Common Canadian Immigration Application Mistakes

There are an unlimited number of mistakes that a foreign national can make in an application. We are sharing common mistakes that can be reason for an application to be rejected or cause a major delay. Some mistakes can even cause you to be banned from immigrating to Canada.

Foreign nationals applying to immigrate to Canada sometimes fall into common mistakes on their applications that can be avoided. Immigration applications (both temporary and for permanent residence) are extensive, time-consuming, technical and often very confusing. Most applicants are not familiar with the process and have often never gone through any similar processes before. For this reason, mistakes are understandable but completely avoidable. The best way to completely avoid them is to seek advice from a professional with immigration experience.

Contact Cohen Brosh Law Offices for personalized consultations on your application!

Documents downloaded to wrong field (online applications)

Some applicants, especially those who are not technologically savvy, may find it difficult to navigate the online portal for digital applications. Uploading a document in the wrong section can cause your application to be rejected. Missing documents can also be a problem.

 Programs like Express Entry use an automated system to assess applications in the first stage. This system will not be able to award points for a language test that is uploaded in the section meant for work experience or another section.

The assessing officers have the right to reject applications that are disorderly or with missing information. They may contact the applicant to request more information, but this is a courtesy and will delay the processing of your application.

“The pandemic has shone a bright light on the incredible contributions of newcomers. These new policies will help those with a temporary status to plan their future in Canada, play a key role in our economic recovery and help us build back better. Our message to them is simple: your status may be temporary, but your contributions are lasting- and we want you to stay.”

Invalid Job Offer

Applicants who arrange an offer of employment prior to applying for a work permit or the Express Entry program have a great advantage. It is important, however, that the job offer is valid. All necessary supporting documentation for the job must also be submitted. It is not enough to simply mention the job or give the employers information.

Job Offer Requirements:

  • The offer must be less than a year old
  • Must be in writing (letter of employment)
  • Not be from an embassy or consulate in Canada
  • Must include details about the position (start date, pay, position duties, hours of work, duration, other conditions of employment, etc.)
  • Must be a paid position
  • Must be full-time (not seasonal)

Most positions will require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The applicant must perform their due diligence and provide the LMIA number, if necessary, for their position. Visit the Government of Canada website to determine if your job offer is valid or requires an LMIA, or contact Cohen Brosh Law Offices.

Foreign education missing Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)

An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) determines if an educational diploma, degree or certificate is equal to a Canadian one. Foreign nationals with any sort of education mentioned in their application should also submit an ECA. Foreign education programs without an accompanying ECA will not be counted in certain immigration applications to Canada, such as Express Entry.

Wrong Language Test

Immigration applicants must have some knowledge of French or English. Certain programs require proof of language proficiency. Some applicants may submit their results from a testing center that is not approved by the IRCC, while others may not. Depending on the program, test results from non-approved testing centers will be rejected. The Express Entry program, for example, requires a language proficiency test. Language tests for Express Entry must be from an approved testing center AND be the correct test.

There are 4 Approved Language Tests:


  1. CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program
    • Must be the CELPIP- General Test
    • General-LS is NOT accepted for Express Entry program
  2. IELTS: International English Language Testing System
    • Must be the General Training option
    • The Academic option is NOT accepted for the Express Entry program


  1. TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de français
  2. TCF Canada: Test de connaissance du français

Not Complying with IRCC changes or Ministerial Instructions

IRCC can make permanent or temporary changes to their immigration application requirements or processes. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure they are up-to-date on the current immigration practices, especially for the stream for which they are applying.

Ministerial Instructions are changes, usually temporary, that immigration officers are required to comply with when processing applications. Those applying to relevant programs would do well to keep up-to-date with these instructions. For example, as of a few months ago, those applying through the owner/operator pathway are no longer exempt from the advertising requirements. This type of change significantly impacts the application process and the feasibility of proceeding with this type of process.

RCIC’s and immigration lawyers are aware of changing processes and know how to handle them. Contacting an RCIC or lawyer is the best way to ensure you are submitting the most competitive application possible.


Foreign nationals who are eager to portray themselves in a positive light may be tempted to embellish their application. This may include exaggerating their work experience, or the duties they performed. Withholding relevant information is also considered misrepresentation. All forms of misrepresentation are considered lying. Foreign nationals suspected of lying or misrepresenting will have their applications rejected and may also be banned from entering Canada for up to 5 years.

There may be cases where an applicant innocently leaves information out of their application, thinking it is not relevant. It is very difficult to then prove it was an innocent mistake.

Example: Patel v. Canada

In the Federal case of Patel v. Canada (2017), the applicant Pratham Ketankumar Patel was denied a visa due to failing to disclose a past arrest for operating a motor vehicle while impaired. Patel took his case to the federal court in a judicial review claiming he did not think it was necessary to disclose the arrest because the charges were dropped after the arrest.

Applicants should be sure to include all information that could possibly be important. Having another person, especially an RCIC or Canadian lawyer review your application before submitting can help foreign nationals avoid the accusation of misrepresentation.

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