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5 Common Canadian Immigration Mistakes (and how to fix them)

The Canadim Law Firm has been successfully helping newcomers come to Canada for almost 20 years. Regardless of whether you choose a legal professional like Attorney Renaud Dery to represent you, we want to see you succeed. The following are the top five most common mistakes we see applicants make when applying for Canadian immigration. 

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Having less than one year of continuous full-time experience in your primary NOC code

Indicating a primary NOC code on your Express Entry profile that you have less than a year of continuous full-time experience (30 hours/week), or a code that doesn’t fall under skill level O, A, or B, will be an automatic rejection.

Solution: Only indicate a primary NOC code that you can prove you have at least one year, in the last ten years, of skilled, full-time work experience. You should also be aware that whatever you indicate as your primary NOC code will not affect your employment prospects in Canada. Once you are a Canadian permanent resident, you are free to work in any position or industry you wish.

For tips on finding the right NOC code for your application, click here

Not proving intention to reside outside of Quebec

If you are currently living or working in Quebec and intend to stay in Quebec after the successful completion of your immigration application, you should ideally apply for a Quebec immigration program. That said, just because you are living in Quebec doesn’t mean you can’t apply for federal immigration. The results of both federal or Quebec immigration applications are the same, Canadian permanent residence. As a Canadian permanent resident, your right to live and work anywhere in Canada is protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Solution: Provide the visa officer with sufficient proof that although you may be working or living in Quebec now, upon approval of your immigration application, you will move outside the province of Quebec. This proof can come in many forms but a sworn declaration of your intent to reside outside Quebec is advisable to include in your application.

Waiting too long to submit

Anyone who has a qualifying application should submit as soon as possible, while they still can. Provincial nominee programs change frequently and immigration categories open and close quickly. If you don’t have an application in the Express Entry pool, you could miss out on immigration opportunities.

Solution: Submit your application as soon as you are eligible to apply.

Employment reference letters that don’t prove work experience

When most people think of employment reference letters they think of a document you received from your old boss or supervisor outlining your skills and accomplishments and why a future employer should hire you. These are great for your professional career but they will not help you with your application for Canadian immigration.

Reference letters for Canadian immigration require you to demonstrate:

  1. Your official job title
  2. The dates of your employment
  3. Your salary
  4. Your average hours per week
  5. A detailed list of your employment duties

Solution: Provide whatever documents you can to satisfy the requirements mentioned above. For example, if an official reference letter doesn’t mention your salary, provide payslips. As another example, if your employment documentation doesn’t provide employment duties, get a sworn declaration of your daily tasks from a supervisor or colleague. It should be mentioned that the final decision regarding your employment documentation is at the discretion of the visa officer but the more supporting documents you can provide, the stronger your case will be.

For more tips on the ideal reference letter for Canadian immigration, click here


Misrepresentation is a serious immigration offense. It can lead to your application being refused and you could be barred from applying for Canadian immigration for several years.

Solution: Be as honest about the details of your application, including your career history and any medical or criminality issues that you, or anyone accompanying you on your application, have had. Not all medical problems are a barrier to Canadian immigration and the same is true for a previous criminal record. If you aren’t sure what is and isn’t worth mentioning, you can consult an immigration attorney or simply list anything of concern and leave it to the discretion of the visa officer.

If you’re interested in working with qualified immigration professionals who can help you avoid these pitfalls and simplify your immigration process,  fill out our free online assessment and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss your options!

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