Frequently Asked Questions

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When you are thinking about immigrating to Canada or are currently in the process, there are many common questions that surface.

1. How long does the immigration process take?

The length of time it takes to process an application depends on multiple factors such as the type of application submitted and the completeness of the application. Generally, a temporary status application takes less time than a permanent status application. Citizenship & Immigration Canada understands that you want to know how long you can expect your application will take and has published time frames for you on its website. Please visit and click on “check application processing times” on the right hand side of the website. From this page you will be able to direct your search specifically to where you are located in the world and the type of application you have submitted. These estimated time frames are your best source of information. Remember that the immigration process can be quite lengthy and “patience is a virtue.”

2. Can you help me find employment in Canada?

Generally, immigration consultants help you with your immigration needs and are not an established employment agency. To find employment in Canada you will need to have a Canadian styled resume and cover letter. You can search for jobs through newspaper and job search engines on the internet. There are employment agencies throughout Canada who can assist you with the job search process. In Southern Alberta, Chinook Immigration Consulting offers an employment module through its settlement services at a low cost which will help prepare your resume, cover letter, assist with job search and preparation for a job interview.

If you would like to tackle the task of finding employment yourself you will need to set up a Canadian styled resume. There are three popular styles of resumes that people use most frequently in Canada: the functional resume, the chronological resume and the combination resume.

Chronological Resume
The chronological resume highlights your employment history, previous jobs, dates and titles. It is the type of resume that employers are most familiar with because of its ease of writing and reading. The emphasis of the chronological resume is that it focuses mainly on steady employment. Any gaps in employment are highly evident and for this reason the chronological resume must only be used when appropriate. If there are any obvious gaps in employment it is best to opt for the functional resume instead. Click here for an example of a chronological resume.

Functional Resume
The functional resume allows information to be organized to focus on the type of skill and expertise that is being sought by the employer. Since the purpose of the functional resume is on skill rather than steady employment, gaps in employment history and job changes for that matter are hidden. It is best to use this type of resume only when you have been out of the job market for a while. Most employers prefer seeing the chronological resume because it gives them specific details about employment history and if they don’t see this then you might not receive a request for an interview. Click here for an example of a functional resume template.

Combination Resume
A combination resume is, as the name suggests, a combination between the chronological and functional resumes because it highlights both skills, experience and employment history. As an immigrant and new to the Canadian labour market, this style of resume might be the best choice for you. The combination resume also makes it easier for you to enter into a new industry or job for you and also focuses on skills gained through your work history. This type of resume will take you significantly more time to compile and it is more difficult to write. Click here for an example of a combination resume.

* Important tip: Do not include any of the following types of information on your resume:
  • Salary
  • Photograph
  • Marital status
  • Dependents
  • Racial origin
  • Reasons for leaving a previous job
  • Gender
  • Information about your age or health
  • Religious views and beliefs
  • Social insurance number

3. I want to immigrate to Canada, where do I start?

The first step to immigration is a self-evaluation because it is important that you are prepared for everything that is involved in the process. For example, you should be open to the idea that career wise you might need to take a position that is a lower rank that what you are currently in because you have not build a work experience history in Canada. If you are prepared to do what it takes become a successful immigrant in Canada than immigration is for you.

From there you need to do an assessment to see which immigration route is most appropriate for you. Citizenship & Immigration Canada offer some general assessments online for some immigration application but these do not take the whole picture into consideration. It is highly recommended that you contact a Certified Canadian Immigration Consultant or lawyer to complete this assessment for you. See the “finding immigration and settlement help” section for finding a consultant or lawyer in Southern Alberta. An assessment form is provided by Chinook Immigration Consulting to help you.

4. Do I really need to take a language test?

Language tests are part of the eligibility criteria in applications such as the Federal Skilled Worker and Canadian Experience Class. The language tests will determine what your abilities are in English and/or French, the two official languages of Canada. The result of the language test gives Canada an idea of how successful you will be economically as a permanent resident in Canada. Currently, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) are the two designated tests recognized by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. In addition, the Test d’Evaluation de Francais (TEF) is the only designated and recognized test for the French language. All tests cover the areas of writing, listening, speaking and reading and can be taken at locations throughout the world and the general version of the test is sufficient for immigration purposes.

To prepare for the language test try to use English/French as often as possible in your daily routines such as reading English/French on the computer and watching a movie. For more information on the IELTS test please visit For more information on
the TEF please visit .

We have also included the respective application forms and an information booklet for your convenience.

IELTS Information Booklet – read about how to prepare for the test, the test format (reading, writing, listening and speaking), how to fill in the answer sheet, and steps you need to take to write the test.

IELTS Application Form – the application form consists of 8 pages and you will need to include two passport sized photographs taken of you in the last 6 months. You will also need to include your country and occupation codes which are listed for your convenience. Also please make sure you sign and date the last page of the application form and read the notice to candidates as it contains some specific instructions and tips. The test required for immigration purposes is the general training version.

