This article deals with the various Canadian Immigration programs/categories and is a part of a series of posts called “Our Canada Immigration Journey“. We will be releasing a number of posts under this series in the next weeks.
We hope that this series will help guide you in your own journey of achieving that dream of living your life in Canada.
Migrating to Canada
If you’re looking to migrate to Canada, you have a number of options to choose from as long as you know where to look. Lucky for you, we’ll try to cover that in this article.
There are quite a number of Canadian Immigration programs available for individuals looking to immigrate to Canada. There’s literally more than 50 different variations to choose from. And the federal government is responsible for managing the majority of the programs.
In addition, the federal government of Canada is responsible for the selection and processing of immigration applications.
However, the federal government gives all the provinces some level of discretion in selecting immigration applicants as well. This is notably embodied by the Provincial Nomination programs (PNP).
Despite the selection discretion of the provinces, final decision and processing still falls under the federal government of Canada.
The best way to determine if you qualify for Canadian Permanent Residency and what specific program will fit you is to go direct to the experts – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC – formerly CIC). They have a page specifically to help you determine if and what program you qualify for.
If you want to immigrate with the goal of being a Canadian citizen then the path you are looking for starts with acquiring permanent residence status. This permanent residence is similar to having a ‘Green Card’-holder status in the US. It allows you and your family to live and work in Canada.
Programs that can lead to Permanent Residency
There are a number of Canadian Immigration program categories available that will allow you to obtain that Permanent Resident status. I’ll do my darn best to provide a background for each of them below:
Federal Skilled Worker (FSW)
Federal Skilled workers are foreign nationals with experience in very specific occupations as determined by Canada Immigration. They are given permanent resident status according to their ability to be economically established and successful in Canada.
There are a number of basic requirements in order to apply as a Federal Skilled Worker.
- You must have at least 1 year of continuous full-time paid work experience in a single occupation classified as NOC skill level 0, A or B within the last 10 years. Want to know your NOC code? Check out the Government of Canada’s NOC website. At the lower area of the page, you will need to enter your job title to filter possible NOC codes applicable to you. This will help you identify your closest NOC code and the corresponding skill level of the position.
- You must have a total of more than 67 points based on the factors listed below:
- Work Experience
- Whether you have a valid job offer
- English and/or French language skills
- Adaptability (how well you’re likely to settle in Canada)
Please note that the 67 point requirement is only to determine if you’re eligible to apply thru the FSW program via Express Entry. Once you’re in the Express Entry pool, Canada Immigration have a different point system to rank your profile against other applicants.
You can read more on eligibility requirements for Federal Skilled workers in CIC’s website.
Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
By default, only the federal government of Canada may issue permanent residence visas. However, provinces and territories can nominate specific applicants to apply for their Canadian permanent residency. This nomination is done via each province’s Provincial Nominee Program. All of the provinces have their own PNP process and set of requirements. In almost all of the provinces, applicants should declare that they intend to stay in the province nominating them.
Once you get a nomination from a province or territory, you will be given a certificate of nomination by the province. You will then need to include that certificate in your federal Express Entry profile as part of your application.
Don’t take this PNP lightly. An Express Entry applicant that becomes a nominee of a province will automatically have an additional 600 points to their CRS score!
Imagine you’re an Express Entry applicant with 410 points in your CRS. At the rate things are going, you’ll be in for a bit of a wait before you get an ITA from CIC. This is because, as of last draw, the cutoff was at 463 points. However, with provincial nomination and the resulting 600 points that goes with it, your CRS score gets a bump to 1,010 points! That pretty much assures you of an invitation to apply in the next draw.
Different Province, Different PNP Requirements
Each province and territory have some considerable leeway on how they implement their respective nomination programs. As such, you’ll find that there’s as many different set of requirements as there are provinces. For example, Yukon only accommodates PNP applicants with employer job offers in their program. Meanwhile, New Brunswick will nominate you as long as your occupation is in their list of ‘In Demand Occupations‘.
Therefore, if you’re aiming for a Provincial Nomination as your pathway to Canada, check on each province’s PNP website. Don’t lose hope if you didn’t make it in Nova Scotia… there are other provinces out there.
Now, for your reading pleasure, I am providing you with the links to each province and territory’s immigration website below:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
Again, take the time to go through each of the Provincial Nominee Program for each province. Some sites are harder to navigate. Be patient. One of the provinces above might be your lucky break.
Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
This program is for those individuals who have Temporary Foreign Worker status in Canada. This means that you should have a valid work visa and, as such, working in Canada now.
This program provides a pathway for such individuals to become Permanent Residents and, eventually, Canadian citizens.
To understand the requirements and qualifications for applicants under CEC, check out the CIC website for more details.
Federal Skilled Trades Class (FST)
This program is for individuals who want to be Canadian Permanent residents by having and presenting their valuable skilled trade. Skilled trades are very specialized trades like Logging machinery operators, industrial mechanics, etc.
This program is very limited. Only 43 jobs in total can qualify under this program. These 43 jobs are grouped into Group A and Group B. Group A jobs can only accept a maximum of 100 applicants per year! And that is a hard cap!
To understand the requirements, qualifications and to check whether your job falls within the 43 qualified jobs, check out the CIC website for more details.
There you have it. Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trade and Canadian Experience Class are the Canadian Immigration programs that qualifies under Canada’s Express Entry system. The Provincial Nominee Program is in the list above since the province will require you to fit in the 3 other programs before they can nominate you.
If you’re like us, your best fit will probably be to apply under the FSW program. And then go for Provincial Nomination for that 600 points bonus to your CRS score.
However, just to complete the list of the major program categories, here is the round up of the rest of the programs:
This program is for those individuals currently in Canada who want to sponsor or bring over their family to join them in Canada. The Canadian government places significant emphasis on family unity. As such, the different streams under this category reflect that accordingly.
You can read more this category by visiting the CIC website on this topic.
Business Investor, Entrepreneur, Self Employed
These 3 categories are for foreign nationals who want to bring their business experience to immigrate to Canada. There are specific streams under these categories and very high requirements.
To read more on each category, check on the links below:
- Business Investor – currently no longer accepting applicants. However, Quebec has its own Immigrant Investor program so it’s worth check out.
- Business Entrepreneur
- Business Self-Employed
We will include a separate entry here specifically for Quebec. Since it’s Quebec. And we all know how ‘different‘ Quebec is.
Anyway, you can find Quebec immigration programs similar to the ones that are above. However, with Quebec Immigration, those are managed by the province of Quebec and not by the federal government.
So, head on to the Quebec Immigration website to check on their programs.
Whew! That’s it! I hope we are able to provide you with an overview of the different Canadian Immigration programs available to you.
This article deals with the various Canadian Immigration programs/categories and is a part of a series of posts called “Our Canada Immigration Journey“. Check often with us here in Roadtripping Juans for more on this series.