Before moving to Canada, you must have enough funds. Settlement funds are the suggested minimum amount of money to have on hand to support yourself and your family while you adjust to life in Canada. Many immigration programs require a minimum amount of money in the bank or as an investment to live in Canada. Having enough money to support yourself is critical to applying for permanent residency in Canada.
What are Settlement Funds?
Canadian settlement funds, often referred to as "proof of funds," are financial resources that individuals or families planning to immigrate to Canada must demonstrate they possess as part of their application for permanent residency or other immigration programs. These funds are a crucial requirement to ensure that newcomers can support themselves and their families financially when they arrive in Canada and do not become a burden on the country's social welfare system.
Proof of Funds
The amount of settlement funds required can vary depending on several factors, including the number of family members immigrating, the specific immigration program being applied to, and the province or territory where the applicant intends to settle. These funds are intended to cover basic living expenses such as housing, food, transportation, and other essential needs until the newcomer can secure employment or establish themselves in Canada.
The Canadian government updates the minimum settlement fund requirements periodically to reflect the cost of living in different regions. Applicants are typically required to provide bank statements, investment certificates, or other evidence of their financial resources to demonstrate that they meet the minimum fund requirements. These funds must be readily available and not subject to any specific conditions or restrictions.
Who Needs Proof of Funds
Understanding whether you must provide proof of funds when applying for Canadian immigration is crucial to ensure a successful application. Depending on your circumstances and the specific immigration program you're applying for, you may or may not need to demonstrate your financial capacity.
If you are applying for the following programs, you will need to provide sufficient evidence of your financial status.
Federal Skilled Worker Program
The Federal Skilled Worker Program is one of the pathways to Canadian permanent residency for skilled individuals who wish to live and work in Canada. To be eligible for this program, applicants are required to demonstrate that they have sufficient settlement funds. These funds are intended to cover their initial living expenses in Canada until they secure employment. While there are specific regulations and minimal funds you must prove to have, as you will see below, this requirement may be waived if you have a job offer from a Canadian employer
Federal Skilled Trades Program
Similar to the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program also mandates proof of funds for applicants. This program is designed for individuals with specific trade skills and experience and aims to address Canada's skilled labor shortages. To qualify, applicants must show they possess the necessary financial resources to support themselves and their families upon arrival in Canada.
Who Does Not Need Proof of Funds
While proof of funds is a critical requirement for some immigration programs, there are exceptions. Here are scenarios where you may not need to demonstrate your financial capacity:
Canadian Experience Class
If you're applying under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), you won't be required to show proof of funds. The CEC is tailored for individuals who have already gained skilled work experience in Canada. Since CEC applicants are typically working and living in the country, they are assumed to have already established themselves financially and do not need to demonstrate settlement funds.
Authorized to Work in Canada with a Valid Job Offer
If you are authorized to work in Canada and have a valid job offer, you may not need to provide proof of funds, even if you initially applied under the Federal Skilled Worker Program or the Federal Skilled Trades Program. A valid job offer indicates that you have secured employment in Canada, significantly reducing the likelihood of becoming financially dependent on government resources.
It's important to keep your financial information up to date in your Express Entry profile, as the Canadian immigration system may find you eligible for more than one program. The program you are invited to can sometimes be unpredictable, so maintaining accurate and current financial documentation is essential throughout the immigration process.
Regulations of Settlement Funds
You must also meet certain requirements for the money you use to apply for Canada PR to be admissible.
- When you apply, and if you are granted a permanent resident visa, the funds must be readily available; that is, you can directly access them.
- You'll have to show the immigration official you have legal access to the funds when you arrive.
- You must be able to cover the costs of living for your entire family, including those who will not accompany you.
- You can count your money in a joint account if your spouse is coming.
- If you're using an account solely in their name, you'll need to show that you can access the funds.
- You won't be able to borrow this money from someone else.
- You won't be able to use the equity in your home as proof of settlement funds.
