It’s exciting that you want to move somewhere new and you’ve decided that Canada is the place for you. Congratulations! That’s a great choice.
Canada is one of the safest countries in the world, with opportunity that knows no limits. If you are willing to work hard and believe in your abilities, Canada is the place to realize all of your dreams. You won’t find barriers here due to color, religion, race or sex.
Go ahead and open your mind to the possibilities. Maybe you‘re looking for greater opportunities for your children, you dream of earning more money, or you want to spend your weekends on adventures in the mountains. Canada has loads of economic opportunity, combined with gorgeous landscapes, trendy cities, organized traffic and well-mannered citizens who say please and sorry - a lot! Of course you want to immigrate to Canada.
But now the story gets a little more complicated. How do you actually get permission to live here? You’ve checked the Canada Immigration website, and read a few online forums, but you might be more confused now than when you started your research. You’ve discovered that even though Canada is accepting people just like you, there are so many different pathways and requirements for Canadian immigration, that you aren’t really sure what to do next. Worse yet, you’ve heard stories of people being scammed, refused, or stuck in immigration limbo for years; and you want to make sure that never happens to you. You want to know where you fit, how to apply, how long it’s going to take, and how much it’s going to cost.
This is where we can make things a lot more efficient for you. Our expert immigration consultants will consider your specific situation and unique goals to create a plan of action that helps you realize your Canadian dreams. You will understand exactly what your options are and what actions you need to take to move forward on your journey.
“Fran explained to me in 3 minutes what I had spent hours and days trying to sort out on the Government of Canada website. I wish I would have just met with her sooner.” D.D., a satisfied client
Permanent Resident Status means that you can live anywhere in Canada, you can work in almost any job , and your family is able to live with you. If you weren’t born in Canada, in most cases, your first permanent status will be that of a Permanent Resident. After you have lived in Canada for at least 3 years as a Permanent Resident, you are usually eligible to apply for Canadian Citizenship . Then, as a Canadian Citizen, you can obtain a Canadian passport and the entire world opens up to you.
Let’s review a quick summary of the opportunities available to Permanent Residents and Citizens of Canada.
There are numerous streams through which Permanent Residence in Canada can be achieved, and your best option will depend entirely upon your personal situation. We’ve provided a brief summary of each option below, but for greater clarity we would be happy to connect with you and sort out what’s best for your unique scenario.
Express Entry is the program through which the highest numbers of newcomers will qualify to live in Canada each year. It is the first program to consider for anyone who has not already established a connection to Canada - either through work, studies or a family member living here. It's also far more complicated than it seems. With that in mind, we have created an entire page that deals exclusively with immigration to Canada via Express Entry.
You may qualify to apply for Canadian Permanent Residence under the Family Class if you have a relative who is a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident. That relative can be any of the following:
‣ Your spouse, common law or conjugal partner
‣ Your parent, if you are less than 22 years of age
‣ Your sibling, if you are less than 18 years of age and orphaned
‣ Your child, if they have sufficient income to support you
‣ Your grandchild, if they have sufficient income to support you
Note that there is no option to sponsor a sibling to immigrate to Canada except in the following scenarios:
‣ the sibling is less than 22 years old and can be an accompanying dependent on a parental sponsorship; or
‣ the sibling is less than 18 years old and an orphan.
Although a sibling can’t usually be a sponsor, having a sibling in Canada does increase your points if you are applying under Express Entry.
We have a separate page on Family Sponsorship to discuss all of the different options available to reunite loved ones in Canada.
Canada is an enormous country composed of regions that are very different from each other. Because of this, each Province in Canada operates their own immigration programs in order to select immigrants who will be most successful in the local region. There are dozens of PNP programs , and we have prepared an overview of each one so that you can determine if your best option to live in Canada might be via immigrating as a Provincial Nominee.
You may be qualified to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada under the self-employed class if you meet the following basic criteria:
‣ You have been self-employed or participated at a world class level, in cultural activities or athletics,
‣ For at least two of the past five years, and
‣ You have the experience, intention and ability to become self-employed in Canada in your specific area of expertise
If you meet all of these initial criteria, then your personal situation is assessed further based upon your age, education, language skills, experience and ability to adapt to life in Canada.
