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How to Immigrate to Canada : Comprehensive Guide

Are you considering moving to Canada? There are several reasons to be considering a move. There are new employment opportunities, education, and a change of scenery, among others. Whatever your reason, Canada ranks highly as one of the best places to live globally. 

The government of Canada allows thousands of eligible migrants to come into the country to live and work yearly. The numerous opportunities, quality of life, and protection available to migrants in Canada make it a very appealing destination to individuals and families looking for green pastures. 

The amount of information about immigrating to Canada available online may be overwhelming and even misleading for people who do not know the specific information to look out for.

This article is a comprehensive guide for information on immigrating to Canada, and it answers some questions that prospective migrants might want answers to.

Why Immigrate to Canada in 2022?

Canada opens its borders to about 300,000 migrants annually; this number is one of the highest among countries globally. The number of people seeking to migrate is going to keep increasing as the opportunity to live in Canada comes with many benefits, which include:

Excellent Education System: 

Immigrants can rest assured that they can enjoy some of the best quality of education globally, as Canada boasts a very high quality and affordable education. The country is also home to many of the world’s best universities and was rated the most educated country in 2021. 

Children who are citizens of the country enjoy free education at Canadian public schools.

The country’s post-graduate education is also among the best and the most affordable globally. Canada is regularly ranked in the top four in terms of enrollment of international students. Students can access affordable student loans or take part in tuition reduction programs.  

According to the Student Aid Estimator, students can earn up to CAD 6,000 in grants and up to CAD 11,900 in Canadian student loans. These figures may change depending on a preset of conditions that can be fine-tuned to each individual’s current condition.

High-Quality Healthcare: 

Canadian citizens and permanent residents enjoy quality healthcare. Each province and territory has a different health plan covering various medical services. Citizens and permanent residents in these provinces can apply for health cards to access public health insurance. This public health insurance covers all essential medical services for everyone eligible. 

In Canada, insured citizens and permanent residents can visit hospitals and medical clinics at no cost. 

According to CEOWORLD Magazine, Canada ranks 23rd in the countries with the best healthcare systems in 2021, focusing on crucial factors like infrastructure, Professionals, and Healthcare costs.

High Standard of Living: 

Immigrants to Canada are guaranteed to enjoy the high quality of life that the country is well known for. Canada is ranked 16th in the United Nations List of countries by Human Development Index. The country ranked 1st in the list of countries with the best quality of life in 2021. Canada also boasts one of the most reduced crime rates globally.

 Thus, Canada is a perfect place to live, work and raise a family. The country has some of the best criminal regulations and security protocols that ensure illegal activity is at the barest minimum. Its gun violence and homicide rates are significantly lower than most countries. The Global Peace Index for 2021 ranked Canada as the 12th most peaceful nation globally.

Need For Immigrants:

While having one of the world’s lowest birth rates, Canada also has an aging population. Therefore, the country needs immigrants to contribute to economic development. As of October 2021, per Statistics Canada, Canada recorded 358,604 life births across the country, resulting in the lowest number of children born in 15 years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Immigrants make up a significant amount of Canada’s workforce. Otherwise, the country’s labor force will shrink, resulting in low economic growth. In other words, the Canadian government needs immigrants to strengthen the tax base. This will likely have a compounding effect on social programs to help fund social programs such as schools, universal health care, roads, and retirement funds. 

This need for Immigrants is vital to why the country’s government constantly opens its borders to foreign nationals from all walks of life. It is an opportunity that anyone seeking to migrate should take advantage of.

Citizenship and Permanent Residence: What to know?

Who is a Canadian Citizen?

A person is said to be a Canadian citizen if they were born in the country or become a naturalized citizen. A Canadian citizen if one of their parents is a Canadian citizen and has been a citizen before they were born, or if they were adopted outside Canada by a Canadian citizen.

In addition, citizenship cannot be revoked or removed. All people born in Canada automatically qualify for Canadian citizenship. Foreign nationals can also become naturalized Canadian citizens by applying with Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Who is a Canadian Permanent Resident?

