Canadian Immigration Programs Overview
There are more than 80 pathways to immigrate to Canada! We will outline the broad categories of Canadian immigration in an effort to keep things simple for our readers. Click on the links to the specific programs to learn more about the requirements and qualifications needed to be eligible to apply.
Discover your Canadian immigration options by completing our free online assessment tool. In one simple form, we will evaluate you for the dozens of immigration programs available and let you know which one is best for you.
Economic and Business Immigration Options
Economic and business immigrationoptions are for professionals who have skills that support the Canadian economy.Each program differs greatly in the qualifications required so no one-size-fits-all description is possible.
Economic and business immigration categories include:
Family sponsorship is a category of immigration available to the family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
Family members eligible to sponsor include:
In some circumstances, you may be eligible to sponsor other family members outside the above-mentioned categories. If you have no other eligible relatives to sponsor you may sponsor the following family members:
- Orphaned brother or sister
- Orphaned nephew or niece
- Orphaned grandchild
Humanitarian and Refugee Immigration
Canada has an international reputation as a leader in accepting new refugees and other immigrants for humanitarian and compassionate reasons. A significant portion of Canada’s annual immigration target is dedicated to admitting refugees.
How Much Money do You Need to Immigrate to Canada?
The cost of immigrating to Canada through Express Entry is generally about $2,300 CAD for a single applicant, or about $4,500 CAD for a couple. This amount does not include the settlement funds that many candidates must show to be eligible for Canadian immigration; this amount will vary by family size, starting at around $13,000 CAD for a single applicant. If a candidate is applying through a provincial program, additional fees may apply. Proof of settlement funds are not required for those with a Canadian job offer or who are applying under the Canadian Experience Class.
All forms of business immigration require significant investment in Canada. It might require the applicant to have invested in a Canadian company or require an applicant to make an interest free loan to the federal or provincial government.
In most cases, you do not provide financial information to sponsor a spouse or dependent child. If you are sponsoring other family members like a parent or grandparent, there is a financial requirement that will need to be met in order to be eligible to apply.
If you are applying under humanitarian and compassionate grounds applications, no financial requirements exist. The only time financial information is required under this category of immigration is if the refugee is a privately sponsored applicant. In that case, the Canadian group sponsoring the refugee must demonstrate that they have raised sufficient funds to sponsor the resettlement of the refugee candidate.
What are the Requirements to Immigrate to Canada?
Each immigration program has its own minimum eligibility requirements. It is important to verify your eligibility prior to applying.
When submitting an application, the Canadian government will request various documents to verify your work experience, education, identity, and criminal and medical background. The types of required documents depend on the program to which you are applying.
In order to determine the documents, you will require, first you have to determine which immigration program is best for you!
What is the Fastest Way to Immigrate to Canada?
The fastest method of immigrating to Canada is through Express Entry. Express Entry processes most applications in six months or less.
What is the Maximum Age for Canadian Immigration?
There is no specific age limit requirement for any Canadian immigration program. That said, in most categories of economic immigration, applicants 25-35 receive the maximum points. That doesn’t mean older applicants cannot be selected. Having substantial work experience, high language proficiency, connections to Canada, and advanced education can easily offset any points lost for age in economic immigration.
Family sponsorship and humanitarian and refugee immigration to Canada do not use a ranking system and therefore do not have any penalties for age whatsoever.
Is it Easy to Immigrate to Canada?
With over 80 pathways of immigration, Canada has a range of options for all types of applicants. That said, moving to a new country requires some effort. Some immigration programs require higher qualifications and more documents than others. Using the services of a Canadian immigration lawyer can greatly assist in the immigration process from start to finish.
Canadian immigration lawyers are the point of contact with the government for your application. They handle the submission of your application and advise you on the documents you need, the ones you might want to include, and the documents you should not provide.
Do I Need a Job Offer to Immigrate to Canada?
1. Express Entry
The Express Entry system is responsible for welcoming over 100,000 newcomers to Canada each year. If you are applying for an Express Entry program, it is likely that you will not need a job offer. In fact, about 90% of Express Entry candidates were invited to apply for permanent residency without holding a Canadian job offer, according to IRCC’s Year-End Report 2019.
Express Entry requires applicants to have adequate work and educational experience, as well as language skills. However, you will not lose points for not having an offer from a Canadian employer.
2. Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)
There are also many Provincial Nominee Programs that do not require a job offer to apply.
Some provinces, such as Saskatchewan, will instead use Expression of Interest (EOI) points-based systems – similar to Express Entry – to determine which candidates will be invited to apply for nomination.
Other provinces, such as Ontario or Nova Scotia, will invite candidates directly from the Express Entry pool to fill specific demographic or labour market gaps. That means, just by having an Express Entry profile in the pool of candidates, you have the opportunity to be invited to settle permanently in a Canadian province.
So if you want to immigrate to Canada and do not yet have a valid job offer, don’t panic! There are many options available to become a permanent resident do not include a job offer requirement.
What is a Permanent Resident?
A Canadian permanent resident is a citizen of another country who has been granted permission to live in Canada as a permanent resident. Once a person has permanent resident status, they have the right to live and work anywhere in the country. Permanent residents receive a significant number of benefits in Canada, including access to healthcare and social services, the right to live, work, and study anywhere in Canada, and protection under Canadian law. As well, after being a permanent resident for a certain amount of time, permanent residents are eligible to apply to become Canadian citizens! Notably, Canadian permanent residents do not have the right to vote in Canadian elections.
What is a Citizen?
Canadian citizens have many rights and privileges in Canada. Citizens have access to healthcare, social services, support under the law. A citizen can live, work, and study, anywhere in Canada, and has the right to vote in Canadian elections. As well, citizenship cannot be revoked or removed. All people born in Canada automatically qualify for Canadian citizenship. As well, foreign nationals can become naturalized Canadian citizens by going through the proper application process with Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Can I Work Anywhere in Canada?
Once a person has Canadian permanent resident status, they have the authorization to live and work anywhere in Canada. If a foreign national does not have Canadian permanent resident status, then they must have the proper authorization to work in Canada. Usually, this authorization comes in the form of a Canadian work permit.
Can I Bring My Family to Canada?
Certain immigration programs allow foreign nationals to immigrate to Canada with their family members. However, the family members able to accompany a foreign national varies depending on the immigration program. For example, those immigrating through Canada’s Express Entry system are eligible to include their spouse and dependent children on the application, but not their parents. However, Canada has family sponsorship programs enabling Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner, dependent children, and parents/grandparents. In order to determine whether or not your family members may join you, first you must determine which immigration pathway you choose to pursue!
Why is Canada Looking for Immigrants?
Canadian cities and rural areas depend on newcomers to keep their populations growing and to support their labour markets. Canada also has an aging population, and without a robust system of immigration, Canada would be on a similar trajectory to that of Japan in the 1990s. But unlike Japan, Canada embraced immigration and that has allowed us to maintain a large proportion of the population in prime working age, between 25 and 54. This would not be possible without mass immigration to Canada.