Canada is a beautiful country with a vibrant economy and a history of welcoming immigrants. Canada allows more than 200,000 people per year to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents. Once a person has been approved, they receive a Permanent Resident Card which entitles them to almost all of the same rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizens.
Requirements to Become a Canadian Resident
The first step is ensuring you meet Canada’s minimum requirements for permanent residency:
- You must be 18 years old to become a Canadian resident. Minors must have a parent or legal guardian fill out the application on their behalf.
- You are not eligible for immigration if you have committed a crime, have a serious health issue, are in financial trouble or if you (or someone you are related to) have been barred from Canada.
- You must speak either English or French.
Once you are sure you meet the minimum requirements, you can determine which immigration program is best for your situation.
If you have a job lined up already, you can apply for Express Entry into Canada. This internet-based system makes it faster for Canadian employers to get approval of their new hires.
Do you have a job offer in Canada? Do you have family in Canada who can sponsor you for permanent residency? Do you have a specific job skill which could benefit Canadian employers? Are you an experienced caregiver? Are you an entrepreneur? Do you have French language skills or ties to Québec?
If you answered yes to any of the other questions, you probably qualify to submit an application for Canadian permanent residence under one of Canada’s immigration categories:
Skilled Worker Class Immigration
If you have specific job skills, experience, and education, you may be able to become a resident under the Skilled Worker Class. This class evaluates people based a points system which awards points for education level, language skills, work experience, age, employment, and adaptability. Applicants will receive an overall score indicating whether they are a good candidate for permanent residence status.
Once you have been given a numerical score, other factors will be evaluated as well, such as criminal history and the needs of the Canadian labour market.
Business Class Immigration
Investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed persons can qualify for permanent residence under the Business Class program. Business Class immigration requires the applicant to demonstrate they have significant financial resources.
Canada’s immigration system allows the provinces participate in selecting immigrants who have certain skills. If you have a specific province or territory in mind, you should contact the representative immigration office and apply for nomination through that office.
Family Class Immigration
If you have family ties to Canada, your relatives may be able to sponsor you for permanent residency. Around 30 percent of all immigrants are sponsored by family already living in Canada. Your family is required to pledge financial support as a condition of Family Class immigration.
The province of Québec selects individuals which meet its own criteria for immigration.
Application and Invitation
Before you can receive your permanent residence card, you will most likely need to pass through two screening levels: provincial and federal. Some people will be permitted to immigrate as a temporary resident and then file for permanent residency while living in Canada. People who file the application while living outside Canada are not able to move until they receive their official invitation.