By now you may have read that moving to Canada is not easy. Yes, it’s true that there is a lot of paperwork involved, a lot of forms to fill out and it can get quite expensive, but, you need to consider the payoff.
A quality of life unlike anywhere else in the world; safety, acceptance, opportunity and equality. The best things about living in Canada is a long list, one that we could add to almost continuously. If you want to move to Canada in 2021, one of these options will work for you, so see if we can figure out which.
The Canadian government intends to make 401,000 immigrants permanent residents of Canada this year, excluding the hundreds of thousands of temporary workers and international students on their way. The first step would be to get an understanding of your options. With over 100 visa and immigration programs, which route to take can seem like a difficult choice. Ultimately, there is a perfect choice for you. So let’s consider the 5 most accessible ways to start your life in Canada before you begin your journey.
- Express Entry System
- Immigration Pilot Programs
- Entrepreneurship Immigration Options
- Family Sponsorship
- Study in Canada
In 2020, the Express Entry System processed over 100,000 successful permanent residency applications. This was largely due to the travel barriers making access to the other programs almost impossible. While the other immigration programs are all back for this year, it is likely the Express Entry will continue to champion the Canadian immigration system.
Apart from being sponsored by a family member, Express Entry is the only program that allows foreigners to apply for and obtain permanent residency without an employment offer in Canada. The process begins with creating an online profile on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. You will be scored using a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) on information you provide such as work experience, highest level of education and age. You will then be entered into a pool of applicants under one of three programs, who you are ranked against based on your CRS score. Draws are typically held twice a month and candidates with the highest scores are selected.
If you are one of the successful candidates, you will be issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency. As long as you can provide the supporting documents for your application, you will be issued permanent resident status, and can travel to Canada to start your new life.
A major advantage is that you do not require a job offer to apply either, although you are ranked against other applicants using a CRS score. A job offer will add valuable points to your score.
Federal Skilled Worker Program
The Skilled Worker Program allows foreigners who have at least one year of continuous work experience and/or a qualification to apply for permanent residency in Canada. This program is for people who work in managerial or professional roles. Examples include but are not limited to IT workers, engineers, medical professionals, architects, marketing and finance workers and so forth. Other general requirements you will need to meet to qualify for this program include:
- Scoring a minimum of 7 on one of the Canadian Language Benchmark Tests (CLB) in all four categories; reading, writing, listening and speaking.
- An Education Credential Assessment (ECA) to show that your qualification/s meets the Canadian standard.
- You will need to show proof of funds, that you have enough money for yourself and your family to make the transition and settle in Canada without any assistance.
Federal Skilled Trades Program
If you have at least two years of experience or a qualification as a skilled trades worker, you may be eligible for the Skilled Trades Program. The trades groups that are eligible for this program are as follows:
- Industrial, electrical and construction trades
- Maintenance and equipment operation trades
- Supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production
- Processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators
- Chefs and cooks
- Butchers and bakers
While there is no formal education requirement for this program, having one would improve your CRS score and your ranking. If you do have a qualification, such as a red seal certificate, have an ECA done to show your training meets Canadian standards.
You will need to score at least a 5 on your CLB for speaking and listening skills, and a 4 for reading and writing skills.
Make sure you also have proof of funds, with enough money for you and your dependents to support your transition and settlement in Canada.
When you arrive in Canada, you will have your trade assessed by the professional body in the province you wish to live and work in. All trades workers in Canada must be registered with their trades’ provincial body.
Canada Experience Class
The Canada Experience Class is only applicable if you have at least one year of experience working in Canada, and said work experience is in an occupation eligible for one of the above categories. You will need to meet the same CLB test and education requirements as is applicable to your occupation class. This program’s applicants receive preference over the other two. Foreigners who graduate from Canadian universities or colleges and then continue to live and work in Canada often apply for permanent residency through this program.
Provincial Nomination Program
Working in conjunction with the Express Entry System, is the Provincial Nomination Program. Each province has its own immigration program, with its own immigration streams for entrepreneurs, semi-skilled workers and skilled professionals and trades workers. If you fall into the latter category, you can create an expression of interest on your Express Entry profile in a particular province. If your occupation is in demand, or the province believes you will be an economic asset, they will issue you a provincial nomination.
A provincial nomination would add 600 points to your CRS score out of a total 1,200. This, as you can imagine, means an automatic ITA.
In 1997, only 1 in 10 immigrants in Canada settled in provinces outside of British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario. Today, that number is almost 4 in 10. This is in large part due to the progressive and attractive ease with which permanent residency can be achieved through these Canadian immigration pilots, which are designed to bring the economic benefits of immigration to other areas of Canada.
Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot
This is a community-driven pilot made up of 11 small cities and towns across Canada. There is no educational requirement (except as required by your job) and no skill level requirement. All that is required is that you secure a job offer in one of the participating communities in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta or British Columbia. You can then apply for a recommendation from your community, which will motivate your application for permanent residency to the IRCC.
You must have at least one year of work experience (does not have to be continuous) within the last three years, or have graduated from a post-secondary institution within one of the communities from a program which was at least two years or longer.
There is also the language requirement, this is a requirement for every program. You cannot get permanent residency in Canada without taking a CLB test. However, for some programs the requirement is lower than others:
- Managerial and professional occupations - CLB level 6
- Skilled trades occupations - CLB level 5
- Semi-skilled occupations - CLB level 4
Proof of funds for you and your dependents to show you can afford to travel and settle in Canada. If you are already living and working in Canada when you apply to this program, you won’t need to show proof of funds.
You must intend to live and work in the community that recommends you on a permanent basis.
Designed to address the needs of Canada’s agriculture and food industry, this program offers farm and food processing workers with permanent, non-seasonal jobs an opportunity to become permanent residents of Canada. The pilot will run until May 2023.
If you have at least one year of eligible Canadian work experience within the last three years in one of the eligible occupations listed below you can submit your application. If not, get a job offer, a temporary work permit and get to work.
Make sure you also meet the additional requirements; CLB level 4 and a high school diploma (ECA required). If you’re applying from outside Canada, you’ll need proof of funds too.
Eligible industries for the program are:
- cattle ranching and farming;
- hog and pig farming;
- poultry and egg production;
- sheep and goat farming; and
- other animal production.
There are limits on the amount of permanent residency applications processed each year per occupation, so it is important that you get your experience and your application in as soon as possible. Eligible occupations and the amount of permanent residency spots up for grabs every year are:
|Farm Supervisor or specialized livestock worker||50|
|Industrial butcher or retail butcher||1,470|
|Food processing labourer||730|
|General farm worker||200|
Atlantic Immigration Pilot
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) was created with the intention of helping employers in Atlantic Canada hire foreign workers who want to immigrate to Atlantic Canada, without all the fuss of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), and international graduates who want to stay in Atlantic Canada after they graduate by offering an easier and alternative route to moving to Canada.
Initially intended to be a three-year program, the pilot was first implemented in March 2017, but then extended for a further two years in February of 2019. This means the pilot could be coming to a close in December 2021, however the program has been quite successful and with the higher immigration target set for 2021 and beyond, it is likely that it will be extended again. Check in on the
This could however mean this year is your last opportunity to apply to this unique pilot program! If you have a permanent full-time job offer in a skilled or semi-skilled position in one of Canada’s four Atlantic provinces; New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland & Labrador, you can apply for permanent residence through either the:
- Atlantic High Skilled Program - minimum one year contract in a managerial or professional role, or a skilled trade; or the
- Atlantic Intermediate Skilled Program - full-time job offer in a job that requires a high school diploma and on the job-specific training.
Keep in mind that for international students who graduate from a designated learning institution in Atlantic Canada, there is the Atlantic International Graduate Program.
Home Child Care Provider Pilot & Home Support Worker Pilot
Calling all caregivers, all you need is two years of experience working in an eligible care occupation in Canada, and you can apply for permanent residency. The old Caregiver Visa program has been separated in two independent pilots. The Home Child Care Provider Pilot is for applicants with job offers in child minding, such as au pairs and nannies, but excluding foster parenting. The Home Support Worker Pilot is for applicants with job offers in home care of elderly or disabled persons, but excluding housekeepers.
The major benefit of this program is that Canadian citizens or permanent residents don’t require a LMIA to hire a caregiver. Another added benefit is that caregivers are granted occupation-specific open work permits, meaning they can change employers and it won’t affect their application for permanent residency, which you must submit when you apply for your work permit. Once you have proof of two years experience working in Canada, send it through to the IRCC and a decision will be made on your application.
Caregivers are also not required to live with the person/s that they are providing the service for.
Immigrate to Canada by starting a business and creating jobs, with the help of a designated organization. Submit a proposal to one or more of the companies listed and if selected, you will get financial assistance for your start-up and can apply for permanent residency in Canada.
Entrepreneur Immigration Programs
If you are an entrepreneur and have a particular province in mind, you can move to Canada and bring your skills with you. All you require is three to five years experience managing or actively owning a business, to meet the minimum net worth and investment requirement (varies depending on the province) and the intention to actively manage the business on a day to day basis.
Typically you will also need to create a job for at least one Canadian or permanent resident, not including any family members who may accompany you or already be in Canada. You must also conduct an exploratory visit to the town or city you will be opening your business in.
