How to Immigrate to Canada from Ethiopia

Ethiopia is a developing country that has steadfastly risen among the ranks of emerging African economies. Its profile has shifted from being known as one among many African nations that struggled to pull themselves out of a state of non-development and indigent quality of life to one of the most promising stories of socio-economic development on the continent.

The country has shifted from a majority rural to urban society and a significant portion of the population has gained affluence as the country's economy has continued to diversify.

Metrics that contribute to general life satisfaction such as literacy and mortality rates, healthcare provision, educational outreach, employment opportunities, adequate housing and law-based governance have improved. Even the spending power of the average Ethiopian has increased.

Yet, even with all of these improved metrics in Ethiopia's general standard of living, the country still struggles to uplift a lot of its citizens from the mire of impoverishment. This has created a rising tide of discontent among many Ethiopians who over the years have taken the bold decision to move to other countries in search of a better life.

Among the popular destinations that they have immigrated to, Canada features prominently among these nations. The following is a brief outline of the history of Ethiopian immigration to Canada.

Ethiopians in Canada

ethiopian in canada

Ethiopians are some of the most prominent people of African descent in Canada. Contemporary immigration of Ethiopians to Canada stretches back to the 1970s, when the first wave of Ethiopian immigrants left the country en masse in an exodus from the government in power at the time.

A majority of these Ethiopians were literate urbanites who settled in the urban regions of Canada, with Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa being the most prominent cities among them. Over three generations, the communities they have formed over the years in these cities are among the most close knit and culturally integrated immigrant communities in Canada.

Ethiopian businesses, community centers, shelter houses, Christian orthodox churches and cultural festivals are abundant, ensuring that no newcomer from Ethiopia would ever feel alienated in their new national home.

Famous Canadians of Ethiopian descent are usually in artistic and athletic industries and includes figures such as The Weeknd, Aida Edemariam, Boonaa Mohammed, Nega Mezlekia, Naya Ali, Ruth B, Ali Ahmed, Simon Bairu, Berhanu Girma and Miruts Yifter.

If you’re Ethiopian and want to join this growing throng of Ethiopians working and living in Canada, we have outlined some of the most popular immigration visa programs that are applicable for Ethiopians to use to move to Canada.

Permanent residency

Permanent residence

Permanent residency status is generally the ultimate goal of foreign nationals that apply to immigrate to Canada. Becoming a permanent resident means you have the right to live, work and study in Canada indefinitely. You are treated as a member of the Canadian population and are afforded all of the rights and responsibilities of the Canadian people.

The two most prominent permanent residency programs are the Express Entry system and Provincial Nominee programs.

Express Entry

express entry

The Express Entry system was started in 2015 by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) which handles all Canadian immigration as a means of enabling skilled foreign workers and their families to become permanent residents in Canada as soon as possible.

Because the Express Entry processing time is as little as six months, the Canadian economy needs skilled workers in many occupations and industries throughout Canada.

According to its website, the Government of Canada is currently on track to meet its annual target of presenting approximately 500,000 immigrants with permanent residency by the end of 2023. A significant portion of these was presented through the Express Entry system.

To gain permanent residency via Express Entry Canada, applicants must create an Express Entry profile. To make this profile, they need to enter the following specific details about themselves:

  • Age
  • Education
  • Language Skills
  • Work experience
  • Marital Status
  • Familial links to Canada

These details are calculated through the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to produce a CRS score. This score is out of 1200 and is calculated based on the above factors, as well as:

  • Skills Transferability
  • French Language Skills
  • If any of their post-secondary education was in Canada
  • If they have a Canadian job offer
  • If they have a Provincial Nomination

Once an applicant’s score is determined, they enter an Express Entry pool. Every two weeks, there is an Express Entry draw where all applicants with a score higher than a certain number are presented with an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency in Canada. The minimum requirements change with each draw, depending on the size and strength of the Express Entry pool at the time of the interest.

Federal Skilled Trades Program

The majority of Ethiopians are trades people with years of experience working in industries such as farming, welding, metalwork, plumbing, fishing and woodworking/carpentry.

