Immigrate to Canada

Canada is a highly popular destination for immigrants, with many jobs available and a high standard of life for its residents. Find out more about immigrating to Canada, the types of visas, and the primary requirements.

For immigration advice and support, contact Total Law for assistance with your application. Speak to one of our expert immigration advisers today. Call +1 844 290 6312 or use the online contact form to get in touch.

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    How To Immigrate to Canada

    If you have decided to immigrate to Canada, you have made a great choice. It is a friendly country that is generally considered very safe and welcoming of immigrants.

    The annual immigration rate in Canada is one of the highest in the world, welcoming approximately 300,000 new immigrants every year.

    There are a number of Canadian work permits available for eligible individuals.

    All immigration applications have the potential to be complex. They require individuals to submit supporting documents, complete application forms, and convince immigration authorities that they are eligible for their chosen route.

    It is not essential to work with an immigration adviser, but many of our clients have found that doing so can provide significant support and accurate legal advice.

    Speak to Total Law today if you want to work with a qualified immigration adviser on your move to Canada.

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    Types of Canadian Visa

    Canadian visas can be broadly divided into the below categories.

    These include:

    The Canadian government accepts applications from individuals on the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.

    The Express Entry system is the system which manages these three Canadian immigration programs.

    If you are interested in working in Canada on a shorter-term basis, you can apply for a Working Holiday Visa.

    If an individual has graduated from a Canadian institution, they may be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit.

    How to apply for a Canadian immigration program

    Step-by-step guide for people who want to check whether they are eligible to immigrate to Canada:

    1. Find out if you are eligible using the online checker
    2. Choose the province or territory you want to live in (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon)
    3. Meet the language requirements for French or English by passing a language test
    4. State whether you have any skilled work experience in Canada within the last three years (must be within a professional occupation, technical occupation and skilled trades, or managerial occupations)
    5. State whether you have any skilled work experience in the last ten years which was continuous, paid, full-time, and in the same occupation
    6. State whether you have two years of experience in one of the skilled trades
    7. Provide information on how much money in Canadian dollars you intend to bring
    8. State how many family members you have
    9. State whether you have an eligible job offer in Canada
    10. Provide your date of birth
    11. Provide information on your highest level of education
    12. State whether you have studied in Canada, whether you have full-time work experience in Canada in a skilled role, or whether you have an eligible family member living there
    13. Provide information on your marital status
    14. State whether your partner or spouse intends to travel with you
    15. The eligibility checker will identify whether you may be eligible to immigrate to Canada
    16. If you are eligible, you can use the code provided to log in or create an account in order to save your inputted details and apply for your visa

    Express Entry Federal skilled worker visa

    The Express Entry Federal Skilled Worker Visa has been designed to allow skilled workers from other countries the opportunity to become permanent residents in Canada.

    If you already have qualifying work experience in Canada and wish to become a permanent resident, you may be able to apply for the Canadian Experience Class route.

    How to apply for Canadian Express Entry

    1. Check your eligibility online and read the immigration program requirements.
    2. Prepare your supporting documents
    3. Complete and submit your profile for review.
    4. Wait for a decision
    5. If you receive an invitation to apply, you must do so in 60 days to apply for permanent residence.

    What documents do you need for Express Entry?

    To submit your profile, it is not a requirement to have all your documents prepared. The documents will be required in the second stage of the process.

    Some of the documents you should be prepared to submit include the following:

    • Valid passport or travel document
    • Language test results (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Test d’évaluation de français (TEF Canada), or Test de conaissance du français (TCF Canada))
    • Evidence of your Canadian education or a form of educational credential assessment report
    • Provincial nomination (where relevant)
    • Formal job offer from a Canadian employer
    • Proof of adequate maintenance funds

    If you receive a positive decision on your profile, you should expect to submit the following:

    • Police certificates and medical certificates
    • Proof of finances
    • Birth certificate (if bringing dependent children)
    • Common-law union, marriage, divorce, separation certificate (as relevant)
    • Death certificate or adoption certificate (if applicable)
    • Proof of relationship to Canadian citizens
    • Photographs
    • Other relevant supporting documents

    Family sponsorship

    Another route to emigrate to Canada is the Family Class Sponsorship Program.

    If you are eligible, your family members may be able to join you in Canada.

    Who can sponsor family members to immigrate to Canada?

