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This article was updated more than 6 months ago. Some information may be outdated.

The concept of "dual intent" has been around for a while. It exists to prevent immigration officers from rejecting temporary residence applicants (international students, workers, and visitors) for wanting to eventually immigrate to Canada. But, historically it has failed.

Canada is now expanding the language around the spirit of the law, which is that the existence of two different intents is legitimate. In plain language, you can intend to work or study in Canada AND want permanent residence and that’s OK—even encouraged.

In fact, Canada is now saying the two intents “should be viewed as complementary, not contradictory.”

IRCC also added a section on Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident Programs in the Program Delivery Update, which is intended for immigration officers but posted online for stakeholders.

This section tells officers that Canadian work and study experience are encouraged, and several pathways are specifically designed for people with Canadian professional experience. Canada’s flagship immigration pathway, Express Entry, gives points to people with Canadian work and study experience.

Further, Canadian work experience is a strong indicator for successful settlement in Canada.

With study permit applications, it says: “officers should take into consideration that the Government of Canada actively promotes study-work-permanent residence pathways to prospective students, and that prospective students (particularly Francophones) are encouraged to indicate that they wish to immigrate to Canada permanently.”

In the past, international students would get refused for saying that they wanted to immigrate to Canada on their application. Prospective students would emphasize their desire to immigrate to Canada, which was in line with the government’s messaging, only to be refused for not demonstrating that they would leave the country at the end of their authorized stay. Refusals were particularly common for students from francophone countries in Africa. Indeed, racism at IRCC was thought to be a player in these refusals.

The instructions on the Canadian government website say that if the officer is satisfied that the applicant will leave Canada at the end of their authorized stay “regardless of any negative outcome for an ongoing or potential future permanent residence application, the temporary residence application may be approved.”

Officers are also instructed to mention dual intent, if it was considered, in the Global Case Management System notes should they still refuse an application. They should also explain why they were not satisfied that an applicant would leave Canada at the end of their authorized stay.

Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) immigration critic, Jenny Kwan, has long been lobbying the federal government to address the failure of dual intent to protect Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) applicants from entering the country to reunite with their spouses.

In an email to Moving2Canada, Kwan states that while she welcomes any and all efforts to ensure people with dual intent have a fair process, she remains concerned that having strong ties to Canada such as a spouse or child may still work against TRV applicants.

“I continue to be concerned that it may set much higher expectations for them to demonstrate that they intend on leaving the country once the TRV is expired,” Kwan wrote, “Many applicants going through the spousal sponsorship process have expressed their frustration with having been repeatedly denied dual intent TRVs for not satisfying immigration officers that they will leave Canada, despite providing documentation to show strong ties to their country of origin and a history of respecting previous visa restrictions.”

Kwan has tabled a private member’s bill stipulating that loved ones with family sponsorship applications waiting to be processed may not be refused entry to Canada as a temporary resident solely on the grounds that they have not established they will leave before their documents expire, unless they have a history of non-compliance with requirements to leave Canada or another country.

About the author

Shelby Thevenot

Shelby Thevenot

They/Them
Canadian Immigration Writer
Shelby is a journalist, freelance writer, and expert news analyst with more than five years of experience in writing about Canadian immigration.
Read more about Shelby Thevenot
Citation "Canada updates dual intent to prevent unnecessary rejections." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation

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