Immigration Questions and Answers

The Questions and Answers on this page are sorted by category and are a great place to start your search for any burning questions you may have. Wherever possible, all answers are provided by a Professional in that particular field who are identified at the end of the answer. So far we have Immigration, Moving, Real Estate and Transportation sections with more to follow as the questions come in!

Have any questions that you need answers for? Just Click Here to fill in the contact form. We endeavor to answer all questions as quickly as possible though weekends/holidays may cause slight delays.

Immigration

Q: Can my family in Canada sponsor me and my family for permanent residency?

A: If you are over the age of 22 years and have a spouse and dependent children, your family in Canada would not directly sponsor you, they would assist your application under the Skilled Migration category by providing additional points to your score on proof of their family blood line.

Q: If I am 50 years of age, am I too old to apply under Skilled Migration?

A: There is not an age limit to apply as a main applicant under this category of visa. Although, you will not gain the maximum points allowed for your age, if you can make any shortfall from the age points and still meet the current pass mark by obtaining other points from the other criteria factors, then you can still apply.

Q: If there any way I can speed up the application process?

A: Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of this, however the High Commission may prioritise applications already lodged under the Skilled Migration category for applicants who have been authorized with a work permit authorization and now working in Canada in the meantime. Alternatively, an employer may apply for a Labour Opinion based on a permanent employment offer and this can have some bearing on the timeframe.

Q: If I have a serious medical condition but still meet the eligibility criteria of the skilled category, will I still be accepted?

A: Unfortunately any applicant who lodges an application under either the Skilled or Business category of visas, then you must meet the requirements of the medical examination. This screens applicants who may be deemed a health or social care drain on their public system in Canada. So even if you met all the other requirements such as pass mark, security background checks, you would fail an application if deemed unsuccessful at the medical stage.

Q: What is a PNP Scheme?

A: PNP stands for Provincial Nominee Scheme. This is an individual immigration criteria devised and set by a specific Provincial government. They will have their own set of criteria to attract their own determined applicants for skilled or business to their provinces. Their criteria differs from each province that offers a PNP Scheme such as their own points tested system, purely employment related or require guarantee bonds for business applicants. A PNP Scheme can be considered as an alternative to the Federal policy of immigration.

Q: I've read that you can only take C$10,000.00 into Canada when you emigrate - is that correct?

A: You are not permitted to actually carry over this amount of cash, securities or bonds when you enter Canada on your person without declaring it to the customs officials at the pooint of entry and/or on the declaration form on the plane. Controlling large movements of cash and securities is now sensitive due to international money laundering operations. You are permitted to transfer your settling funds through banks or (better deal) by Money Transfer Companies with no problems.

Q: I have been issued with a Canadian residency visa. When I applied for immigration I was single but later on I got married and now have a child. I did not inform the immigration department at the embassy because I was not sure if I would be successful in my application for immigration. Now I have the visa to travel to Canada but my family hasn't. What can I do?

A: You must immediately inform Citizenship and Immigration Canada of your marital status and the birth of your child. You should also provide proof of funds (LICO) sufficient for your current family size, and expect that they will have to undergo medical and security checks (for your wife). If you do not do so and enter Canada, your wife and child will be PERMANENTLY ineligible to be sponsored. If the fact of their existence is discovered later, you could lose your permanent status or even citizenship in Canada,at any time in the future.

This is called Misrepresentation, and is considered the most serious violation of Canada's Immigration process. If someone advised you not to declare your wife and/or child, they have caused you serious harm.

Answered by Phil Mooney CSIC

Q: My family and I activated our permanent residence status on June 15th 2005 at Halifax Airport. We left Canada 2 weeks later, returning to Bahrain where we currently reside. We have our PR Cards (expire Jul 2010)and are intending to return to Calgry in April of this year and would like to eventually become citizens as we would like to settle in Canada. The reason we have taken to long to move to Canada is that we have been saving money in Bahrain to give us a good start. We realize that there are certain obligations with Permanent Residency; specifically the part about physical prescence of 2 years out of every 5.

Looking at our time scale, are we good to enter Canada in April? Are we likely to experience any problems with immigration upon arrival? We would like to check this out before we start booking flights and arranging the move.