International Graduate Entrepreneur Programs
Some provincial nomination programs have immigration streams dedicated to foreigners who graduate from a university or college in said province, who want to go on to establish and operate a business in their province or territory.
Typically, you must have completed a program that is at least two years in length from an institution that provides programs eligible for a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP). This means your PGWP, which you can attain will be valid for at least two years also.
If you don’t already have at least six months experience actively managing or owning a business, you will also need to do this before starting or buying an existing share in a business to applying to your Provincial Nomination Program
The biggest benefit of taking this route, is that there is no required minimum investment amount, unlike the Provincial entrepreneurship programs. Instead you can earn additional points on your application for your provincial nomination depending on the total business investment up to $75,000, which is a far shout from the typical $250,000 of the normal entrepreneur programs
Farm Owner Immigration Programs
Canada is the second-largest country in the world, with a population of only 37.4million people. This means there is a lot of empty space, ideal for farming. The prairie and Atlantic provinces thus have immigration streams dedicated to experienced farmers who are interested in buying and actively running a farm in Canada.
Wheat, canola, barley, corn and soya beans are some of the crops grown in volume across the country. Livestock farming is also a highly in-demand industry. Just be ready for the cold winters, most of the country gets a significant amount of snow during the winter months, which will mean adapting to new farming practices to preserve the integrity of your livestock and/or crop.
If you have a relative in Canada who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and not currently sponsoring somebody else, they can sponsor you to move to Canada. Typically, people are sponsored by a parent, grandparent, sibling or child, but you can also be sponsored by other relatives.
Only certain relatives are allowed to sponsor family members as it comes with the responsibility of supporting the person they have sponsored when they arrive in Canada. Your sponsor will need to show that they can meet their own basic needs as well as your own. No social assistance will be available to you.
A relative such as a niece or nephew, aunt or uncle can sponsor you only if they don’t have a closer family member such as a parent or sibling they could sponsor instead. You must also be related by blood, not marriage. The only exception to the blood rule is adopted children, who can be sponsored by their adoptive parent.
Five of Canada’s universities rank in the top 100 in the world. There is a culture with Canada’s post-secondary institutions to be as competitive as possible with each other, to try to outrank each other. This is good for our education system, but more importantly, this is really good for international students who obtain qualifications from our universities and colleges. People don’t often think of studying in Canada as a pathway to moving here permanently. It is, here’s why.
International students who graduate from designated learning institutions in Canada can be eligible for a Post Graduate Work Permit and permanent residence through any number of immigration programs, such as the Provincial Nominee Program or the Atlantic Immigration Pilot. Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) are colleges and universities who have been granted permission by the Canadian government to accept students from foreign countries.
So, what will you require to study in Canada? Keep in mind that the cost of studying anywhere abroad is fairly high, but your qualification will open a lot of doors for you in Canada. You will need to show that you can cover at least the first year of your tuition, and meet the minimum required amount to support yourself. You will be allowed to work part-time to help pay for your living expenses, and there are other resources available such as student loans and bursaries. Here is an in-depth look at the costs associated with studying in Canada.
The first step, aside from making sure you’re eligible to come to Canada and study of course, is to apply to and get accepted to the university or college of your choice. It can be helpful to enlist the services of an academic advisor for two reasons. The first is to have options, you must know what you want to study, but where you want to study is very important too. You will want to enroll at a DLI that offers a PGWP program, and knowing which schools offer your program of choice, what the costs are and what your student life will be like could be the difference between a good experience and the best experience of your life.
The second is the importance of where you choose to study. If you want to continue living and working in Canada after graduation, it is important to choose a province where your skills will be in demand, where you will find a job with relative ease and where your qualification falls in line with provincial labour demands for permanent employment.
What is Needed to Study in Canada?
|Requirements for Canadian Student Visa|
|Proof of acceptance - the letter of acceptance from your Canadian university or college|
|Proof of identity - in the form of a valid passport or travel document|
|Proof of financial support - you must show that you have access to a minimum of $10,000 CAD excluding tuition to cover living costs in Canada|
|Letter of explanation - why you are coming to study in Canada, and that you understand your responsibilities as student|
|Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) test - to ensure you can cope with the English (or French) lectures and study material|
The new academic year will start in August, the entire process of getting accepted, collecting all your supporting documents and applying for your study permit can take a few months, so if you want to move to Canada this year and start studying, you should get the ball rolling.
Moving to Canada in 2021
There are any number of routes you can take to move to Canada in 2021. Applying for Express Entry would be the most straightforward, but if you don’t qualify there are many other options you can apply through. It’s all about figuring out an immigration strategy that will match up with your needs, skills and resources. If you want to move to Canada this year, and if you are eligible, you can.