Saudi to Canada Immigration. Canada has become a desirable study destination for Saudi students. According to the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau, over 18,000 medical and non-medical students in Canada were from Saudi Arabia in 2019.
While a large number of Saudi immigrants to Canada enter as students, there are several pathways for Saudis to become a Canadian permanent resident. For example you may immigrate as a skilled worker, as a student, as a refugee, or be sponsored by a family member who is a Canadian permanent resident or citizen. Depending on your qualifications, you may be eligible to immigrate under one of the following categories:
Canada also offers a number of Family Class Sponsorship programs. These programs allow Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor Saudi family members and loved ones for Canadian immigration.
Saudi to Canada immigration – What are the best options?
Later in this post we provide you the step-by-step instructions to apply for a Canadian immigration program of your choice. Before then, let us briefly describe several of the ways you can immigrate to Canada from Saudi Arabia.
In considering ways to immigrate from Saudi to Canada, the following factors may help you to begin to narrow down your options according to your situation and goals.
1. Student Visa path
Saudi students who have applied for and been accepted into a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) may apply for a Canadian Student Visa to come to Canada for the program to which they have been accepted. To be eligible you must meet the following requirements:
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)
Secondary diploma (high school graduation)
One-year degree, diploma or certificate from a university, college, trade or technical school, or other institute
Two-year program at a university, college, trade or technical school, or other institute
Bachelor’s degree OR a three or more year program at a university, college, trade or technical school, or other institute
Two or more certificates, diplomas, or degrees. One must be for a program of three or more years
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.)
Doctoral level university degree (Ph.D.)
Take the IRCC free assessment to see if your education helps you to be eligible for one of Canada’s immigration programs.
NOTE: An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is required to apply for certain Canada immigration programs. World Education Services (WES) is designated by Canada to provide ECAs for degrees and diplomas earned outside of Canada. See more information on WES Canada – ECA.
In order to enter the federal Express Entry pool, candidates must first create an Express Entry profile. A job offer is not required to enter or be selected from the Express Entry pool.
A certain number of the highest-ranked candidates who have submitted their profiles into the pool are issued Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for Canadian permanent residence through regular draws which typically take place every two weeks. A candidate’s CRS score is based on factors such as age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French.
Based on your personal information you will be given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. Your CRS is a numerical value, out of a possible 1,200, determined by your core human capital. This is essentially your age, work experience, educational background, ability to adapt and language skills (see we told you your IELTS and TEF scores are important!).
Once your profile has been completed and your CRS has been calculated, you will be placed into a pool of candidates ranked by their CRS score. The Canadian and provincial governments regularly draw candidates from this pool to issue ITAs based on particular needs and shortages in the country. Candidates with the highest CRS scores get issued ITAs first. So once your CRS score meets the minimum cut-off point for a particular draw you will be issued an ITA. See for example 3400 Express Entry candidates invited for Canada PR.
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.
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
1 or 2 years of foreign work experience
3 years or more of foreign work experience
3. Family Sponsorship path
Saudis who have family members that are already Canadian citizens or permanent residents may be sponsored by relatives to immigrate to 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)
4. Have you previously studied or worked in Canada or doing so now?
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.
5. 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 to Saudis for obtaining Canadian permanent resident status. In addition many provinces offer business or investment streams under their Provincial Nominee Programs that are available to Saudis. Some of the popular ones include Canada Start-up Visa Program and Quebec Immigrant Investor Program.
66. 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.
Steps to Immigrate from Saudi Arabia to Canada
In the following sections we have simplified for you the steps that you need to take to immigrate from Saudi to Canada using a 10-step guide. Follow the basic steps below to get started.
Step 1 Choose where you want to live in Canada;
Step 2 Research for the best Canada immigration program;
Step 3 Pass basic Canada immigration requirements to apply for your visa;
Step 4 Get your documents ready;
Step 5 Take Canada immigration language exams;
Step 6 Find your NOC job (if applicable);
Step 7 Complete a medical exam with accepted medical professionals;
Step 8 Get a police clearance certificate;
Step 9 Complete Canada immigration Biometrics; and
Step 10 Apply for professional Canada immigration and visa assistance
Step 1 – Where to Live in Canada
It is important to research 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 Canada province with best economic factors like jobs.
