How to Immigrate to Canada in 2021

Are you eligible to move to Canada? Likely, the answer is yes, which may be something you weren’t aware of. When you consider how to immigrate to Canada in 2021, it can seem a little surreal to start, but once you understand how the Canadian immigration process works, there is absolutely nothing to be concerned about.

You best believe that moving to Canada successfully doesn’t only depend on your financial status or even the country you are from. It all depends on whether you meet the required criteria to make the big move. Even if you don’t get your application right the first time, with a little bit of help and reviewing the right information, you will soon.

What is the Fastest Way to Immigrate to Canada?

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While the process to work and live in Canada can be a lengthy one, if you follow the correct procedure and qualify for the program that you would like to apply for, it can take as little as six months to get approved and gain permanent Canadian residency.

With hundreds of thousands of successful applicants annually, you must be curious whether you qualify to move to the Great White North too.

If the answer is yes, you’ll be happy to find that there are many ways to move to Canada, yet the top programs that can get you an approved visa fast include the following:

  • Express Entry (EE)
  • Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
  • Post-Graduate Worker Program
  • Family Sponsorship

These options are all leading programs that are suitable for anyone, from the individual that has relevant skills for a specific role and wants to live in Canada and find a job there to someone that already has a job offer and qualifies for the Provincial Nominee Program.

Before you decide which program is right for you, you must create an online application and complete the required fields to check whether you meet the required score to rank among other successful applicants. Since there are so many people that apply to move to Canada, from who the top countries include India, Pakistan, China, Nigeria, and the United Kingdom, apart from following the correct steps to get your application approved, you must also work towards improving your score to stand the best chance of gaining permanent residency in Canada.

Express Entry (EE)

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The Express Entry Draw is a system designed to meet Canada’s future labour market needs by approving more eligible and skilled people over time from across the world. Since it was introduced in January 2015, Canada set its immigration target to 195,800 applicants through federal economic programs. In 2020, the Express Entry system was set to issue 91,800 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for permanent residency, which was surpassed to 107,950. With over 1.2 million immigrants expected to be welcomed by 2021 and 2023, many people turn towards the Express Entry system to secure a successful application, due to the targets set for Express Entry applicants, which are:

  • 108,500 in 2021
  • 110,500 in 2022
  • 113,750 in 2023

With ongoing improvements, the Express Entry system is expected to issue even more ITA’s within the next couple of years as Canada’s global economic market continues to expand and thrive. The Canadian government welcomes people from all over the world, which aids in the country’s rich cultural diversity as they continue to build the greatest immigration system in the world.

How Does Express Entry Work?

The Express Entry system involves a two-step process that includes submitting your profile and once you do successfully, receive an ITA. Your profile must include your language test results, educational credentials, and a passport or travel document for it to be considered eligible. If you receive an ITA, you must accept the invitation within 90 days and submit additional documentation, which includes reference letters from each previous employer, identity documents, medical examination results, and clearance certificates.

If you have a tertiary education with skilled work experience, along with moderate proficiency in English, French, or both, you are considered an ideal candidate for the three different Express Entry programs, which include:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTW)
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

For a successful Canada Express Entry application, it is necessary to do what you can to obtain a high score if you want the chances of your application getting accepted the first time to increase. If you do not score high enough, you can improve your English and French language skills and retake either or both tests to improve your eligibility score. Additionally, you can also work on obtaining more skills that suit the field of work you are in, which can potentially get you a job offer from Canada faster. These are just two ways to improve your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.

If you are a skilled worker, you must meet the following requirements to be deemed eligible for Express Entry:

  • Have a minimum of one year of continuous full-time experience in a skilled occupation in the last 10 years.
  • Demonstrate on a language test the minimum score on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB), which is 7 in English or French.
    1. Completed a post-secondary education that gets assessed against Canadian standards.

With these minimum requirements, you can apply to Express Entry as an eligible skilled worker. Although you do not have to meet all of these requirements to receive an ITA, it is in your best interest to meet them as you will stand a much greater chance of getting a Canadian visa to become a permanent resident of Canada.

Express Entry Points Breakdown

By achieving a higher CRS score, you are far more likely to get an ITA. Selection factors that could potentially give your application a boost among other applicants include:

  • Being under 30-years old, which is favoured, yet you can be up to 44-years old to get the best result.
  • Hold a minimum of one Bachelor's or Master’s degree, yet two are favoured.
  • Demonstrate a moderate to high English or/ and French language proficiency.
  • Have a minimum of three years as a skilled worker.
  • Additional factors
    • The highest language proficiency or being bilingual in English and French
    • A Master’s degree or Ph.D.
    • Work or education experience in Canada
    • A sibling living as a resident in Canada
    • Arranged employment from a company in Canada
    • Nomination from a Provincial Nominee Program

Express Entry candidate profiles can remain active and rank against other candidates for up to 12 months. The higher you score, the more likely you are to also receive your results faster.

