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Immigration Policy for Canada

Some people have always dreamed of living in Canada, while others find that they need to move there for reasons pertaining to their family, their work, their education, or other reasons.

No matter the reason why a person wants to move to Canada, it’s important that they know how to apply to immigrate and what to expect, both during the immigration process and after they get to Canada. Here’s what people who want to move to Canada need to know.

Immigrating to Canada

Immigrating to Canada simply means moving there on a long-term basis to live, learn, and/or work in the country. Anytime a person moves to a country where they are not a native with the intention of staying for a long time, they are immigrating.

Immigration is separate from traveling to Canada for tourism purposes, for short-term business reasons, or to see family and friends. People who are immigrating intend to build their own life in their destination country, rather than keeping their life back home and visiting the new country. 

Building a life in a new country includes setting up bank accounts there, finding a home there, building social and business networks there, and more. Being an immigrant means committing to staying in the new country for a long time, sometimes for the rest of a person’s life.

Reasons to Immigrate to Canada

There are a number of reasons why people choose to immigrate to Canada. These include: 

  • Sometimes, people get accepted into an educational program in Canada that offers them opportunities that other programs don’t offer. They may also simply want to attend school in a different country and find that Canada offers them that opportunity.

  • If a person marries someone who lives in Canada or who has Canadian. citizenship, they may need to immigrate in order to live with the person they love. Similarly, people may choose to immigrate to Canada to care for relatives who live there or to be closer to family who live there.

  • People who get jobs in Canada will need to relocate to the country so they can complete their work responsibilities.

  • To flee danger. People who live in dangerous circumstances may choose to enter Canada as refugees. They come seeking a better life in a country where they will be safe and free from persecution.

  • Because they want to. Some people are drawn to Canada and want to live there for reasons that don’t fall into the categories above. They may love aspects of Canadian culture or have Canadian friends with whom they want to be closer.

  • A love for the great outdoors - Canada offers thousands of miles of outdoor space just waiting to be explored. Hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts may choose to move there to get easier access to the country’s natural wonders. 

How to Immigrate to Canada

There are a number of ways to immigrate to Canada. Each person will need to choose the way that works best for them and is specific to their needs and to the reason they want to immigrate to Canada.

The Permanent Resident Visa

Getting a permanent resident visa is the first step toward becoming a Canadian citizen. Individuals will need to look through all of the possible visa entry options for Canada and choose the one that best fits their reasons for moving.

These programs include: 

  • Skilled Immigrants Program (Express Entry)
  • Canadian Experience Class ( CEC)
  • Start-up visa ( for applicants who have a business idea and need someone to fund it)
  • Investors Entrepreneurs and Self Employed
  • Federal Skilled Worker ( FSW)
  • Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program ( FST)
  • Quebec Skilled Workers Program ( QSWP)
  • Family Class Sponsorship Visa

Then, they will need to gather the necessary application materials and submit their application to immigrate to Canada. Once the application is approved, they can move as soon as the visa allows them entry.

After five consecutive years living in Canada, permanent residents will be given the opportunity to apply to become Canadian citizens. For people who love life in Canada, this may be the best option for them.

The Express Entry Program

The Express Entry Program is one of the most popular routes to becoming a permanent resident in Canada. It allows people who have certain skill sets to enter Canada in a manner that is more efficient than most of the visa application programs.

To participate in the Express Entry program, applicants must: 

  • Make sure that they qualify for the program by filling out a short questionnaire.

  • Gather the required documents, including proof of language test proficiency, their current passport.

  • Proof of education.

  • A nomination from a specific province (if the applicant has one).

  • A job offer from a Canadian company, or proof that the applicant has relevant training and work experience to get a job in Canada.

  • Proof that the applicant has sufficient funds to immigrate (the exact amount varies and is subject to change, so applicants will need to update themselves at the time of their application).

  • Create an account on Canada’s official application platform.

  • Check their score on their account. Applicants will be rated in the Express Entry system based on their job qualifications, work experience, etc.

  • Submit their account when all relevant materials are updated.

Applicants with the highest scores or those whose expertise is needed in Canada will get invitations to apply for permanent residence. They will have 60 days from the day of invitation to submit this application. This will require more paperwork and documentation.

What does it Mean to Be an Immigrant in Canada

There are some great things about being an immigrant in Canada. Here are some of the things that people love most about living there. 

  • Canada is known for being safe. While there is no country without crime, Canada’s strict gun laws and people’s general desire to be agreeable means that crime is low and most immigrants feel secure there.

  • Canada has a solid economy. Even with some setbacks due to COVID-19, Canada’s economy is thriving. There are jobs available for those who need them and the economy has been among the best in the world during the pandemic.

  • Canada offers solid educational opportunities. The public schools in Canada are great places for children to receive their education, and there are college and university programs that are among the best in the world.

  • Canada is immigrant-friendly. While getting a visa to Canada can take a while, the country is happy to welcome immigrants from all over the world. With a diverse population and a culture that values learning new things, immigrants feel at home in Canada quickly.

Long Term Visit Versus Moving Permanently

Some people want to try out life in Canada before they choose to move there permanently. There are a number of ways to do this. Most visitors to Canada are allowed to stay in the country for up to 6 months, and it’s possible to extend most of these visas as long as visitors apply for the extension at least 30 days before their 6 months is up.

However, most visas to Canada do not permit the visa holder to work while in the country, which can make it hard to know what “real life” in Canada is like. However, these can be the best ways to experience the country before moving there.

Permanent Resident Versus Citizen

Permanent residents in Canada get to reap the benefits of living in the country, but they do not get Canadian passports and are not citizens. They also have to continue to verify that they are living in Canada and continue to be employed, etc., so that they do not lose this status.

Citizenship does not require this continual verification. In addition, citizens can vote and run for office, which permanent residents cannot do.

Once a person qualifies to become a Canadian citizen, it is up to them as to when, where, and how they pursue this.

Refugees in Canada

Canada welcomes refugees, who it defines as people who cannot return to their home countries because of persecution. People who want to enter Canada as refugees can apply for the Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program, if they are outside of Canada, or the In-Canada Asylum Program, if they are already in the country.

Both of these programs require potential immigrants to undergo a process that will attempt to verify their claims of persecution. These may vary depending on the program applied for, the applicant’s country of origin, and the details of the persecution they claim to be fleeing. 

Throughout this process, Canada aims to be a safe place where refugees can settle. Once claims are verified, refugees are welcome in Canada with open arms.

Being a Resident in Canada

Living in Canada as a permanent resident entitles a person to most of the same rights as citizens have. This includes the right to be protected under Canada’s laws, the right to social benefits that citizens have (this includes Canada’s universal healthcare coverage), and the right to live, study, and work anywhere in the country.

Permanent residents must live in Canada for at least 2 years out of every 5 years. They must also pay the same taxes as citizens on every level, and they cannot hold jobs that require certain high levels of security clearance.

Otherwise, living in Canada is a similar experience for permanent residents and citizens alike.

Undocumented Immigrants in Canada

Canada aims to keep its borders secure, for the safety of all who live there legally. While undocumented immigration is on the rise in Canada, it is a relatively small problem there compared to the scope of the issue in its neighbor, the United States.



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