Canada Should Reduce Visa Application Fees

December 17th, 2007

In Canada, we enjoy first-class social services such as healthcare and education. To pay for these services, the government has a number of sources of revenue… from income taxes to goods and services taxes (VAT). While most government services are free to the user, some – including visa services – charge fees to cover administrative costs.

When one applies for a Canadian visa, whether it is for a visit or for Permanent Residency, there is a fee charged for the processing of the application. These fees paid to the government range between $75 and $1050, depending on the type of application. While this is expensive, it is acceptable so long as it represents the actual costs of the service provided. A lawsuit before the Federal Court of Canada, however, is accusing Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) of charging fees way out of line with the actual costs.

The government should not be profiting from the fees it charges for its services. The court case launched by a British Columbia couple alleges-based on CIC’s own calculations – that CIC had been overcharging by at least 100% over the past 10 years. With CIC collecting over $200 million each year in application fees, they are profiting to the tune of over $100 million. This is unfair treatment of immigrants-CIC should not be making profits on application fees, and certainly not by such a large margin.

Permanent Resident applicants should not be used as cash machines for the Canadian government. The government will already benefit from their tax dollars as they contribute to the economy. It is not right to ask immigrants to carry more than their share of the burden of paying for the general operation of government.

When the government earns profits from application fees, this amounts to a form of extra taxation. Yet while other taxes in Canada have to be approved by parliament, visa application fees do not, making them a form of taxation without representation, and this goes against the basic principles of Canadian democracy.

Asking individuals to cover the cost of their visa applications is fair. Using these applications to earn profits to pay for other government services is not. Immigrants are important contributors to the success of the Canadian economy. They should be treated with respect, and not taken advantage of.

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4 Responses to “Canada Should Reduce Visa Application Fees”

  • On August 6th, 2009, stella said ...

    I too agree with you all.there should be some positive reform to help people in this regard

  • On August 24th, 2009, spaceace said ...

    I agree also.
    I have recently had my FSW application rejected as my points didn't fulfill the requirements. My application went to Sydney for pre-processing, and I would have expected them to have checked my eligibility, but no. Sydney accepted my application and advised me to send it on for further processing. I paid $1400 for the privilege of waiting 8 months for somebody in London to to reject my application, and I won't receive a fee refund. You can't even speak to these guys and you can forget getting any useful information via the contact web form.
    Value for money, no way.

  • On December 30th, 2010, Anonymous said ...

    Canada must only take 30% processing and 70% issueing fee atleast that is value for money. let alone that fees are high

  • On May 23rd, 2012, Hopeful said ...

    In my country, the processing fee of Canada immigration itself is very expensive. For provincial nominee program, you will submit 1 application to province and when approve, 1 application to CIC. That means I will pay processing fee 2 times.

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