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5 Ways to Immigrate to Canada

Canada is a major destination for business and tourism. However, moving to a new country can be challenging when you are unfamiliar with the immigration process.

This article will highlight the popular immigration pathways to Canada as a permanent resident.

Express Entry

The Canadian government introduced a novel immigration scheme called the Express Entry in 2015. Express Entry is an online application management system that regulates all federal streams of economic immigration.

Thousands of principal applicants and their families have been issued an invitation to apply for permanent residency since the introduction of the Express Entry.

Note: The Express Entry is the umbrella immigration pathway that governs the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). The Canada Provincial Nominee Programs are also aligned with the Express Entry excluding Quebec.

To be eligible for the Express Entry, applicants must submit an Expression of interest by creating a profile in the Express Entry. Candidates who satisfy the minimum requirement are invited to the Express Entry pool.

In the pool, candidates are awarded a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score that determines their ranks against other candidates. The CRS points are awarded based on information on the candidates’ profile such as age, work experience, qualification, etc.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issue an invitation to apply (ITA) to the highest-ranked candidates in the pool during an Express Entry draw.

Candidates issued an ITA have 90 days to submit their application for a Canadian permanent residency.

Provincial Nominee Program

Currently, there are three territories and ten provinces in Canada, and each has its own immigration stream known as the Provincial Nominee programs that are aligned with the federal Express Entry, with exception to Quebec.

There are several PNPs to choose from and knowing the right PNP and eligibility requirement can be overwhelming. However, the basic requirements for PNP programs are

  • The candidate is currently working or has recently worked in Canada.
  • The candidate meets the eligibility requirement for the PNP and is in the Express Entry pool.
  • Have established a connection to the province either through studies, a job offer or prior work experience
  • Have a family member residing in the province. (a requirement for some province)

Quebec Immigration

The Province of Quebec enjoys autonomy over its provincial nominee programs. The Quebec provincial nominee program is not aligned with the federal Express Entry. If you desire to work or live in Quebec, you may apply directly to the government of Quebec for Quebec Experience Class, Quebec Business Immigration or the Quebec Skilled Worker Program.

Note: Foreigners interested in moving to Quebec must submit an application to the government of Quebec, if your application is successful, you will be issued a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ), thereafter, your application will be reviewed by the federal government to ensure you are not criminally or medically inadmissible to Canada.

Student Pathway

Foreigners who are ineligible for the other immigration pathways can become a Canadian permanent resident through the student pathway.

Foreign nationals who study in Canada have a greater chance of becoming a permanent resident. The Canadian student experience is a valuable immigration factor that can bridge the gap from temporary status to a Canadian permanent resident.

Note: You will need to obtain a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) before you can be issued a study permit if you are applying to the Province of Quebec.

Family Sponsorship

One of the largest classes of Canadian immigration streams and one of the easiest of becoming a Canadian permanent resident is through the Canadian Family Sponsorship. If you have a family member who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, they are allowed to sponsor you.

If you have a common-law partner, or if you are married to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, your partner is eligible to sponsor you via the Inland or Outland Spousal Sponsorship pathway.

Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship

Canadian citizens or permanent residents are allowed to sponsor their parents or grandparents to come to Canada through the Parent and Grandparent sponsorship (PGP). This immigration pathway is a lottery-style system where interested applicants are required to fill interest to sponsor form, afterward, the IRCC randomly selects 10,000 applicants to apply for the PGP.


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