Canada has always been a popular destination for immigrants seeking a better life and more opportunities. To need to immigrate to Canada has also reached the Far Eastern shores of South Korea. Many South Koreans are attracted to Canada’s stellar credentials in education and healthcare, and the country’s offer of high wages in specialized, high-skilled occupations is also a huge motive for many South Koreans searching for a better life abroad.
There are several immigration pathways to explore for South Koreans looking to make a move to Canada. Canada is one of the most sought-after immigration destinations for South Koreans. If you want to become a part of the wave of South Koreans making Canada their home, here is a guideline on how to apply.
Top Ways to Immigrate to Canada From South Korea
Some of the top ways to immigrate to Canada from South Korea include:
One of the most popular pathways to immigrate to Canada is through the Express Entry system. This program is designed for skilled workers who wish to permanently live and work in Canada. They can do so by applying for the:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
Applicants must satisfy the eligibility criteria based on factors such as a valid job offer, language proficiency and work experience in a high-demand occupation. The Express Entry system uses a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System(CRS) to rank eligible candidates. Those with the highest CRS scores are invited to apply for permanent residency.
Assess your eligibility here with our CRS calculator.
Provincial Nominee Programs
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are another avenue for South Korean immigrants to apply for Canadian permanent residency. Each Canadian province has its own PNP, allowing them to nominate individuals with the skills and experience needed in their specific region.
Eligibility requirements for PNPs vary depending on the province. However, they generally include education, work experience, and language proficiency. Should you receive a provincial nomination, you can apply for permanent residency through the federal government. Receiving a provincial nomination improves your express entry application through its grant of 600 CRS points.
South Korean entrepreneurs and investors looking to establish or invest in a business in Canada may be eligible for the Business Immigration programs. The two main programs under this category are the Start-up Visa Program and the Self-Employed Program.
Start-up Visa Program
The Start-up Visa Program is aimed at innovative entrepreneurs who have the support of a designated organization in Canada. It allows foreign immigrant entrepreneurs to establish or buy businesses in Canada to contribute to the country’s overall employment and economic prosperity.
Althletic or artistic South Koreans can use the Self-Employed program to immigrate to Canada. It allows applicants who demonstrate they have relevant experience being a self-employed artists or athlete to apply for permanent residency in Canada. Applicants must also be willing to contribute artistically or athletically to the country.
Canada has introduced several immigration pilots to attract skilled workers to specific regions that have labor market shortages. These pilots include the following:
- Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP)
- Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP)<.li>
- Agri-Food Immigration Pilot
- HomeCare Provider Pilots
Each pilot program has its own eligibility requirements and application process. These immigration pilots provide a pathway for South Korean immigrants to work in specific industries or regions in Canada and eventually apply for permanent residency.
If you have a close family member who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, they may be able to sponsor you for immigration to Canada. The Family Sponsorship program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their family members to move to Canada. This includes:
- Common-law partners
- Dependent children
Sponsors must meet certain income requirements and be willing to support the sponsored family member for a specified period. This program provides a great opportunity for South Korean immigrants to reunite with their loved ones in Canada.
What to do if You’re not Eligible to Apply for Canada Permanent Residency
If you are not eligible to apply for Canadian permanent residency through the programs mentioned above, there are still options available to move to Canada temporarily while paving a path to permanent residency in Canada.
Temporary Foreign Work Program (TFWP)
The Temporary Foreign Work Program (TFWP) allows South Korean individuals to get an Employer specific work permit. This allows them to work in Canada for a specific employer and for a limited time. To apply for a TFWP, you must have a job offer from a Canadian employer with a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).
The job offer must meet certain requirements, such as offering a competitive wage and provide proof of a genuine need to hire a foreign worker.
International Mobility Program (IMP)
The International Mobility Program (IMP) allows foreign nationals to work in Canada without the need for an LMIA. This program includes various categories, such as:
- Intra-company transferees
- International Free Trade Agreements
- Reciprocal Youth Exchange Agreements
- Bridging Open Work Permit
International students and individuals from countries that have a trade agreement with Canada e.g United-States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, (USMCA) eligible to apply for this program.
The IMP provides opportunities for South Korean individuals to gain Canadian work experience and explore potential immigration pathways to permanent residency.
South Korean students who wish to pursue their education in Canada can apply for a study permit. A study permit allows you to study at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada for the duration of your program.
To apply for a study permit, you need an acceptance letter from a DLI, have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses for the duration of your studies, and satisfy other requirements set by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Studying in Canada can also be a stepping stone toward permanent residency through programs like the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
TR to PR Pathway
If you are already in Canada temporarily using a temporary Canada work permit, you apply with for the TR to PR Pathway which allows individuals to apply for permanent residency.
