Canada is one of the most welcoming countries in the world, which also means it can open the door to scams and misunderstandings. As a result, MNLCT with 40 years of experience supporting newcomers in Canada, in line with its philosophy of compassion for newcomers, immigrants, and refugees, shares general information to assist those who write to us daily, asking how to come to Canada, but we make it very clear our organization is not an entity in charge of, or promoting immigration.
FAQs about how to come to Canada
How to come to Canada
It’s important to note that the process of entering Canada may be different depending on your country of origin, the reason for travel, and other factors, so it’s best to check the latest information on the Canadian government’s website and consult with a travel professional or immigration lawyer if you have any questions or concerns.
1. Determine your eligibility to enter Canada
You can check the Canadian government’s website for the latest updates on entry requirements, including visa requirements, in this link, you can find out if you need a visa to travel to Canada
2. Get your travel paperwork ready
You will also need to prepare the necessary travel documents, including a valid passport, visa (if required), and any other supporting documents such as a letter of invitation or proof of funds.
The time it takes to receive a visa and associated documentation can range from more than 90 days to years, depending on your nationality, place of current residency, travel history, the type of visa you are seeking, and other considerations. Therefore, it’s crucial to take caution if a company approaches you with a money request and guarantees to get you into Canada within a week or less than a month.
It is essential to get guidance from subject-matter specialists because this visa application procedure is drawn-out and time-consuming.
We advise you to read the section about:
- What is the difference between an immigration lawyer and a consultant?
- How many types of visas are there in Canada?
3. Plan your trip and make travel arrangements
Make travel preparations, including reserving flights, accommodations, and transportation to and from the airport, as soon as you get your visa and paperwork authorizing you to enter Canada, not sooner, since you may lose your money.
Please be aware that the Canadian government maintains a webpage with the most recent information for visitors.
4. Prepare for when you land in Canada
Once you arrive in Canada, you will go through customs and immigration, where you will be asked to provide your travel documents and answer questions about your trip. Please be aware that the authorities will only give you a work or study permit if you require one after they have reviewed your documentation upon your arrival in Canada. Therefore, having your paperwork close to hand is crucial.
5. On your first days in Canada, seek counsel
Although moving to Canada is a significant step, organizations like MNLCT are available to offer you free support as you adjust. This is because culture shock and language barriers can make it difficult to find employment, and housing, and generally adjust to daily life in Canada.
What is the difference between an immigration lawyer and a consultant?
Immigration lawyers in Canada are licensed to practice law in their province or territory and are qualified lawyers who have finished law school. They are qualified to offer legal counsel, advocacy, and representation for people who are seeking immigration services.
On the other hand, immigration consultants are professionals who have been given permission by the Canadian government to help and advise customers about legal immigration. They must pass a practice exam, have a specific level of education, and follow a stringent code of behaviour.
While both immigration lawyers and consultants can help clients with their issues related to immigration, only lawyers are qualified to offer legal counsel and court representation. It’s crucial to select a skilled expert depending on your unique needs.
How many types of visas are there in Canada?
There are several visa categories since each situation will determine the best immigration strategy. The following are the most common forms of visas offered in Canada; however, we did not include them all; for more information, we advise consulting an expert or visiting the Canadian government website:
- Temporary Resident Visa (TRV): This is also known as a visitor visa and is required for most foreign nationals who wish to enter Canada temporarily for reasons such as tourism, business, or visiting family or friends.
- Visa By Study Permit: This is a document issued by IRCC that allows foreign nationals to study at designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Canada.
- Visa By Work Permit: This is a document issued by IRCC that allows foreign nationals to work in Canada temporarily, either as employees or self-employed individuals.
Some foreign nationals must apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) even though they are exempt from visa restrictions. An eTA is a document that allows visa-exempt foreign nationals to board a flight to Canada. It is required for those entering Canada by air for tourism, business, or transit purposes.
You can check the official website of the Government of Canada for further information on migration programs to learn more about your alternatives. Additionally, we encourage you to read the section on how to enter Canada without a job offer.
What is the difference between a visa and a work permit?
A visa and a work permit are two different documents that allow foreign nationals to enter and work in Canada – they serve different purposes.
- A visa, such as a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), is a document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows foreign nationals to enter Canada for a temporary stay. A visa does not give a foreign national the right to work in Canada but rather permits them to enter the country as a visitor, student, or temporary worker, among other categories.
- On the other hand, a work permit is a document issued by IRCC that allows a foreign national to work in Canada for a temporary period. A work permit can be issued to foreign nationals who have a job offer from a Canadian employer, are participating in a Canadian government program, or are self-employed individuals, among other categories.
In summary, a visa is a document that allows a foreign national to enter Canada, while a work permit is a document that allows a foreign national to work in Canada. Depending on their situation and purpose for coming to Canada, a foreign national may require either or both of these documents.
How to immigrate to Canada without a job offer
As was already noted, ads from organizations offering to send you to Canada without a job offer are typically scams.
There are options to immigrate to Canada without a job offer—processes referred to as Migration Programs—that you can begin outside of Canada and that requires time to analyze your best option is one way to avoid scams. It is therefore advised to invest your money in professional advice as well as other costs like document translation and processing fees, among other things.
You may read more details about some of the programs listed below on the website of the Canadian government:
- Express Entry System: This is a points-based system that evaluates skilled workers based on their age, education, work experience, language proficiency, and other factors. If you meet the eligibility criteria and score high enough, you may be invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada.
- Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs): These programs allow Canadian provinces and territories to nominate immigrants who meet their specific labour market needs. Each PNP has its own eligibility requirements and application process.
- Family sponsorship: If you have a spouse or common-law partner, parent, grandparent, child, or another eligible relative who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, they may be able to sponsor you for permanent residence in Canada.
- Start-up Visa Program: If you have an innovative business idea and can secure funding from a designated organization in Canada, you may be eligible for the Start-up Visa Program.
- Self-employed Program: If you have relevant experience in cultural activities, athletics, or farm management, you may be eligible for the Self-employed Program.
It’s important to note that each program has its own eligibility requirements and application process, and some may be more competitive than others. It’s recommended that you do thorough research and consider consulting with an immigration lawyer or consultant to determine the best option for your specific situation.
How to recognize a scam job offer in Canada
Here are some tips on how to recognize a job scam in Canada:
- Unrealistic job offers: If the job offer seems too good to be true or the salary is unusually high, it may be a sign of a scam.
- Request for payment: If the employer asks for payment for visa processing or other fees, it’s most likely a scam. Legitimate employers will not ask job seekers to pay for anything related to the job.
- Poorly written job description: If the job description is poorly written, contains grammatical errors, or lacks specifics about the job duties, it could be a red flag.
- No company website or social media presence: If the employer doesn’t have a website or social media presence, it may be a sign of a scam. Legitimate employers typically have an online presence.
- Pressure to accept the job offer: If the employer pressures you to accept the job offer quickly without giving you time to research the company or ask questions, it may be a scam.
- Email or phone scams: Be wary of unsolicited emails or phone calls offering job opportunities, especially if they ask for personal information or money.
Always do your research on the employer and the job offer before accepting anything.
What are the different types of immigration status in Canada?
Some MNLCT programs indicate immigrant status in their eligibility requirements, it is natural to wonder what the distinction is between them, here are the different categories:
- Newcomers are individuals who have recently arrived in a new country, regardless of their legal status or reason for migration.
- Convention refugees are individuals who have been recognized as refugees according to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. They have been forced to flee their home country due to a well-founded fear of persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
- Refugee claimants are individuals who have made a claim for refugee protection upon arriving in Canada, but their claim has not yet been accepted or rejected.
- Permanent residents are individuals who have been granted the right to live and work in Canada permanently. They are not Canadian citizens, but they have many of the same rights and responsibilities as citizens.
- Naturalized Canadian citizens are individuals who were not born in Canada but have gone through the process of becoming Canadian citizens. This process typically involves meeting certain residency and language requirements, passing a citizenship test, and taking an oath of citizenship.
Read more here: What Is Canada’s Immigration Policy
Where can I do an online immigration application for Canada?
Visit the Government of Canada’s official website to submit an online application and to get general information. Below, we list the various government departments and agencies that are involved in the application process so that you can quickly recognize the ones that are relevant to your application.
The organization in charge of migration in Canada is called Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). It is the federal government department responsible for the administration of Canadian immigration and citizenship laws and policies.
There are several other organizations that have relationships with migration in Canada, apart from IRCC. Some of these organizations include:
- Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA): This is the federal agency responsible for managing the movement of people and goods across the Canadian border. CBSA also plays a role in immigration enforcement and admissibility screening.
- Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR): This is a non-profit organization that works to protect the rights and dignity of refugees and other vulnerable migrants in Canada. CCR advocates for policies and practices that promote refugee protection and settlement.
- Provincial and Territorial Governments: Provincial and territorial governments in Canada have a role in immigration policy and program delivery. They may nominate immigrants for permanent residence under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) or provide settlement services to newcomers.
- Service Canada: This is a federal agency that provides a range of services and benefits to Canadians, including social insurance numbers, employment insurance, and Canada Pension Plan benefits. Service Canada also plays a role in administering the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
- International Organization for Migration (IOM): The IOM is an intergovernmental organization that provides services and support to migrants and governments around the world. In Canada, the IOM works with the government and other organizations to provide resettlement and integration services to refugees and other vulnerable migrants.
How to come to Canada as a refugee
If you are seeking refuge in Canada, there are specific programs and processes in place to help you. The Government of Canada offers refugee protection to people in Canada who fear persecution or whose removal from Canada would subject them to a risk of torture, a risk to their life, or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
To come to Canada as a refugee, you will need to apply for refugee status. The process for applying for refugee status depends on whether you are applying from inside or outside of Canada.
If you are applying from outside of Canada, you can contact the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in your country of residence, who will assess your situation and may refer you to Canada for resettlement.
If you are already in Canada, you can decide on a claim for refugee protection at a port of entry (such as an airport or land border) or at an inland office of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Once you have made your refugee claim, you will be referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) of Canada, which will make a decision on your claim. If your claim is accepted, you will be granted refugee status and will be able to remain in Canada. If your claim is rejected, you may be asked to leave Canada.
Additionally, depending on the situation, you can begin the process of reclaiming refugees inside of Canada; a particular organization is FCJ Refugee Centre.
It is important to note that the refugee process in Canada can be complex, and it is recommended that you seek legal advice and assistance to help you navigate the process.
Regardless of their status in Canada, our Counter-Human Trafficking team closely collaborates with anybody who has endured any type of human trafficking, including forced marriage, sexual exploitation, and forced labour.
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