Approximately seven months ago, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) launched its Come to Canada Wizard (the “Wizard”). According to CIC, the Wizard has recorded more than 750,000 visits since that time. CIC also claims that close to 90% of users who tried the Wizard said that they would recommend it to someone they know.
The Wizard is essentially an interactive website. It presents users with a series of questions designed to determine which federal immigration option best suits their specific circumstances. It then leads users through the application steps and provides the necessary instructions and forms.
The Wizard is a useful tool for prospective visitors, students, temporary workers, and permanent residents. However, it is still not a substitute for formal legal advice.
One important shortcoming of the Wizard is the fact that it assesses only eligibility under the federal immigration categories. It fails to assess a prospective applicant’s eligibility to immigrate under the Quebec Immigration Program or one of the available Provincial Nominee Programs. These programs are often (but not always) preferable to seeking permanent residence under one of the federal categories.
Despite its limitations, the Wizard may be useful in preventing deceptive practices employed by unscrupulous immigration representatives. Foreign nationals who have been told that they are eligible under a particular federal immigration category can use the Wizard to verify whether they are actually eligible for the immigration benefit that they seek.
Henry J. Chang
Blaney McMurtry LLP
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