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Pathways to immigrate to Canada from India

Pathways to immigrate to Canada from India

Pathways to immigrate to Canada from India updated August 23, 2022. India is the leading source country for new Canadian permanent residents, accounting for almost 33% of new PRs in 2021. Indian citizens have over 100 Canada immigration programs to use to immigrate to Canada from India.

Indian citizens and residents want to immigrate to Canada from India for a variety of reasons. These include

  • furthering their studies
  • pursuing their specialized skilled trades
  • looking for a better future for the families, and likewise,
  • searching for career opportunities in the North American market.

For example, you may immigrate to Canada as

  • a foreign skilled worker
  • an international student
  • a skilled professional or
  • be sponsored by a family member who is a Canadian permanent resident or citizen

India immigration to Canada surged despite COVID-19

During the pandemic, Immigration to Canada from India hit a new high this year despite international border closures and public health restrictions. India is the only source country of new Canadian PRs that have sent more immigrants than in2019, the year before the pandemic.

By the end of October 2021, Canada already landed 96,660 new PRs from India. That’s 53,795, or 125% more than in 2020.

In addition, in 2021 some 220,00 Indians received international study permits from Canada. Studying in Canada virtually guarantees work in Canada for up to 3 years after graduation via Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). PGWP also gives Indian students in Canada additional points under many Canadian immigration programs such as the Provincial Immigrant Nominee Programs (PNP).

As well, in 2021 over 10,000 Indians moved to Canada with Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Top 10 country sources of Canadian new PRS in 2021

CountryNumber of New Permanent Residents Up To October
United States9,525
South Korea6,590

Indian is also #1 on Canada Spouse and Partner immigration in 2021

India is now at the very top of Canada’s source of new immigration for spouses and partners. As of 2015, more spouses and partners from the Philippines became Canadian PRs than did Indian citizens. However, India has dominated this immigration category every year since 2015.

In 2021 alone, 10,705 Indian spouses and partners became Canadian permanent residents, 17% of total 64,340 PRs in that category.

Perfect time to immigrate to Canada from India

Canada needs immigrants in order to recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Consequently, Canada is looking for skilled workers and international students to help the recovery effort.

For instance, see Canada announced dramatic increases to Canada’s immigration levels for 2021 to 2023.

See also Canada to spend Millions on immigration to spark economic recovery.

Indian citizens have over 100 Canada immigration programs to use to immigrate to Canada from India. However, the best pathway for you (and family) depends on individual circumstances and goals.

Below is an overview of the popular pathways that Indian citizens are using to successfully apply for Canada PR.

1. Canada Express Entry as a pathway to immigrate to Canada from India

In general, Canada uses the Express Entry system to manage applications for three Canadian immigration programs. These are: the Federal Skilled Worker Class; the Federal Skilled Trades Class; and the Canadian Experience Class.

Express Entry is also the fastest and most popular pathway for newcomers seeking a new life in Canada.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) conducts Express Entry immigration pool draws approximately every two weeks. In each draw IRCC invites candidates who score the cut-off minimum CRS score points to apply for Canadian PR.

Express Entry awards candidates eligibility points using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). A total of 1,200 CRS points is available. You automatically get 600 points if you are nominated by a Canadian provincial government under any of Canada’s Provincial Immigrant Nomination Programs (PNPs). The extra 600 points guarantee that you will receive PR invitation from IRCC.

If IRCC approves your application and you complete the landing process, you will officially become a Canadian permanent resident.

In order to enter the federal Express Entry immigration pool, candidates must first create an Express Entry pool draws profile on IRCC’s official government website.

A job offer is not required to enter or be selected from the Express Entry immigration pool. However, additional Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score points are awarded to those who already have a job.

How the Express Entry system works

A total of 1,200 points is available under Express Entry. A candidate’s CRS score is based on several factors, most importantly

  • age
  • education
  • skilled work experience, and also
  • proficiency in English or French

Note that individual applicant or a couple may get CRS points. Candidates do not need to have any experience in Canada in order to get ITA for permanent residence.

Only a limited number of candidates with the highest CRS points in the pool get Invitations to Apply (ITAs) from IRCC.

Express Entry Application Quick Steps

2. Canada Provincial Immigrant Nomination Programs (PNP)

Canadian provinces do not have the ability to give out permanent residency status. However, they can nominate your for PR if you have a profile in the federal Express Entry immigration system.

As stated earlier, a total of 1,200 points is available under Express Entry. You immediately get 600 points if you are nominated by a province. See Provincial Immigrant Nomination Programs (PNPs).

How does PNP nomination help your Canada immigration application?

The 600 CRS points from a PNP nomination virtually guarantee that you will receive IRCC invitation to apply for PR in an Express Entry draw.

For example, Aarav has a bachelor’s degree in information technology sciences. He has been working in IT development for five years. Aarav has never worked or studied in Canada. He has the necessary Canada English or French language proficiency.

Aarav’s federal Express Entry pool CRS score is 320. However, he recently obtained a provincial nomination through a PNP. As a result IRCC awards him additional 600 points.

Consequently, Aarav’s total CRS score jumps to 920 points! This is well above the minimum CRS score that Aarav needs to get IRCC invitation in a federal Express Entry draw.

3. Indian students pathway to immigrate to Canada from India

International study permit is a very popular pathway to become Canadian permanent residents among Indians.

