Ways to immigrate to Canada
Canada has more than 80 immigration programs and it is crucial to understand ways to immigrate to Canada. Which Canadian immigration program is right for you will depend on your goals and your particular situation.
Canada immigration programs are not only multifarious but some tend to be quite complex with various categories and sub-categories. For example, there are many different economic immigration categories for professionals and workers under which you might qualify for your Canada Immigration permanent resident visa. These include:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program
- Federal Skilled Trades Class Program
- Quebec Skilled Worker Program
- Provincial Nominee Programs
- Canadian Experience Class
- Quebec Experience Class
- Federal Self-Employed Program
Canada also offers a number of Family Class Sponsorship programs. These programs allow Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor family members and loved ones for Canadian immigration.
Which ways to immigrate to Canada is best for you?
In considering ways to immigrate to Canada, the following factors may help you to begin to narrow down your options according to your situation and goals.
Do you have a post-secondary education?
Education is a major factor for eligibility for many Canadian immigration programs. Programs like the Skilled Worker and Provincial Nominee Programs, assign a point value to your education.
|Level of Education||With a spouse or common-law partner|
(Maximum 140 points)
|Without a spouse or common-law partner|
(Maximum 150 points)
|Less than secondary school (high school)||0||0|
|Secondary diploma (high school graduation)||28||30|
|One-year degree, diploma or certificate from a university, college, trade or technical school, or other institute||84||90|
|Two-year program at a university, college, trade or technical school, or other institute||91||98|
|Bachelor’s degree OR a three or more year program at a university, college, trade or technical school, or other institute||112||120|
|Two or more certificates, diplomas, or degrees. One must be for a program of three or more years||119||128|
|Master’s degree, OR professional degree needed to practice in a licensed profession (For “professional degree,” the degree program must have been in: medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, optometry, law, chiropractic medicine, or pharmacy.)||126||135|
|Doctoral level university degree (Ph.D.)||140||150|
Take the IRCC free assessment to see if your education helps you to be eligible for one of Canada’s immigration programs.
Do you have a minimum of one year of skilled work experience
Canada encourages immigrants who are able to settle and sustain themselves economically and contribute to the economy. If you have at least one year of skilled work experience you are deemed more likely to be able to assimilate into the Canadian labour market. Many Canadian immigration programs assign a point value for skilled work experience.
Foreign work experience – With good official language proficiency (Canadian Language Benchmark Level [CLB] 7 or higher)
|Years of experience||Points for foreign work experience + CLB 7 or more on all first official language abilities, one or more under 9|
(Maximum 25 points)
|Points for foreign work experience + CLB 9 or more on all four first official language abilities|
(Maximum 50 points)
|No foreign work experience||0||0|
|1 or 2 years of foreign work experience||13||25|
|3 years or more of foreign work experience||25||50|
Take the IRCC free assessment to find out if your work experience may improve your application for Canadian immigration.
Do you have a valid Canadian job offer?
A Canadian job offer may enhance your eligibility for certain immigration programs. But first read the general requirements for working in Canada here Working in Canada.
You can get points if you have a job offer of at least 1 year from a Canadian employer. You must get the job offer before you apply to come to Canada as a Federal Skilled Worker.
A valid job offer has to be:
- for continuous, paid, full-time work (minimum of 30 hours/week) that is:
- not seasonal
- for at least 1 year
- in an occupation listed as Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B of the NOC.
IRCC must be convinced that:
- you’re able to do the job offered to you
- you’ll be able to become licensed or certified when in Canada (if the occupation is regulated in Canada)
To get 10 points for a valid job offer, 1 of these situations must also apply:
You currently work in Canada on a work permit and you meet all of the following conditions:
- Your work permit is valid both when you apply and when the permanent resident visa is issued (or you’re allowed to work in Canada without a work permit when your visa is issued).
- We issued your work permit based on a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada in an occupation listed under skill type 0 or skill level A or B of the NOC.
- You’re working for an employer named on your work permit.