Canada is in need of people skilled in all of these trades as its increasingly educated populace continues to shy away from the manual labor intensive duties of these occupations. These shortages need to be addressed and augmented and if you’re one of the skilled Ethiopian tradespeople, you can use the Federal Skilled Trades Program to do so.

To be eligible to apply for the Federal Skilled Trades Programs, you need:

  • A full-time job offer from a Canadian employer for a total period of at least 1-year OR a certificate of qualification from a provincial, territorial, or federal governing body
  • Language proficiency score in French or English measured by the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) or the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC). (Level 4 for writing + reading and level 5 for listening + speaking)
  • At least 2-years of full-time work experience within the last 5 years
  • Ability to demonstrate that you meet the job requirements of your skilled trade
  • You must show that you have enough money for you and your family to settle in Canada unless you have a valid job offer or can legally work in Canada

If you meet the requirements, you’re ready to apply for the program through the Express Entry system by creating your online profile.

Canadian Experience Class

If you have any prior experience working in Canada, then take the opportunity to move there by using the Canadian Experience Class. The three to fourth generation history of Ethiopian immigration to Canada has deepened the cross-transit ties between the two countries.

As a consequence of these familial ties, lots of Ethiopians have been able to obtain work experience in Canada through preferential eligibility offered by family sponsorship programs and temporary work visa programs.

The Canadian experience class offers a pathway to permanent residency status so long as you’re able to fulfill the eligibility requirements regarding:

  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Language skill
  • Admissibility

How to Apply

The application for Express entry programs generally involve:

  • Step 1: Check Your Eligibility
  • Step 2: Calculate Your CRS Score
  • Step 3: Gather Your Documents
  • Step 4: Create Your Express Entry Profile
  • Step 5: Get an ITA, Pay Your Fees and Apply

The application processing fees for Permanent Residency programs includes:

Fee CA$
Application Processing Fee 850
Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF) 515
Include a dependent child (per child) 230

Provincial Nominee Programs

Canada experiences perennial labor shortages in key sectors of its national economy. This extends to its provinces as well, particularly the sparsely populated ones such as Yukon, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest territories ect.

Ethiopians are not averse to living in challenging environmental conditions and living off the land. Even with the improved socio-economic development of the country, a lot of Ethiopians still live a largely agrarian life.

Canada has a lot of abundant agricultural resources that still have yet to be fully utilized. The largely urban nation, which is already sparsely populated, has left the majority of the work required to till the land and capitalize on the nation's agricultural resources to a small percentage of the rural population which continues to dwindle.

Canadian provinces, seeing the writing on the wall for the end of its key industries if they do nothing to address their shortages, have partnered with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to provide Provincial Nominee programs to foreign immigrants who meet the work experience and skills needed in their in-demand occupations.

The following PNPs are the most likely immigration visa programs that Ethiopians can be successful in applying for:

How to Apply

If these programs sound attractive to you then you can apply through these two options:

  • Direct Application Process: Applying for a provincial nomination directly to your chosen province means that you will have to submit a paper application via mail or courier. This is generally a long process and could take anywhere from 15 to 19 months to determine whether your application has been successful.
  • Express Entry Application Process: You can do this either by submitting an expression of interest to the province or territory you want to immigrate to or by applying through a Provincial Nominee Express Stream that has a list of in-demand occupations

Business Immigration

Business immigration

Small business is the lynchpin and bedrock of any economy and Canada is no exception. Ethiopia's economy, like any of the developing countries, has a huge informal economy which is largely propped up by a large population of single staffed small business owners.

Self-Employed Program

Canada has a self-employed immigration visa program which can help the aforementioned self-employed Ethiopias immigrate to Canada. Moreover, for Ethiopians who are self-employed as artists and athletes then the self-employed program is perfect for them since it was specifically designed for people who are in these occupations. The increasing prominence of famous athletic and artistic Ethiopians in Canada has led to

Start-up Visa Program

Canada highly values entrepreneurship and many Ethiopians, determined to make a better life for themselves and bolstered by a heritage of economic self-determination, are some of the most valued foreign small business owners in Canada.

