Quick Guide to Canadian Immigration
This guide provides a clear and concise overview of the options available to those seeking to immigrate to Canada.
Express Entry Skilled Worker
This is a Federal program, whereby skilled applicants apply to enter a 'pool', and then CIC pick those with the highest points score on the Comprehensive Ranking System and invite them to apply for PR.
In order to qualify to enter the pool, you must either have 67/100 Skilled Worker points (Federal Skilled Worker), or have at least a year of skilled work experience in Canada (Canadian Experience Class).
Once you are in the pool, to be in with a chance of being selected and receiving an invitation, you will need to score above approximately 460-470 as a rough guide. If you don't score enough, then you'll need to look at other visa routes and/or get a job offer and LMIA to boost your points score.
Please note that the Federal Skilled Trades points required are much lower, although calculated on the same grid. To enter the CRS pool under FST you would need at least two years of recent work as a skilled tradesman.
Thanks to Christmasoompa for this step by step guide
Express Entry Skilled Worker route to PR? It's a two stage process.
Firstly you need to check that you score above 67 on this points test to make sure you'd qualify as a Federal Skilled Worker and be eligible to enter the 'pool' of Express Entry applicants - https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/come-canada-tool-immigration-express-entry.html
You'll also need to meet the other criteria i.e. have worked in a skilled job for at least a year, have enough funds in your bank account (for a family of four, current amount is $24083), etc.
To be in with a chance of being selected from the Express Entry Pool, you'll need to be scoring about 460/470 on this test as a minimum (unless you are applying under FSW Trades - see above) - https://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/crs-tool.asp
For both tests, take them as if you've taken an English test (IELTS) and scored maximum points, you can assume that for now as native speakers - there's no point in paying a few hundred quid for tests if you don't score enough anyway. This is just to give you an idea of your scores at the moment.
Once you've taken the above two tests, post on the forum about your points and we can help you work out your next step. https://britishexpats.com/forum/immigration-citizenship-canada-33/
If your company has offices in Canada, you may be able to get an intra-company transfer.
If you have at least 2 years self-employed experience out of the previous 5 years, in a qualifying occupation (cultural/athletic/farming) you can consider this program. [CIC website].
Canadian Experience Class (Now part of Express Entry but worth points and can be invited 'under it')
If you have worked full-time (or the equivalent in part time over a longer period) in Canada for at least 1 years in a Skilled job, then you would qualify for Express Entry under this program, and could be drawn to be invited to apply for Permanent Residency if you have enough CRS points. https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada/express-entry/become-candidate/eligibility/canadian-experience-class.html
If you do not fall in to any other category for immigration, as outlined in this guide, then your only option is to try and find a job offer to get a visa.
If you find an employer who is willing to hire you, the employer can apply to get the job offer approved by the government to be able to hire you. This is in the form of an LMIA, or Labour Market Impact Assessment.
The LMIA route gets you into Canada as it can be used to apply for a Temporary Work Permit. To get the LMIA, your potential employer must pay $1000 and prove that they have advertised the job across Canada and been unable to find a Canadian willing, or able, to do the job.
However, your work permit will have an expiry date between 1 and 3 years after you land in Canada (at which point you will be required to leave unless you have obtained Permanent Residency, or if not, can get a new Temporary Work Permit), and you will only be permitted to work for that employer. Your Work Permit can sometimes be used to apply for Permanent Residence, depending on the Skill Level and province.¹. [HRSDC website].
Sometimes CIC allows certain types of jobs to be LMIA exempt, and there are various categories of workers that fall under this criteria, including intra-company transfers. []
Provincial Sponsorship / Nominee
However, most Provinces in Canada have what is known as Provincial Sponsorship or Provincial Nominee, which allows you to immigrate to Canada through the Province you are living in. The following provinces offer programmes that allow you to be sponsored in with a Work Permit in occupations at a lower skill level.
- Manitoba (Any occupation) [MPNP Eligibility Website]
- British Columbia (tourism/hospitality, food processing and long-haul trucking industries) [BCPNP Entry-Level Route Website]
- British Columbia North East Development Region Only (NOC Level C and D) [BCPNP North East Development Region Entry-Level Route Website]
- Alberta (NOC Level C - Limited list) [AINP Website]
- Saskatchewan (Any level in Designated trade list) [SaskImmigration Website]
ALL Provincial Nominee Programs: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada/provincial-nominees/eligibility.html#websites
If you can secure a place at a university, college or technical institution, you can apply for a study permit [CIC Website]. This will allow you to study in Canada for the duration of your course. Having Canadian qualifications can lead to more CRS points, improving your position in the Express Entry pool [CIC Website].
Family / Canadian Relatives
If your mother or father is Canadian, you may be able to claim Canadian Citizenship.
You may be able to get your Canadian spouse, adult child or grandchild to sponsor you, or possibly another family member (i.e. a sibling, aunt, cousin, etc) if they meet the fairly narrow criteria set out in the aforementioned link.
This varies from province to province, however in some provinces more distant relatives are able to sponsor you into Canada under a Provincial Nominee Program.
Terminated programs: Federal Immigrant Investor and Entrepreneurs, this program has been terminated. On June 19, 2014, applications still in the backlog of the federal Immigrant Investor Program and Entrepreneur Program were terminated.
Edited to add, there are various business investment programs still available for certain other Provinces. More details here: http://www.canadabusiness.ca/eng/page/2783/
There is also the "Start Up" program: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/business/start-up/index.asp
The Quebec Investor Program and the Quebec Entrepreneur Program are not affected.
Quebec Investors Program
To be eligible for this program, you must:
Have, alone or with his accompanying spouse, including de facto spouse, net assets of at least $1,600,000 CAN obtained legally, excluding the amounts received by donation less than six months before the date on which the application was filed. Have experience in management in a legal farming, commercial or industrial business, or in a legal professional business where the staff, excluding the investor, occupies at least the equivalent of two full-time jobs, or for an international agency or a government or one of its departments or agencies;
We define management experience as the exercise, for at least two years in the five years preceding the application for a selection certificate, of duties related to the planning, management and control of financial resources and of human or material resources under your authority; the experience does not include experience acquired in the context of an apprenticeship, training or specialization process attested to by a diploma. Intend to settle in Québec and sign an agreement to invest $800,000 CAN with a financial intermediary (broker or trust company) authorized to participate in the Investor Program.
Quebec Entrepreneur Program http://tinyurl.com/4x3xw4o
Entrepreneur candidate Your experience as a entrepreneur, your ability to successfully carry out a business plan, your efforts to acquire a business in Québec, your assets and their lawful acquisition.
Each province has their own Provincial Nominee Program, and each of these have many different streams. It is worth exploring them, especially as some of them are more 'open' than the Federal programs, so it is possible to get Permanent Residency without a job offer for example. []
International Experience Canada
If you are a UK citizen between 18 and 30 (inclusive - or 18-35 if you are a citizen of the Republic of Ireland) you can enter Canada on a 24-month open visa through the IEC.
See the International Experience Canada article for more information.
See http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Implied_Status_IEC for more information