Immigration is a key driving force that allows Canada to supplement its shrinking labor market, supplement an aging population and provide safe haven for those in need. It’s the foundation for Canada’s tradition of shielding those fleeing persecution and welcoming others with talents and skills that enhance life here.
But immigrating successfully requires a clear understanding of the procedures and documents required for specific immigration programs. Knowing where you fit in and what you need to prepare are important if you are going to succeed.
Which Immigration Category Applies Best to You?
Different immigration categories have varying individual requirements and each classification is distinct. Are you a student, a business professional, a skilled or semi-skilled worker, a caregiver or someone who is self-employed? Your status will determine the category under which you apply and whether your application is accepted. Most importantly, thorough preparation is essential to ensure a smooth transition.
Let’s examine some of the application options so you can decide which immigration program is best for you.
Family Sponsorship: If you’re a Canadian citizen, are registered under the Canadian Indian Act, or a permanent resident, you’re eligible to sponsor relatives or adopted children. Required documents may vary, depending upon the country where the relative to be sponsored resides. Spouses, partners, children; parents or grandparents; and adopted children and other relatives may be eligible. Fees range from $150 for a child to $1,050 for a spouse.
Caregivers: The Home Child Care Provider Pilot or Home Support Worker Pilot are two ways you can apply for permanent residence if you meet eligibility requirements and have a job offer. These programs enable applicants to work in Canada temporarily, are occupation-specific and do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Fees range from $1,050 per application and $150 per child.
Express Entry (Canadian Experience Class): If you want to live permanently in Canada and apply for a skilled job, you may be eligible to apply under Express Entry, which offers three immigration options. To find out if you are eligible, you will have to answer questions about nationality, age, language ability, family members, education, work experience and any details on a job offer. Required documents may include a passport, language test results, a written job offer or a provincial nomination. The Federal Skilled Trades Program oversees the issuance of Skilled Trade Certificates.
Fees range from $1,325 per application, $825 to add a spouse and $225 per child.
Provincial Nominees: This program is for workers with the skills, education and work experience to contribute to the economy of a specific province or territory. A medical exam and police check are required for all applicants. The application process may be paper-based or online, depending on the province. Fees range from $1,325 per application, $825 to add a spouse and $225 per child.
Atlantic Immigration Pilot: Atlantic Canada includes the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Employers in Atlantic Canada hire foreign skilled workers who want to immigrate to Atlantic Canada and international graduates who want to stay in Atlantic Canada after they graduate through this program. A language test is required, as well as an Educational Credential Assessment. Fees range from $1,325 per application, $825 to add a spouse and $225 per child.
Start-Up Visa: This program targets innovative entrepreneurs who can create jobs for Canadians and compete on a global scale. A language test is required and to apply, your business must be supported by any of these three: venture capital funds, angel investor groups or business incubators. Fees range from $2,075 and higher.
Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot: This program is for skilled foreigners who want to work and live in one of the participating communities. Participants must meet IIRC requirements and have one year work experience that includes all the essential duties listed in your National Occupational Classification (NOC). Other requirements focus on language and education, and may be community-specific.
Refugees: Asylum-seekers must have a legitimate claim or they will be removed from Canada. Refugees may seek protection in Canada if they are fleeing torture, risk to their life, or risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment. Eligibility is determined by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB).
Quebec-Selected Skilled Workers: Skilled workers who want to become permanent residents of Canada and live in Quebec should consider this program, which has a two-stage application process. First, apply to the Government of Quebec for a Quebec Selection Certificate. If chosen, then apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for permanent residence. Fees range from $1,325 and higher.
Self-Employed: This program allows the self-employed to immigrate to Canada permanently. Applicants must have relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics and be willing to make a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada. Applicants are assessed on experience, education, age, language and adaptability. A medical exam and police certificate are required. Fees range from $2,075 and higher.
Agri-Food Pilot: This program helps address the labor needs of the Canadian agri-food sector. This program provides a pathway to permanent residency. Requirements include eligible Canadian work experience in an eligible occupation, a full-time job offer, language and educational requirements and the ability to maintain temporary residency status. A temporary residency permit costs $200, a work permit $155, among other fees.
Good Preparation Equals Immigration Success
Whether you’re a caregiver hoping to work as a nanny in Quebec or a lawyer hoping to practice elder law in Ontario, the success of your Canadian immigration journey hinges on planning and preparation.
Compile your documents carefully and have a clear understanding of your program’s specific requirements so you can successfully navigate your trek across the Canadian border to a new life.
One of the best ways to be sure you are prepared is to speak to an immigration consultant about your specific situation, qualifications, and goals when you immigrate. By working with a Canadian immigration expert, you greatly increase your chances of success.