Moni Raad* Recently I got chatting to a friend of mine and we ended up on the topic of Canada’s immigration levels, and whether it’s easy to immigrate to Canada legally.
After using my own first-hand experience and doing some research on the current policies, it turns out there are a few ways to do this, namely: the Express Entry program, family sponsorship, a work visa, Provincial Nominees Programs (PNP), by investing, via trade agreements, through having a work permit, a working holiday, a study permit, a visitor visa, and more.
But are any of these easy? If so, how easy? Let’s take a look!
Are you eligible?
Before choosing a specific route of immigration into Canada, there’s a short, 15-minute survey that can be taken which will check your eligibility.
You may also be classed as inadmissible, in extreme circumstances. If you’re reading this article, then chances are you’re not involved in espionage, war crimes, human trafficking, or identity theft. However, if you struggle financially, then you may also be inadmissible, so it’s worth checking this comprehensive list, just in case.
Some methods are easier than others
Although there are quite a few options for legal Canadian immigration, that isn’t to say that they’re all straightforward and swift. Ultimately, a quick and easy solution is the best thing to go for at first, and it could be that one of these options below might apply to your personal circumstances.
#1 Family sponsorship
I’d say that this is one of the easiest routes for immigration to Canada, but depending on someone’s country of origin, the processing times may vary considerably, so it’s worth checking this out before applying.
Who can sponsor
If there’s already a family member who is a permanent resident of Canada, they can act as a sponsor if they meet certain criteria:
- they have to be 18-years-old, at least
and one of the following:
- a Canadian citizen
- registered in Canada under the Canadian Indian Act
- a permanent resident of Canada
The sponsor must also live in Canada unless they:
- are a Canadian citizen living abroad and plan to return to Canada by when the relative immigrates
and are sponsoring one of the following:
- dependent children (who have no further dependents)
- a spouse
- a common-law partner
If the first step above is passed, then the route and costs change depending on the relationship involved. For example, the cost of sponsoring a child starts at $150, whereas for an adult who is 22 years or older, sponsorship starts at $1,040.
Also of note is that if someone is being sponsored as a permanent resident of Canada then the sponsor must support the relative financially and be able to cover their basic food, clothing, and accommodation needs without any need for social assistance.
Who can’t sponsor
Very specific reasons why someone may not be able to sponsor a relative exist. The most common of these are:
- behind on child support payments
- undischarged bankruptcy
- social assistance (apart from for a disability)
- outstanding immigration loan
- refused prior sponsorship
These reasons may change so it’s worth checking with the official list
Who can be sponsored
An individual can only sponsor one other individual (unless there’s an orphaned situation, which has its own specific rulings) as long as all of the conditions are met, which are:
- The sponsor doesn’t have an alternative family member to sponsor i.e. there’s only one living family member who needs sponsoring.
- Those that would be included in rule 1 above aren’t either:
- a permanent Canadian resident
- a Canadian citizen
- or are registered under the Indian Act
Level of ease
Although it may seem that the list of criteria is quite complex and long, the relative route automatically breaks down immigration barriers that exist exists in other methods, which is why I find that this should be the first port of call for those looking at immigration into Canada.
#2 Skilled workers for Quebec
Quebec, specifically, is looking to bring in skilled workers to the province, with an application taking anywhere from 15 months and can cost as little as $1,040.
The process for doing so is twofold:
- Apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate.
- If the above certificate is granted, then one can apply for permanent residency.
In order to be granted the selection certificate, an individual is assessed on a points system, which is dependent on certain criteria. This basically determines whether an individual’s personal and professional profile deems them as being able to integrate into Quebec’s society, and whether they could add value to the province’s economy.
Some of these factors include:
- The nature of their work
- Whether they have any family in Canada or Quebec already
- Financial stability
- Family situations
- Their ability to speak French and English (the predominant language in Quebec is French)
Level of ease
If many of the criteria are already met, then this can be a very simple method of Canadian immigration. However, there’s no point to target this is an entry method if this isn’t already the case.
#3 Express entry
Staying on the topic of skilled worker entry, the Express Entry program is one of Canada’s easiest and most popular immigration methods.
This method has three specific programs that select individuals based on their skills:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program
- Federal Skilled Trades Program
- Canadian Experience Class
Depending on Canada’s labor market needs, the different provinces can use these programs through the Provincial Nominee Program to assess potential candidates and their specific skills.
Before applying for this method certain documentation it’s required, so one must ensure these are available prior to starting an application:
- Language test results
Other documentation may be required depending on which program is being applied through, and so this should be checked upfront so as not to waste any time.
If the Canadian government then invites the applicant to apply for permanent residency, they will need to upload the above documents and perhaps evidence of others.
Level of ease
This is probably the quickest method as long as the appropriate documentation is available and the applicant qualifies for one of the above three programmes. If everything is in place from the beginning, this process can be as swift as 6 months.
This speed, coupled with the choice of 3 different entry routes, and the fact that each Canadian province is looking for skilled workers, makes the Express Entry method as—probably—the most popular.
There is no one-method-fits-all route for Canadian immigration, and each method varies depending on personal circumstances, expectations, and where an individual is specifically looking to reside in Canada, for each province has differing requirements.
No matter which route is chosen, in order for an application to be as easy and fast as possible, my advice is that the applicant:
- does their research
- has all documents ready before the application is started
- ensures, at all times, that they are transparent
No matter which method is chosen, I wish any applicant the best of luck, for Canada is an incredible country to reside in.
Moni Raad is Editor in Chief at On The Move Toronto, a blog that covers relocation, immigration, and moving to Toronto. She is an entrepreneur at heart who successfully founded and operated several businesses over the years. After immigrating to Canada in 2008, Moni wanted to share her first-hand expertise on how to immigrate, settle-in, and make Toronto home for all the newcomers and people aspiring to immigrate to Canada.