A Canadian permanent resident is usually a citizen of another country who the Canadian government has given permanent resident status due to their immigrating to Canada. This person is, however, not a Canadian citizen. Permanent residents are usually citizens of other countries. 

A Canadian permanent resident can get most privileges that Canadian citizens enjoy, such as universal health care coverage. They can also live, work or study anywhere in Canada. A Canadian permanent resident can apply for Canadian citizenship and has equal protection under Canadian laws. 

However, permanent residents are not allowed to vote or run for a public office; they are also not allowed to hold sensitive positions in government.

Top 5 ways to Immigrate to Canada 

Canada boasts more than 60 immigration pathways for people seeking to migrate. Some of these pathways are more popular because they are tested and trusted. The top 5 routes to immigrate to Canada include

1. Express Entry

The Express Entry pathway caters to skilled workers who want to immigrate to Canada. Individuals under this type of immigration pathway contribute to Canada’s economic development in the long term. Three programs fall under this particular immigration system: 

Federal Skilled Workers’ Programme

The Federal Skilled Workers program is an immigration program for skilled workers with work experience outside Canada who plan to immigrate to the country permanently.

Federal Skilled Trades Programme:

The Federal Skilled Trades Program targets workers who want to become permanent residents in Canada based on possessing adequate qualifications in a skilled trade.

Canadian Experience Class

The Canadian Experience Class caters explicitly to skilled workers who have work experience in Canada and want to become permanent residents.

The Canadian express entry is a highly competitive points-based immigration system. Prospective immigrants’ applications are judged with points awarded based on several factors, including

  • Language proficiency
  • Level of Education
  • Work Experience
  • Age

For immigrants who get an application invitation, they and their accompanying family members can apply directly for Canadian permanent resident status. The processing of applications takes sixty days. 

2. Canadian Provincial Nominee Programmes (PNP)

Provincial Nominee Programmes are mini-immigration programs organized by various provinces and territories in the country. Immigrants can pick a region to work and settle down among Canada’s twelve provinces and territories, except for Quebec, which does not have a provincial nominee program.

This program allows provinces to implement immigration programs based on their economic needs. Therefore, each area in Canada has different PNP streams that may target students, small business owners, or health workers.

3. Family Sponsorship

Prospective immigrants who have relationships either by marriage or birth with Canadian citizens or permanent residents can immigrate via the family sponsorship track

This track caters to spouses, children, common-law partners, parents, relatives, adopted children, and even grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents. 

4. Business Immigration

People who own or intend to start businesses in Canada have many options that may entitle them to fast-track the Canadian immigration process.

Intending immigrants may be able to immigrate to Canada through the Federal Start-Up Visa Programme, which grants permanent residence to immigrant entrepreneurs and assists them to become established in Canada. The federal startup visa program encourages immigrant entrepreneurs to grow their companies in Canada.

 Successful applicants are encouraged to connect with private sector organizations in Canada to increase their chances of getting funding, guidance, and expertise in opening and operating their businesses, creating new jobs, and driving up economic growth in Canada.

Another option is the Federal Self-Employed Persons Programme. This program allows foreign nationals with valuable experience in the fields of Athletics or cultural activities to become permanent residents in Canada. For this process to be successful, Individuals applying for the Self-Employed Persons Program must be capable of making a “significant contribution” to Canada’s cultural life or sports in Canada.

5. Atlantic Immigration Programme

The Atlantic Immigration Programme is a pathway to Canadian permanent residence. It is for skilled foreign workers and international graduates who want to work and live in any of Canada’s 4 Atlantic provinces. This program helps employers in Atlantic Canada hire qualified candidates for jobs they have been unable to fill locally. Intending immigrants must receive a job offer from a designated employer in Atlantic Canada to participate in the program.

What Other Immigration Programmes Can I Apply For?

Asides from the immigration programs listed above, intending immigrants can choose any of the following Canadian immigration programs depending on the one they are most eligible for

1. Caregivers Visa

A Canadian caregivers visa allows immigrants to move to Canada to become permanent residents or temporary workers. The pilot programs allow applicants to obtain temporary work permits while waiting for permanent residence.

