Home News All About Visa Procedures

All About Visa Procedures

by Archives March 24, 2009

Nobody likes going through the hassle and paperwork of renewing their passports and visas, but the process can be particularly trying for international students.
“It’s not complicated for us, but if it’s your second or third language, these forms ask a lot of questions, so from that point of view, it’s very complicated,” explained Walter Chi Yan Tom, coordinator of the CSU’s Legal Clinic.
To help students learn the ins and outs of visa applications, the CSU hosted an information session on March 19. At the session, students learned that the Canadian government has only two kinds of visas: permanent and temporary. Students need an additional document, a study permit that allows them to study. Put simply, the visa is what gets you across the border, and the permit dictates what you can do once you have crossed that border.
One can go from a student permit to a work permit from within Canada, but must be outside the country to go from visitor to either worker or student. Once the status has expired, one can either apply for an extension of status, a restoration of status, or make a new application altogether. And that’s where the line gets blurry.
There is more to an application than just the questions. In most cases, it’s about what you do and don’t know about the system that determines whether the file is going to make it through.
“I’m a fulltime student and I work part-time. I don’t make $40,000 a year, but I work very hard,” said Concordia student Lan Tian Wong. “I applied the first time, and they refused. I don’t know why. I went to my MP, who wrote a letter of support. I included all my papers, my T4s, my T5s, everything, and still got refused.”
Wong studies Supply Chain Management at the John Molson School of Business. His application was refused over and over and according to the legal clinic’s Me David Chalk, it’s time for an Access to Information request. For $5, Wong can get a copy of his file and all the notes the immigration agent made on it. Agents often tick off the wrong box or list a vague reason in the refusal letter, making communication very hard between both parties.
“There’s a very high threshold to get over for relatives and friends of Concordia students from less developed countries,” said Me Chalk. “It’s a statistical matter and the acceptance rates for some countries are not that high. In some cases, only 50 per cent of the applications submitted get visas.”
The CSU’s legal clinic provides undergraduate students with legal information at no cost. If a student wants to meet with a lawyer, the clinic refers them to someone in their legal network. The lawyers offer 30 minute consultations for $30. Independant legal consult can cost anywhere between $150 and $250.
“What students have to be careful about is what we call “immigration consultants,” because there are two kinds of consultants: the kind that are part of an association, and the kind who just put a sign on their door that makes them a consultant,” said the clinic’s Walter Chi Yan Tom.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment