The Canadian government grants permanent residence visas to members of the Family Class and the Economic Class. The Economic Class primarily comprises of professionals and skilled workers under the skilled worker class, the Quebec skilled worker class and the provincial nominee class as well as business immigrants.
Using a point system, an applicant is assessed under the federal skilled worker class according to various factors that will indicate whether there is a strong likelihood that the applicant and dependents will successfully establish in Canada. Ideal applicants under the skilled worker class will possess employment skills and experience compatible with occupations “open” to prospective immigrants to Canada. The selection rules particularly favor applicants with government approved job offers in Canada.
The Entrepreneur class is point based and confers permanent residence upon applicants who demonstrate an ability to become economically established in Canada on the basis of their business experience and high personal net worth. Approval is contingent upon the entrepreneur undertaking to invest and become involved in the active management of a qualifying business operated in Canada that will contribute to the economy and create employment. The Canadian government has placed a temporary hold on applications in this class.
The Self-Employed class is also point based and refers to applicants who have relevant experience as well as the intention and the ability to create their own employment and make a significant contribution to the cultural, artistic or athletic life of Canada, or to create their own employment by purchasing and managing a farm in Canada.
The Quebec government manages its own immigration programs providing for skilled worker and business class selection rules.
Under the Quebec skilled worker class and the provincial nominee class, applicants may become permanent residents on the basis of their proven ability to become economically established in Canada, in accordance with immigration programs and selection criteria administered by Quebec or the provinces.
Canada also admits immigrants under the Business Immigration program which comprises three sub-categories including Investors, Entrepreneurs and the Self-Employed.
The Investor class is point based and confers permanent residence upon applicants who demonstrate an ability to become economically established in Canada on the basis of their business or management experience and personal net worth of at least $1,600,000. Approval is contingent upon the investor undertaking to commit an irrevocable, passive, non-interest bearing five-year investment of $800,000 in a government guaranteed investment fund. Under applicable programs, applicants can obtain financing and receive legal security on their investment. The Canadian government has placed a temporary hold on applications in this class.
Under the federal family class, current sponsorship programs typically promote the reunion in Canada of Canadian citizens and permanent residents with their close relatives including a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner 16 years of age or older, an unmarried dependent child under the age of 22, a parent or grandparent, and a brother, sister, nephew, niece, grandchild who is an orphan, unmarried and under 18 years of age or any other relative where the sponsor has none of the above relatives or family members, in Canada or abroad. There is a temporary pause on the sponsorship of parents and grandparents for permanent residents. Instead, eligible candidates can apply for the long-term visitor Parents and Grandparents Super Visa.
Who Qualifies for Canadian Permanent Residence/Skilled Worker Immigration?
On January 1, 2015, the Government of Canada implemented the Express Entry Immigration system under the Economic Class including the Federal Skilled Worker Program.
Under Express Entry, Federal Skilled Workers across 347 eligible occupations who meet minimum entry criteria, submit an expression of interest profile to the Express Entry Pool. The profiles of candidates in the pool are ranked under a Comprehensive Ranking System. The highest ranked candidates will be considered for an invitation to apply for permanent residence. Candidates receiving an invitation must submit a full application within a delay of 90-days.
Federal Skilled Workers are persons with suitable education, work experience, age and language abilities under one of Canada’s official languages and who are selected under the Express Entry Immigration system to apply for permanent residence.
To qualify for admission to the Express Entry Pool as a Federal Skilled Worker, applicants must meet the following conditions:
- Possess one-year of continuous full-time paid work experience or the equivalent in part-time continuous employment within the previous 10 years in one of 347 eligible occupations listed under the applicable National Occupational Classification system; AND
- The work experience must be classified within Skill Type 0 (Managerial Occupations), Skill Level A (Professional Occupations), or Skill Level B (Technical Occupations and Skilled Trades) within the meaning of the National Occupational Classification system; AND
- Score sufficient points under the skilled worker point grid comprising of six selection factors. The current pass mark is 67 points;
- Undergo language testing from a recognized third party and demonstrate intermediate level language skills in English or French corresponding to the Canadian Language Benchmark of 7)
- Possess suitable settlement funding;
- Undergo a successful security background and medical examination.
Qualified applicants are evaluated against six factors to determine their eligibility for immigration to Canada. Applicants must obtain a total of 67 points out of a possible 100 in order to qualify. The selection factors are:
- Employment experience;
- Arranged employment;
The new program seeks to select candidates with the highest probability of economic settlement success and contribution to Canada. It maintains previous criteria with modification to the relative importance and point structure for each selection factor.
To be selected under the FSW program, applicants who possess sufficient work experience and language proficiency must accumulate a minimum of 67 points on the skilled worker selection grid, which allocates points for education, language, employment experience, age, arranged Canadian employment and adaptability.
Education – Maximum of 25 points
The maximum number of points awarded for education is 25, with maximum points awarded to applicants with doctoral degrees. Foreign credentials will be evaluated by a designated third party to determine their Canadian equivalent and points will be awarded based on that equivalence. At this time, organizations designated for credential evaluation are:
- Comparative Education Service: University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies;
- International Credential Assessment Service of Canada;
- World Education Services;
- Medical Council of Canada.
Language – Minimum threshold of 16 points, Maximum of 28 points
Only applicants capable of demonstrating an intermediate to high level proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages, English or French, will be considered. Applicants who meet the minimum threshold must score at least 16 points under this selection factor. Higher language proficiency can lead to an allocation of up to 24 points.
The benefits of bilingualism are considered marginal to an individual’s successful economic establishment in Canada and the new point system limits points for a second official language to a maximum of 4.