The Home Child Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot offer permanent residency to caregivers who meet the following criteria:

  • A minimum of 24 months of full-time qualifying work experience in the 36 months immediately preceding your application.
  • A Language test results shows that you met the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 5.
  • At least a year of Canadian post-secondary education or its equivalent in another country.
  • They also need to Pass an admissibility check (health, criminality, and security).

These pilots are 5-year pilot programs that let qualified caregivers and their family members come to Canada intending to become permanent residents.

1. Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

Rural and Northern Immigration is a community-driven program. Its purpose is to extend the advantages of economic immigration to rural communities by building a path to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers who may wish to work and reside in one of the participating communities.

Categories of eligible people include those who can apply: 

  • Have qualifying work experience.
  • Meet the language requirements.
  • Meet the educational requirements.
  •  Have enough money to support their settlement in the community.
  •  Intend to live in the district
  • Meet the individual community requirements

Prospective immigrants interested in applying to the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot must meet the following provisions as specified by the federal government of Canada. Additionally, they must also meet the requirements of the participating community to which they choose to apply.

The federal government requirements include:

  • Applicants must have an offer of full-time, non-seasonal, and permanent employment from an employer based in one of the participating communities. The job must also be a match to their prior work experience.
  • Candidates must have a minimum level of 12 months of full-time work experience. They may also have completed a minimum post-secondary or master’s degree level of education for two years at an institution in one of the participating communities.
  •  Candidates must demonstrate minimum language proficiency. The candidate’s required English or French language proficiency level depends on the candidate’s National Occupation Classification qualifying work experience skill level. As proof of language proficiency, candidates must submit results from an approved language test completed not more than two years before applying.
  • All candidates are required to complete a minimum level of education that is equivalent to a Canadian high school diploma. Candidates who completed studies outside of Canada must submit their Educational Credentials Assessment with their application.
  • Applicants must also provide evidence that they have enough funds to settle down in Canada successfully. However, this requirement is waived where the candidate already has some employment in Canada.
  • Additionally, all applicants must intend to settle in whatever community they are applying to. 

General Process and Requirements to Immigrate to Canada

The general process for migrating to Canada could prove tedious for individuals unfamiliar with the process.

 However, one can divide the process into five easy steps:

  • Ensuring immigration eligibility by ensuring that you meet language requirements, have sufficient funds, and do not have a criminal record.
  • Choosing the immigration program that you are most eligible for: Canada has a vast array of immigration programs. It is in the best interest of the prospective immigrant to select a program that plays to their application strengths to increase their chances of migrating.
  • The third step is collecting all necessary documents such as the applicant’s passport, medical certificates, language test results, proof of funds, and letter of invitation (where applicable).
  • After, the next step is to pay the application processing fees and submit the necessary documents either online or physically.
  • The final step is for the application to undergo a detailed review by a Canadian immigration officer. The officer will consider all the information and documents provided by the applicant and assess them against current selection standards. It is important to note that every immigration program has different waiting times.

While the requirements for migrating to Canada may vary as some immigration programs may require additional documents or qualifications, the general conditions for migrating to Canada include:

  • A Passport: This document enables the appropriate authorities to confirm the holder’s identity. The passport must be easy to read. 
  • Proof of Funds: the applicant needs to provide letters from their financial institution(s) that show their current bank and investment accounts printed on the institution’s official letterhead. The proof of funds shows that the applicant has enough to support themselves and their dependents where applicable.
  • Proof of employment offer ( where applicable ): this is useful for confirming an applicant’s offer of arranged employment and verifying that the applicant meets the program requirements. It is also essential for appropriate screening to ensure the absence of fraud. For the employment offer to be considered valid, it must be full-time for at least one year.
  • Proof of Canadian Education or an Educational Credential Assessment Report: Applicants who have Canadian education experience must present the certificate issued by the institution attended. Applicants educated outside Canada need to submit an Educational Credential Assessment Report, which is necessary to verify that the foreign degree corresponds to a Canadian one. The assessment report aids foreign migrants in the search for jobs.
  • Police Certificates: the purpose of this is to confirm whether the applicant or their family members have criminal records or present a safety risk to Canada.