If you are working in Canada and taking care of children in a home setting, or caring for individuals who require home health care, you may qualify to apply for Permanent Residence under these either of these categories.
There are four basic criteria that you need to meet in order to be eligible:
1. You must have at least 24 months of relevant full- time work experience in Canada, within the previous 48 months.
2. You must meet the employment requirements of the NOC related to your position. (The NOC is Canada’s system for classifying the duties related to each type of possible job.)
3. You must be fluent in French or English, as determined by an official test.
4. You must have completed at least a one-year post-secondary program of study in Canada, or a foreign program of studies that equates to a one-year Canadian program.
There are annual quotas in place for the number of applications that will be accepted for processing each year under these categories. Therefore, not only do you need to be eligible, you also need to be speedy in order to qualify. With that in mind, it’s always better to apply as soon as you meet the criteria because there is no guarantee that a spot will be available for you. And it’s not a good idea to change jobs frequently or spend long periods of time inside Canada unemployed, because your 48 month clock starts ticking as soon as you arrive.
Canada’s Atlantic Provinces - New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Prince Edward Island - are the smallest provinces and are located on the far east coast of the country. This entire region has suffered from a severe shortage of workers in recent years. To address this issue, Canada’s immigration department has created a special set of immigration programs to attract newcomers specifically to these regions.
The Atlantic Pilot program may be your best option if you have an employer in that region who wants to hire you, or if you have graduated from a post-secondary institution in one of those provinces. You must plan to live and work in the region.
Necessary steps for all scenarios:
1. Find an employer who is eligible for the program and wants to hire you
2. Employer applies to the Province for permission to hire
3. Foreign national applies for Permanent Residence, and maybe also a work permit to start living in Canada more quickly
Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled and High- Skilled Program Eligibility:
‣ You have a job offer from an eligible employer, with Provincial approval
‣ You have at least 1 year within the past 3 years of full-time, paid work experience that matches your job offer (NOC level O, A, B or C)
‣ Your education level is equivalent to a Canadian High School diploma
‣ Your language scores are equivalent to a CLB 4 in either English or French
‣ You have funds to support yourself upon arrival to Canada
Atlantic International Graduate Program Eligibility:
‣ You have a job offer from an eligible employer
‣ You have graduated from a minimum 2 year post-secondary educational program from a publicly funded educational institution in the Atlantic region
‣ You studied in Canada for at least 2 years
‣ You lived in the Atlantic province for at least 16 months during your studies
‣ You graduated less than 12 months ago
You may be qualified to immigrate to Canada with a start-up visa if you plan to start a business in Canada and you have convinced one of the designated investor groups to support your business concept. There are only a handful of these types of visas issued every year. The individuals who are most likely to be successful applying to immigrate under this category have a high net worth and a significant amount of business experience. The business ideas that are successful under this category must be innovative and designed to compete in the global marketplace.
If you don’t qualify for any of the established programs to immigrate, and you are facing significant hardship if you cannot live in Canada, you may qualify for H&C consideration. This category is for exceptional situations only, and most individuals who qualify for this type of application are already living in Canada (without status) or have some kind of significant family connection to Canada, like a parent, sibling, spouse or child. This program is not designed to enable masses of individuals from overseas to escape the difficulties of living in their country of origin.
You might be considered a refugee if:
‣ You are outside of your country of origin and can’t return because you’re at risk of being killed or persecuted and there is no protection available to you; or
‣ You are outside of your country of origin and can’t return because it’s not safe to do so either because of war or massive human rights violations.
There are different processes to follow in order to apply as a refugee if you are outside of Canada or if you are inside Canada. Some options require that you have a group who is willing to sponsor you, and other options allow you to qualify on your own.
Claiming refugee status should be an option of last resort for anyone, as you typically require very difficult personal circumstances in order to gain approval and if you are refused, your chances of obtaining any other immigration status to live in Canada are incredibly slim.
Our firm does not work in the area of Refugee Law, but if you are in need of this sort of representation, feel free to contact us. We would be pleased to provide you with a referral to trusted counsel.