Immigrate to Canada: The Uncensored Guide

Immigrate to Canada. Canada arrivals sign post

Canada’s promise of “Peace, Order and Good Government” has always been its greatest hallmark. This aspiration of a decent, peaceful life and Canada’s invitation to foreigners to immigrate to Canada has made it the top destination for people seeking a better future. Until recently, the options available to move to Canada were limited. Today, foreign individuals and families can immigrate to Canada through over 80 available pathways. Choosing the right path for yourself out of these many pathways can be a challenge. This uncensored guide uncovers, breaks down and reveals all you should know to immigrate to Canada successfully.

You’ll find that the labor market and economy are the two paramount factors that drive the Canadian immigration programs. Therefore, your eligibility will largely depend on whether you can contribute to the economic progress of the country. Once you are granted permanent residency status, it means that you can work and live in Canada indefinitely.

To discover all the suitable options to settle in Canada, multiple interrelated factors should be taken into account:

Express Entry

Express Entry is Canada’s premiere immigration program. It is administered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to provide qualified candidates with a chance to immigrate to Canada. It is divided into three categories: Federal Skilled Worker Class, Canadian Experience Class, and Federal Skilled Trades Class. Each of the classes has its own obligatory requirements. An individual who fulfills the criteria for one of the categories enters the Express Entry Pool. Then, all of the candidates who made it to the pool are ranked against the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Finally, the highest-ranking profiles enter the Express Entry Draws and receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. The entire Express Entry processing time will take around 6 to 12 months post to the submission of your application.

Comprehensive Ranking System

The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is a point-based system that serves as a means to grade and compare the Express Entry candidates. It consists of two kinds of points: the so-called “core points” and “additional points.” The former points are related to personal skills, while the latter mostly tackle one’s connections to Canada. Ultimately, the sum of the two kinds of points is your final CRS score. You can use the CRS Score Calculator to get an estimate of your potential score. The maximum number of points you can achieve is 1,200.

Express Entry Draws

Express Entry draws are rounds of invitations whereby the highest-graded candidates are drawn from the Express Entry pool and encouraged to apply for permanent residence. The CRS score needed for the draw varies, as there’s no fixed threshold. Therefore, you may not enter the draw in one round, but you can make it in the next draw if the cut-off lowers or your score improves. Generally, your profile is eligible for the draws that occur up to twelve months from the day you entered the Express Entry pool. If IRCC does not invite you to apply within that period, it expires, and you’ll have to resubmit it.

Invitation to Apply

Individuals from the Express Entry draw will receive the Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. Basically, it is a message that tells you under which of the three Express Entry Classes you can apply and informs you about the future steps. Also, this is the stage where every piece of information you provided is assessed. In case something has changed, you ought to update your information because it may affect your CRS score. The ITA is valid for 90 days, during which you are required to submit all the necessary documentation and pay the necessary fees.

Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Program is an alternate pathway to Canadian permanent residence. Eleven provinces and territories of Canada conduct the Provincial Nominee Program, designed to bring skilled employees and business people into the country. Nunavut and Quebec are the only provinces that do not have Provincial Nominee Programs. Candidates who meet the eligibility criteria for their province or territory of choice go on to become provincial nominees and can submit an application for permanent residence.

The following are all the Provincial Nominee Programs specific for provinces and territories that take part in the program:

Provincial Nominee Program Streams

Highly skilled candidates who have a job offer in Canada in an in-demand position or related job experience can immigrate to Canada through the PNP. The in-demand professions vary from one part of Canada to another, and they are further specified in corresponding programs. High net-worth entrepreneurs who want to invest in a business in Canada will also find their luck here. The Provincial Nominee Program allows investors to set up their business (or invest in an existing one). The type and requirements of your business plan will depend on the industrial structure and labor needs of a particular province or territory.

Quebec Immigration

Quebec immigration functions independently from the Provincial Nominee Program and sets separate requirements for people who want to immigrate to this province. The main condition for an individual to immigrate to Quebec is to obtain the Certificate of Selection (Certificate de selection du Québec). You can achieve this through a number of Quebec immigration pathways.

Quebec Immigration Programs

There are five Quebec immigration programs:

  • The Regular Skilled Worker Program
  • Quebec Experience Program
  • Entrepreneur Program
  • Self-Employed Program
  • Investor Program

The first two programs target individuals with an employment offer in Quebec or with the necessary set of skills and related work experience to fill in the job vacancy. On the other hand, the next three programs focus on entrepreneurs and investors who can establish themselves in the province and contribute by creating job opportunities for residents. Likewise, self-employed candidates with the necessary French language proficiency levels can apply under the Self-Employed Program.

Certificate of Selection

If you meet the requirements of one of the Quebec Immigration Programs, you are eligible to obtain the Certificate of Selection (Certificat de sélection du Québec) from the Government of Quebec. This document is obligatory and allows you to apply for Canadian permanent residency. What follows it is the medical and criminal background check, as well as the application evaluation. The preliminary assessment occurs from approximately 6 to 12 months after you submit the application.

Family Sponsorship Immigration to Canada

Permanent residents and citizens of Canada who can prove that they can financially support their family members can become their sponsors. Sponsors must provide basic needs for the sponsored (food, clothes, shelter) without any help from the Government. Thus, family members can move based on family sponsorship and later obtain the status of a Canadian permanent resident themselves.

