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Top 3 Ways to Get Canadian Permanent Residency

With the highest immigration targets set over the next three years, people are wondering: what does it take to become a permanent resident of Canada? To answer that, you first need to find an immigration program that is right for you. And with over 100 to choose from, it can get tricky to navigate through the different eligibility requirements, documents, and application processes that differ widely from one program to the other.

To help you get a headstart, we narrowed down the top three most popular ways people move to Canada every year, and explore how you and your family can be next. Below, three ways to get Canadian permanent residency!

Top 3 Ways to Get Permanent Residency in Canada

The following three immigration programs are incredibly popular amongst those who pursue new lives in the Great North. The programs not only admit the most immigrants in Canada but also boast the fastest permanent residency (PR) application processing times. If you’re serious about moving to Canada and living in the second-best country in the world, then these are the paths to get you there!

1. The Express Entry Immigration System

Businesswoman_standing_in_busy_city_Canadian permanent residency

You simply can’t mention Canadian permanent residency without the Express Entry system. It is, after all, the pathway that the majority of Canada’s economic immigrants use to move to the country. This year, 108,000 new permanent residents will be welcomed through this pathway alone. It’s also the fastest way to earn permanent residency in Canada with application processing times of just six to seven months!

Quick Overview


Canada’s Express Entry Immigration System
Quick FactsDescription
Type of programOnline points-based system that fast track Canadian permanent residency for skilled foreign workers
Eligible work experienceNOC A - Professionals
NOC 0 - Managers
NOC B - Technical and Trade Workers
Application processing timeSix to seven months
Associated programsThe Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
The Federal Trades Worker Program (FSTP)
Unique featureInvitations to Apply for PR in Canada are sent to the highest-scoring candidates during bi-weekly draws. See the latest Express Entry draw results here.

3 Steps to Apply For Express Entry Canada

The first step is to check if you meet the minimum requirements of one of three Express Entry programs, namely the CEC, FSWP, or the FSTP. These typically include your years of work experience, level of education, and language skills. If you meet the requirements of an Express Entry program you can then create an online Express Entry profile.

In the second step, your profile will be given a score out of a possible 1,200 points according to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS takes into consideration additional criteria like your age, if you have a job lined up in Canada, if you are a provincial nominee and if you have family members living in the country. The best part is that you can get more points for your level of education, language skills, and years of work experience under the CRS.

Lastly, your profile will be entered into a draw pool every two weeks and the highest-scoring candidates are invited to apply for permanent residency. The secret to success is to ensure that your profile is competitive, and to try and achieve a provincial nomination that can boost your overall CRS score by 600 points!

2. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP)

Man sitting on his phone with incredible view of nature_ Canadian Permanent Residency

If views of colorful harbors, never-ending coastlines, and breathtaking nature sound enticing to you then you may want to start a new life in one of four beautiful seaside provinces, situated along Canada’s East Coast. The AIP is specially designed to fill skills and labor shortages, with the help of immigrants, in the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Designated employers in these provinces can endorse your permanent residency application by offering you a full-time job position.

Quick Overview


The Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP)
Quick FactsDescription
Type of programEmployer driven program that’s designed for skilled and intermediate skilled foreign workers with valid job offers to earn Canadian permanent residency and settle in Canada’s Atlantic region.
Eligible work experienceNOC A - Professionals
NOC 0 - Managers
NOC B - Technical and Trade Workers
NOC C - Intermediate Skilled Workers
Application processing timeSix months
Associated programsAtlantic International Graduate Program
Atlantic High-Skilled Program
Atlantic Intermediate Skilled Program
Unique featureYou can apply for jobs from designated employers in one of the maritime provinces, and if you get a job offer, you can start working in Canada with a work permit while your PR application is being processed.

How to Apply for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot?

The first step is to check if you meet all of the requirements of one of the three programs under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot. The major differences between the programs are candidates’ skills level. For example, if you have at least one year of work experience as a teacher, then you may qualify for the Atlantic High-Skilled Program (NOC A, O, or B).