You can work under certain circumstances while studying. More importantly, after graduating you can obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

PGWP allows you to work in Canada for up to three years after graduating. This is very significant because Canadian work experience will boost your PR application.

4. Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program is also a pathway to immigrate

Indian entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas can immigrate to Canada through the Canada start-up visa program. India is popular for innovative companies who could access Canadian and U.S. markets through Canada’s Start-Up Visa program.

Canada needs entrepreneurs like you to boost its economy and create employment, especially during this pandemic recovery.

Canada’s Start-Up Visa grants Canadian permanent residence to qualified immigrant entrepreneurs. It aims to recruit innovative entrepreneurs to Canada. And it also introduces them to Canadian investors so they can start their businesses in Canada.

In sum, the basic eligibility requirements for the Start-Up Visa program are:

  • a qualifying business
  • commitment certificate and letter of support from a designated entity
  • sufficient funds to meet settlement funding, and
  • proficiency in English or French at the minimum Canadian Language Benchmark level 5

See more about Canada start-up visa program.

Step-by-step guides to immigrate to Canada from India

In the following sections we have simplified for you the steps that you need to take to immigrate to Canada, using a 10-step guide.

Step 1 – Where to Live in Canada

It is important to decide about the best places to live in Canada based on your personal needs. For instance, you need to determine if you want to move to a family friendly province known for the best education systems and daycare programs in the country or if you want to move to a Canadian province with best economic factors like jobs.

Canadian provinces also have their own immigration programs (PNPs) designed to address their own unique human labor needs. Some provinces focus on foreign IT workers while others focus on healthcare workers. Getting nomination under any one of these programs increases your chances of becoming a Canadian permanent resident. See Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP).

The province of Quebec is primarily French-speaking and offers its own immigration program focusing on candidates with high French-language proficiency. Some PNPs also target French-speaking applicants, for example Ontario and Nova Scotia PNPs.

Step 2 – Which Canada immigration programs are you eligible for?

There are over 100 Canada immigration programs in multiple categories and sub-categories. Each program, category and sub-category has its own unique requirements that you need to meet before you should think about applying.

The first step is to be clear about why you want to immigrate to Canada. Ask yourself the following questions. Do you want to come to Canada for work, reunite with your family, study as an international student, get access to a better lifestyle or any combination of these?

Step 3 – Pass eligibility requirements for the Canada immigration program that you chose

It is important that you first assess your potential to meet the eligibility requirements for the Canada immigration program that you desire. This will save you time and most importantly help you focus on what you need to pass eligibility requirements for Canadian permanent resident.

Step 4 – Gather all Important Documents

Failure to include all of the documents required for the Canada immigration program that you have applied to will result in rejection or delay of your application.

Most Canadian immigration programs ask for ID, passport or birth certificate, medical exam results that are not older than a year, IELTS and TEF exam results that are not older than two years, biometric records, ECA (Educational Credential Assessment) and police clearance certificate.

See also proof of acceptanceproof of identityproof of financial supportletter of explanationcertificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) and other documents.

Step 5 – Complete IELTS and TEF Exams

As indicated in Step 3 above, language skills in French and English are a key requirement in virtually all Canada immigration programs. Canada needs you to prove that you can adapt, communicate and use local languages to communicate with your community and the people you work with.

This will also increase your overall ranking scores on the CRS points system and the likelihood to succeed in your application to immigrate to Canada.

See Upgrade your foreign credentials for Canada study or work permit

Step 6 – Get your ECA education assessment

Education is a high value factor under the Canadian immigration points system. You must get all of your certificates, degrees, diplomas, licenses and qualifications verified by accredited organizations to prove that they meet Canadian standards.

See information on where and how to do your foreign educational credential assessment (ECA) done here: Upgrade your foreign credentials for Canada study or work permit

Step 7 – Do Your Medical Examination

All Canada immigration programs that involve staying in Canada for more than six months requires a medical examination.

NOTE: IRCC accepts medical exams only if they are by a doctor who belongs in Canada approved Panel Physicians.

The panel physician doesn’t make the final decision about your medical exam. IRCC makes that decision. If there’s a problem with your medical exam, IRCC contact you in writing.

See complete IRCC information on Canada immigration medical examination requirements.

Step 8 – Get a Police Clearance Certificate

To immigrate to Canada you must have a clear criminal record check. To demonstrate this, IRCC requires that you submit a police certificate.

IRCC has published information on how and where you can get a police clearance certificate in your country. See IRCC: How to get a police certificate – Immigration and citizenship.

Step 9 – Apply for Biometrics

Effective July 31, 2018 Canadian immigration law requires that international students and graduates from Europe, the Middle East and Africa must submit their biometrics (fingerprints and a facial recognition photo) with their applications for visitor, study, and work visa, and for permanent resident status in Canada. Applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific and the America will need to provide Biometrics identification starting December 31, 2018.

For complete IRCC information please go to Find a Biometrics collection point close to you.

Step 10 – Use a Canada immigration lawyer or agent

Although you do not need a lawyer or agent to successfully apply for Canada immigration, it is advisable to obtain one. As you can see from the above steps, the Canadian immigration system is complicated, and frequently changing. Errors can have devastating and costly consequences for applicants, delaying your process or even causing rejected claims.

Also read our “dos” and “don’ts” to ensure you get ethical lawyers and agents and avoid scammers: Avoid Immigration Fraud and Scam; and Finding a Good Canada Immigration Lawyer.