How Does the Canadian points-based Immigration System Work?

Canada operates a points-based immigration system for its Express Entry immigration program. The express entry program relies on a points-based selection system to choose the most qualified workers for immigration to Canada.

For the express entry program, prospective candidates get points for their age, language proficiency, level of education, and work experience. This system is the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), and an applicant’s total points are known as their CRS score. A CRS score amounts to a total of 1200 points. 

The Canadian government performs an Express Entry draw every two weeks, where the applicants with the highest scores will be invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence. A cutoff score is determined in the Express Entry draws, and every applicant who scores more immigration points than the cutoff is eligible for permanent residence. 

Every invitation cycle has a set of instructions posted online at the time of the invitation round; the Express Entry system uses these instructions to invite candidates from the pool.

Can you Immigrate to Canada Without A Job Offer?

There are options available to immigrate to Canada without having a job offer.

The first and the most popular way you can immigrate to Canada without a job offer is through the Express Entry scheme. It is perhaps one of the most common immigration schemes that Canada offers. Part of the distinction of this scheme is that you do not need a job offer to apply. 

You are only required to have the necessary qualifications to do those jobs and not necessarily have a job offer. As a prospective immigrant, your qualification or experience provides you with the points to determine your eligibility for Express Entry in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)

Pathways to Obtain Permanent Residency for Hong Kong Nationals

Canada implemented a temporary public policy for Hong Kong nationals resident in Canada that came into effect on June 1, 2021, and will last till August 31, 2026. This policy provides a pathway to permanent residence for eligible applicants and their dependents. The policy has two streams, which are:

In Canada Graduates

For Hong Kong nationals to be considered eligible for this pathway, they must:

  • Hold a valid passport issued by either the government of Hong Kong or the British government.
  • Be present in Canada at the time of application and when they get permanent residence.
  • They must have valid temporary resident status in Canada and intend to live in any province or territory in Canada other than the province of Quebec.
  • Additionally, they must have graduated from a post-secondary designated learning institution in Canada 3 years before applying for permanent residence.

Canadian Work Experience

This pathway requires applicants to:

  • Have a valid passport issued by either the Hong Kong government or the British government.
  • Applicants also need to be physically present in Canada at the time of application and when they get permanent residence. 
  • have valid temporary resident status in Canada, and plan to live in any province or territory in Canada other than the province of Quebec
  • They should also have graduated not more than five years before the application. 
  • Finally, an applicant must have worked in Canada for at least 12 months full-time or an equal amount of part-time hours in the three years before the application.

United States Citizens Options to Immigrate to Canada

There are numerous migration programs available for citizens of the U.S. who wish to migrate to Canada. Many people take advantage of these options to work, study, or permanent residence in Canada yearly.

U.S. citizens looking to work in Canada can choose between various options depending on their situation. An example of such possibilities is the facilitated process to temporarily help U.S. citizens work in Canada under the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), formerly known as NAFTA. The agreement has four categories for professionals, traders, investors, and Intracompany transfers.

The express entry route and the Provincial Nominee Programme are other popular ways that citizens of the United States get permanent residence in Canada. 

Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have spouses, common-law partners, children, or relatives in the United States can sponsor them to Canada. 

Additionally, U.S. citizens and residents can become permanent residents in Canada to start up a business or take over an existing business.

How Much Does It Cost To Immigrate To Canada in 2022?

The cost of immigrating to Canada differs as each immigration program has its financial requirements. It is essential to verify the financial needs of your program before applying.

For example, those applying under humanitarian and compassionate grounds as refugees or asylum seekers have no financial requirements. The only time financial information is necessary under this category of immigration is if the refugee is a privately sponsored applicant. 

In that case, the Canadian group supporting the refugee must demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to finance the resettlement of the refugee applicant.

Business immigration programs like the startup visa program require substantial investment in Canada. It may require the applicant to have invested in a Canadian company or require an applicant to get support from a designated organization.

The cost of immigrating to Canada with the Express Entry program is about CAD 1,325 for a single applicant or CAD 2,650 for couples. This does not include the settlement funds that many candidates must show to be eligible for Canadian immigration. Additional fees may apply if a candidate is applying through a provincial nominee program. 