This pathway takes into account the Canadian work experience, education, and language skills acquired during your time in Canada to assess your eligibility.
How to Apply to Immigrate From South Korea to Canada
After determining the different immigration pathways available for you, go through the following step-by-step application process to immigrate from South Korea to Canada.
Step 1: Assess Your Eligibility to Apply
The first step in the immigration process is to assess your eligibility to apply for a Canadian visa. Each immigration program has its eligibility requirements, so it's important to review the criteria and determine if you meet them carefully.
You must take the following factors into consideration:
- Work experience
- Language proficiency
- Connections to Canada
You can use the online tools provided by the Canadian government, such as the Come to Canada tool, to assess your eligibility for different immigration programs or a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC).
Step 2: Choose a Suitable Canadian Destination
Canada is a vast country with different provinces and territories, each offering unique opportunities and lifestyles. When selecting your destination, consider factors such as:
- Job prospects
- Cost of living
- Cultural diversity
Research the provinces and territories to find the one that aligns with your goals and preferences.
Your chosen destination will affect which immigration visa program you’re eligible to apply for.
Step 3: Apply to an Ideal Canada Immigration Visa Pathway
After assessing your eligibility and selecting a Canadian destination, gather all the required documents and submit your application.
Ensure that all documents are accurate and complete. One of the best ways to ensure this and maximize your chances of success is to seek professional assistance from certified immigration professionals like an RCIC.
Why South Koreans Choose to Make Canada Their New Home
Relations between Canada and South Korea have gradually deepened over the years. Canada has several twin cities with South Korea which immigrants from the country can consider moving to. They include:
- Burnaby and Hwaseong
- Belleville and Gunpo
- Calgary and Daejeon
- Winnipeg and Jinju
- Montreal and Busan
South Koreans have been increasingly choosing Canada as their new home for several reasons that include:
Canada offers higher wages compared to South Korea, making it an attractive destination for skilled workers. With a strong economy and a high demand for professionals in various sectors, South Koreans can expect better remuneration for their skills and expertise.
Canada’s booming tech sector, in particular, has a high demand for software and computer engineers, fields that South Korea, with its high Mathematical literacy scores, has many graduates in.
High-Skilled Worker Demand
Canada has a growing need for high-skilled workers in fields such as:
South Koreans who possess the required qualifications and experience in these areas have a good chance of finding employment opportunities in Canada.
Canada prioritizes a work-life balance. South Koreans who value a healthy work-life balance can find this in Canada, with shorter working hours, longer vacations, and a greater focus on personal well-being.
This provides immigrant South Koreans a relief from the frenetic hustle and bustle of South Korean society, which has some of the longest recorded working hours in the world, often ranking in the top 5.
Canada’s protective labor laws ensure that no worker in Canada is subjected to working hours that exceed the regulated federal limit of 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week.
Affordable Cost of Living
Compared to major cities in South Korea, the cost of living in Canada is generally more affordable. South Koreans can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without high housing, education, and healthcare expenses.
Canada is a diverse and multicultural country that welcomes immigrants from all over the world. South Koreans can find a sense of belonging and community in Canada as the country celebrates and embraces cultural diversity.
Find out more about the diverse cultural events celebrated in Canada.
Canada’s Sparsely Populated Natural Beauty
South Korea is known for its densely populated cities like Seoul and Incheon, while Canada offers vast and untouched natural landscapes. Many South Koreans will be drawn to Canada's breathtaking scenery, outdoor activities, and opportunities to connect with nature. One of the crowning jewels of Canada’s natural wonders that South Koreans can look forward to seeing is the world-renowned Niagara Falls.
Can my Family Members be Processed for Permanent Residence as Part of my Application?
Yes, eligible family members can be included in your application for permanent residence. For example, for business (start-up visa or, economic (FSWP, AIP) immigration, you can include your spouse, partner or dependent child in your permanent residency application, which costs 1,365 CAD.
However, you must ensure that the family member included in your application meets the eligibility requirements set out in that particular immigration visa program i.e FSTP or PNP.
What are the Application Fees for a Canada Visa?
The application fees for a Canada visa vary depending on the type of visa and the number of family members included in the application. For example, for one person, the Express Entry permanent residency application fees amount to 1,365 CAD (includes processing: 850 CAD and right of permanent resident fee: 515 CAD).
Learn more about the most up-to-date information on application fees.
What are the Requirements for Submitting an Application for Permanent Residence as a Permit Holder?
To apply for permanent residence as a permit holder, you must meet the eligibility criteria set by the Canadian government. This includes:
- Possession of a valid Canada work permit or study permit
- Fulfilling the minimum language requirements
- Enough past work experience or education
- Satisfying the specified requirements of your chosen immigration visa program