Have you contemplated the idea of moving to Canada, but you are not sure if it’s a good or feasible idea, and if so, you wonder how to go about it? I understand you all too well.
In 2009, I stood in your shoes: in the midst of the economic crisis, I applied for a visa, gave notice to my employer, and packed my things up to move to the Great White North. Canada didn’t disappoint: I landed a decent job within a month, went back to law school, and within five years I was both a Canadian citizen and licensed lawyer.
Of course, part of my success story stems from sheer luck. But as with most things in life, it helped a lot to be well informed, and to come to Canada well prepared.
Since I have always been passionate about immigration laws and policies, Canada’s immigration system wasn’t too daunting. Of course it was, and still is, a complex and diversified system; yet for that reason, it offered me several options to establish a clear, feasible and overall quick path to get to where I wanted to be.
Today, at Chalk Immigration, I am able to put my passion, knowledge and personal experience to good use, helping other prospective immigrants in doing exactly that. Our team analyses people’s profiles on a daily basis and helps them identify the best option to obtain residence in Canada in accordance with their personal preferences and needs. As well, when need be, we assist them in bringing that plan to fruition. In other words, we can and would be happy to assist you.
However, in order to start demystifying Canada’s immigration system right of the bat and to help you identify interesting pathways yourself, the text below offers a brief summary of the various possibilities offered to obtain permanent residence here.
Should you require more information after your read, please click on the links below or contact us.
FOR FRANCOPHONE SPEAKERS
If you speak and understand French, or have always wanted to learn, Quebec is an obvious destination for you. Quebec has its own set of immigration programs within Canada and selects its future immigrants. As a consequence, the Quebec Experience Program currently allows certain students and temporary foreign workers to obtain a selection certificate for Quebec, and ultimately, permanent residence. Tuition for foreign students in Québec isn’t cheap, but compared to other Canadian provinces or to the United States, education in Quebec is quite affordable. Given the added pathway to permanent residence, continuing your studies in Quebec may be worth the investment.
Moreover, Quebec currently offers unique programs for foreign investors, entrepreneurs, self-employed people as well as a program for qualified workers. However, these are all (with few exceptions) subject to stringent quotas, and are expected to be changed soon due to a recent immigration reform that was enacted.
If you are not a lover off all things Québec has to offer, there is a Federal program which promotes Francophone mobility towards other provinces and territories in Canada. This program allows French-speaking qualified workers to obtain a temporary work permit through a simplified procedure. While it is not a direct pathway to permanent residence, obtaining Canadian work experience and having a Canadian employer may go a long way towards that goal, as will be further explained below.
FOR ANGLOPHONE SPEAKERS
With the exception of the Quebec programs and the programs detailed below, every person willing to become a Canadian Permanent resident will need to apply through Express Entry.
Express Entry is the system the Canadian Federal Government uses to manage the vast majority of permanent residence applications. In order to do so, Express Entry first creates a pool of interesting candidates willing to immigrate to Canada. Out of this pool, Federal Government periodically picks and chooses candidates who they deem to have the best, or most suiting, profiles.
To get in this pool, you will first need to create a profile – which is free of cost. While doing so, you will have to indicate your age, work experience, family composition, education, etc. This information allows the system to automatically assess if you meet the admissibility criteria. For instance, if you have one year of recent and full-time work experience in Canada as a skilled worker, your profile will be entered in the pool of candidates as a candidate of the Canadian experience class, one of the three distinct admissibility programs.
Once in the pool, whether or not you get invited will depend on the score you get through the Comprehensive Ranking System. This ranking system reassesses every candidate on a 1200 points scale, attributing points under four different factors: skills and experience, spouse or common law partner, skill transferability, and additional points.
Ever since the system has been in use, the last factor (additional points) has been the deciding point the majority of the time. Indeed, under this factor, a candidate can receive 600 points through a provincial nomination, and will currently get 50-200 additional points for arranged employment.
So if there’s a particular province you’d like to settle in, you might want to look into their Provincial Nominee Program and see if one of these could suit your particular profile. If not, by securing arranged employment, you will greatly enhance your chances to be allowed into the pool, and ultimately, to immigrate to Canada.
Now what exactly do we mean by “arranged employment”? Once again, there are several options. For the vast majority of people who are not working in Canada yet, a mere job offer will not do, and the employer will need to prove that there is no Canadian worker who could otherwise fit the position through a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment. However, there are a multitude of simplified procedures to obtain work without the need for an LMIA, and as long as the obtained work permit is employer specific, no LMIA should be necessary to obtain points for arranged employment under Express Entry.
We have already mentioned the Francophone mobility program, but there are also exceptions for intra-company transferees, the International Experience Canada programs and NAFTA Professional Visas, to name just a few.
If you do not qualify to enter the Express Entry pool, but have post-secondary education and are willing to work as an in-home caregiver of a person with high medical needs or as a nanny for instance, the Caregiver Program might be ideal for you, provided you find an employer willing to arrange for your employment. In fact, if you manage to secure a job as in-home caregiver outside Québec, you should be eligible for Permanent Residence after 24 months of full-time work.
Moreover, if you believe you have the ability to make a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada, or if you want to manage a farm in Canada, you might want to explore the Federal Self-Employed Immigration Program.
Finally, if you have family in Canada, it may be possible for them to sponsor you. With the exception of spouses or common-law partners, these family members will need to provide evidence that they have the financial means to support you. In all situations, your family members will need to be willing to sign an undertaking – meaning that they will be responsible for you financially for a given period of time which depends on the exact category of family members who’s sponsoring you.