  • The CRS score is broken into four sections:
Section A
Criteria Maximum Points Awarded (with Spouse) Maximum Points Awarded (without Spouse)
Age 100 110
Education Level 140 150
Official Language Proficiency 150 160
Canadian Work Experience 70 80
Section B (Spouse or Common-law Partner)
Criteria Maximum Points Awarded
Education Level 10
Official Language Proficiency 20
Canadian Work Experience 10
Section C
Education Maximum Points Awarded
Good language proficiency + a post-secondary degree 50
Canadian work experience + a post-secondary degree 50
Foreign Work Experience Maximum Points Awarded
Good language proficiency + a post-secondary degree 50
Canadian work experience + a post-secondary degree 50
Certificate of Qualification (trades occupations) Maximum Points Awarded
Good language proficiency + a post-secondary certificate of qualification 50
Section D
Criteria Maximum Points Awarded
Sibling living in Canada 15
French Language Proficiency 30
Post-secondary Education in Canada 30
Arranged Employment 200
Provincial Nomination 600

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

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As another popular program, the Provincial Nominee Program is more focused on recruiting people from countries abroad. Since Canada is struggling to cope with the fast growth of the economy, the country needs skilled workers fast, which means that if you are qualified or skilled in an in-demand occupational field, you are likely to get accepted to immigrate to Canada and receive job offers fast.

Apart from applying for an existing role in your field, Canada also offers incredible opportunities for professionals that would like to develop in their career. The Provincial Nominee Program targets to welcome between 64,000 and 81,500 immigrants in 2021. With 80 PNP programs to choose from, there are many options to look at, which can be advised by a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) to choose the best program for you.

Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program works by nominating immigrants that want to live and work in the country, ultimately with the purpose to immigrate to Canada. To start the process, a candidate is required to choose a province that they wish to live in. This province will influence the applicant’s application for nomination and based on its labour and immigration needs, decide whether the applicant is eligible to move and settle in the specific province.

The 6 most popular Provincial Nomination Programs

  • Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)
  • British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)
  • Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP)
  • New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NW PNP)
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NL PNP)
  • Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (OINP)

People who apply for the Provincial Nominee Program can apply for the skilled worker PNP. This requires a job offer from a local employer, work experience in the relevant province or territory, and be adaptable to the province.

Alternatively, you can apply for the business immigration program, upon which the candidate must have the intention to establish a new business, invest money, or enter a joint venture with a local business in the relevant province.

What is the Duration of the Application Process?

The first step of the PNP application process requires a candidate to get approved by a province of choice. This step can take anywhere between two weeks to nine months, which depends on the province. To gain PNP approval from a province is also referred to as being “nominated” by a PNP.

Once you have received approval, the next step is to provide police and medical clearance certificates, along with security checks documentation, which can take between six to eight months. With this step completed, the PNP can assist a nominee to get a temporary work visa before moving to Canada.

There are two options to choose from when applying for permanent residence through a PNP for Canadian immigration, which includes the following:

  • Direct application to a province/ territory
  • Express Entry-linked process

The direct application process to a province or territory, once submitted, can take anywhere between 15 to 19 months to get feedback on whether it has been approved, while the Express Entry application process, which includes two pathways, including expression of interest and application through a PNP Express Entry stream can take anywhere between six to eight months.

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Can I Immigrate to Canada Without a Job Offer?

Generally, the best way to immigrate to Canada without a job offer is through programs within Express Entry which are the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). There are two other programs that are not as well-known to be the answer to this particular question. They are the Post-Graduate Worker Permit and the Family Sponsorships Program. Both programs qualify because you don’t need a job offer to be eligible for either program.

What is the Post-Graduate Worker Permit (PGWP)?

The Post-Graduate Worker Program (PGWP) is designed to help international students who have completed a qualification from a Designated Learning Institute (DLI) obtain an open work permit that will allow them to work for any employer in Canada.

Many international students apply for the PGWP because it gives them the chance to work and live in Canada. The open work permit validity is based on the length of the study program and can be valid for a maximum of three years.

You will have a maximum of 180 days after you receive your final marks to apply for the PGWP. If your study permit happens to expire before you can get your final marks, the two options you have are:

  1. apply for a visitor record to stay in Canada longer, or
  2. leave Canada and apply for your PGWP

If you stay in Canada and let the permit expire, there will be additional fees to restore your status as a student to be eligible to apply for the PGWP. It would be best to not let that happen to avoid extra costs.

What Are the Requirements for PGWP?

To qualify for the Post-Graduate Worker Permit you must have:

  • Completed a study program (degree, diploma, or certificate) at a DLI for at least 8 months;
  • Been a full-time student in Canada for each semester; and
  • Graduated from a public post-secondary school (college, trade/technical school/university; or
  • Graduated from a Canadian private school that provides degrees under provincial law (as long as it leads to a degree as authorized by the province).

Ensure that your passport is valid for the length of your PGWP otherwise you’ll only be issued a PGWP that’s valid until your passport expires. To extend it you’ll need to apply on paper.

