In order to move on a permanent basis to Canada you will need to apply for permanent residence. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) department has a system for selecting candidates to apply for permanent residency through employment. Another way to apply for permanent residence status is through a family relative who is a Canadian citizen or resident.
Permanent Residency through Employment
Express Entry assists IRCC with the selection of candidates to immigrate to Canada for permanent residency. Eligibility factors are determined through a point-based system. The general time-frame for processing applications is within six months of the date of submission.
Express Entry is an umbrella term for four different programs:
Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
In order to apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you must meet certain requirements to increase your chances of obtaining permanent residence:
- Speak English or French.
- Have at least one year of continuous full-time employment in a skilled occupation.
- Have a permanent job offer from a Canadian employer.
Federal Skilled Trades Program
This program allows individuals with job offers and proper certification in certain trades, to move to Canada. The applicants must have:
- 24 months of qualified work experience
- Proof of basic language proficiency
- Meet minimum threshold set by the Minister
- Canadian Level Benchmark (CLB) 5: speaking and listening
- Canadian Level Benchmark (CLB) 4: reading and writing
- Offers from up to two employers
Canadian Experience Class
Foreign workers who wish to become permanent residents may apply under this immigration program. This program is highly encourage due to foreign workers work experience and adaptation to society of Canada.
The requirements are as follows:
- Meet or surpass CLB
- 5: initial intermediate
- 7: adequate intermediate proficiency
- Within 36 months of application date, have obtained at least one year of skilled, professional or technical work experience in Canada
- Plan to work and live outside of the province of Quebec
Permanent Residency through Family
Family Sponsored Residency
Spousal And Common-law Partner Sponsorship, or Family Sponsored Residency, is an alternative to begin the process for Canada migration without work related experience. A sponsor must fall under one of the following three categories:
- Common-law Partner
- Conjugal Partner
Certain conditions must be followed when sponsored under the Spousal Sponsorship program:
- Two year “legitimate relationship” regulation
- The sponsor must live with the sponsee to prove legitimate relationship for two years or face the possibility of their residency being revoked.
- Sponsor is financially responsible for sponsee.
- Sponsees are barred from sponsoring a spouse in turn for five years after receiving permanent residence.
The cost for the application varies on the reason for applying. If you are applying for Express Entry, under one of the three categories, the fee would be CAD 550. The cost to file a Family Sponsored Residency application is CAD 1,250. You must pay your application fee in full in order for it to be processed.
There is also the possibility of going to Canada on a temporary basis. For example you may work in Canada temporarily under the SWAP Working Holidays, formerly known as the Student Work Abroad Programs. SWAP allows you to work in Canada while studying. North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), allows for U.S. citizens to work in Canada under a temporary Work Permit. The three categories are NAFTA Professional, NAFTA Intra-Company Transfer, and NAFTA Traders and Investors.
There are many ways to immigrate to Canada temporarily or permanently, each requires a plan.