Canada does not have a visa lottery program

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A recurring hoax about the Canadian visa lottery has recently resurfaced in several African countries. Canada’s immigration system does not work on a visa lottery basis, and visa applicants should not enroll in any scheme advertising visa grants in this manner.

“Ensure to apply for Canadian Visa Lottery 2018 to immigrate to Canada where life will be pleasant and beautiful.” This appealing sales pitch found in online news media such as NEWSFLASHNGR was shared by internet users in Nigeria and Ghana in recent days. The article encourages potential applicants to apply for the 2018/2019 lottery, and provides a link to a Canadian immigration law firm. There are also several Facebook pages, like Canada Visa Lottery, which link to the same law firm.

The private immigration firm Campbell, Cohen, which runs, issued a statement informing the public of the hoax and stating that they were not affiliated with websites linking to their page.

Unlike the United States, Canada’s immigration system does not provide a framework that grants visas based on a lottery system. The High Commission of Canada in Ghana, as well as Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada’s official immigration agency, have also warned online users not to fall for visa lottery scams.


Old news

As early as May 2016, online users began to ask how to apply for the Canadian visa lottery on online forums. By January 2017, websites such as African Bro announced, “The Parliament of Canada has today approved a visa lottery program similar to the U.S DV visa lottery.”

The false article stated that 16 countries would be eligible for the visa lottery. Nigeria and Ghana were two of them, which explains why the hoax continues to circulate in those countries.

Canada has many immigration programs, at a federal and provincial level. One program, International Experience Canada (IEC), does choose candidates for working holiday visas at random. However, those work permits are only valid for a year and IEC visas are not an equivalent to the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, also known as the green card lottery, in the United States.