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Top 10 Easiest Methods to Immigrate to Canada

Canada has a lot going for it, both as America’s friendlier neighbor and in its own right.

In fact, Canada consistently ranks near the top of the heap in surveys related to quality of life.

It is also the second largest country in the world, but has a low population density, so it’s great for people who want a little land around them. You won’t miss out on culture, though, with Canada’s major cities offering arts and entertainment galore.

Ready to go? We’ll break down the ten easiest ways to live there long term.

10. Get transferred

Does your current company have a Canadian arm? What about a subsidiary? If so, you could be eligible for an intra-company transfer to Canada.

This so-called “NAFTA Visa” is only for people from certain countries that have trade agreements with Canada, namely Chile, Jordan, Peru, Colombia, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States of America, Iceland, Norway, Israel, and Panama. If you can qualify, this is one of the fastest and easiest ways to make a move to Canada.
9. Find a new job

If your current job can’t help you achieve your dream of Canadian living, you’ll have to find a new one within Canada. The challenge is that the company who offers you a job will have to report to Human Resources and Development Canada that no Canadian citizen was available to fill the position.

However, if you are qualified in one of 347 specified industries for which Canada currently has an employee shortfall, you are eligible for the express entry program and can be there in no time flat.

8. Get married

Being the spouse of a citizen is one of most foolproof ways to immigrate to Canada, as long as the marriage is legit. The immigration office will be checking in on your relationship for two full years, and if you split with your spouse in that time, you won’t be granted permanent residence.

You may marry your partner either within Canada or in any other country, but the process for gaining residency is slightly different if the marriage took place elsewhere. Same-sex marriages are handled the exact same way as heterosexual marriages, provided that gay marriage is legal in the country where the wedding took place.

7. Call on a family member

If you have a spouse, partner, parent, grandparent, or sibling that is a Canadian citizen, they can sponsor you for permanent residence. If granted, you’ll be able to live, work, and/or study in Canada indefinitely.

Now, part of the deal is that your sponsor agrees to support you financially if necessary, while you agree to do your very best to support yourself. Since money issues between family members can be touchy, be sure you know what you’re getting into if you go this route.

6. Go to school

For a roundabout path to permanent residence, consider studying in Canada. There are lots of great schools to choose from, but do try and pick one in the province you hope to live in long term. Usually you will be required to stay in that province after graduation to work.

A job offer is necessary in order to stay long term, but you’ll be way ahead of the pack in that regard due to your Canadian education. You can also work part time during school, but that experience does not count toward any IEC residence streams.

5. Take a working holiday

Relatively young people (between 18-35 years old) are eligible for a working holiday through a program called International Experience Canada. It allows you to arrive in Canada on an open work permit without a job offer in advance.

Really the only restriction on the type of work you can do on your working holiday relates to strip clubs or escort services. Several countries have an agreement with Canada that facilitates this process. If yours doesn’t, don’t fret.

Canada has several Recognized Organizations for foreign youth that will help facilitate this visa for a fee. Experience gained through a working holiday can be used toward a later application for permanent residence.

4. Start a business

If you are more of an entrepreneurial type, maybe you’d rather start a business in Canada than wait for a job offer. Canada is currently open for people who have the means and the drive to start businesses that create jobs for Canadians.

Preference is given to businesses that are innovative and can compete on a global scale. Look into the requirements for a Start-up visa to learn more. If you choose Canada as the location for your new business, you will reap the benefits of low taxes and low business costs in a thriving economy.

3. Seek asylum

Every year, Canada welcomes approximately 30,000 refugees who have been persecuted in their home countries. There are two systems in place to seek asylum in Canada as a refugee.

The Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program works outside of Canada and the In-Canada Refugee Protection Process is for people who have already crossed the border.

The entire process may take up to 18 months, but many potential refugees are given permission to live and work in Canada in the meantime.

2. Go through Quebec

Quebec has its own immigration rules and processes that are distinct from the rest of Canada, though largely the same in structure. You can apply to work, study, or marry there.

At the moment they are not looking for investors, but keep any eye on the Quebec immigration website as it is updated regularly. To go though Quebec, know that you will need to speak French to have a real shot.

1. Get sponsored by a province

Most of the provinces and territories have a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), except Quebec, which runs its own immigration process. Just like going through the country-wide process, you’ll need marketable skills, a relative who lives there, or the desire to attend school in order to be nominated.

The benefit in following a PNP program is that various provinces are seeking different skills and qualifications, so when you find the place that’s a perfect fit, you enter a smaller pool first and have provincial support when you deal with the big guys.

As a highly sought destination for expats, Canada is not the easiest or the cheapest place to move. But it does have well established, reasonable pathways for those willing to put in the work. Once there, you can expect to be welcomed by the locals, who value the strength created by multi-cultural communities. Good luck on your journey!


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