Family Members

The concrete income requirements and fees for family sponsorship depend on the nature of the relationship and the number of people you will sponsor. The category of family members encompasses the following relations that are eligible for the program:

  • Spouse
  • Common-law partner
  • Dependent children
  • Dependent children of dependent children
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Orphaned siblings or grandchildren under the age of 18
  • Adopted children

Language Proficiency

In order to immigrate to Canada, in most of the cases, you’ll be required to submit evidence that you possess the necessary language skills. Even if the language requirement isn’t obligatory, integration into the Canadian labor market is much easier if you have a strong grasp of English or French. The proficiency requirements (i.e., the level of the skills) will vary, but you will need to provide an approved language test for English or French. Furthermore, the results shouldn’t be more than two years old. The fact that English is the first language in many regions also encourages people who are fluent speakers to immigrate to Canada. Likewise, the provinces where French is the official language attract Francophone speakers. There are two accepted language tests for English (IELTS and CELPIP) and one for French (TEFL). 

IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

Most of the candidates opt for an IELTS test to prove their English language skills because its test centers are globally widespread. Firstly, you should book your test date and the city (you can do this online), and pay for all the test fees. Candidates take the writing, reading, and listening tests on paper, whereas the oral exam that assesses speaking is in person. Your score will be from 1-9 for each section. Once you receive the results, you’ll be able to grade them against the CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) requirements of the particular immigration pathway, and see if your level satisfies the criteria. Also, you should take the General IELTS test (and not the Academic one) for this purpose.

CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program)

CELPIP is another English test that is valid for immigration. It is similar in principle to IELTS. In fact, the primary difference is that this test is entirely computer-based. The breakdown of grades is also different, as you will receive from 1 to 12 points for each section. Also, this scale is entirely in line with the CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark). On the other hand, you would have to look up the equivalent CLB score for IELTS points.

TEF (Test d’évaluation de français)

TEF is the approved test to determine your level of proficiency in French for immigration to Canada. It uses a 7-level scale that corresponds to the CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark). TEF consists of five sections: three obligatory (reading, listening, grammar), and two optional (written, oral). However, if you take TEF for immigration purposes, you have to take all of the sections. There’s the option to take different parts of the test on different days. Nonetheless, as an immigration candidate you are required to complete them all in one day.

Work In Canada

Another pathway to Canada is through a work permit. You should land a job in Canada beforehand to be eligible for a work permit. Alternatively, you can apply under this program if you already work in Canada, and you are offered a permanent contract. Youths also benefit from the opportunity to work in Canada under the subpath called International Experience Canada (IEC). The prerequisites for eligible positions are province and territory-specific, so you should research information about the particular area in which you want to settle to enter Canada’s labor market.

If an employer wants to hire you, they will need to support your job offer with a positive Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Basically, this proves that your position benefits the province or territory where you will work and that there are no Canadian citizens who are more suitable for the vacancy. After a number of years, you can apply to become a permanent resident through Work in Canada. Additionally, international students who have graduated in Canada can apply for a Post-graduation work permit (PGWP). In a similar fashion to regular foreign workers, graduates can qualify for permanent residence after they accumulate relevant experience.

International Experience Canada

Citizens of over 30 countries that have a bilateral Youth Mobility Arrangement with Canada between the age of 18 and 35 can apply for International Experience Canada and receive a work permit. Furthermore, they need to be eligible for one of the IEC streams:

Working Holiday targets individuals who do not have a job offer, but are willing to work for multiple employers in Canada on an open work permit. On the other hand, Young Professionals is suitable for candidates who have an employment offer, whereas International Co-op functions as an internship for students who want to broaden their experience in a certain field. All three categories of the International Experience Canada program provide an excellent opportunity to obtain experience that can be later be used as a means to increase the chances of obtaining permanent residence.

Labor Market Information

The minimum wage in Canada is reviewed each year, and continues to grow, as well as the average salary. The full-time work is 30 hours per week. Individuals who want to immigrate to Canada will find the greatest job opportunities in in-demand skill occupations. To discover which sectors have skills shortages, you should consider the labor market information of a particular province or territory that you wish to move to. Canada uses the National Occupational Classification (NOC) to group skill levels and professions. Skilled jobs (most commonly considered for immigration) fall under the categories of Skill Level 0, A, and B.

Employment Prospects

Canada’s unemployment rate is very low. There’s a lot of job opportunities in a number of sectors, including tourism, automotive, IT, and medical. Vacancies greatly vary across the provinces and territories. For example, medical professions are important sources of employment for immigrants in New Brunswick and Alberta, while Ontario targets farmworkers and harvesting laborers. 

Get A Job Offer in Canada

If you’re in search of jobs in Canada, it may seem that there aren’t many vacancies, and yet that there’s too many job seekers. However, if you know where to look, it will be much easier to get a job offer that matches your set of skills and education. Popular methods include a recruitment agency, networking, and online platforms such as Workopolis and Job Bank.

How to Immigrate to Canada: Final Words

Immigrating to Canada involves detailed preparation and you’ve just taken the first step in the right direction. The pathway to permanent residency is straightforward if you choose the right methods and work on your skills. Consider appropriate categories, and evaluate your eligibility. Analyze each requirement before your application and gather all the documents prior to the final submission. 

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