Canadian Immigration Definitions - Part One
We are so used to hearing immigration terms and references by way of American media and entertainment, that we often overlook the fact that our systems of government in general, and for immigration matters in particular, are very different, and often hold different terminology as well. When we aren’t using correct terms, things can get very confusing since one thing for the USA means something rather different here.
As such, here is a little bit of a Canadian Immigration primer:
In Canada, a VISA is counterfoil (sticker) in the passport of a foreign national from a designated country. The visa allows the individual to come into Canada for a particular purpose. It is really a pre-screening tool that allows travel, though a border officer can still refuse entry if it is felt the person does not meet the requirement to come to Canada. The visa can have a work and/or study component as well as a visitor/tourist component, but in itself, it does not permit the holder to do anything but enter the country. It does not allow the individual to work, study, or remain.
A WORK PERMIT is a document that allows a foreign national to work in Canada. The terms and conditions of the permit are indicated on the document itself. The document does not allow the individual to leave and re-enter Canada, and is not a guarantee of admittance to Canada.
A STUDY PERMIT is a document that allows a foreign national to study in Canada. The terms and conditions of the permit are indicated on the document and many documents allow a work component as well. The document does not allow the individual to leave and re-enter Canada, and is not a guarantee of admittance to Canada.
A VISITOR RECORD is a document that allows a foreign national to remain in Canada, usually as a visitor/tourist for a particular period of time. It is a status document and is equivalent to an entry stamp placed in a passport. The terms and conditions are listed on the document. This document does not allow the individual to leave and re-enter Canada and is not a guarantee of admittance to Canada.
VALID STATUS means that the foreign national is in Canada for the purpose intended and within the validity period allowed. In other words, the individual has not overstayed or violated in any way, the terms of admittance to Canada.
DEPORTATION is a formal process whereby an immigration or border officer has issued an order which requires the foreign national to depart Canada. Often, if the individual has worked without authorization or overstayed, and is not eligible to correct the violation through restoration, a letter will be issued advising the client he/she must depart Canada. This is not a deportation or removal order. Removal orders will be official documents termed: Departure Order, Deportation Order or Exclusion Order.
These are just a few common terms that are often misunderstood and misused. In the future, I will be adding to this list.