Proof of settlement funds is not required for those with a Canadian job offer or applying under the Canadian Experience Class.

How to Appeal your Immigration Decision?

An applicant can appeal an immigration decision from either outside or within Canada. 

Often, the applicant will receive a refusal of a visitor visa or a student visa in a general decision letter. An applicant can ask for the written reasons from the Visa Officer through filing a Federal Court application or by filing an Access to Information online request.

 It is vital to ask for written reasons before making a fresh application. In doing so, you can address any issues that may have been previously raised by the officer.

Sponsorship appeals and residency appeals are started by filing a Notice of Appeal with the Immigration Appeal Division. The Minister prepares a copy of the application and the decision to send to the parties. 

The Immigration Appeal Division rules require that this Minister’s Record is sent within 120 days. A copy is then mailed to the appellant, the Immigration Appeal Division, and the representative if listed.

The Immigration Appeal Division will then review the record and determine if it can settle the case speedily through Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) processes

The Council may decide to begin this request on their own, detailing why the appeal should be settled through ADR. If the ADR is not available, the alternate route is that the appellant must await a date before the IAD when their case may be heard. This date may take more than a year depending on how many cases are ahead in priority or how many council members are available to listen to appeals.

After the appeal hearing, a Member may give an oral decision granting or rejecting the appeal. If the Member does not decide at the hearing, a written decision is typically sent within six weeks.

How to Prepare For Life in Canada?

As an immigrant starting afresh in a new country, you might find yourself lonely, missing family and friends, or experiencing culture shock. Canada immigration offers pre-arrival services, so you and your family can get free in-person and online services to help prepare for and adjust to life in Canada. 

Pre-arrival services can assist in preparing for your move to Canada, getting your education, work experience, and credentials recognized in Canada, connecting you with employers to find a job, and connecting you with free services after you arrive in Canada. These services also come at no additional cost.

Additionally, there are several tips to help you prepare for life in Canada and to make the process of settling in as easy as possible. They include:

Get Familiar With Your Destination

Knowing the city or province where you intend to settle down is essential. Spend time online and get as much information as you can about life there, the people and culture, recreational activities, transportation options, malls, and grocery stores, among others. 

Getting familiar will help you navigate the settling process faster, and you’ll be on your feet in no time!

Get Your Accommodation As Soon As Possible

It’s essential to find a place to stay within your budget before or shortly after your arrival in Canada. Getting accommodation helps you feel settled and saves you money compared to staying in hotels or short stay apartments. 

According to The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, The average cost of living in Canada is higher in urban areas relative to rural areas.  You can find accommodation on your own by getting in touch with a real estate agent, checking classifieds, or using one of the many online housing providers in the city you are in. The average rent price in Canada is CAD 2730.

Get a Job

If you have not been able to get a job before arriving in Canada, then getting one should be one of your top priorities after you arrive in the country. As an unemployed immigrant, you need to get your past educational qualifications, certificates, and work experience certified. 

This credentials assessment process ensures that your education and experience are equivalent to Canadian education and experience. If your documents are in a language that is not English or French, you will need to get them translated before submitting them.

 After presenting and certifying your credentials, the next step is to tailor your resume according to the job industry you’re applying to; this would help your resume stand out from generic ones.

 Then you must streamline your job search to your specific industry, openings available in your city, and openings that are a good fit for the experience you possess. You may also choose to engage the services of an employment agency if this is more to your taste. 

The government of Canada has a job bank, and you can be sure that openings posted there are legitimate.  

Additionally, a portion of the website is dedicated to finding a job during the Covid-19 pandemic. Getting letters of recommendation from your previous employers will go a long way in boosting your chances. It is also vital to meet and network with those in your industry as much as you can. You can get referrals from them as well.  

In consideration of the previously mentioned information, getting employed in Canada should be relatively easy. Canada has one of the highest employment rates globally with an employment rate of 70 percent.

What are the Top Occupations and Salaries in Canada?

The lure of financial stability attracts hundreds of thousands of immigrants to the country annually. Canada has a wide range of high-paying industries. Industries such as healthcare, I.T., and finance are thriving. 

