The Canadian immigration process is long and complex with many things to consider before you can submit your application to the government. Ideally, when it’s time to apply, you want to ensure that you stand the best chance of having a successful application and receiving a permanent resident card so that you may call Canada your new home.
Thousands of hopefuls around the world pursue new lives in the vast and beautiful country, and many are successful. The five top countries with the highest success rate between 2017-2019 were India, China, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom. So, where do you even start this incredible life-changing journey? Follow the five steps below to tick all the right boxes during your journey to Canada.
How to Immigrate to Canada in 5 Steps
Step 1: Do You Qualify? Canadian Immigration Eligibility
Are you eligible to immigrate to Canada? To answer this question, you must first check if you meet the minimum requirements to pursue a new life in Canada. We’ll get into the specific immigration programs and their eligibility requirements later.
To begin with, you need to have a decent level of language proficiency in either one of Canada’s two official languages (English or French) to help you integrate into Canadian society that much easier. To prove your language abilities you are required to take a language test for immigration purposes. In addition, you should have enough settlement funds and not be inadmissible to Canada according to Canadian immigration law.
Step 2: Discover Your Path. Top Canada Immigration Programs
In the next step, you need to figure out how you will become a permanent resident of Canada. There are over 100 immigration and visa programs currently available for those who want to settle in the Great North but how do you know which one is right for you? The last thing you want to do is waste your application fees on an immigration program that may be too competitive. The easiest way to determine your perfect path to Canada is with an in-depth eligibility assessment from certified visa consultants.
Find out which immigration program you qualify for to immigrate to Canada with an in-depth assessment expertly curated by our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) or learn more about the top Canada immigration programs below.
Typically, applicants with Canadian work experience or qualifications qualify for even more immigration programs and are favored by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Here are a few other scenarios of favorable applicants:
- Skilled foreign nationals that can speak French fluently
- Skilled and unskilled foreign workers with Canadian work experience
- Skilled foreign nationals with Canadian qualifications
- Skilled and unskilled foreign workers with valid job offers in Canada
- Highly specialized skilled foreign workers
- Skilled and unskilled foreign workers in in-demand occupations
1. Express Entry Canada
The Express Entry immigration system is the most popular path to Canada for skilled foreign workers. In 2021, 108, 500 new residents will be welcomed through this pathway alone. It’s also one of the more competitive ways to move to Canada since it’s a points-based system that chooses the highest-scoring candidates for permanent residency in Canada.
How does it work?
Step 1. Create an Express Entry profile
To stand a chance of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency in Canada you must first create an Express Entry profile online. Depending on your job type (NOC, A, O, or B) and other eligibility criteria such as years of work experience, level of education, and language proficiency, you will qualify for one of the following Express Entry immigration programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- Federal Trades Worker Program (FTWP)
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
Step 2. Increase your profile rank
Your profile will be ranked according to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and you’ll receive a CRS score. The highest-scoring candidates are sent ITAs during bi-weekly Express Entry draws. Here’s where it gets interesting because each draw has different cut-off scores! The lowest ever recorded CRS score was 468 in 2020 and 5,000 ITAs were sent. The ideal CRS score is 500 points and the good news is that you may be able to achieve it by doing the following:
- Get a valid job offer in Canada;
- Increase your level of education;
- Improve your language proficiency scores in English or French or even both;
- Gain more work experience; and
- Achieve a Provincial Nomination
Step 3. Apply for permanent residency
If you receive an ITA then you can upload your supporting documents to your profile and submit a complete immigration application to the IRCC. Learn more about what type of documents you’ll need below.
2. Provincial Nomination Program (PNP)
The PNP is responsible for Canada’s second-largest intake of immigrants every year. According to Canada’s annual immigration targets, 80,800 provincial nominees will receive permanent residency (PR) visas through this pathway in 2021.
How does the Canadian immigration process for PNPs work? In a nutshell, there are 11 provinces and territories that nominate foreign workers based on their job market needs. Ultimately, you need to discover which PNP is looking for someone with your skills and apply to that program. If you receive a nomination then you can apply for PR in Canada. The majority of PNPs favor candidates with valid job offers or work experience within the province they wish to live in, and sometimes both.
What are the most popular Provincial Nomination Programs?
The majority of newcomers to Canada move to the bigger, metropolitan cities in Canada. In fact, two-thirds of the Canadian population lives in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. It’s no surprise then that the PNPs for British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba are extremely popular.
- British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP);
- Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) and
- Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP)
3. Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP)
The AIP is designed for skilled and intermediate skilled foreign workers who would like to settle in Canada’s Atlantic region that is made up of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. To qualify, you must receive a valid job offer from a designated employer situated in one of these provinces. Alternatively, you can always ask an employer who wishes to hire you to become designated and endorse your Canadian immigration application through the AIP.
The AIP manages the following immigration programs:
- Atlantic High-Skilled Immigration Program;
- Atlantic Intermediate Skilled Immigration Program, and
- Atlantic Graduate Immigration Pilot
4. Pilot Programs
Farmworkers, industrial butchers, food processing laborers, and caregivers can immigrate to Canada through the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot and the Home Care Provide Pilots. Canada has an ongoing demand for these workers and makes it easy for them to earn permanent residency after they’ve successfully worked in Canada and received full-time job offers.
Last but not least, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is a new community-driven program designed to attract the benefits of immigration to small communities across Canada. Skilled workers, intermediate skilled workers, and laborers help these communities grow by filling in-demand jobs and starting businesses of their own.
Step 3: What Do You Need? Collect Your Immigration Documents
If you ever wondered why Canadian immigration is such a lengthy process then don’t look further than the stack of documents you need to collect to submit with your permanent resident application. It may very well take you a while to collect them all so if you would like to be prepared, take a look at our Canada Immigration Document Checklist below.
- Valid passport/travel document
- Medical examination certificate for immigration purposes
- Police certificate
- Language test results
- Education Credential Assessment (ECA)
- Valid job offer letter (if applicable)
- Family information (if applicable)
- Proof of previous relevant work experience
- Proof of funds
Why do you need these documents? They are required to support your initial claims. For example, Express Entry applicants who claimed CRS points for their level of education during the draw rounds need to submit proof of their foreign qualifications and get an Education Credential Assessment (ECA) that shows that their education is up to Canadian standards.
Medical examination certificate for immigration purposes
Group A: You need to undergo a medical assessment to prove that you’re not inadmissible to Canada. Only doctors on this list of panel physicians can give you a medical examination certificate for immigration purposes. Simply, select your country of residence to find the nearest doctor in your area. The average cost of a medical exam is $200. In addition, all travelers five years of age or older entering Canada must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. At this time, proof of having a vaccine does not replace a valid test result.
You need to pay an $85 biometrics fee when you submit your application. Then, you’ll receive a letter indicating where you can go to give your biometrics (fingerprints and photo) in person at biometrics collection services near you.
Group B: A police certificate is a statement that you don’t have a criminal record or if you have one, a copy of your criminal record. It can take a while to get a police certificate, so it’s good to get the process started as soon as you’ve collected most of your Group A documents. According to the Canadian government, police certificates must not be older than three months when the applicant submits his or her application.