    You must be:

    • At least 18 years old
    • A Canadian citizen OR
    • A person registered in Canada as an Indian (according to the Canadian Indian Act) OR
    • Permanent residents of Canada

    Who can you sponsor?

    The family members that Canadian citizens can sponsor include the following:

    • Spouse (must be legally married to you and aged at least 18 years old)
    • Common-law partner (is not legally married to you, aged at least 18 years old, has been living with you for at least 12 consecutive months)
    • Conjugal partner (is not legally married to you, nor in a common-law relationship, aged at least 18 years old, has been in a relationship with you for at least one year, resides outside Canada, cannot live with or marry you in their country due to significant (and eligible) legal and immigration issues)
    • Dependent children (they are aged under 22 years old, they do not have a spouse or common-law partner. If older than 22 years, children may qualify as dependents if they are unable to financially support themselves due to medical issues, or have been dependent on parental support prior to the age of 22).

    When submitting an application to sponsor a family member to immigrate to Canada, you must submit a number of relevant documents to prove their eligibility to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

    If this does not apply to your circumstances, you may be able to apply for some other immigration programs.

    Provincial nominee program

    The Provincial Nominee Program is designed for foreign nationals who have the necessary skills, education, and work experience to make a contribution to the economy of a region.

    They must want to live in that province specifically and have a desire to become permanent Canadian residents.

    All provinces and territories except Quebec have immigration streams to attract certain demographics.

    How to apply for the program

    You can apply online or via the postal route, depending on the requirements of any immigration programs you want to apply to.

    Paper-based route

    Under this option, foreign nationals must meet the eligibility requirements of their nominating province.

    After your nomination, you should submit a paper application as part of your application for permanent residence.

    As part of the process, you must pass a medical exam and obtain a police check certificate to provide to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

    Paper applications take longer than online applications.

    Express Entry route

    There are two options under this route:

    • Request to apply for a nomination through the province or territory via the Express Entry stream.
    • If the province or territory agrees, you can create an Express Entry profile to prove you have been nominated

    Alternatively, you can create an Express Entry profile on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and do the following:

    • Send your profile to provinces and territories you would like to apply to
    • If you receive a notification of interest from one of the regions, you can speak to them directly
    • You can then apply to their Express Entry route

    Federal skilled trades program

    This route is for foreign nationals who are skilled workers in a specific trade and who wish to become permanent residents in Canada.

    Who can apply for the Federal Skilled Trades Program?

    To be eligible for the Federal Skilled Trades program, applicants must:

    • Have the appropriate level of language skills
    • Have adequate funds to support yourself and any dependents (unless in receipt of a job offer)
    • Have at least two years of full-time work experience in an eligible skilled trade (within the last five years and which must be paid work)
    • Meet the role requirements for the skilled trade (outlined in the National Occupational Classification)
    • Hold a formal offer of employment lasting at least one year OR a certificate of qualification in the skilled trade issued by a relevant Canadian authority

    What are the skilled trades?

    The main groups in this program fall under the National Occupational Classification and include the following:

    • Major Group 72 (trades in the field of industrial, electrical, and construction)
    • Major Group 72 (trades in maintenance and equipment operation)
    • Major Group 82 (supervisory and technical positions in the fields of natural resources, agriculture, and related production)
    • Major Group 92 (supervisors in the field of processing, manufacturing, and utilities, as well as central control operators)
    • Minor Group 632 (chefs and cooks)
    • Minor Group 633 (butchers and bakers)

    If you have any questions about immigrating to Canada, our team is happy to assist. Contact Us

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      Start-up Visa program

      Another route is the Start-up Visa Program for those who wish to immigrate to Canada with the intention of creating jobs and supporting entrepreneurs.

      Who can apply for Canada’s Start-up Visa?

      Immigrant entrepreneurs wishing to immigrate to Canada should meet the following criteria:

      • Businesses must be innovative
      • They must have the potential to create jobs for Canadians
      • They must be globally competitive
      • The individual must have a letter of support from an approved organisation
      • They must meet the language requirements
      • They must have adequate funds to support themselves

      What is a qualifying business?

      A qualifying business is one which meets each of the below requirements:

      • Each visa applicant holds at least 10% of the voting rights of the shares of the corporation (it is possible for up to five individuals to apply)
      • Applicants and designated organisations hold more than 50% of the voting rights of the shares of the corporation.
      • At the time of receiving permanent residence, you must be providing active and ongoing management of the business from Canada, hold an essential operational role, and the business is incorporated

      Immigrate to Canada on the Self-employed persons program

      The Self-employed Persons program is designed for individuals who wish to work in Canada on a permanent basis as a self-employed person.

