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Denied Visa on Passport

If you are facing removal from Canada, all is not lost.  CIC will likely notify you about a process where you can remain in Canada.

PRRA (or Pre-Removal Risk Assessment) is a process available to those facing removal from Canada.  Don’t know if you qualify?  If you do qualify you’ll receive a notification letter – but be ready to act quickly when you receive notice from CIC.

PRRA is designed for those facing removal from Canada, but who do not pose a risk to the Canadian public.

You’ll need to prove that if you are sent back to your country of origin, you will be persecuted.  The onus of proof lies on you, and the most common application follows the same five main criteria as a refugee application: well-founded fear, persecution, UN Convention Refugee categories, state protection and internal flight alternative.

Well-founded fear

If you were forced to return to your country of origin you would be personally afraid for your life.  You must also prove that other international organizations have documented similar accounts of persecution in your country of origin.


Persecution is a threat to life or freedom.  There must be repeated incidents of persecution, leading to a genuine fear of death or continued persecution.

Your persecution must fit into 1 of the following 5 UN Convention Refugee categories (“Nexus”):

  1. Race/Ethnicity- includes race, colour, descent, and national, tribal, clan or ethnic origin
  2. Religion- Right to personal beliefs and spiritual practice
  3. Nationality- Citizenship or membership to an ethnic or linguistic group
  4. Political Opinion-Freedom of opinion and expression
  5. Membership in a Particular Social Group:

Note that “group” is defined by innate or unchangeable characteristics, orwhose members voluntarily associate for reasons so fundamental to their human dignity they ought not be forced to forsake this association (human rights activists for example).

Membership in a “group” can also include former involuntary status unalterable due to its historical permanence.  One example might be if you are a member of a political group, always you are always considered a member.

State Protection

Did you approach your government in your country for protection?  If not, why not?  A request for protection is not required, but an explanation of why the government in your country of origin will not protect you is required.

Internal Flight Alternative

There must be no safe place for you in your country of origin.

You may stay in Canada while you await this PRRA decision, and you may apply for a work permit (or an extension as the case may be) while your application is in process.

But you must not leave Canada until a final decision is made.  If you leave Canada, prior to a final decision, you may not be allowed to re-enter.

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bookswoman studyingThousands of foreign students enter Canada every year to study at one of hundreds of colleges or universities.

It’s a smart move.  Not only do you get to experience Canadian culture, but it can set you up for a post-graduation work visa, and eventually permanent residence in Canada.

Even if permanent residence is not your current goal, after studying here, you may wish to stay indefinitely.

However, the student permit rules have changed recently and I’ve summarized the key aspects below.

Note that a study permit is only required for a program over 6 months in length.  However, it’s a good idea to get  a study permit no matter the length of the program, in case you want to continue studying while you’re here beyond the six month period.

You have to study while you’re here

Previously, you could get a study permit but not necessarily follow through with your study plan.

No longer.

Now, you have to remain enrolled in your school and make reasonable progress towards completing your study program.  CIC will get information on your status from your educational institution, so they will know what you are up to.

If you don’t remain enrolled (and progress – very important – you can’t linger in a program), you might be removed from Canada.  Not good.  So if you come here to study, do just that.

You can only attend certain educational institutions

CIC rules on which institutions you could – and could not – attend have changed over the years.

Now, you must only attend a designated learning institution.  Note that this applies only to post-secondary education.  Elementary and high schools are all acceptable.

You’ll need the number of you college or university in order to apply – you’ll find in the link in the previous paragraph.

You have to pay your way and be healthy

This rule hasn’t changed: you have to show you (or your parents) have enough money to cover tuition fees, living expenses while you’re here, and travel expenses to get back to your country of origin.

If you’re from certain countries (or you’ve lived or traveled in certain countries) for 6 months or more, you might need a medical as well.  Click here for the list of countries where a medical might be needed.

You can now work off campus

This is a big change.  You can work off campus without a work permit for 20 hours per week during classes, and full-time when school breaks.  If you’re studying English (or French) as a second language, then you won’t be able to work off campus.  You would need a work permit in order to work in Canada.

You can work in a co-op / internship program

Co-op or internship programs are fine, so long as they are an essential part of your training program.  However, you do need a co-op work permit (apart from your study permit) to participate.

Studying English (or French) as a second language won’t let you work in a co-op or internship.

You might be able to apply for a study permit from within Canada

Certain individuals can apply for a work permit from within Canada, including:

  • Minor children studying at an elementary, middle or high school
  • Exchange students and some visiting students
  • Students who completed a short course that is a condition for acceptance at a designated learning institution

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If you are planning to work in Canada as a temporary foreign worker, you typically need an employer who is willing to hire you.  That employer must also be willing to apply to the government to show that it is difficult (or impossible) to find a Canadian who is able to do the job you wish to do.

In the past the employer would apply for a “labour market opinion” (LMO) to confirm that it would be difficult to find a Canadian.  An LMO would be issued and you would use that LMO to apply for your work permit.

However, the labour market opinion is now known as a labour market impact assessment (LMIA).  A positive LMIA (or a confirmation letter) will confirm that a foreign worker is required because there is no Canadian available to do the job.

However, not all Canadian employers are required to obtain a positive LMIA.  In many cases, an work permit can be obtained without an LMIA.  Click here and scroll down to “Obtaining a Work Permit Not Requiring ESDC Confirmation” for a list of work permits that be obtained without an LMIA.

For those of you who have been issued a supervisa, you quickly realized that the promise of a 10 year entry visa was in fact a one or two year entry visa, that must be renewed.

Why is this the case?

CIC wants to ensure that after one or two years, the conditions under which the supervisa were issued have not changed.  For example, do your parents still have adequate medical coverage?  Are they still residing with you?  Can you meet their food and lodging needs?

If your parents are currently residing in Canada with you, then the renewal application is sent to CPC Vegreville.  Currently, the address is:

CPC Vegreville
Visitor and Temporary Resident Permit
6212-55th Avenue – Unit 303
Vegreville, AB
T9C 1W1

However, please check the address on the CIC website before you send anything – CIC often changes addresses without much notice.

What should be included in a renewal application?

In essence, your renewal application (which is an Application to Change Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada as a Visitor) should contain all the information you provided in your initial supervisa application, with updated information. So new medical coverage insurance should be included, along with tax information, job letter, and so forth.

Don’t take this application lightly – if you don’t do it right, the supervisa won’t be renewed and your parents will have to return to their home country.

I’ve included a copy of a renewed supervisa here if you want to see what it looks like.

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