Every person who wants to enter Canada is presumed by law to be someone who wants to live permanently in Canada. Even if you just want to visit or study here, the Immigration Act puts the ‘burden of proof’ on YOU, the visitor, to prove that you really just intend to enter Canada for a visit, or to study or work.
But what happens if, as with many people, you are not sure if you might want to immigrate to Canada? And what about people who have the legal right to a work permit, and have the legal ability to immigrate because they have enough points?
A critically important part of immigration law much misunderstood by immigration officers is the Rule of Dual Intention.
Section 22(2) of the Immigration Act says that just because someone may have the intention of immigrating to Canada that is no reason by itself for an Immigration officer to not issue a temporary visa, like a work permit or a study permit.
The Rule also applies when someone who is applying to immigrate to Canada wants to visit as a tourist.
This means no immigration officer should refuse entry, or refuse a visa to you just because you are applying to immigrate. No immigration officer should refuse a work, visitor or student visa to someone who has not made up his or her mind about immigrating to Canada.
What this very important, but little known Rule of Canadian law means, is that a refusal should be based only on some other evidence that an applicant might illegally overstay in Canada. This evidence could be many things, such as a history of long visits to Canada or a previous overstay. The important part is, no Immigration officer can legally refuse a visit to someone just because that person MIGHT want to immigrate to Canada some day.
Let’s take an example. A woman comes to Canada to study at a university. While here, she meets a Canadian citizen and falls in love. She decides that now she wants to remain in Canada after she receives her degree. He files an Application to Sponsor her for Permanent Residence. She continues to study in Canada.
Over the summer university break she receives an email asking her to come home to participate in a family event. Can she travel?
The probable answer is, yes. The Rule of Dual Intention means that when she returns to Canada to continue her studies, the immigration officer should admit her, even though she has the intention of immigrating (as shown by her PR application).
Every case is different, and many immigration officers judge the same situation differently. If you are planning on visiting Canada, you should consider speaking with us. It will be time and money well-spent.
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