TEF Registration Form – the application form is in French and consists of 2 pages. You will be required to send in a passport sized photo taken of you in the last 6 months.

TEF Payment Form – this form must accompany your application form and can be mailed in or faxed.

So you have taken the test and received your results but how many points do I get? Please download the following simplified chart to see how many points you receive under the language category.

5. I have lots of family overseas who would like to join me in Canada. Which of those family members can I sponsor?

You can sponsor a family member for immigration to Canada when that family member has been identified by immigration law as being a member of the family class. Members of the family class are examined on their relationship with the person that is sponsoring them and they include:

  • The sponsor’s spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner
  • The sponsor’s dependent child
  • The sponsor’s parents (mother or father of the sponsor)
  • The sponsor’s grandparents (the mother or father of the sponsor’s mother or father)
  • The sponsor’s sibling* (a child of the sponsor’s mother or father)
  • The child of the sponsor’s sibling* (a child of the child of the sponsor’s mother or father)
  • The sponsor’s grandchild* (a child of a child of the sponsor)
  • A person under the age of 18 whom the sponsors want to adopt
  • Any other relative of the sponsor if the sponsor does not have a relative who falls into any of the above categories
* the parents of the person being sponsored are deceased and the person is under the age of 18 and is not a spouse or common-law partner

6. Why do the immigration rules keep changing? How do I know what the current criteria are for the federal skilled worker program?

Immigration law does not change but the Minister of Citizenship & Immigration has the ability to adjust criteria in any area through Ministerial Instructions. Changes are made to reflect the needs of the economy and the labour market. For example, the federal skilled worker program has seen many changes and the latest change has adjusted the list of eligible occupations occurred in July 2010. Some occupations were removed from the list made in 2008 because enough positions had been filled whereas other occupations had many vacancies which resulted in those occupations being added. To find out the latest criteria please visit or contact your immigration consultant who will also have the latest information for you.

7. Why does Canada need to have information about my previous marriage?

Citizenship & Immigration Canada requires information about your previous marriages to include the previous spouse in the application as a non-accompanying family member. According to immigration law, a person that is not disclosed at the time of your application cannot be sponsored at a future date. It has occurred in the past that individuals reconcile the relationship and want to sponsor them to Canada. As they were not examined on the application as a non-accompanying family member, they cannot be sponsored and it may be that the person does not qualify under any other immigration program. In order to negate this situation, Citizenship & Immigration Canada wants to know about your previous marriages. If you do not include all family members on your application whether they are accompanying you to Canada or not, you will not be able to sponsor them at a later date.

8. I am in Canada on a work permit and I would like to take a course at a college. Can I study in Canada while I work?

You can study in Canada while you work but there are some things that you need to keep in mind because you may or may not need a study permit. You are exempt from the requirement of a study permit if you are in any of the following situations:
  • The course you want to take will be less than 6 months in duration and will be completed during you authorized stay in Canada.
  • You are a family member of a foreign representative to Canada.
  • You are a member of a foreign armed force and you are visiting Canada.
In all other situation you must apply for a study permit to ensure that you are not breaching the terms of your work permit.

9. What is the difference between a temporary resident visa and a temporary resident permit?

A temporary visa is required when you are entering Canada from certain designated countries. It is required in addition to your passport and immigration documents and allows you to “knock at the door” and enter Canada. It is a supplementary document needed to cross the border.

A temporary resident permit is a permit that can be obtained when all other routes have been exhausted and is a last resort. This means that individuals who have been denied entry into Canada, have been refused temporary or permanent residency, or have been refused processing in Canada may be able to obtain a temporary resident permit. However, there must be compelling reasons for that person to be able to enter Canada than simply not being allowed entry. There must not be a risk to the Canadian public if that person was to enter Canada and that the inadmissibility is minor.

10. I am a permanent resident in Canada. When can I become a Canadian citizen and what steps do I need to take?

In order to become a Canadian citizen you must be at least 18 years of age or older to apply on your own. Persons under the age of 18 may also become a Canadian citizen if the parent or legal guardian is applying to become a Canadian citizen at the same time. At the time you are applying you must be a permanent resident of Canada in satisfactory standing and must have spent sufficient time in Canada. Canada will look at the previous 4 years and in that time you must have spent at least 1095 days (3 years) in Canada. You must also possess adequate knowledge of one of the two official languages in Canada (English or French) to communicate with other people. Furthermore, you must not have a criminal history with indictable offences, war crimes, prison terms or removal orders. You will also be required to undergo a citizenship test that examines your knowledge about Canada, rights and responsibilities, election process, history, values, customs, etc.

To prepare for the test you will receive a copy of the guide or click on the following link: The Citizenship Study Guide . After you have applied and completed the test successfully you will be required to attend a citizenship ceremony where you will take the Oath of Citizenship. At the ceremony you will receive your citizenship certificate and citizenship card by a judge and you will pledge allegiance to the Queen in both French and English