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Risk, Promises & the Future of Canadian Immigration

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Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past are certain to miss the future.

John F. Kennedy

Canadian Immigration is fundamentally changing. One major example is the decline (and almost extinction) of the first-come, first-served model of accepting newcomers to Canada. In place of this, almost all Canadian Immigration programs are transitioning to an Expression of Interest (EOI) system where candidates are ranked against each other and only those highly ranked will be invited to apply.

Understandably, it can leave an applicant feeling nervous about their chances of success. But as President Kennedy astutely stated, we must look forward and embrace this change, or risk missing out on the future, your future life in Canada.

In this post I will make the case that although applying to an EOI system does not necessarily guarantee a visa, it does minimize the risk the applicant faces in several ways throughout the Canadian Immigration process.


What is the risk to an applicant when applying for Canadian Immigration? Time, effort and money.

While the risk of not receiving your visa is higher under an EOI system, the risk to the applicant is also much lower and here is why:

Gathering police clearances and reference letters for example, can be very time consuming, especially if you don’t have an indication your visa will be approved. Spending money on government processing fees and courrier fees can all feel like a waste of money too if you are not successful in your Canadian Immigration endeavor. But that is exactly why the Express Entry system doesn’t ask for substantial documentation for the initial Expression of Interest application. In fact, the first submission is completely electronic and you don’t even need to pay government processing fees until you receive your invitation to apply.

In other words, you might not be guaranteed a visa but you invest less time, money and effort. An applicant only needs to allocate those resources when you are invited to apply for Canadian Permanent Residence.


Let’s get this one important fact out of the way: Canadian Immigration, like life, is never a 100% guaranteeAnyone who promises you otherwise is not being truthful and any applicant, who expects a 100% certainty, isn’t being realistic. That said, in the past immigrating to Canada did have a more predictable outcome when compared to the current EOI model of accepting applicants.

Yes, you used to be able to apply to a Canadian Immigration program you qualified for and, barring any inadmissibility issues, you would receive your visa … normally. And yes, an EOI system is not a guaranteed visa and you must compete with other candidates to receive an invitation to apply.

All that said it’s tempting to look back on the past with nostalgia and lament how the present situation ‘isn’t as good as it used to be’ but our memory is a funny thing. Our brain often plays tricks on us and we only recall the good aspects of what we miss and neglect to remember the bad ones.

Some of these not-so-nice memories we would probably like to forget are 88 months processing times for some applicants or when the federal government canceled 300,000 applications for permanent residence that were received before February 28th, 2008. The absurdly long processing times and the cancelation of the hundreds of thousands of applications were because Immigration Canada made promises they couldn’t keep. They received too many applications to process and they couldn’t catch up with their ever growing backlog.

While the government is not in the habit of tossing out applications or making people wait 7 or 8 years to immigrate here, these are the type of problems that can arise when Immigration Canada doesn’t use an EOI system.  Now we have 6 month processing times, no backlogs and an immigration system that is responsive to the needs of the labour market. All of which helps newcomers connect with Canadian employers more effectively with the hopes of securing meaningful employment in Canada.


While some might miss the past and the old way of accepting applicants, the EOI model is, without a doubt, the future of Canadian Immigration and I personally think that future looks bright. Immigrating to Canada now is a lot like applying for a job. You present yourself because you have a specific set of skills and qualifications and then the best candidates are taken. You wouldn’t expect a 100% guarantee when you applied for a job and the same is true for Canadian Immigration.

For a prospective newcomer to Canada, how you present yourself to both Immigration Canada and Canadian employers is crucial to the success of your application. No longer is being qualified enough, you need to stand out from the crowd and I hope to help you achieve that.

Those who have embraced this historic change in policy have better positioned themselves to capitalize on this new system and achieve their immigration goals. I hope you will too.

Free Assessment


Renaud Dery

Canadian Immigration Attorney

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