Here are some answers to questions that our clients frequently ask us:
I looked on the Canada Immigration website, and I see that I qualify. All the forms and manuals are there. Do I still need to hire an Immigration Consultant?
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada IRCC (formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada CIC) says that you do not need counsel. What they do not tell you is that their philosophy has changed over the years as the volume of applications increased: if you make any small mistake, they will not help you. They say they are no longer in the counseling business. Calls to their Hotline will yield different and often conflicting replies, adding to the confusion.
You will want to make a good application the first time, especially in the highly competitive Express Entry program, where small misunderstandings can rob you of essential ranking points to improve your visibility, and prevent you from being accused by IRCC of misrepresentation, barring you for five full years! You will have wasted years of your life waiting and good money doing anything else. It is always best advised to work with an expert.
We encourage you to read our Immigration Tips, as we explain many of the problems and pitfalls that you may encounter. Even meeting the passmark in the Skilled Worker Category, and knowing your Ranking Score for the new Express Entry program, is no guarantee that you will be seen among the pool of a hundred thousand applicants competing for the few precious invitations to apply for immigration.
We have intelligent and qualified candidates come into our office every day with failed applications, and we can see that they missed critical points. The forms, Act and Regulations may be there, but there is no explanation as to how to interpret the law, and no guidance to provide help on your personal circumstances.
What is the difference between a lawyer and an immigration consultant?
An Immigration Consultant (ICCRC member) and an immigration specialist lawyer who have equal experience and background in the specific area of immigration that you need should serve you equally well. You need to find out if they have in-depth knowledge and experience working in the specific area of immigration law that concerns you. Almost all types of appeals can be handled effectively by a consultant. However, certain categories of failed applications can only be appealed in Federal Court, and only a lawyer may represent you.
For Federal Court appeals, it is best to hire a lawyer who is an immigration specialist and who has handled your type of appeal before. That may mean switching from the lawyer (or consultant) who submitted your first application. Immigration Consultants work in Immigration matters all day long, and no other area, much like lawyers that are Immigration specialists. Many lawyers have little or no experience working in Immigration law. Whoever you decide on, ask lots of questions, and choose someone you feel comfortable with.
My consultant isn’t a member of ICCRC. What now?
ICCRC was created to protect you as a consumer, as its members must adhere to a strict code of ethics and professional conduct and meet standards of knowledge and competency. Non-ICCRC consultants are not allowed to represent you in any matter with Canada Immigration, and any application prepared by a paid representative that is not a ICCRC member will be returned by Canada Immigration. We have two members of ICCRC on staff to represent you
An Immigration Consultant offered me a money-back guarantee; does this mean I have nothing to worry about?
No. Competent professional help is never free, and the adage that you get what you pay for rings especially true in the sensitive area of immigration. You should be interested in the best possible application the first time round, and not gamble with your future.
I’m married. I have the marriage certificate. That’s all I need for Canada Immigration, right?
No. Canada Immigration will want to see substantial documentation to prove beyond reasonable doubt that your relationship is both genuine and ongoing. A poorly documented application will be delayed, and may face needless challenges. We make sure that your relationship is very well documented, so that you aren’t challenged by Canada Immigration by relying on the proof of one document alone.
Should I apply as a refugee? My counsel suggested it.
If you have good reason to believe that you are in danger, and are afraid to return home, then the refugee claim was intended for you and you have been given sound advice. If you have been ‘encouraged’ to file as refugee because you don’t qualify in other ways, and someone has offered to embellish or create a story for you, and you have been promised an easy work permit and social assistance, then that is not in your best interest, and you will have lost all your fees in the end, and damaged your credibility for any future application that you may qualify for. The latest changes also have most applicants from a long list of designated countries ineligible for work permits or social assistance.
I am here illegally, and I have heard there is amnesty for workers or people who have been here for a long time. Is this true?
There has been talk about the potential of a special program to ‘legalize’ those who are working without the proper Work Permits, but as of now there has been no program put in place. There may be some merit to a Humanitarian and Compassionate application, if your personal circumstances warrant it. It’s always best to ask someone who has lots of experience working with these unique applications, and will treat your inquiry with care and respect.
I have a stamp in my passport from the port of entry, but no visitor visa. How do I know when I have to leave?
You have 6 months from your arrival as a visitor if you only have the stamp in your passport with no special notations to the contrary, and will need to leave Canada or apply to extend your status before the expiry date.
I accidentally let my status (Visa) expire by a few weeks. What now?
You may apply for a reinstatement within 90 days of a lapsed visa, and pay a special higher fee if you have a valid reason to stay on.