Generally, what each individual needs to achieve fulfillment in the workplace differs from one person to another. However certain factors such as total take home and available work hours in terms of total volume, flexibility, and value for time are hugely significant in measuring the top jobs and salaries in Canada.

Based on these factors here are the top occupations in Canada, along with their salaries per annum and the work hours obtainable weekly:

Job/CareerWork Hours
Per Week
Take home
(Per Year)
Web Developer36.7CAD 69,000
Human resource managers33.3CAD 89,000
Electrical engineers39.0CAD 92,000
Veterinarians33.9CAD 96,000
Financial advisors33.9CAD 63,000
Pharmacists 34CAD 89,000
Welders39.3CAD 73,000
General laborers33.9CAD 47,000
Aerospace engineers36.7CAD 98,000
Administrative assistants33.3CAD 46,000

How to Avoid Common Problems and Pitfalls While Immigrating to Canada?

Getting used to a new environment is often difficult for most immigrants. We’ve highlighted the prevalent challenges immigrants may face and possible solutions. Thus, ensuring you’re prepared for what lies ahead.

  • Fraudulent Agencies: 

Although the Canadian immigration application process can be done entirely online by yourself, it may prove complicated, and you may be more comfortable employing an agency to help you with the process.

It is vital to vet the agency you choose properly and ensure that they are accredited by Canadian immigration to avoid falling victim to fraudulent individuals. 

  • Weather Conditions 

Moving from a warm country to Canada, notorious for its long and cold winters, can pose a challenge for immigrants. Ensure you dress appropriately for the season. Remember to layer in the winter. 

Additionally, study how the weather patterns vary according to regions to choose the climate that suits you perfectly.

  • Accessing Basic Services

The range and quality of basic services available in Canada will most likely be different from that of your home country. Knowing what services are available and what they are entitled to can be tricky for most immigrants.

Immigrants can be oblivious of their entitlement to health care, legal aid, and access to social services, especially in cases where language is a barrier. 

Therefore, it is advisable to do your research in advance as it makes it easier to access all kinds of services in Canada. It is also a good idea to make friends with fellow immigrants who can show you the ropes. 

What English Exams are Needed to Immigrate to Canada?

To be eligible to immigrate to Canada and gain a Canadian visa, prospective immigrants need to demonstrate their English Language abilities to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) by taking approved English language tests.

Additional FAQs — Canadian Immigration

What Qualifications Do You Need to Immigrate to Canada?

The qualifications a person needs to immigrate to Canada vary according to the immigration program they choose to apply for. 

General qualifications that are required regardless of immigration program include:
Being at least 18 years old.
Be proficient in English or French language.
Possess a secondary or post-secondary education.
Possess sufficient settlement funds.

How Much Money Do You Need to Immigrate to Canada?

As earlier stated, earlier in this article, the amount of money needed to immigrate to Canada depends on your preferred immigration program. 

For example, business immigration programs will require prospective immigrants to spend more money than those immigrating under the caregivers or express entry programs.

Can U.S. Citizens Immigrate to Canada?

Citizens of the United States are allowed to immigrate to Canada.

Some of the easiest ways for a U.S. citizen to immigrate to Canada are getting a permanent job, family sponsorship, startup visa, provincial Nominee Programmes, and express entry.

Additionally, after having held Permanent Resident status for a minimum of 5 years, they can apply for Canadian citizenship.

What is the Easiest Way to Migrate to Canada?

The Express Entry program is considered the easiest way to migrate to Canada. Since the introduction of the express entry program in 2015, it has become a popular immigration stream. 

Its popularity is due to easy migration processes and the fact that it is also the fastest way for skilled workers to migrate to Canada in under six months only. Hence, it is considered the easiest way to get a Permanent Residency in Canada.

How Hard Is It to Migrate to Canada?

If you meet the requirements for the immigration program you’re eligible for, moving to Canada is not a complicated process. 

Because Canada is open to welcoming new immigrants and offers several immigration programs, it’s easier for intending immigrants to qualify for one of the numerous immigration streams. 


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