      Foreign nationals must be able to show that they have relevant experience in certain cultural activities or athletics.

      It is also a requirement that applicants are willing and able to make a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada.

      Individuals must be prepared to show Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada that they meet the following requirements:

      • They have relevant experience
      • They must be willing and able to become a self-employed individual in Canada
      • Meet the selection criteria for the program
      • Meet medical, security, and some other relevant conditions

      Your experience may be considered relevant if you meet the following:

      • You have taken part in cultural activities or athletics at a world-class level
      • You were a self-employed person in an eligible cultural activity or some form of athletics

      Canadian NAFTA programs

      There are a number of North American Free Trade Agreements (NAFTA) run by the Canadian government.

      The purpose of NAFTA programs is to enable smooth trading systems between the United States, Mexico, and Canada, and to abolish tariffs and trade barriers.

      NAFTA allows temporary entry for business persons who are citizens of the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

      These categories of business persons include the following:

      • Business visitors
      • Professionals
      • Intra-company transferees
      • Traders and investors

      These individuals should be involved in the trade of goods or services or investment activities, and with no need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment.

      NAFTA does not mean individuals can become permanent residents in Canada, and does not apply to permanent residents of the three countries.

      It is not intended as a replacement for the general rules relating to passports and ID documents.

      In addition, it does not cover spouses or family member dependents.

      Depending on your circumstances, you can apply for the NAFTA Investor Work Permit, the NAFTA Intra-Company Transfer, and the NAFTA Professional (TN Visa).

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                Depending on the route, you may not be required to hold a job offer if you want to immigrate to Canada.

                Some of the Express Entry programs that do not require a job include the following:

                • Federal Skilled Worker Program
                • Federal Skilled Trades Program
                • Canadian Experience Class

                Some other programmes that don’t require a job offer include some of the Provincial Nominee Programs such as:

                • Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (OINP)
                • Saskatchewan Provincial Nominee Program (SINP)
                • Nova Scotia Provincial Nominee Program (NSPNP)

                The Canadian Investor Program is also another option for individuals seeking to immigrate to Canada without a job offer.

                The exact cost of moving to Canada will vary depending on your personal circumstances. It is likely that you will need to have at least CAD$ 15,000 in order to immigrate to Canada.

                Some of the average costs are outlined below (note that this refers to a single individual with no dependents):

                • Language tests (CAD$300)
                • Educational Credential Evaluation (CAD$200)
                • Biometrics (CAD$85)
                • Medical exams (CAD$100)
                • Application fee (CAD$825)
                • Fee for right of permanent residence (CAD$500)
                • Other fees (including police certificates, couriers, photographs, notaries, etc.) (c. CAD$250)
                • Settlement (maintenance funds) ((excluding Canadian Experience Class) CAD$13,213)
                • If applying through a Provincial Nominee Program, there are additional fees, ranging from CAD$0 to CAD$2,000)

                This does not include the costs of moving, rental costs, or costs involved in travelling to Canada. Before making a decision to move, it is advisable to consider all the costs involved.

                Although it has a reputation for welcoming immigrants and encourages immigration in its national policies, it is still difficult to immigrate to Canada.

                This is because applicants must prove their eligibility if they wish to settle permanently in Canada. This involves paying application fees, completing and submitting forms to an appropriate Canadian immigration program, and gathering supporting documentation to prove eligibility.

                This involves extensive work and it can be a complex process, especially when considering the steps involved with immigration to Canada.

                Total Law can help by taking the complexity out of the process and giving you the best chance of a successful application.

                We advise on all Canadian immigration programs, obtaining Canadian permanent resident status, Canadian citizenship, and all aspects related to the immigration process.

                While it is not necessary to work with an immigration lawyer, it may be beneficial for you. Some of the services you can expect from us include the following:

                • Assess your eligibility for your chosen route
                • Check your supporting documents to make sure that they are appropriate
                • Liaise with the Home Office on your behalf while your application is pending
                • Prepare a letter of representation on your behalf to submit with your application
                • Complete your application form on your behalf
                • Advise on the language testing requirements

                Call +1 844 290 6312 for an immediate discussion with an immigration adviser.