Whether you are applying for permanent residency, sponsorship of a relative, a temporary work visa, or student visa, all Canadian immigration applications require a significant amount of supporting documents to be submitted as part of the process.
The Government of Canada requires the submission of various supporting documents to prove the various statements and attestations in a Canadian immigration application, are true and accurate. For example, the Canadian Government requests your college diploma or university degree to confirm the legitimacy of your educational attainment.
At Beeton & Co, we have found that clients often need guidance on what type of documents to submit, how much and what type of information to provide, etc. Below is a summary of some of the frequently asked questions and issues we have received from our clients.
General Rule – More Is Better
We usually tell our clients to err on the side of providing more information rather than less. There are some exceptions to this rule and this does not mean you should submit irrelevant material. However, generally speaking, it is better to provide more information rather than less, and not leave the assessing Immigration Officer wondering why a particular answer or document was not provided or submitted.
For example, if you are asked to provide evidence that you and your spouse will live in Canada after your sponsorship application has been processed, you could do one of the following: firstly, you could simply submit your employment contract with your new Canadian employer, as this would tend to show that you are planning to move back to Canada; or, secondly, and more preferably, you could also include a copy of your apartment rental agreement in Canada, letters from families and friends who live in Canada who are aware of your intentions, as well as the details of any existing Canadian bank accounts, all in addition to your employment contract. The latter scenario provides an Immigration Officer with much more information and detailed evidence of your intentions to move back to Canada, and it will be easier for them to assess this aspect in your favour.
It is also important to remember that not including required information can delay the processing of your application or be considered a misrepresentation to the Canadian Government which can cause an immigration ban for up to five (5) years.
For our clients, we prepare and include a submission letter with each application providing an overview of our client’s background, present circumstances, and long term aspirations. We also highlight any potential issues that the Government of Canada may take with the application and are proactive in addressing these issues directly. For example, if you are asked to provide your Canadian tax return documents but are not able to do so because you were living abroad (you were not required to file a Canadian tax return as you were not a resident for income tax purposes), it is better to highlight this in your submission letter – otherwise the Immigration Officer must put all the pieces of your background together to come to this conclusion which may cause a delay in the processing time.
Many Canadian immigration applications require you to provide police checks or “good conduct” certificates for all of the countries that you have lived in since the age of 18 for more than six months.
It is not always straightforward in how to obtain these certificates and can take up to several months depending on the country. We have also found that some countries require someone to be on the ground to get the certificate processed.
There are also some countries recognized by the Government of Canada that will not provide police checks unless requested directly by the Canadian Government, itself. If this is the case, the Canadian Government will request you to indicate on your application that “I am applying from a country that requires an official request letter from CIC to get a police certificate.”
Accredited High School, University or College Degrees
To provide evidence that your educational background is accurately described on your Canadian immigration application, you will be required to, (1) submit evidence of your Canadian secondary or post-secondary educational program (transcripts and degree/diploma) or, (2) obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from an institution recognized by the Canadian Government and provide the ECA reference number along with proof of the foreign educational credentials.
If you would like to confirm if your degree is recognized for an ECA, check out the online assessment on Work Education Services website (https://www.wes.org/). To obtain an ECA, generally you must submit copies of your degree/diploma to the ECA institution and request transcripts to be sent directly from your high school, university or college to the ECA institution.
Please note that if you have one year of work experience in Canada, accredited degrees are no longer required.
We are often asked by clients if they must complete a language test if their first language is either English or French – the answer is Yes. Everyone must submit a valid language test if it is required for that Canadian immigration application type.
Your test results must be valid (less than two years old) when you complete your application and you should time your test so that it remains valid during the period your application is being processed – in other words, take the test close to the date you submit your application.
For the Federal Skilled Worker Program you must meet CLB 6 (for Speaking) in English or NCLC 310 (for Speaking) in French if this language is your first official language. If the language is your second official language CLB 5 (for Speaking English) or NCLC 226 (for Speaking French).
A couple of other tips:
- IELTS has two options for the reading and writing tests: “General Training” and “Academic.” You must take the “General Training” option.
- Keep the original test results in a safe place as the Canadian Government may ask to see it at a later date.
An area that seems to cause some confusion for clients applying for permanent residency is the “NOC skill type” work experience. The Canadian Government only recognizes certain work experience and uses this to calculate your Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS). The NOC Skill types as follows:
0 – Management
A – Professional
B – Technical job or skilled trade
To find your NOC skill type and other information that best matches your jobs go to (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/index.asp).
When submitting evidence of your work experience, the Canadian Government typically requires.
- a reference or experience letter from your employer, which
- should be an official document printed on company letterhead (must include the applicant’s name, the company’s contact information, and the name, title and signature of the immediate Supervisor or Personnel Officer at the company),
- should indicate all positions held while employed at the company and must include the following details: job title, duties and responsibilities, job status (if current job), dates worked for the company, number of work hours per week, and annual salary plus benefits;
One exception to our “More is Better” rule mentioned above is that you should only include information on work experience that is relevant to your application. Work experience that is not in an appropriate NOC Skill Type is not relevant – including this work experience will only require more work as you will need to provide the necessary evidence for each job, and this may frustrate the assessing Immigration Officer
While there ar e various other supporting documents required for each Canadian immigration application type, we hope this will provide some guidance on commonly asked questions about Canadian immigration supporting documents in general.