on your profile. The highest-ranking candidates are invited to apply for permanent residence. While a valid job offer can increase your score, it is not a requirement.
MYTH 2. You don’t need IELTS to come to Canada.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of three international language proficiency tests that applicants can take for Canadian immigration purposes. Almost every economic immigration program in Canada requires recent language test results.
Taking the IELTS can be a big hurdle for many applicants, and it’s tempting to believe someone who tells you that you can skip the test. Carefully check the current requirements for the immigration program you’re applying to. For now, the large majority of programs require a language test (either IELTS, CELPIP, or TEF), and that’s unlikely to change.
MYTH 3. Your immigration program limits where you can live.
There are ten provinces in Canada and three territories. They each have their own immigration programs, called Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). While the individual provinces set the eligibility requirements for PNPs, and decide which applicants to accept, the end result of every immigration program is Canadian permanent residence. When you are a permanent resident of Canada, you are free to live and work anywhere in the country.
Applicants are sometimes confused that Quebec immigration is treated differently than other provinces’ programs. Quebec is the only officially French province, and it operates a robust immigration system that is largely independent of the federal systems. However, the federal immigration department still has to approve all applicants that Quebec accepts, and the end result is still Canadian permanent residence.
MYTH 4. You need a representative to apply.
You do not need a representative to apply for Canadian immigration. All of the necessary resources to complete and submit an application are available to candidates. That said, preparing an application for immigration can take a lot of time and effort. A large number of applications are rejected every year because they were incomplete, or inaccurate.
Many applicants choose to work with an expert who can review their file and ensure that it is complete and has the best chance of being accepted.
In Canada, the only people who are authorized to represent your file for Canadian immigration, other than yourself, are:
- Certified lawyers who are in good standing with their provincial bar association, and
- Consultants who are registered with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).
There are several differences between lawyers and consultants, including their level of education and expertise, and the actions they’re able to take on your behalf. In particular, immigration lawyers can attend immigration interviews in the event you’re called for one, or advocate for you in a court of law.
The ICCRC was established to regulate immigration consultants, partly because of the high instance of fraud in the profession. If you choose to work with an immigration consultant, be sure to verify their seven-digit ICCRC number on the ICCRC website.
MYTH 5. Your family friend or distant relative can sponsor you to come to Canada.
Family sponsorship is a big category of Canadian immigration. However, only some types of relationships make you eligible for sponsorship. Canadian citizens or permanent residents are eligible to sponsor their spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner, their dependent children under the age of 19, or their parents or grandparents.
You cannot sponsor or be sponsored by your sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend, or any other type of relative, except under extremely rare conditions.
That said, there are some Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) that are open to applicants with family (even distant family) who reside in the province. Also, starting in June 2017, Express Entry candidates with a sibling in Canada will be eligible to claim additional Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points.