Frequently Asked Questions about Canadian Immigration

Navigating the path to Canadian immigration involves understanding a complex array of regulations and procedures. Whether you’re seeking to work, study, invest, or join family in Canada, having clear, reliable information is crucial. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about immigration to Canada:


What is the Express Entry System?

The Express Entry system is a fast-track method for immigration for skilled workers. Applicants submit a profile into a pool, where they’re ranked against others according to factors such as skills, education, language ability, and work experience. High-ranking individuals are invited to apply for permanent residency under one of three federal programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, or the Canadian Experience Class.


How is the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score calculated for Express Entry?

The CRS score is a key part of the Express Entry system, determining your rank in the pool. It awards up to 1,200 points based on  a set of Ministerial Instructions provided by the Department of citizenship and Immigration.


What is a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)?

PNPs allow Canadian provinces and territories to nominate individuals for immigration to their region based on criteria set by the province. These criteria often reflect the specific economic and demographic needs of the province. If nominated, an individual can then apply for permanent residence through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), potentially boosting their CRS score in the Express Entry pool.


What are the different ways to immigrate to Canada?

There are several ways to immigrate to Canada. Federal Programs include:

      • Skilled workers through the Express Entry Program
      • Family reunification through Family Class Sponsorship
      • Self-employed persons
      • Start-Up Visa

There are also Provincial Nominee Programs, such as the British Columbia PNP, which increasingly serve as viable pathways to permanent residence.


Is there an age limit to immigrate to Canada?

There are no age restrictions, but in most economic immigration categories, points are awarded on the basis of such factors as age, education, language, work experience and arranged employment. Those candidates between the ages of 25 and 35 earn the highest points for age. However these other enumerated factors, depending on the individual’s personal history, may compensate for points lost due to age.


How Can international students apply to study in Canada?

To study in Canada, international students must obtain a study permit. This requires acceptance from a designated learning institution in Canada and proof of sufficient funds to cover tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation.


I am an international student in Canada. Can I work?

Your study permit will identify certain conditions under which a foreign national may study. However, holders of study permits who are full-time enrolled in a designated learning institution may work without the need for a study permit for up to 20 hours per week during a regular academic session, and perform full-time work during a regularly scheduled break between academic sessions.


If I hold a work permit, may I also study?

A public policy announced June 7, 2023 permits those workers, in possession of a valid work permit, to study without a study permit if the work permit they hold was valid on June 7, 2023.
If that is the case, you may study in Canada without a study permit until the earlier of the expiry date of your work permit or June 27, 2026 when this policy expires.


I have a job offer in Canada. What are my next steps?

Your employer will need to take some steps before they can legally hire you. There are several different options depending on the category you qualify for. For example, your employer may have to apply for a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in order for you to obtain a work permit.

However there are exemptions from that LMIA requirement for those prospective employees who are:

  • nationals of countries with whom Canada has signed a Free Trade agreement;
  • persons who qualify as Provincial nominees; or
  • persons who qualify as an intracompany transfer under s. 205 of the Immigration Regulations.


I would like to expand my business to Canada. What are my options?

We can assist foreign business owners to incorporate their companies in Canada and expand their work force in Canada, whether the principal of the company needs a work permit to operate the company, or the principal of the company also needs employees to work for that company.

The point to remember is to bring the candidates forward on work permits initially, as processing times for temporary residence as a worker are far shorter than processing times for those workers seeking permanent residence. Once lawfully working in Canada those workers seeking permanent residence can address their qualifications for permanent residence.

The Federal Government  also promotes the Start-Up Visa Program for individuals with a qualifying business idea supported by designated business groups approved to invest in or support possible start ups . The Provinces of Canada operate Provincial Nominee Programs  for entrepreneurs who plan to live and start a business in a specific province. although ultimately the  permanent resident visa will be issued by the Federal Government. through the Department of Citizenship and Immigration.


What is an employer-specific work permit?

An employer-specific work permit allows you to work in Canada according to the conditions on your work permit, which include the name of the employer, the location of the work, and the duration of the work. This type of permit is tied to one specific employer.


What is an open work permit?

An open work permit is not job-specific, so applicants do not need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or an offer letter from an employer who has paid the compliance fee. This type of permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada, except for those companies that fail to comply with certain conditions or are involved in services like escort services, erotic massage, or exotic dancing.


What is the IELTS?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the most widely recognized English language tests in the world. It assesses the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication. It tests four language skills—listening, reading, writing, and speaking.


What is the CELPIP?

The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) is a general English language proficiency test that assesses listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills. It is accepted by IRCC for permanent resident status in Canada and is often chosen for its Canadian context and accents.


How do I obtain a Permanent Resident card in Canada?

To obtain a Permanent Resident (PR) Card,  an applicant must be processed for permanent residence in one of the various categories available  for permanent residence . Once approved for permanent residence, the initial PR  card will be issued to the applicant. The PR card has a five year limitation period. Ensure that the card is valid before  travelling abroad as CBSA will want to inspect that card  on re-entry to Canada.


What services are available to Permanent Residents of Canada?

Permanent residents have the right to access most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage. They can live, work, or study anywhere in Canada, and are protected under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


When can I apply for Canadian citizenship?

You can apply for Canadian citizenship after living in Canada for at least three years (1,095 days) in the five years  immediately before you apply. You must be a permanent resident for at least two of those years. You must also meet certain requirements regarding your tax filings and prove your language skills in English or French.


Can I bring my family when I immigrate to Canada?

Yes, under most economic immigration programs, you can include your spouse or common-law partner and dependent children in your application for permanent residence. Canada also offers family sponsorship programs that allow Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor certain specified family members for immigration.


I am a Canadian citizen living outside of Canada. Can I sponsor my spouse?

If you are a Canadian citizen living abroad, you can still sponsor your spouse or for that matter your common law partner as that term is defined in the Immigration Regulations, but you must show that you plan to live in Canada when your sponsored spouse or common law partner becomes a permanent resident.


What are the benefits of hiring an immigration lawyer for my Canadian immigration process?

Hiring an experienced immigration lawyer like those at Boughton Law can guide you through the complex process, help avoid mistakes, and provide advice tailored to your situation. An immigration lawyer can also represent you in dealings with Canadian immigration authorities and provide legal counsel on the best immigration path for you.


What should I do if my visa application is refused?

If your visa application to Canada is refused, it’s important to understand the reasons for the refusal. You may be able to address these reasons in a new application if the refusal was due to incomplete information or missing documents. For more complex issues, such as inadmissibility on security, criminal, or medical grounds, consulting with an immigration lawyer like those at Boughton Law can provide guidance on potential remedies. In some cases, there may be options to request a review of the decision by the Federal Court of Canada,  or alternatively where the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act  provides, an appeal to the Immigration and Refugee Board.


For the most accurate, personalized guidance tailored to your unique immigration situation, contact one of our experts from our Immigration Practice Group.