A: You will definitely be able to return to Canada in order to take up you full residency in Canada. The date you activated your visas began from the 15th June 2005, therefore to date you have spent 18 months outside of Canada. Therefore you have a further 18 months left to ensure you return and reside in Canada for the 2 year period required. Should you remain in Canada for 3 years you are then entitled to elect to take up Citizenship of Canada. This will allow you to leave and return to Canada at any time in the future no matter how long you are outside of Canada.

Q: I'm arriving in Canada soon and would like to apply for permament residency (PR) once I am settled in my job in Toronto. Question is, after how long of my stay in Toronto I will be eligible to apply for PR from Buffalo?

A: The answer to your question is “immediately” if you qualify. However, you may want to consider filing in your home country instead of Buffalo. If you have a valid job with an HRSDC LMO (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Labour Market Opinion) processing in most countries is quite a bit faster than Buffalo, which is now about 2 years. This is because your application will be “fast tracked”, and should not take more than one year in most Visa posts, including Beijing Delhi.

You may also want to wait a few weeks to see if the proposed In-Canada Class will be announced, and what the rules will be.

Answered by Phil Mooney CSIC

Q: I have now accepted a job offer to work in Calgary and my employers are currently applying for the necessary labour market opinion to allow me to apply for my work permit. However, since accepting the job offer my fiancé and I have got engaged and are having problems making a decision on when to marry as we are unsure what affect it would have on our work permit applications.

We would ideally like to get married before we leave the UK, however I am concerned that changing my name may mean that the labour market opinion in my maiden name would not be valid to use when applying for my work permit. Also, if we were to marry after I had submitted my permit application, I am concerned that the permit issued in my maiden name would not be valid for working in Canada. I have been trying to find out whether a marriage certificate would be sufficient to either apply for my permit using the market opinion in my maiden name, or to enter Canada using the work permit in my maiden name, however so far I have been unable to do this. I have contacted the London visa office but as yet have not received a reply. I have also contacted a couple of immigration lawyers but only one has responded so far and I think he misunderstood the question.

I know it sounds complicated! Any advice would be gratefully received, although I am aware it is quite a specialist area! Thanks

A: Once the labour opinion has been approved in your current surname, and should you have got married before the time you lodge your work permit application to the CHC in London, you would therefore need to submit the necessary documents to confirm your marriage and any passport change using your new surname.

It won't cause any issues as they would see the date you married and the change of surname. The Commission will update their records in the system to confirm who they granted the visa to and they have to note any previous names used.

Obviously for your fiancee to be included in your work permit, should you still get married, they would need to see some evidence of a prior relationship of living together for a year too, just to ensure they do not feel it is a marriage of convenience to get him through immigration.

Q: My husband is from Bolivia but now has PR in Canada and wishes to sponsor his parents. They have a son is currently 19 years old, my husband's brother, but with the length of wait times he may be over 22 by the time his PR comes through. If we apply now, will he still be eligible on his father's application?

A: The application to sponsor family members is two parts. First, the sponsor must be approved, then the applicants. According to the rules, the son must be under 22 at the time the sponsorship part of the application is approved, or in full time attendance at school, supported by the parents since before his 22nd birthday. Current processing times for this type of sponsorship is listed at 28 months before the sponsorship would be approved, so the son might be ineligible unless he was still in school, depending on whether he just became 19, or is almost 20.

Further, if the son is in school, he must stay in school full time until the sponsorship is approved - if this occurs before the son turns 22, then his age is “locked in” meaning he does not have to stay in school.

Answered by Phil Mooney CSIC

Q: Please can you clarify how much medical info we need to put on PR forms? Does post natal depression need to be mentioned (it was 7 years ago and purely pregnancy related) and does fractures, etc need to be mentioned - i.e. my partner's skull fracture 5 yrs ago - no operations, damage, etc - full recovery?

A: I can advise the medical history you have detailed would not be deemed as a serious illness or condition. So therefore you would not detail them on the immigration forms included in your application. You will however need to ensure you detail this to the medical doctor at the examination. None of what you have described would be inadmissible for the medical requirements, so you would not need to worry. The medical criteria is to ensure that applicants do not have a serious organ disease or a deteriorating condition that would require considerable health and social care.

