Canada is one of the top destinations in the world for people looking to start a new life in a new country. Every year, thousands of people immigrate to Canada with the hope of establishing themselves in the great, white north.
Immigrating to Canada is an easy process. You just have to find out which of the many immigrant programs would be right for you to apply through and then follow the simple steps to start your new life in the land of the maple leaf.
Before you get started, here are 7 things you should know before applying to immigrate to Canada.
- A new way of immigrating has recently been introduced.
As of January 2015, potential immigrants with skilled work experience can apply to immigrate to Canada by the new Express Entry system.
Under the new Express Entry system, people who are eligible can fill out an online profile at no cost to be ranked against other potential immigrants in a pool. The Canadian government will invite the top candidates from this pool of potential immigrants to apply for permanent residency. Only the people who get this invitation will be able to apply through this program, though.
Under the Express Entry system, most complete applications will be processed in as little as six months or even less time than that.
- There are a number of programs you can choose from to help you immigrate
Canada has two overall classes of immigrant programs. One of those is Programs for Workers and the other one is Sponsorship Programs. If you fall into one of these broad categories, you can find out which specific program would be suitable for your situation and apply through that program.
Programs for workers include:
- Express Entry for skilled immigrants
- Quebec-selected skilled workers (for people with skilled work experience who want to live in the province of Quebec)
- Provincial nominees (for people who want to go to a specific province)
- Start-up visa (for people who have a business idea and funding for it)
- Self-employed people (for people who want to be self-employed in agriculture, sports, or the arts)
Programs that are not tied to work, include:
- If you have skills in a particular field, you will more likely be able to immigrate under certain programs
Just having specific skills in a field, especially one where workers are needed, will mean you’re more likely to get accepted. People with skills in professional jobs like dentists and architects will usually get preference, followed by people with skills in technical jobs and trades like plumbers and electricians.
However, it’s not just enough to have studied these skills. You must have at least one year (1,560 hours total hours at 30 hours per week) of continuous full-time of paid work experience in your profession within the last 10 years to qualify. You can also have an equal amount of part-time paid work to qualify.
- There is a constant need for doctors and nurses
If you haven’t yet chosen a career, you may want to think about becoming a nurse if you want to immigrate to Canada. There is a nurse shortage right across the country and there are special programs to bring nurses in from other countries. You can greatly fast-track your immigration process by choosing nursing as a career.
Similarly, doctors are in demand in Canada. Many doctor’s offices and hospitals are staffed almost exclusively by immigrant doctors. It’s not uncommon for immigrant doctors to outnumber native Canadian doctors in small towns or cities across the country. So, if you are interested in becoming a doctor, know that it will increase your chances of immigrating to Canada.
- If you speak both official languages, you’ll be much more likely to be able to immigrate.
Canada has two official languages: English and French. If you speak either of these languages, it will increase your chances of being able to immigrate (and if you speak French, regardless of your English ability, you’ll be much more eligible to move to the province of Quebec, specifically). But, if you can speak both of these languages, you increase your chances greatly. Even the vast majority of people born in Canada cannot speak both official languages, so you’ll have a leg up on many native Canadians for things like federal government jobs and other positions where you need to be bilingual in English and French.
- Immigrating to Quebec is almost like immigrating to a totally different country
If you want to immigrate to Quebec specifically, it will be like immigrating to a completely different country. Within Canada, Quebec has different rules and regulations for just about everything, including immigration. It shares the same currency and the same federal government, but it is different from the rest of Canada in that French is its primary language and it has different laws that set it apart from the rest of the country. If you are interested in moving to Quebec, you’ll need to research that province’s specific criteria for moving there.
- You may not even be allowed to enter Canada
If you are among the “inadmissible,” you will not be able to immigrate to Canada and may not even be allowed to enter the country. Most law-abiding citizens will not have to worry about this. You may not be allowed into the country if you:
- are a security risk,
- have committed human rights violations
- have committed international rights violations,
- have been convicted of a crime,
- have committed an act outside Canada that would be considered a crime within Canada,
- have ties to organized crime,
- have a serious health problem,
- have a serious financial problem,
- lied in your application or in an interview,
- fail to meet the conditions in Canada’s immigration law, or
- have a family member who is not allowed into Canada.
With so many ways to immigrate to Canada, and it being such a welcoming country, your chances of getting there are already high. However, you can make it even more likely to immigrate there if you know the right skills to have that will give you a head start.