Employment Experience – Minimum of 9 points, Maximum of 15 points
The new program requires a minimum of 1-year to qualify and the maximum consideration is 6-years.
Age – Maximum of 12 points
Up to 12 points will be allotted to candidates between the ages of 18 and 35 years. Each year above the age of 35 will reduce the allocation by 1, with no points being awarded as of age 47.
Arranged Employment – 0 or 10 points
Points are allotted to individuals with a validated offer of employment in Canada. In an effort to streamline labour market related processes and reduce processing times for employers and their potential employees, the Arranged Employment Opinion process will be replaced with the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) employment validation process which is generally used in processing applications for Canadian work permits.
In order to validate an employment offer and obtain points for this selection factor, a candidate’s proposed employer must demonstrate to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada that the hiring of a foreign worker will have neutral or positive economic effects on the local labour market.
Candidates with a validated employment offer will gain 10 points under this factor, and an additional 5 points in the Adaptability selection factor for a total of 15 points.
Adaptability – Maximum of 10 points
Applicants who have at least 1 year of full time Canadian work experience in a managerial, professional, technical or skilled trade occupation will be awarded maximum points. As mentioned above, a validated offer of employment will provide 5 adaptability points. Other considerations awarding points under this selection factor include: A close adult relative living in Canada; Applicant or spouse has studied in Canada; Spouse has previous Canadian work experience; Spouse has knowledge of one of Canada’s official languages.
Skilled Worker Selection Grid
Quebec Skilled Worker Immigration
The Province of Quebec administers its own immigration programs with selection criteria that are distinct and more predictable from those of federal and other provincial immigration programs.
Foreign nationals wishing to settle permanently in Quebec must undergo a two-step immigration process.
- They must be selected by the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI), Quebec’s immigration authority. Selected applicants will receive a Quebec Certificat de Sélection (CSQ).
- An approved CSQ holder must file an application with Canadian federal immigration authorities. The federal government’s role in evaluating a Quebec application for permanent residence is mainly limited to issues of health and criminality.
- Quebec Immigration High Demand Occupation List
- Quebec Immigration Economic Stream Update
- Quebec Skilled Worker Grid
- Quebec Areas of Training List
Canada Provincial Nominee Immigration Programs Overview
- Under the provincial programs, candidates are nominated by a prospective employer and, once approved by the province, are subject to an expedited process. In the initial stages, applicants can receive temporary, renewable work permits to enter Canada while they are being processed for permanent residence.
- The skilled worker-based provincial programs, with the exception of Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, generally require an employer to sponsor the applicant for admission to Canada. Without a government-approved employer sponsorship, the application will either not be approved, or will be routinely passed over in favor of applications with an employer-sponsored approval.
- Sponsoring employers under most provincial programs must demonstrate sufficient efforts to hire local Canadians and offer competitive terms and conditions of employment that are relevant to a particular occupation. Between provinces, variations exist in the terms and conditions of employment to qualify to sponsor a foreign worker.
- To qualify as a sponsored employee, the position being filled must generally conform to a National Occupation Classification skill level of O, A, B; or alternatively, must meet the terms of a particular pilot project designed for a specific critical skill shortage identified by the province.
- Under the federal 2017 immigration numbers plan, 51,000 newcomers will be welcomed through provincial programs.
- However, many of the large provincial programs face problems with processing delays. Canada attracts considerable interest from potential new immigrants, far surpassing the processing capacity of immigration programs.
- The Canada Express Entry system has successfully tackled processing delays, while many of the provinces are now choosing to open and close their popular streams periodically throughout the year to avoid large backlogs.
- Provincial Nominee Program by Province / Territory:
Canada Business And Investment Immigration Overview
Canada offers the most established and widely-used investment based immigration programs conferring permanent resident status. The Canadian confederation system of government and the country’s social norms offer a “European alternative” to the more unabashed capitalism of the USA. Canada offers European-style social benefits with fairly high levels of taxation and unparalleled quality of life. Under the Canadian model, business immigrants can enjoy the benefits of a national health care program, affordable first-class education and a national pension system that provides measurable annual income upon retirement.
Business immigration offering permanent admission to Canada comprises of the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP), Quebec Entrepreneur program, Quebec Self-Employed, several Provincial Nominee Entrepreneur programs, the Federal Immigrant Investor Venture Capital (IIVC) Pilot Program and the Federal Start-Up Visa program. While the various entrepreneur and self-employed programs are aimed at individuals with a mid-range personal net worth who intend to establish and operate a business in Canada, the investor programs are suited for high net worth individuals who wish to make a passive investment with no obligation to establish a business.
As well, wealthy business immigrants may buy or establish new businesses in Canada and qualify for a temporary work visa, under federal ‘owner-operator’ policies. After a period of time, applicants may qualify for permanent residence under a suitable immigration program.
Family Sponsorship Immigration Overview
Basic requirements for family sponsorship: If you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, age 18 or over, you can sponsor certain family members to become Canadian permanent residents. If you become a permanent resident, you can live, study and work in Canada. If you sponsor a relative to come to Canada as a permanent resident, you are responsible for supporting your relative financially when he or she arrives.
To be a sponsor:
- You must be 18 years of age or older.
- You and the sponsored relative must sign a sponsorship agreement that commits you to provide financial support for your relative, if necessary. This agreement also says the person becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support her or himself.
- You must provide financial support for a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner for three years from the date they become a permanent resident.
- You must provide financial support for a dependent child for 10 years, or until the child turns 25, whichever comes first.
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