Q: I was born in Vancouver and my parents returned to Great Britain when I was 8 months old. I am now keen to come and live and work in Canada and would like to enquire whether my Canadian Birth Certificate will help me in the Visa Application process?

A: You can return to Canada at any time as you're a Citizen, it's only a matter of whether you are married with kids who are UK Citizens then you may need assistance.

Q: I've been living in Canada for 4 years and holding an arranged work permit since August 2005. I also applied for PR in Buffalo in February 2006. I am still in process and have no idea when it will be over. My work permit expires in August 2007 and I had to quit my job last month because of insulting situation at work. I already applied for unemployment insurance and waiting for the answer. My question is quitting my job and applying for insurance in Canada will affect my immigration process negatively?

A: If you are no longer working, you will lose points (10) for the HRSDC approved job and (5) for suitability (working in Canada). Also, you will now have to ensure that if you are approved, you will have the necessary funds.

You are also not allowed to remain in Canada waiting for your immigration. You have 90 days to find another job and apply to HRSDC for another validation and a new work permit. If you stay in the country without a job, you will probably be called for an interview in Buffalo, and unless you are from Visa Waiver country, you will not be able to enter the U.S.

Please contact me directly to discuss further.

Answered by Phil Mooney CSIC

Q: I am currently reasonably healthy. If I were to move to Canada and contract some illness that required me to take expensive medicine/ drugs on a permanent basis, is there a safety net to help with the cost of drugs ? I am hoping to move to PEI and I would expect to be in receipt of the average Canadian Income. I have so far heard that unless you are on very low wage or in a good Employers medical scheme you pay full cost of all drugs, which means you would get no help untill you have spent your savings and sold the house etc ??

A: Prescription drugs (unless you are a hospital inpatient) do have to be paid for but are normally covered to at least 80% of cost on a standard employers benefits. Should you not have this coverage or wanted your own there are plenty of companies who provide extra coverage but expect to pay a monthly premium. Certain severe illnesses are covered under the PEI Provincial drug cost assistance programs (DCAP). More, detailed information can be found at our Healthcare Page.

Q: I sponsored my parent to immigrate to Canada back in 2000 and they got their landing status around 2003. They are 65 and 61 yrs old.

Under the Sponsorship agreement, I think I am financially capable of giving them $300 CAD per month but they do not think it is enough. However they have about $30,000 CAD in a Canadian bank, plus retirement income in China and rental income of their apartment in China. My mother even earned money by babysitting for a few people not too long ago.

Are they considered " not able to self-support" and I must provide even more money, say $600/month no matter what happens to me?

A: Thank you for your inquiry. Under the sponsorship agreement, no amount of payment is stipulated, nor is any regular payment enforced. The real issue is that if your parents believe that they need more financial help than they are getting, and you do not agree, they can file for social assistance. If they do, and if it is granted because the state agrees that they cannot live on what you are giving them, then the state can bill you for all the social assistance payments in the future.

In general, most provinces will not give social assistance to individuals who have enough “other forms of income” including savings, so they would have to show that $300 per month plus the income from China is not enough (they must declare the Chinese income) and they would have to use the $30,000 in savings.

I sincerely hope that you can work out a suitable arrangement with your parents.

Answered by Phil Mooney CSIC

Q: I'm permanent resident in Canada for more than 3 years. Recently I've applied for Citizenship. Is there any way to fast truck the procedure? My old passport is expired and I can't go back to my native country to renew it. I can't go on business/personal trips or meetings. Thank you.

A: There is no way to Fast Track your citizenship application for the purposes that you have mentioned.Most countries have procedures for renewing passports from outside the country. Have you contacted the embassy of your country?

If you have done so, and if you can get the policy of no renewals in writing, you can approach your member of parliament, if you have an urgent need to travel. The MPs office may be able to help you expedite your citizenship. Again, the reason must be more than convenience.

Answered by Phil Mooney CSIC

Q: We are (me, my husband and our daughter) living in Canada for 5 years. We came as tourists, then we got a work permit. All this time we are working. We have applied for PNP program in Alberta. My husband is a carpenter with 24 years expierience, and diploma. We have got the PNP sertificate and applyed for PR to the Buffalo.

How long does it take to get first letter from them? WE send applications 1.5 month ago - and got nothing yet. But my husband co-worker applied 2 weeks before us and she got her file number and just got second letter with medical forms. If we did something wrong - they should send all our papers back. But we didn't get anything from them. What should we do? I am afraid contact to them, as it can delay the process.