As described earlier Canadian provinces also also have their own programs and visa programs that are designed to address their own unique human labor needs. Some provinces focus on foreign IT workers while others focus on healthcare workers. Getting nominated under any one of these programs increases your chances of becoming a Canadian permanent resident. See Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP).
Other factors to consider include cost of living in the province, housing and healthcare.
Step 2 – Research Immigration Programs
There are over 80 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 in making your research productive 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, to be reunited with your family, to study as an international student, to get access to a better lifestyle or any combination of these? In the previous sections, we have described many of the pathways, including international student visa, skilled worker and family sponsorship.
Step 3 – Pass General Eligibility Requirements
Here are just a few of the requirements common to all Canada immigration programs:
Your NOC (National Occupational Classification) code and level
Individuals applying for any of the over 80 Canadian immigration programs often ask “what is the NOC”? The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is Canada’s national system developed to define and classify jobs. Many of Canada’s immigration programs use the NOC system to determine if a job or work experience is relevant according to the criteria of the program. It can help you locate information about occupations found throughout Canada’s job market. You can use the NOC to research:
As well, the NOC is often used by employers to help them write job descriptions and identify skill requirements for new job postings.
The NOC is also used by many government agencies (including Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) to identify skills shortages in the Canadian job market.
Canada breaks up job levels into 0, A, B, C, D and E. Your occupation is also categorized by a four digit code, for example, Henry is a plumber and under Canada’s NOC level he is categorized as level B and his four digit code is 7251.
Many Canada immigration programs require that you have at least one year of work experience. See for example the section above, titled “Do you have a minimum of one year of skilled work experience?”
Failure to include ALL the documents required for the Canada immigration program that you have applied to will result in rejection or delay of your application. The documents you need depend on the visa you apply for.
Here is a basic list of documents required for most Canada immigration programs:
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;
Police clearance certificate; and an
ECA (Educational Credential Assessment)
Of course there are several additional document requirements depending on the program. For example, you need these documents to apply for a study permit:
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.
Both the IELTS and TEF test your ability in speaking, listening, writing and reading. IELTS exams are normally 2 hours and 45 minutes long, while the TEF is just 10 minutes longer.
It is important for all candidates who intend to apply for immigration to Canada to acquire high language proficiency and attain the highest language scores possible. This will increase your overall ranking scores on the CRS points system and thus your chances to immigrate to Canada.
English or French language skills are very important to help you settle in Canada. While you are better off with both, you may choose to focus on learning or improving one or the other depending on where you plan to settle in Canada.
If you already speak either English or French, it is advantageous to take the time to learn the other. In many parts of Canada, being able to speak both is an advantage for finding a job and taking part in your community. See Language Portal of Canada for tools and resources to improve your language skills.
Strong English or French skills will help with:
getting a job
going to school
helping your children with school work
meeting and talking to people
getting your Canadian citizenship
To find information about other language training programs funded by the provinces or territories:
When you get your results back, you must make sure that your scores are translated into a score system called the Canadian Language Benchmark for your IELTS. Your TEF results will be translated to another score system called the NCLC (Niveau de compétence linguistique canadien).
Step 6 – Find Your NOC Canada Level and Code
As described earlier, your NOC level and code are crucial for ascertaining which Canada immigration programs you can apply for. Finding your NOC code is very easy and fast through the government of Canada’s website at Find Your NOC. Once on the page, you will see a drop down form with options to enter in your occupation on a small search console like the one below.
You can then find the NOC code and level for your job, for example, if you are a plumber, your level is B and NOC code is 7251.
Step 7 – Do Your Medical Examination
A complete medical examination is required for all Canada immigration programs that involve staying in Canada for more than six months.
NOTE: A medical exam cannot be performed by any doctor. Medical exams will only be accepted if they are completed by a doctor who belongs in Canada approvedPanel Physicians.