I have a working holiday/post-graduate visa. Can I get it renewed?
I’m here as a visitor. I have a job offer. Can I get a Work Permit for a job like a bartender or a waiter?
Visitors can’t upgrade from visitor to worker from inside Canada. Any first initial visa must be applied for from outside the country prior to arrival. For highly skilled positions in the NOC TEER levels 0, 1, 2 or 3 and where there is a labour shortage in Canada, there are processes that a foreign national can do to get a work permit, provided they have the right education and the approval of Service Canada (ESDC). Only work in the NOC TEER levels 0, 1, 2 or 3 qualify for LMIA’s and immigration; bartenders and wait staff are classified in TEERs 4 and 5.
Please refer to the Temporary Foreign Worker LMIA page of our website for more details on the LMIA process.
Do I need a study permit for a short ESL course?
No. Short courses that start and end during your status as a visitor after your initial entry to Canada do not need Study Permits.
Can I work while my application to be sponsored by my Canadian spouse (partner) is in process inside Canada?
If you already have a work permit, please talk to us to see how you can apply for a new work permit before the expiry of your current one, that will allow you to continue working. If not, you may qualify for an initial work permit once IRCC acknowledges receipt of your sponsorship application, provided you have valid temporary resident status (or it can still be restored). Failing this, you may need to wait and apply for an open work permit only after your sponsorship application has received “approval in principle”.
I see that I need to prove English/French language skills and have my education credentials assessed as part of my application a Skilled Worker. How do I meet those requirements?
You will need to sit one of the acceptable standard tests: currently
IELTS (general, not academic) and/or CELPIP (general) for English; TEF
and/or TCF for French; and have the test results ready to include with your
application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). There
are also approved organizations designated by IRCC that will evaluate
your education Credentials, the most prominent one being WES.
How long is the processing time of my application for immigration to Canada?
Many factors are involved, with the most determining one being the volume of applications being handled by the Visa post in question. Other factors are the kind of application you are making, and how complete the application is, with all forms completed and all requested documentation attached at the outset. Your file may be selected for a detailed background security screening; this is done at random, and will add several months to completing your file.
I have been approved in Canada, and I am not sure if I should apply for an open work permit or wait to get landed. What do you advise?
If you don’t need to work, then you can wait. The completion process is usually another 60 to 120 days on average. However, if you need a status document, and also need to work, the added cost of the work permit is worth it, so that you are not gambling on unexpected delays in transferring the file to the local office, or any other unexpected turn of events
Can I write to Immigration and ask if they received the last document I sent, and what is happening now?
Best to resist the urge. Unnecessary frequent inquiries from the ‘worried well’ only serve to frustrate the staff, and they have a lot of influence on both the decision and the timely communication of the decision. If you have counsel, ask if the time you are waiting is within the expected norm of that visa post, and your category of application.
I have a failed application. I was given bad advice, which I regret taking. Can I make a new application using your services?
That all depends on what went wrong in the first application, and the reason that was given for the refusal. Some applications cannot be repeated, like
refugee claims. Others may qualify to be appealed within the prescribed
periods set out by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and
Regulations. If there was no misrepresentation in the first application, and the grounds for the original application still exist, then a new application can be made, and is often successful.
I have been ordered to leave Canada, requested to appear for an admissibility hearing, appear at GTEC, held in detention, and have an appeal hearing coming up. What should I do?
These are all serious matters that require expert guidance and individual assessment. You must not ignore any requests made of you or contemplate not appearing for the hearing. You should seek out expert help immediately.
What is the difference between a spouse, a common-law, and a conjugal partner?
Spouses are partners who are married to each other.
Common-law partners are partners who have lived together continually for at least one year.
Conjugal partners are partners who are neither married nor been able to
live together continually for at least one year and are involved in an intimate
and exclusive marriage-like relationship. Typically, this application must be filed overseas, as the foreign national is usually not in Canada. Conjugal partners will need to demonstrate that they have made every attempt to live together or to marry if they are able to legally, and they are best advised to seek expert counsel and not attempt to apply on their own. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) examines these applications closely, and this category can almost be considered a “last resort” for couples seeking to unite in Canada.
Why should I considering hiring YOUR firm?
You can be assured of getting honest and complete information, value added personal attention, the highest quality work, and skilled representation in any challenges from Canada Immigration. If you don’t qualify, we won’t accept your money.
Our fast-growing family of delighted clients refer their friends to us with confidence. At Ferreira-Wells we have been serving clients worldwide since 1995 in every visa office internationally.
We hope to have the opportunity of working for you soon!