Use and Abuse of Online forums That Discuss Canadian Immigration.

By Author: Admin | October 22, 2013

Much like surfing the web for medical conditions, searching  online forums where Canadian immigration is discussed can lead to more information.  The problem is that the information is anecdotal.

The pattern is common: a person posts a problem, and then a few persons respond with their anecdote about how they had the same problem and how it has transpired.  People who seek substantive answers via posting information, or searching online forums way must tread carefully.  Aside from whether or not a responding person tells the truth about their version of the problem, no one individual client’s circumstances are alike.  The danger is that a person, seeing someone else with a superficially similar case may worry unnecessarily (or worse, may wrongly feel at ease) with their circumstances, based on the wrong impression that someone has posted an anecdote that is similar to the person seeking advice.

I recall being on a panel with a deputy program manager of the now defunct Buffalo visa office. There was a question and answer session after our prepared remarks.  The question was something like “I had one client whose case took 5 months and another in the same situation whose client took 15 months and this 2nd client was asked many more questions.” My initial response was ‘no case is the same’.  The deputy program manager echoed my response to an audience question with great enthusiasm.

Client 1 may have a PR card renewal application with the same amount of days inside of Canada and Client 2. One may have travelled to a country which is more subject to more scrutiny when a PR card is renewed.  Making one trip to a specific country (such as a Gulf state) can lead to extremely close scrutiny of a permanent resident card renewal application.  The presence of a family member in China or the Gulf can lead to more scrutiny.  Being self-employed in Canada with erratic income may lead to more scrutiny. Having a job where one has to travel but is paid by a Canadian employer may be easier or more difficult for an officer to process, depending on things such as where the person has been dispatched to work, the amount of salary earned and how large the employer’s operations are, whether the employer’s operations are multinational. A person with a relative (such as a spouse) working in China or the Gulf may have their application scrutinized more closely despite asserting the minimum amount of days in Canada. Owning a house as opposed to renting a house as a permanent resident card holder may lead to more scrutiny.  The method one acquired immigration -either as a skilled worker -as a dependent may be factored in as well.

Officers have government guidelines about how to use their discretion when assessing a case.  The use of discretion varies from officer to officer, depending on their life experience and the amount of work experience as an officer, with new officers seem to be more adversarial.  Some officers literally don’t ‘get the memo’ that constitutes how to exercise their discretion.  Others follow the government guidelines too closely and miss the essence of a client’s case.

It is also important to note that about 1/5 applications have effectively no processing target. The official statistics on processing are for 80% of applications, which gives the officer some leeway in taking their time with “problem” cases.

Given the above factors at play in a relatively straightforward application like a PR card renewal, one would have to exercise an abundance of caution when considering other’s experience with Canada’s immigration department and considering it useful.


Call a Toronto Immigration Lawyer for any Canadian immigration issues or concerns you may have – Dial 416-447-6118 now!


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I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario Canada. I am an accomplished author and lecturer and am consulted by the media and other immigration lawyers and consultants on immigration matters and challenging immigration cases, appeals, and federal court matters.

Please call me for any Canadian immigration issues or concerns you may have: 416-447-6118

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