On the other hand, if you have at least one year of work experience as a truck driver for example, then you may qualify for the Atlantic Intermediate Skilled Program (NOC C).

The third program is designed for international graduates who studied at a designed institution on the East Coast.

In the next step, you need to secure a full-time job offer from an employer in one of the participating provinces. The job offer must be from an employer who is designated, otherwise, you can always ask your employer to become designated. You need a job offer letter as well as a copy of your employer's Confirmation of Designation to apply for Canadian permanent residency. Consult the list of designated employers below:


Designated Employers of the AIPP
Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
New Brunswick
Lastly, if you meet the requirements for an AIP program and have a job offer letter, you can submit your application for permanent residency. There is also an option to start working in Canada immediately while your PR application is being processed.


3. The Provincial Nomination Program (PNP)

Toronto CN Tower_Canadian Permanent Residency

The PNP is responsible for Canada’s second-largest intake of immigrants every year. In 2021, it’s estimated that 80,800 newcomers will earn permanent residency in Canada through this pathway. There are 11 provinces and territories with more than 80 combined PNPs that nominate foreign workers based on the job market needs of their respective jurisdictions. The majority of PNPs favor candidates with valid job offers or work experience in the province in which they wish to live, and sometimes both.


Provincial Nomination Program (PNP)
Quick FactsDescription
Type of programJob market needs driven program that allows one of the 11 Canadian provinces and territories to nominate skilled, intermediate, and unskilled foreign workers for Canadian permanent residency.
Eligible work experienceNOC A - Professionals
NOC 0 - Managers
NOC B - Technical and Trade Workers
NOC C - Intermediate Skilled Workers
NOC D - Labourers
Application processing timeThere is a two-part application process. You must first apply for a nomination from a province you’re interested in, and if you receive a nomination, you need to submit an application to the federal government. Your final application can take about 15-19 months to process if you did not apply through an Express Entry PNP.
Associated programsThere are more than 80 provincial nomination programs! Check-in which province your occupation is in-demand and what program requirements you need to satisfy to earn permanent residency in Canada.
Unique featureSome PNPs are linked to the Express Entry system. This means that you can create an Express Entry profile and still receive a provincial nomination which will grant you an additional 600 CRS points! Even better, your PR application will only take 6 months to process.
How to Apply for Permanent Residency in Canada?

The first step is to achieve a provincial nomination. In which Canadian province or territory do you wish to live? Check if your occupation is in-demand in that province and for which PNP category you may qualify based on the eligibility criteria. Even better, if there is an Express Entry linked PNP that is suitable to you then you can apply by creating an Express Entry profile and sending the province an Expression of Interest (EOI) and if you’re lucky, you may receive a nomination!

When you meet all of the requirements of a Provincial Nomination Program, you can apply for a nomination. If your application is successful, you can use your nomination certificate to submit a final application to the federal government.

Canada Permanent Resident Requirements

Young couple having fun in airport_Canadian Permanent Residency

Discovering which one of more than 100 Canadian immigration programs you qualify for to get a permanent residency visa in Canada is only the first step in your journey. The next step is to collect all of the supporting documents that must be submitted with your PR application. More often than not, most applicants require the following documents:


Canadian Immigration Document Checklist
RequirementDescription
Test results that prove your English or French language abilitiesThere are designated tests for immigration purposes.
A valid passport/travel documentYour passport must be valid during the immigration application process.
Police certificationProof that you do not have a criminal record.
Medical examinationProof that you are in good health and more recently, you need to include a negative COVID-19 test for travel purposes.
Proof of fundsYou must have settlement funds for immigration purposes.
Proof of work experienceYou need an up-to-date resume with contactable references.
Proof that your foreign qualifications are equal to Canadian standardsYou need to get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).

Make Your Journey to Canada Easier

With three incredible ways to live in Canada, it can be difficult to narrow down which route is right for you to achieve your goals. Luckily, you don’t have to go at it alone. Put your Canadian permanent residency application in the professional and trusted hands of our certified consultants.

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