- That employer has made a valid job offer based on you being accepted as a skilled worker.
You currently work in Canada in a job that is exempt from the LMIA requirement because of 1 of the following:
- an international agreement (such as, the North American Free Trade Agreement) or
- significant benefit to Canadian interests or
- a federal-provincial agreement
You must also meet all of the following conditions:
- Your work permit is valid both when you apply and when the permanent resident visa is issued (or you’re allowed to work in Canada without a permit when your permanent resident visa is issued).
- Your current employer has made a valid job offer based on you being accepted as a skilled worker.
- You are currently working for the employer specified on your work permit.
- You have been working for that employer for at least 1 year, continuous full-time or part-time equivalent.
You must meet all of the following conditions:
- You currently don’t have a work permit, or don’t plan to work in Canada before you get a permanent resident visa.
- An employer has a LMIA.
- That employer has made you a valid job offer based on that LMIA and on you being accepted as a skilled worker.
You must meet all of the following conditions:
- You have a valid work permit or are allowed to work in Canada without a work permit.
- You’re currently working in Canada in a job that is exempt from a LMIA, but it is not under an international, federal-provincial agreement or because of significant benefit to Canadian interests.
- An employer other than the one you are currently working for:
- has a LMIA
- has made you a valid job offer based on that LMIA and on you being accepted as a skilled worker.
LMIAs and valid job offers
- You can’t get a LMIA (your employer must do this for you).
- Employment and Social Development Canada will only confirm valid job offers for occupations listed in skill type 0, or skill level A or B, of the NOC.
Do you have friends or relatives in Canada?
If you have a friend or close relative in Canada, you might be able to obtain Canadian permanent residence under the federal Family Class program. As well you will get points from the Provincial Nominee Program available in the province where they are resident.
Relatives in Canada
You, or your spouse or common-law partner, have a relative who is:
- living in Canada
- 18 years or older and
- a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
This relative must be a:
- your or your spouse’s sibling (child of your or your spouse’s parent)
- your or your spouse’s aunt or uncle (by blood or marriage)
- your or your spouse’s niece or nephew (grandchild of your or your spouse’s parent)
The IRCC free assessment will help you identify programs that your application may benefit from these family relationships.
Have you previously studied or worked in Canada or doing so now?
Individuals who have previously worked/studied, or are currently working/studying, in Canada have a path to becoming Canadian permanent residents via the Canadian Experience Class and Quebec Experience Class programs.
You get points if you or your spouse/partner completed at least 2 academic years of full-time study (in a program at least 2 years long) at a secondary or post-secondary school in Canada. Full-time study means at least 15 hours of classes per week. You must have stayed in good academic standing (as set out by the school) during that time.
You also get points for working in Canada if you did at least 1 year of full-time work in Canada:
- In a job listed in Skill Type 0 or Skill Levels A or B of the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
- And, with a valid work permit, or while authorized to work in Canada.
You may receive additional points if your spouse or partner did at least 1 year of full-time work in Canada on a valid work permit or while authorized to work in Canada.
Do you have a high net worth or significant financial resources?
The federal and Quebec governments operate a number of business investor and entrepreneur immigration programs that offer excellent opportunities for obtaining Canadian permanent resident status. In addition many provinces offer business or investment streams under their Provincial Nominee Programs. Some of the popular ones include Canada Start-up Visa Program and Quebec Immigrant Investor Program”.
Do you own and/or manage a business?
Your business ownership or managerial experience may enhance your eligibility for federal and provincial governments business investor and entrepreneur immigration programs. Start your free assessment today. You just may have the qualifications for many of these programs.
Additional info on ways to immigrate to Canada
- Permanent Resident Status
- Work Permit (Visa)
- Find Canadian Jobs for Immigrants
- Student Visa
- Canada Post-Graduate Work Permit Program
- Canada Visitors Visa
- Family Class Sponsorship
- Parents Sponsorship Program
- Canadian citizenship requirements
- Refugees and Asylum Program
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