How Much Money You Need
The amount of money you need to support your family when immigrating to Canada is determined by the size of your family. Your family includes:
- Your spouse or common-law partner
- Your dependent children
- Your spouse or common-law partner’s dependent children
You must include your spouse or common-law partner and dependent children in the calculation, even if they are Canadian citizens or permanent residents and not planning to come to Canada with you.
|Number of Family Members
|Funds Required (in CAD)
|If more than 7 people, for each additional family member
If you have more money than the minimum required amount listed in the table, you should list the full amount in your profile or application to ensure you meet the financial requirements for immigrating to Canada.
Proof of Funds Regulations for Express Entry
For those who must meet the settlement funds requirement, proper documentation is crucial.
To satisfy this requirement, you must obtain official letters from banks or financial institutions where you hold funds. These letters must include:
- Listing of Accounts: The letters should list all your current bank and investment accounts.
- Outstanding Debts: Any outstanding debts such as credit card debts and loans should also be clearly mentioned.
If you don't need to provide proof of funds due to being invited under the Canadian Experience Class or having a valid job offer, you must submit a letter explaining your situation. This letter serves as an essential piece of documentation to clarify your exemption.
Why do You Need Settlement Funds?
Settlement funds are vital for applying for permanent residency in Canada. They're not only meant to be used to survive in a new country but to be able to flourish. The immigration authority of Canada, Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), sets out minimum requirements of funds for newcomers for two essential reasons:
- So that you do not have to rely on social assistance and put pressure on the Canadian system
- So that you are not forced to return to your home country because you cannot afford to stay
The Canadian government wants your immigration process to succeed. There are over a million vacancies in Canada that need to be filled. By pulling in workers from all over the world to apply for permanent residency, the government is ensuring the economic future of Canada remains strong.
To be a functional member of Canadian society, you must contribute to the economic system. By ensuring you have enough money to settle in Canada, you'll be able to do this by, for example, renting a house, buying a car or paying for public transport, getting groceries, and more.
Make a list of all the potential expenses you may have in Canada in the first few months after arriving, including administrative, living, transport, and even entertainment costs. While Canada may be an expensive country compared to yours, relate the funds you will need to how much you will potentially earn in Canada when you find a job. Settlement funds will help you live comfortably until you do so.
The Express Entry Route is not the only way to immigrate to Canada, nor is it the only system that requires you to send through proof of funds. For example, the start-up and investor streams have various monetary requirements, not only capital to start a business but personal settlement funds while your business grows.
Here is an example of what you would need settlement funds for:
|Possible Spending in Canada
|What you should budget
|Funds required (CAD)
|Monthly Bus Pass
Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage
If you're applying for permanent residency in Canada through an economic immigration program, check the program's rules to see if you'll need proof of settlement monies. Also, ensure you understand what you'll need to show you have the financial means to sustain yourself.
A team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) can assist you in understanding exactly Canadian Settlement Funds. They can consult you on what documents you need to prove you have enough money to move to the Great White North.
Why Do I Not Need Settlement Funds if I have a Job Offer?
Exemption from the settlement funds requirement when an applicant has a valid job offer in Canada is rooted in the belief that such an offer signifies financial stability and a reduced reliance on social services upon arrival. A job offer not only provides a source of income but also demonstrates the confidence of the Canadian employer in the applicant's skills, leading to faster financial independence.
This exemption simplifies the immigration process for skilled workers, aligns with Canada's economic goals, and reduces the financial burden on newcomers. However, not all job offers automatically grant exemption, as they must meet specific criteria set by the Canadian government and are assessed within the Express Entry system.
Can I Bring Money into Canada?
You can and should bring money into Canada with you. However, if you bring in more than $10,000 in cash, you must declare it in customs. Additionally, Canada will allow the following into the country:
Documents That Highlight Property or Capital Payable
- treasury bills
Documents That Guarantee Payment of a Specific Amount of Money
- bankers’ drafts
- travelers’ cheques
- money orders
How is the Minimum Settlement Fund Calculated?
Every year, the Canadian government adjusts the minimum amount you'll need depending on 50% of the low-income cut-off totals. It would help if you looked into the cost of living in the area where you intend to reside in Canada. Bring as much cash as possible. This will make it easy to relocate to Canada and find a home.