Listed below are some of the doctors located in Saudi Arabia who belong to the CPP. For a full list of Saudi panel physicians, visit Find a panel physician.
Mahmoud Al Hassan
Dar Al Afia Medical Group
+966 13 8900505
Hussain Ali Al Nezir
Dar Al Afia Medical Group
+966 3 805 0101 (314)
The First Clinic
+966 92002 9090
The First Clinic
+966 557 472 110
Sulaiman Al Majed
Habib Medical Center
Alwarood Medical Centre
+966 1 470 3355
You should also make sure to bring the following with to your medical exam.
ID or other formal means to identify yourself (Driver’s licence, passport etc);
Any medical reports for pre-existing medical conditions;
Medical reports for IMM 1017E; and
4 passport size photos of yourself
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.
Step 8 – Get a Police Clearance Certificate in Saudi Arabia
To come to Canada at any time you must have a clear criminal record check. To demonstrate this, IRCC requires that you submit a police certificate.
If you are a citizen of Saudi Arabia and you live in Saudi Arabia
A police certificate request letter will be sent to you by mail after your application for Permanent Residence has been received. You must present this letter, along with valid identification and proof of legal residency in Saudi Arabia to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If they approve you, the letter will give you the address to the police headquarters where you must go and apply in person.
If your application is being processed at the Canadian High Commission in London, you are not required to get a police certificate until the London visa office sends you a police certificate request letter with instructions on how to apply.
If you are applying at the Canadian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, UAE, you should submit a police certificate with your application. You can contact the visa office for a request letter by completing the IRCC Web form – Abu Dhabi. Please include your immigration file number if you have one.
For applications being processed at any other office, request letters can be requested by completing the IRCC Web form – Riyadh. Please include the file number, the office where you applied and your mailing address.
If you are a citizen of Saudi Arabia and live outside of Saudi Arabia
You should contact your nearest Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for information on how to get a police certificate.
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 be required to provide Biometrics identification starting December 31, 2018.
Biometric verification will be required from non-exempt applicants once every 10 years.
Canada biometrics requirements help the government to prevent identify fraud/theft, entry of criminals, re-entry of deportees and false identity claims. The Government of Canada reassures that biometrics information is handled with the highest level of security and privacy. On their webiste, IRCC states that all biometrics data collected at a service point is deleted once it has been sent to the Canadian Immigration Biometrics Identification System, where they will be checked by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
The process of giving biometrics is fast and secure. It may take only a few minutes to complete when done at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) or authorized service point.
Biometric data should not be provided before an application is submitted. Bometric details should be given after an application is submitted, fees are paid and a biometric instruction letter is obtained. Alternatively, you can submit your biometric data at the same time you submit your application at a Visa Application Centre (VAC).
To support the expansion of its biometrics program, Canada is opening new Visa Application Centres in countries where biometrics collection demand will grow. There are currently 137 VACs worldwide that provide biometric collection. If you are in the U.S., you can go to any of 135 Application Support Centers.
You must give your biometrics in person. You need to make an appointment to give your biometrics.
Step 10 – Use a Canada immigration lawyer or agent
As you can see from this post, the Canadian immigration system, the laws and the policies involved are complicated, technical and frequently changing. Errors can have devastating and costly consequences for applicants, delaying your process or even causing rejected claims.
Canadian immigration lawyers and agents have the education, training and experience required to navigate these complexities. They also know how to get you through the process right the first time, with the most up-to-date legal knowledge. You can visit Find Canada Immigration Lawyers.
If you decide to use an immigration lawyer or agent for your application, you want to make sure of their capability and ethics. A good immigration lawyer or agent can make all the difference to your application. 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.
Useful Resources for Saudi Immigrants in Canada
The mission of the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau (SACB) is to “enable young Saudi men and women to take advantage of the high quality education and training in Canadian post secondary institutions…by administering scholarships and providing…support services to ensure the cultural, educational, and social welfare of Saudi students and their families in Canada” (saudibureau.org).