A: Dear Irina;Thank you for your question.

Don’t worry about the delays in receiving letters from Buffalo. The process is not very consistent, or your friends may have their dates wrong. Many applicants wait six months or more for any communication. Did you send the application by courier? If yes, check the tracking details to insure that it was delivered. If not, check with your bank to see if your bank draft was cashed – I expect that you paid with a bank draft according to their instructions?

Buffalo will send a file back only if you have not included proper payment. If you can confirm that they received the file, do not worry – they will eventually get to you. Be happy that you are in the “fast line” for processing. Most people without Provincial Nomination are taking 2-4 years to be approved.

Answered by Phil Mooney CSIC

Q: I am applying for Canadian Immigration under Federal Skill workers class. I have two uncles whor are canadian immigrants, one has the PR status while the other has citizenship status but both of out of Canada for job. My uncle who has PR status has a daughter living in canada and my uncle's family frequently vists her. I need to know whether I will be awarded points for my uncles being the immigrants?

A: Thank you for your inquiry. In order to get 5 points under the Suitability factor, your family member must be resident in Canada. So under the circumstances that you describe, you will not get points for the relative in Canada. Your cousin is not part of the definition of “Family Member”

Answered by Phil Mooney CSIC

Q: if we have pr in canada and want to bring my parents over is there an age limit - they are 80 and 84 years old.

A: There is no age limit for parents. However, they will have to undergomedicals and show that they will not be a burden to Canada's Public Health Care System. Also, the process will take several years.

Answered by Phil Mooney CSIC

Q: My Husband, two kids and I moved up to Alberta in 2006 on a work permit. My husbands employeer wants to apply for the nominee program. I've been looking at the program on different websites, It mentions that all family members must take a medical exam. My Husband has a kidney disease called IGA Nephropthy. He takes medication to control some symptoms. There is no cure for it. How does this effect our chances of being accepted into the nominee program?

A: The principal around medical issues is: Will this person present more of a burden to the Health Care system over the next five to ten years than the average Canadian? Is your husband's illness medication paid for by you or your insurance, and not the government?

Answered by Phil Mooney CSIC

Q: I am 19 years old. I lived in Canada from when I was 6 till when I was 12, then we moved back to holland were I was born. When I was 13 my dad moved back to Canada. I have 2 more years of school left. When I am done school(In 2 years) I would like to live in Canada for about 4 months(at my dads house in Calgary Alberta).

When I'm there I would like to work, is this possible? Is it possible for me to live in Canada for about 4 mounths? I would like to live there for 4 mounths because I miss the country and my dad, and I might want to move back, kind of a test drive? Is this possible? Im pretty sure I still have a social security number there.

A:You can certainly come to visit Canada, and once admitted can stay for up to six months without having to leave or ask for an extension. In order to work, you will need a work permit. I recommend that you check out www.swap.ca.

Your father could also sponsor you for permanent residence in a process that would take less than 12 months. Once you are a permanent resident, you need only spend 2 years out of every 5 to retain it.

Answered by Phil Mooney CSIC

Moving

Q: What should I look for when picking removal companies to give me a quotation for my removal to Canada from the UK?

A: BAR: The British Association of Removers watch out for this logo but ensure you only pick companies with the two flags underneath the logo ‘Overseas Mover’ and ‘Advance payment guarantee’. Only Companies with these flags are covered by the financial protection scheme offered for overseas moving.

FIDI: This is an international organisation recognised throughout the world which includes Canada and indicates an experienced International Mover.

FAIM: This is a quality assurance standard especially created for International Removals and is recognised throughout the world as the benchmark in International Removals.

These three symbols are a must and should be your start point in selecting a company to move your goods to Canada.

Answered by Nick Witham of PSS Removals

Q: As with UK removals will local removal Companies still give me the best deal?

A: No. in many areas this is not the case; the locality of the removal company only affects the haulage costs which is a minor consideration when compared to the favourable Freight and destination costs which can be obtained from using a specialist International Removal Company.

Answered by Nick Witham of PSS Removals

Q: What items is it worth taking to Canada?

