How to Gain Permanent Residence in Canada
Canada has it all; a stunning environment, safety, high quality of life, endless lifestyle options, excellent job opportunities, and it provides easy access to the United States. Canada is also renowned for being friendly and extremely welcoming to new migrants from around the world. According to official statistics, around 300,000 new migrants make the journey to live in Canada each year. The largest source of immigrants to Canada is India, followed by China, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom. And the majority of migrants make a move to Canada for economic reasons (i.e. to work or set up in business), with nearly 200,000 economic migrants recorded in 2019. The next largest category of immigrants is for those wishing to reunify with their family members, including children, spouses/partners, parents, and grandparents. In this article, we will summarise the main options available to gain permanent residence in Canada.
Gaining Permanent Residence In Canada Through Work
There is a range of immigration options in Canada that can lead to immediate permanent residence through work and business (e.g. the start-up visa allows applicants to secure permanent residency in Canada).
The most popular employment-based route to permanent residence in Canada is through the Express Entry system. Express Entry is the online system used by the Canadian government to handle applications for Canadian permanent residence. The purpose of the scheme is to match the supply of potential skilled migrants with the demand for skills in each region. Applicants are able to score points on a range of factors (this is referred to as the ‘Comprehensive Ranking System’), including age, education, and language proficiency. Rather like the Australian immigration system, those with the highest number of points are invited to apply.
The first stage in the Express Entry application process is to check if you are eligible by completing the Canadian government’s online questionnaire. You will be asked about your nationality, age, language ability, family members, education, work experience, and the details of any job offer you have. Based on your answers, you will be told if you are eligible. If you are and you want to proceed with the Express Entry process, you will need to prepare your application documents and then create an online profile. Your details and ranking score will be held by the immigration system and you will then need to wait until you are invited to apply. If you are invited, you will have 90 days to apply for permanent residency in Canada. The processing time is around six months, and the cost of applying is currently $1,325 (for the main applicant), $1,325 for a spouse, and $225 for each dependant child.
The Express Entry route is only one possible path to permanent residency through work/business. It is also possible to convert temporary residence in Canada to permanent residence. The temporary resident to permanent resident pathway is available to those who have work experience in Canada in an ‘essential occupation’ or healthcare or recent graduates of a Canadian post-secondary education institution.
Gaining Permanent Residence In Canada Through Family
To gain permanent residence in Canada through family, the applicant must be a spouse/partner or dependant child of a person who is at least 18 years old and is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. It is possible to apply if the Canadian citizen is living outside the country, but they must provide evidence of an intention to live with those they are sponsoring in Canada once they become permanent residents. Unfortunately, if you are not a Canadian citizen but you are a permanent resident, and you are currently living in another country, it is not possible to sponsor a family member.
In addition to proving their familial connections, those sponsoring eligible family members to come to Canada may also need to show evidence they can meet their basic needs. Thankfully the Canadian immigration system makes it relatively easy by not imposing a set income threshold (which applies in many other countries) in most cases; this only applies if you are sponsoring permanent residence for:
- a dependent child that has one or more dependent children of their own, or
- a partner that has a dependent child, and their dependent child has one or more children of their own.
To apply for permanent residence as a child or partner/spouse of an eligible family member living in Canada, you will first need to gather the documents required and complete the application form. A family sponsorship application package is available online and provides all of the information you will need. You will then need to pay any fees due online – these include the processing fee for you, the person you are sponsoring, and their dependents. There is also a right of permanent residence fee and a biometric fee to pay. Once your application is submitted, and fees are paid, you will then be asked to provide any other evidence needed, including your biometrics, medical exam, and police certificates. The processing time is currently around one year. Once approved, your family members will receive ‘Confirmation of Permanent Residence’ and a permanent resident visa (if they are from a country whose citizens need a visa to enter Canada). At this point, they will be able to make the journey to live in Canada.
The Canadian immigration system provides several routes to immediate permanent residence, and in some cases, it is possible to switch from temporary to permanent residence. Before applying for permanent residence, it is important to check you are applying through the best route for your needs and those of your family members and that you are eligible. In some cases, it may be that other routes may provide a faster and more suitable pathway to permanent residence in Canada. It is also important to complete the application form carefully, read all of the accompanying information, provide all of the documents required in the correct format, provide any additional information requested in a timely manner, and pay all of the necessary fees. By taking a careful and thorough approach to the application process, you will ensure you have the best chance of being reunited with your loved ones in Canada.