If you have made the decision to explore the option of working and living in Canada you will have undoubtedly started wondering about which visa you should apply for. Canada is welcoming of migrants but follow a strict - and successful – migration regime and applying for the right visa could make all the difference between being approved or rejected.
It can be a complicated process and it is best to seek professional help from an experienced immigration consultant. Talk to your immigration consultant about your needs; are you the main applicant or do you need a partner visa? Will you be sponsored by an employer (in other words do you have a job offer in Canada) or will you be entering through the Provincial Nominee Program? Perhaps you would like to study in Canada or join your children there. Your immigration consultant will help you determine which visa you are most likely to be successful at.
We looked into the five most popular visas.
The Express Entry
The “Express Entry” programme allows immigrants to apply for long-stay or permanent residency visas online. Applicants create a profile containing all relevant information such as personal information, education and job experience.
These profiles are then ranked in the Express Entry system based on the scores each applicant receives. Points are given for things like the applicant’s language proficiency, education, work experience, and age. The combined score then determines the applicant’s ranking. Applicants may receive additional points for things like family who are residents, Canadian work experience, a Canadian degree or if they have a job offer in Canada.
Once a candidate receives an invitation to apply, they have 60 days to submit a complete application for permanent residence. Invitations are issued to the highest-performing candidates in draws that occur around every two weeks, meaning that the highest performers will be invited within at most a couple of weeks of entering the pool.
Rather than a first-come-first-served basis, applications are processed based on score. The majority of applications are processed in under six months.
Provincial Nominee Programmes
Provinces and territories select candidates for Provincial Nominee programmes from the Express Entry system based on the province or territories need for experienced professionals in certain positions for which there are not enough locals available. Successful candidates then need to complete the immigration process, which includes health and security checks.
Workers can be nominated for permanent residency based on the immigration needs of the specific province and their intention to settle there. It is an alternative option to the CEC for those who want to stay permanently.
Federal Skilled Worker Class
This visa is for applicants with skilled work experience for occupations in demand in Canada.
Applicants must have at least one year of paid experience in a skilled occupation and fulfil certain criteria including a language test. Qualifications must be assessed by an independent accreditor.
Business Immigration Programme
This visa programme invites experienced investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed foreign nationals to bring their business to Canada. In 2014 the Federal Immigrant Investor and Entrepreneurs programmes were terminated; however this has been replaced by the Start-up visa for entrepreneurs. There is also a Self-Employed Persons Program.
Family Sponsorship Programme
If you are the spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, dependent child or other eligible relative or a Canadian Permanent Resident they may apply to sponsor you to join them in Canada. If successful the applicant can then become a permanent resident under the Family Sponsorship Programme.