If you’re Ethiopian and want to join the growing throng of business owners in Canada, then apply for the start-up visa program so long as you meet the eligibility requirements regarding:

  • Business requirements
  • Letter of support
  • Language requirements
  • Settlement money

How to Apply

There are specificities that apply to each Canadian business immigration visa bit in general the steps involve:

  • Step 1: Check Your Eligibility
  • Step 2: Get Your Documents Together
  • Step 3: Complete Your Application Form
  • Step 4: Pay Your Fees
  • Step 5: Submit your Application

Immigration Pilots

immigration pilots

Canada, in an attempt to broaden its net of eligible immigrants who can move to Canada initiated a list of pilot programs that can be used to address the needs of particular regions in Canada. The pilots that are most readily accessible to Ethiopians include the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled program, Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot and Homecare Provider Pilots.

Atlantic Intermediate Skills Program

AISP is an immigration pilot that does not require a tertiary education certificate or extensive work experience in order to obtain a Canadian work visa. This is ideal for many Ethiopians who , despite the country's improved statistics regarding literacy rates and access to Education, still largely don’t possess a tertiary education.

Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

Ethiopia is still an agrarian country in which a lot of its citizens live off the land and have lots of generational experience with regards to agricultural rural life. RNIP is an immigration pilot aimed at augmenting the socio-economic status of its dwindling rural communities. Lots of Ethiopians can be eligible to apply for this program and have higher chances of success than if they tried to immigrate to urban Canada using the more popular immigration programs.

Homecare Provider Pilots

Canada’s labor shortage problems extend to caregiving for the elderly and infirm. Homecare Provider Pilots require no work experience whatsoever and thus allows for the greatest possible number of foreign applicants than other immigration programs. If you’re Ethiopian and love to take care of people, then you can use this pilot to immigrate to Canada.

How to Apply

Applying for an immigration pilot is not too dissimilar from the normal application procedure which involves:

  • Step 1: Ensure Eligibility
  • Step 2: Get the Instruction Guide or Contact an Immigration Expert
  • Step 3: Get Your Biometrics in Order
  • Step 4: Pay Your Fees and Submit Your Application

Work Permits

Should you be ineligible to apply for one of Canada’s Permanent residency programs, you can use work permits as a means of gaining temporary residence to live and work in Canada. This temporary residence will help you in the long term by giving you a pathway towards gaining permanent residency status in Canada.

The most applicable work permit programs for Ethiopians includes:

How to Apply

To apply for Canadian work permit, you need to:

  • Step 1 - Gather Documents: You must provide the requisite supporting documentation to prove you fulfill the eligibility criteria
  • Step 2 - Prepare Your Answers: Once you've gathered your external documents, you must fill out multiple forms to obtain work permits
  • Step 3 - Create an Online Account: Once you've gathered your external documents, you must fill out multiple forms to obtain work permits
  • Step 4 - Receive a Personal Checklist: Once you have uploaded your documents and entered all your details, you will receive a personalized checklist of processes you must undertake and the documentation required to prove what you have done so
  • Step 5 - Pay the Visa Processing Fees: Once you have completed your visa application, you must pay the processing fees
  • Step 6 - Submit Your Application: Once you've completed your application and paid all the fees, you can submit your application. Once you submit your application, the IRCC will check if it's complete and that all criteria have been fulfilled

What Canada Offers to Ethiopians

Given the uncertainty of socio-economic life in Ethiopia in recent years, exacerbated by the recent pandemic, Canada as an immigrant destination will provide lots of relief to many Ethiopians due to :

  • Employment Opportunities which are abundant
  • The benefits of permanent residency which include free education and healthcare
  • Educational opportunities at World Renowned Universities
  • You can bring your family with you
  • Be welcomed Into Canada’s Large Multicultural Community

Get Ready to Live Your Best Life in Canada!

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What is the Best Place to Immigrate to Canada as a Citizen of Ethiopia?

Toronto, Ontario is the best place to immigrate to Canada since it is the one place in which Ethiopian citizens can easily assimilate into Canadian society due to it being Canada’s most multicultural city.

Is Ethiopian Culture Featured Prominently in Canada?

Only in the urban metropoles where cultural festivals abound will you easily have access to Ethiopian culture.

Can you Immigrate to Canada as an Experienced Ethiopian Worker?

Canada has a lot of immigration visa programs, streams and pilots that require very little to no work experience.