[Explainer 2]: Useful Tips on Migrating to Canada
Anecdotal evidence suggests that many Nigerians continue to retain more than a passing interest in migrating to Canada for a multitude of reasons. Major Canadian cities have been witnessing a steady influx of recently landed permanent residents from Nigeria.
Many of these economic migrants, who are usually in their early to mid-thirties, are often well-trained professionals whose desire to relocate from Nigeria is influenced by opportunities to grow their careers, maximize their earning potentials, and capitalize on the abundant socio-economic resources to enhance their's and their dependants’ economic prospects.
Presumably, four in every five Nigerians know someone who has migrated to Europe or North America in the past couple of years or is in the process of migrating to either. The economic disparity that is evident in Nigeria promotes a sense of economic disenfranchisement among the young and upwardly mobile citizens. They are armed with post-secondary degrees that fetch less than an income that is capable of sustaining let alone ensuring that these young Nigerians can save for their futures.
It is a perfectly legitimate desire to seek greener pastures; relocating from one’s hometown to a commercial nerve centre in the same country represents that desire. However, would-be migrants should take notice of the pitfalls often associated with an unbridled ambition to move to another country.
My extensive knowledge of both the law and procedure for legal migration to Canada, and the often thinly veiled clamour by Nigerians – the eligible and the ineligible – to push their relocation ambitions through Canada’s highly regulated immigration process, when in fact they do not meet the prerequisites, have influenced this intervention in the hope that fewer people will be ensnared by unscrupulous immigration consultants and lawyers.
1. Research before You Retain: If you are seeking to retain either a lawyer or an immigration consultant to assist you in facilitating your relocation dreams, it is advisable to begin by researching that individual’s professional background. Is he or she conversant with the current law? Has he or she been previously disciplined for professional misconduct?
Some “immigration consultants” were recently criminally charged for offering services for which they are not certified to provide (see the CBSA website for details). You would not hire an inexperienced auto mechanic to work on your car. In the same vein, you should not retain every Tom, Dick and Harry who parade themselves as immigration lawyers or consultants. Whereas you do not need a lawyer to merely complete your application forms for you, you do need an experienced lawyer to assist you in understanding how the law applies to your peculiar application. Be wise in retaining a professional.
2. Do not Exhibit Desperation: Money-loving lawyers and consultants would prey on desperate applicants who often fail to ask if and how they qualify for the particular immigration stream that is being recommended. Your current situation in your country of habitual residence may be dicey. Do not relay this to the lawyer or consultant unless you have struck an understanding with him or her. Desperate applicants end up paying more than they should have and many end up submitting applications when they, in fact, are ineligible. They are encouraged to do this by wily lawyers and consultants.
3. Avoid Non-Familial Match-up: “Immigration brokers” in the home country are known to trade familial relationships for money. The case of Manitoba, a province in Canada, comes handy. That province has a widely advertised family nomination immigration system. It is designed as a sort of family reunification, which is one of the objectives of Canada’s immigration system. The reasoning is that a new immigrant is likely to easily adapt to a new environment if he or she already has family members in that country. A prospective immigrant is awarded points for adaptability for this reason.
Many prospective applicants who do not have nuclear family members in Canada are known to have paid large sums of money to brokers who sell the idea of matching prospective applicants with Canadians (most likely relatives of the brokers). The Canadians would sign up as relatives of the applicants so that the applicants can qualify for the Manitoba provincial nominee programme.
Many prospective applicants’ dreams have been truncated as a result of this illicit match-up. If he or she is not your birth or adopted sibling, do not offer money to make them one overnight. You should know that the Canada-based newly found “family member” of yours had submitted the Additional Family Members form when they migrated to Canada. They had listed their known family members at the time. How come they suddenly discovered you? Where is the documented proof of relationship? You could be found to have misrepresented relevant facts when you engage in this unethical practice.
4. Avoid "Paper Marriages": Do not sign up for a marriage that is not genuine or that is entered into for the purpose of acquiring status in Canada. Many Nigerians have fallen victims of this scheme. The burden is on you and your “paper spouse” to prove the genuineness of your marriage to the immigration officer. It could be that your “paper spouse” had previously been wedded to and divorced from multiple “paper spouses” within a span of few years before marrying you. This easily raises a red flag in the mind of the immigration officer. Your application will likely be refused, and your money will go down the drain.
5. Avoid Misrepresenting Facts: An application that contains false information will lead to a finding of misrepresentation. Misrepresentation can be found even where the information was erroneously supplied by your inexperienced lawyer or consultant. A finding of misrepresentation imposes a five-year statutory prohibition from applying to come to Canada. If you have been banned for misrepresentation, you should retain a lawyer to challenge it before the Federal Court otherwise your chances of ever coming to Canada would evaporate.
6. Be Consistent with Information Supplied: Do not alter your age in the hope that you will, for instance, meet the eligibility requirements for express entry if you have previously applied to visit or study in Canada. Your information is retained indefinitely. Do not hide unfavourable information because Canada can easily source information from any of the other signatories to the five-eye agreement: Australia, US, New Zealand, and the UK. Do not change your name in an attempt to erase your history with Canada Immigration if you have previously submitted an application to Canada.
7. Ask Questions: Never tire of asking questions. Ask your lawyer or consultant to explain how you meet the prerequisites. Do not be too excited to apply without first establishing that you have the authentic supporting documents and relevant information.
8. Do not Request Free Service: No lawyer or immigration consultant has opened an office to provide free service to you. Be ready to pay for professional services. Offer to pay consultation fee even before the professional raises the topic. You are most likely to be better served if you evince an intention to compensate the professional for their knowledge and time. A lawyer or consultant who is appropriately compensated will work assiduously on your application.
This is not legal advice. Please contact our office to obtain proper legal advice that is tailored to your peculiar circumstances.
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