How to immigrate to Canada?
How to become a permanent resident of Canada?
Main question: who and how can come to Canada?
The first questions of a person who decided to change the country of residence are:
On what basis should I come to another country? Do I satisfy the requirements?
For Canada, brief answers to these questions are given below. The information in this article has been updated and is current as of April of 2018.
How to enter Canada?
Entry into Canada is strictly regulated by law. The implementation of the legislation is carried out by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, or CIC. Since 2016 this ministry has changed its name to IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada), but in the meantime the name CIC is still commonly used. This agency has various offices in Canada and representations around the world - visa offices, open at the embassies and consulates of Canada.
For a temporary stay (up to several months) in Canada, a temporary (guest) visa is required. For visitors who are citizens of countries with a "visa-free" entry into Canada, it is not necessary to apply in advance for a Canadian visa; such a visa (more precisely - a stamp permitting a stay in the country) is stamped in the passport at the time of arrival in Canada. Nevertheless they need to undergo the procedure of electronic authorization to enter Canada (Electronic Travel Authorization or eTA). Without this procedure, a visitor from the "visa-free" country will be denied boarding a flight to Canada. Exceptions are US citizens - they do not need electronic authorization.
In other cases it is required to contact the visa office in advance with an application for a temporary visa. General information on temporary visas to Canada is available on our website.
Permanent residence in Canada
In order to have the right of permanent residence in Canada after the entry, an immigrant visa is required. Obtaining such a visa is a long, complex and expensive process, generally called immigration. The main ways of obtaining an immigrant visa to Canada are listed below.
Applying for immigration to Canada
In Canada, there are many so-called “immigration programs”. Each such immigration program is a certain set of requirements and procedures necessary for the candidate to go through the immigration process and receive an immigrant visa.
There are federal and provincial immigration programs in Canada.
Federal programs operate throughout Canada, without reference to a particular province (with the exception of Quebec). Provincial programs are focused on the requirements of specific provinces and are designed in such a way that the immigrant is most likely to live in a particular province.
The selection of candidates who are eligible to apply for immigration under one of the main immigration programs is carried out in the Express Entry system. This system is an online resource in which anyone who wishes to immigrate to Canada can register, provided that the following conditions are met:
- Presence of the result of a valid language test (for example for English - IELTS General with a score of not less than 6.0 points for each module).
- The possession of the results of an official evaluation of the education credentials (or post-secondary education received in Canada).
- Fulfilling the basic requirements of at least one of the immigration programs (for example, the ability to score 67 points on the Federal Skilled Workers program).
Of all the candidates registered, Express Entry periodically (every two to four weeks) selects a certain number of candidates who are invited to apply for immigration to Canada.
On our website you can find detailed information on how the Express Entry system works and what is currently the Express Entry pass rate.
Requirements for federal immigration programs in Canada
The main federal immigration programs are the Federal Skilled Worker and the Canadian Experience Class, suitable for many candidates. Recently, the Federal Skilled Trades program has also been put in place, and for successful businessmen and entrepreneurs there are also programs of so-called "business immigration".
- Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) - the main program, suitable for candidates outside of Canada; it is focused on skilled workers.
- The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is a program by which only skilled workers working in Canada can immigrate.
- Federal Skilled Trades (FST) is a program designed for tradespersons (primarily for those working in Canada).
Federal Skilled Worker
Using the immigration program for skilled workers (Federal Skilled Worker), candidates who meet the following basic requirements can pass the immigration process:
- Experience at least one year in any skilled occupation (in the specialty that requires post-secondary education).
- A high level of English or French (roughly at the level of 7 out of 10).
- Post-secondary education assessed by an authorized organization (WES, ICAS, etc.).
Canadian Experience Class
The main requirements of the Canadian Experience Class are:
- Good English or French.
- At least one year of work in Canada with full time employment as a foreign specialist (in legal status, in a position requiring post-secondary vocational education).
Business immigration programs in Canada require not only the availability of large enough funds, but also evidence that the funds are legally earned. The mere fact of owning a sum of several hundred thousand dollars is not enough to obtain the status of permanent resident of Canada. To immigrate to Canada by business class, it is necessary to perform a number of formalities, the description of which is not the purpose of this article. You can find information on business immigration programs on our website.
Each immigration program also has many other requirements and criteria. It is also implied that the candidate has no criminal record and is in good health (both of these facts are checked during immigration).
Requirements of provincial immigration programs to Canada
The main objective of provincial immigration programs in Canada is to meet the needs of a particular Canadian province - in particular, the labor market needs. Hence follows the basic requirement common to most provincial immigration programs:
- A successful candidate must have some connections with the province (for example, close relatives or friends, an employer, or be a student of an educational institution in a given province).
This requirement is often important to the decision making process, since without it any person who has immigrated through the provincial program has much more motivation to leave the province.
Quebec provincial program
Quebec is a special province. Any candidate wishing to immigrate to Quebec can not use federal immigration programs for this purpose. Instead, he must apply for one of the programs of Quebec. The most accessible is the Quebec program for qualified specialists - a spinoff of the Federal Skilled Worker program.
Several years ago this program was quite affordable, but today a good (about 6 out of 10) level of French is required under the Quebec provincial program, and it is also desirable to have post-secondary education in an eligible occupation, the list of which is approved by the immigration authorities of Quebec. In most cases, only if these two conditions are met you can expect to qualify under the program.
Having relatives in Canada
Having close relatives in Canada can be useful for a potential immigrant. When immigrating to provincial programs, the presence of close relatives increases the chances of successful immigration. In certain cases, relatives in Canada can sponsor relatives outside it, that is, they can guarantee financial support and thus give them the opportunity to apply for permanent residence on this basis.
In the relative sponsorship programs, there are also certain requirements, one of which is a sufficient permanent income of the sponsoring family.
Invitation to work in Canada. Work permit.
Getting an official invitation to work in Canada has been difficult at all times, and since 2014 it has become extremely difficult: the Canadian labor market is quite active and it is usually not difficult to find a good specialist here. Recent changes in the legislation are aimed at protecting the interests of Canadians, so the process of hiring foreign specialists for employers is coated with great difficulties and financial costs.
Studies in Canada. Study permit.
Another way to be eligible to apply for permanent residence in Canada is to come to Canada for studies. Currently, the option of immigration through study in Canada is a feasible option for independent immigration, assuming the availability of financial opportunity.
If certain requirements are met after a certain period of study in Canada, the student has the right to apply for several immigration programs for permanent residence.
The main disadvantage of entering Canada on a student visa is high costs, which include both paying for the education as well as living in Canada. Otherwise, this method is very predictable and gives good results.
Anyone who is temporarily in Canada has the right to seek protection as a refugee.
In order to successfully pass the immigration process as a refugee, it is necessary to prove convincingly that at home you were persecuted, your life and / or health were threatened, and the country could not protect you. In addition, all other accompanying factors will be taken into account when considering the case.
In general, the chances for a successful outcome of the immigration case for refugees are small: due to the fact that many cases of refugees are fabricated, the Refugee Court executes extremely strict and biased selection. A negative decision in the case of a refugee means expulsion from the country and a virtually guaranteed refusal when trying to enter Canada later.