How Do I Immigrate With a Post-Graduate Worker Permit

The Post-Graduate Worker Permit will allow you to gain beneficial Canadian work experience and therefore qualify for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). And qualifying for the CEC means that you could be one step closer to being a permanent resident in Canada.

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) was developed for international graduate students to make the shift from temporary to permanent residence in Canada. The application process is done through the Express Entry system for those who express interest in immigrating to Canada.

Those who express interest must have one year of skilled Canadian work experience. The work experience must be:

Work Experience for the CEC

  • a full-time position; or
  • the equivalent time in a part-time position;
  • legally obtained in Canada; and
  • jobs defined by the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC) as level 0, A or B.

Family Sponsorships

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Family sponsorship is a great way to immigrate to Canada in 2021 and is growing in popularity. Even when the pandemic was making its way through the world, Canada had over 24,000 new permanent residents arriving through the family class program within the first six months of 2020.

The Family Sponsorship Program allows adult permanent residents or citizens to sponsor a relative or spouse for immigration to Canada. When sponsored by an eligible family member there are two main advantages:

  1. You’ll move to Canada as a Canadian permanent resident; and
  2. You can move to Canada without a job offer.

Below we mention specifics and requirements for sponsorships of a spouse, partner and dependent children.

Who You Can Sponsor
Your spouse Your common-law partner Your conjugal partner
Your own child Your spouse or partner and their children Dependant children

Children qualify as dependants if they’re under 22 years old and don’t have a spouse or common-law partner.

Who Is Eligible to Sponsor?

You can sponsor your spouse, partner or dependent child if:

  • you are 18 years or older.
  • You’re a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act
  • If you’re a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show that you plan to live in Canada when the persons you want to sponsor become permanent residents.
  • You’re able to prove that you’re not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability
  • you can provide for the basic needs of any persons you want to sponsor

As a sponsor you will need to make a promise that you’re able to take care of the person you’re sponsoring financially, this promise is known as an undertaking. The undertaking commits you to:

  1. provide financial support when your family members become permanent residents; and
  2. repay any provincial social assistance your sponsored family might have received during that period.

There’s also the sponsorship agreement which is a document stating that you and your sponsored family members agree that:

  1. you as a sponsor providing for the basic needs of sponsored family members, and
  2. the person being sponsored will make effort to support themselves and their family members

The length of the undertaking depends on the age of the person you sponsor, the relationship to you and where you live. Below is a table demonstrating the period of each sponsor type.

Length of undertaking for all provinces except Quebec
Person you sponsor Length
Spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner 3 years
Dependent child (biological or adopted) or child to be adopted in Canada under 22 years of age 10 years, or until age 25, whichever comes first
Dependent child 22 years of age or older 3 years

The entire application process for the Family Sponsorship takes around 12 months but can be longer depending on the country you’re immigrating from.

Did You Know?

Spouses can work in Canada under Sponsorship Programs

This is yet another advantage of the family sponsorship program because it’s designed to allow spouses to work in Canada while waiting for their applications to be finalized. However, this part of the program is only for individuals who are already living in Canada under a temporary visa.

With all the immigration programs mentioned to make the move to Canada a real possibility, let’s take it a step further and look at living costs.

Cost of Living in Canada in 2021

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When relocating to Canada it’s important to research the city you’ll be living in. The cost of living is very important as you don’t want to fly across the world only to find you aren’t living the high quality of life you expected due to expenses.

The cost of living in Canada varies depending on your lifestyle, the city you’re living in, family size and many more variables. There certainly are ways to live modestly at an affordable cost.

Below is a comparison table of four affordable cities in Canada for 2021. Please note that the table shows an estimate and not the actual amount.

CRS Points For Canadian Work Experience
Expenses Thunder Bay, Ontario Halifax, Nova Scotia Edmonton, Alberta Abbotsford, British Columbia
Rent (3 bedrooms) $ 1,614 $ 1,656 $ 1,505 $ 1,814
Utilities $ 295 $ 172 $ 225 $ 110
Monthly Bus Pass $ 71 $ 83 $ 98 $ 56
Groceries $ 360 $ 340 $ 305 $ 350

Is Canada a Good Place for Immigrants?

Canada is considered one of the best countries for any immigrant to work and live in. Why? It’s simple. Canada treats everyone equally regardless of their race, culture or religion. How amazing is that?

Now, this can be especially important to someone who is from another country and trying to make Canada their new home. Beyond wanting a better life for yourself and your family in terms of education, healthcare and better opportunities. There is also the need to feel safe, accepted and a part of the community you are living in, this is what Canada is so well-known for.

The overwhelming inclusion everyone feels in Canada and the acceptance of cultural diversity.

Now that you’re aware of the many ways of how to immigrate to Canada in 2021 and why it’s such a great idea, the next thing to do is to click the link below and see which immigration program you’re eligible for!