A: Firstly electrical items from the UK will not work in Canada unless you purchase a transformer and connect to the supply through this. It’s important to know that the cost of taking each item decreases the more you send because the costs are based largely on the total volume of your consignment. We recommend that you get two estimates one for the items you definitely want to take and then a second estimate which also includes other items.

Answered by Nick Witham of PSS Removals

Q: Why get an estimate for items I don’t want to take surely this is going to cost me more?

A: In the first place it doesn’t cost you anything to get a second quotation, in some cases it will be more expensive and you will select the first estimate and only take the items you intended to take. However, there are some circumstances when the cost of taking the additional items is negligible. All removals are shipped in containers, there is a shared container service for people who do not have a sufficient quantity of good to utilise their own container and a full (sole use) container service for people who have an entire container load. Normally when your volume reaches around 70% of a container it is worth taking the full container service.

Answered by Nick Witham of PSS Removals

Q: So how long does it take for my goods to reach Canada?

A: This can vary greatly depending on whether you have a shared container or a sole use container, it also varies according to which part of Canada you are going to. Sole use containers will normally take 3-4 weeks to arrive in Toronto and 4-6 weeks to arrive in Vancouver whereas for a shared container the times are more likely to be 5-8 weeks and 7-11 weeks respectively. All transit times to Canada can vary because of congestion on the Canadian railways.

Answered by Nick Witham of PSS Removals

Q: When should I get quotes for my removal?

A: The best time is between 3 and 6 months before you plan to move. It is possible that the price could change slightly between the time of quotation and removal but it is better to get the estimates done early so that you have time to decide which items you are going to take and which Company you are going to use.

Answered by Nick Witham of PSS Removals

Q: What are the real differences between a specialist International removal Company and a local remover who also handles the occasional International move?

A: The packing materials are totally different and are available at a variety of strengths and thickness. The export packers which we and other International removers use are fully trained and fully employed on export packing, like anything else it’s an art and a skill and they are very proficient. Finally it is an extremely skilled job to know how to load and stack items into a shipping container and if it is not done properly no degree of packing will be good enough.

Answered by Nick Witham of PSS Removals

Q: So what about the Canadian end of this?

A: Firstly and most importantly you must declare ‘goods to follow’ to Canadian Immigration at your first point of entry into Canada (i.e. at the airport when you arrive. You will need to submit your copy of the packing inventory and sometimes they will require 2 copies so it’s worthwhile getting a couple of photo copies. When the goods arrive at the depot they still have to go through the Customs clearance process which can sometimes delay delivery.

Answered by Nick Witham of PSS Removals

Real Estate

Q: My family and I are looking to move to Alberta this year (just waiting for the visa). Can you please clarify the information regarding local taxes we will have to pay on a house. Do we have to pay 1% of the property cost every month. If so what is this money actually for???

A: Property tax percentages vary by municipality, but generally speaking, the amount of property tax one must pay is approximately one percent of the assessed property value per year (not per month, thank goodness!). Having said that, most municipal property tax assessments in Alberta are lower than current market values, as Real Estate values have escalated rather quickly in recent months.

For example, it would not be uncommon to pay $400,000 CAD for an average house in the Calgary area at this time, but the assessed value of that same home may be only $275,000, meaning that the annual taxes payable on the home would be in the neighborhood of $2,750.00. Property taxes are usually divided into two significant categories: municipal tax and education tax, where the municipal portion is used for the operations of the town or city in which the property is located, and the education portion (appropriately named) funds public education.

There are several options available to homeowners for paying this tax as well. One can pay the municipality either monthly by direct debit from a bank account, annually, or as part of the mortgage payment on the home.

Answered by Darin Ruff, Licenced Realtor

Transportation

Q: Our family is moving to Canada for 1 year this summer. I heard that there are certain cars that are not allowed into the country. Is this true? If so, where can I find a list of cars that are approved?

A: There are fairly strict regulations regarding this issue - though the fact you are from the USA and only importing temporarily relieves most of the problems. The Registrar of Imported Vehicles program (RIV) covers imports from the USA and is described in the BSF 5048 pamphlet you can access from the link at the bottom of This page.

The paragraph (a) on page 5 should cover you but please read the whole brochure and follow the instrcutions carefully. Contact the Border Information Service via telephone on the numbers given in the brochure for full details.