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Understanding Eligibility and Inadmissibility

Understanding Eligibility and Inadmissibility

There are two broad criteria that are assessed when applying to go to Canada: eligibility and inadmissibility. These are important to keep in mind for any application for going to Canada either permanently or temporarily.


Eligibility refers to meeting the minimum requirements set out in a particular program. This varies greatly from class to class. For example, to become eligible for sponsorship, you will need to be a family member of the sponsor. On the other hand, to be eligible to be a skilled worker, you will need to have at least 1 year of experience in the skilled position. Be sure to check the government website for a complete and updated list of requirements. These requirements tend to change often, so be sure you’re kept up to date.


Inadmissibility refers to a set of conditions in Canadian law that would disqualify you from entering Canada, even if you’ve already met a program’s requirements. These conditions tend not to change much, unless the law itself is changed. Furthermore, ALL applications for visas, permits, and permanent residence undergo an assessment for inadmissibility.

Half of these conditions that would render you inadmissible involve criminality. Being convicted of certain crimes in Canada or outside of Canada, or being associated with organized crime, could disqualify you, rendering you “inadmissible”. This means you will be asked to leave Canada and/or you will not be allowed to enter Canada. There are ways to overcome inadmissibility through criminality, so having a past criminal record is not always a deal-breaker.

The other half of these conditions primarily concern protecting the Canadian system from abuse. For example, you will be considered inadmissible on health grounds if the immigration officer believes that your illness or health condition will likely be a danger to the public, or will likely create an excessive demand on the government’s health or social services. There are exemptions to this, of course, and permanent residents are not covered by this particular rule.

Another key point of inadmissibility would be financial grounds. You will not be allowed to enter Canada if the immigration/visa/port-of-entry officer believes that you do not have enough means to support yourself (and anyone accompanying you) financially once you’ve entered Canada. This may include having sufficient settlement funds to tide you over until you’ve secured work and income. Permanent residents are exempt from this rule.

The last major point of inadmissibility would be misrepresentation. Lying to an officer regarding key facts either verbally, in writing (i.e. forms and submissions), or through omission could be considered misrepresentation. This is considered a grave offence, and could result in losing temporary status, permanent resident status, and possibly even Citizenship (naturalized).

It’s important to ensure that you meet all the requirements for the program you’re applying for. However, you should also be prepared to prove that you are NOT inadmissible, to maximize the chances of your application being accepted.

For comments and questions, check out our forums and join the conversation.

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