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Frequently Asked Questions
Before acquiring the services of an immigration consultant, it is important to understand the difference between a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) and an unauthorized provider of immigration services. RCICs are required to abide by a strict Code of Professional Ethics. The following rules, guidelines, and attribute of a RCIC are as follows:
- Knowledgeable and informed on immigration law and Canadian immigration system,
- Required to abide by stringent ethical and professional rules that are designed to protect consumers,
- Required to provide evidence of good character prior to becoming Regulated,
- Proficient in English or French,
- Work with agents known to ICCRC,
- Supported by ICCRC to enhance quality of services,
- Monitored by ICCRC; non-compliance is taken seriously,
- Accountable to ICCRC; complaints are taken seriously, and
- Possess valid Errors and Omissions Insurance for enhanced consumer protection.
An Immigrant Visa is a document which allows a person to live and work anywhere in Canada, and confers upon that person permanent resident status. It comes with certain responsibilities and can be revoked if the holder is out of the country for too long, or is guilty of some criminal activity. A person who is a Canadian permanent resident may apply for Canadian Citizenship after a minimum of three years.
Permanent residents are not obliged to remain in Canada, and are in no way restricted from departure at any time. However, the longer a permanent resident is absent from Canada after landing, the greater the risk that permanent resident status may be jeopardized. Permanent resident status will be revoked if you will be absent from Canada for more than 2 years of a 5 year period, from your landing date.
Permanent resident status in Canada does not affect US immigration requirements for eligibility to legal employment. The North American Free Trade Agreement, which applies to citizens of Canada, does facilitate US employment in certain cases.
The Business Immigration Program is a category of immigration under which individuals with business/managerial experience and relatively high net-worth may apply for Canadian permanent resident status. There are three sub-categories under the Business Immigration Program: Investors, Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed Immigrants.
As an Immigrant Investor planning to reside anywhere in Canada, except Quebec, you must:
- have a net worth of at least CAD$800,000 gained through your own endeavors;
- invest CAD$400,000 for five years with Citizenship and Immigration Canada which acts as agent on behalf of provincial and territorial investment funds;
- and have successfully operated, controlled or directed a business or managed a minimum of 5 employees for a period of 2 years.
As an applicant destined for Quebec, you must:
- have a net worth of at least CAD$800,000, accumulated through legitimate economic activities;
- invest CAD$400,000 for five years in a Quebec-approved investment fund;
- and have at least three years of managerial experience in a profitable commercial, industrial or agricultural business; or, at least three years of managerial experience in a government, governmental organization, or international organization.
Your spouse and any dependent children may be included in the application. Children must be under the age of 19 years. If they are 19 and older, they must not have had an interruption of more than 12 months in their schooling. Your accompanying dependents will be subject to medical and security clearance requirements. Other family members, such as your parents, generally cannot be included in the application but you may be able to sponsor them as part of the family class after you land in Canada. Common-law spouses and same-sex partners are not considered spouses for immigration purposes. They will be assessed independently. Where the common-law spouse or same-sex partner does not qualify as an independent immigrant, an Immigrant Visa may still be issued on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
We recommend that you complete and submit an on-line assessment of your eligibility for immigration which we will evaluate at no charge. You may do so as a skilled worker applicant, a business applicant, or a family class applicant.
Applicants under the Family Class are sponsored for a Canadian Immigrant Visa by a close relative who is either a Canadian citizen or a Canadian permanent resident. The Canadian relative is known as the sponsor. To qualify under the Family Class, an applicant must be related to the Canadian sponsor in one of the following ways: The applicant must be the sponsor's spouse; common-law or conjugal partner; parent; orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece, or grandchild --under 19 and unmarried; a child under 19 who is either orphaned or placed with a child welfare authority for adoption and who the sponsor intends to adopt; the sponsor's dependent child; or, if the sponsor has no relative as listed above and no relatives who are Canadian citizens or Canadian permanent residents, one other relative.
All government processing fees must be submitted concurrently with the submission of the application for permanent residence. By contrast, the Right of Landing fee may be submitted at any time prior to the issuance of landing documents and is refundable if, for any reason, the applicant does not land in Canada.
If you use a RCIC consultant, there will be professional fees. Most consultants will provide you with a fixed rate. Some will charge you a fixed rate, plus other additional costs, such as phone calls, faxes, deliveries, etc. Whatever the arrangement, it should be clearly described in your retainer agreement. Many consultants will provide you with some sort of payment plan based upon stages, such as:
- Initial consultation
- CIC submission
- CIC approval
Typical professional fees could range from $3500 to $8000 $CAD, or more depending on your case if it is very complicated. Investor class applications typically cost substantially more. Some applications from inside of Canada might cost less. Visitor visas, study permits and work permits clearly will cost much less. ICCRC members are not allowed to provide you with a contingency billing arrangement. RCIC consultants cannot guarantee on CIC approval. If the fee structure is based upon success factors, then the consultant may come under disciplinary action and could lose his or her licence.
All prospective immigrants to Canada are required to undergo medical examinations. These examinations are intended to detect any conditions which may affect the health of the Canadian public, or which may result in excessive demands being placed upon the Canadian health care system. The medical examination includes a standard physical examination, blood tests, urine tests, and X-Rays.
Unlike permanent residents, Canadian citizens are allowed to be absent from Canada for extended periods of time without any risk of losing their status. Except in rare cases, Canadian citizens cannot be deported from Canada. Canadian citizens also receive Canadian passports and are entitled to vote in federal elections.