Canada may well be one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but that’s not the main reason so many people apply for permanent residency (PR). Rather, Canada is also regarded globally as a land of opportunity.
For starters, it’s immigrant-friendly, with the Canadian Government making it incredibly easy for people to apply to immigrate. The Department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, Canada (IRCC) is on hand to help potential immigrants determine whether or not they are eligible for PR and to help facilitate the process step by step.
Canada has a growing economy and education and employment opportunities are exceptionally good. It’s a safe, secure place to live, and the state-funded healthcare facilities available to permanent residents were recently ranked as the 4th best globally.
And, incredibly, that’s not all – Canada currently ranks 1st as the best country in the world, ahead of Japan (2nd) and Germany (3rd) in the U.S. News Best Countries 2021 rankings of 78 countries. It also ranks 1st in terms of social purpose and quality of life, 2nd for racial equality, and 3rd for being the most “agile” country.
Paths to permanent residency in Canada
A permanent resident in Canada is a person who, although a citizen of another country, permanently lives (and often works) in Canada. It is worth noting that those who temporarily live, work, or study in Canada – including foreign workers and international students – do not constitute permanent residents.
PR status gives permanent residents many of the social benefits Canadian citizens have, and they also pay similar taxes. However, they cannot vote or run for political office, which are activities that are limited to Canadian citizens.
There are more than 80 pathways to PR in Canada, including the economic and non-economic classes listed by the Canadian Government.
Non-economic classes include paths for spouses and common-law partners of Canadians as well as members of their families. Economic classes include programs for federal-skilled workers and those with skilled trades, in addition to entrepreneurs, investors, and caregivers.
We will outline four popular paths and discuss some elements of the Canada PR process step by step. To check your eligibility for various classes, you can also use the official Come to Canada tool.
Provincial Nominee Class (PNC)
There are 11 provinces and territories that may nominate applicants for permanent residence in Canada, which exclude the province of Quebec and Nunavut territory.
Each province/territory has its own application and nomination procedures, which relate directly to the economic needs of each region. They look for potential immigrants who have the education, skills, and work experience that will benefit their various economies. This typically excludes regulated occupations such as nursing, teaching, and engineering.
In addition, some Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) have a job requirement clause.
Canada PR process step by step for the PNC
The first step in applying for PR in the PNC is to apply to a province or territory. You will need to check the websites of the provinces or territories you are interested in to find out whether you are eligible and what the next steps will be.
Only when and if they nominate you will you be able to apply to IRCC for PR.
From this point, you will only have 30 days to accept or reject the nomination. At this stage, they will tell you whether to apply via the Express Entry system or to follow the regular application process. Most, but not all, PNPs allow Express Entry applications.
The IRCC uses all the standard selection and admissibility criteria to decide which provincial nominees they will grant PR to. There are strict qualification conditions and all candidates are ranked according to Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) criteria. The goal is to get as many points as possible to qualify for an immigration draw.
Express Entry Program
The Express Entry Program is the quickest and most popular pathway for PR in Canada. It is an online service that the IRCC operates for applications for skilled workers in three of the economic classes:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
However, since the beginning of 2021, Express Entry draws have only been available for PNC and CEC applications. This is expected to revert once the COVID pandemic subsides, but it is worth checking this before beginning your application.
To qualify for an Express Entry draw, you will need to fill in an online form and submit the necessary documents. Your application will only be considered if you receive an invitation to apply via the Express Entry program, from which point, you will have 60 days to accept the invitation.
Canada PR process for the Express Entry program
The application process is simple, but it is vital that it is done correctly and the correct fees are paid in advance. The IRCC uses its standard selection process that incorporates the all-important CRS criteria.
Having a job offer will add credibility to your application and your levels of education and proficiency in the official languages (French and English) will add points to the final score.
Applicants who meet all the requirements are asked for their biometrics (fingerprints and a hard-copy photograph). The IRCC may also ask for more documents and they might call for an interview.
Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
The CEC is an immigration class that facilitates PR for skilled workers who have experience working as temporary residents.
Two main eligibility requirements relate specifically to the CEC:
- It is mandatory to have at least 12 months of valid, full-time skilled work experience within Canada in the three years before you apply.
- There are specified language skills that must be met with:
- Canadian Language Benchmarks
- National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level of work experience
- Tests for language ability for speaking, reading, writing, and listening.
However, there are no specific job offer or education requirements that need to be met.
Canada PR process step by step for the CEC
The process for CEC is a little different from the norm because you’ll usually need to get a work permit from IRCC or a Canadian visa office so that you can work in the country. Following this, you’ll need to work for at least 12 months.
After this point, the process is very similar to every other Canada PR process. You will need to check that you meet all the eligibility criteria and take the required language test before creating an Express Entry profile. Then, you will need an invitation in order to be able to apply, and will have to receive the required CRS score and submit all the documents and fees asked for.
Express Entry CEC applications are usually processed within six months. Following this, you will need to comply with the passport request (PPR) you get before your PR is confirmed.
Business Immigration Program
Canada’s Business Immigration Program is aimed at successful business people who are looking for new challenges and opportunities. Successful candidates will usually be planning to launch a new start-up in Canada.
To qualify, applicants will need to show a financial commitment from a designated angel investor group, venture capital fund, or business incubator. A letter of support serves the same purpose as a nomination or invitation in other programs and classes.
The IRCC specifies amounts and various other requirements, including an ability to speak, read, write, and communicate in English or French (preferably both), and settlement funds that prove you can support yourself and your family in Canada.
Like the PNC, the Business Immigration Class is not open to anyone who intends to live in Quebec. The rest of the process is the same as for other paths.
Before you apply
There’s a lot to do before you can apply and be reasonably sure you will be accepted as a permanent resident in Canada.
As mentioned above, the different paths to PR have slightly different eligibility standards. Typical criteria usually include language skills, the type, level, and amount of work experience applicants have, education, and job offers.
This is why it can be important to ascertain your eligibility for the different classes or programs before you consider applying for PR, in order to establish which program might be the best fit for you.
One important eligibility factor is the type of work experience that you as an applicant have.
For Express Entry (including CEC), only NOC type 0 or levels A and B are accepted:
- Skill type 0 includes mine and restaurant managers and fishing shore captains.
- Skill level A includes professional jobs that require a degree, such as doctors, dentists, architects, etc.
- Skill level B relates to skilled trades and technical jobs that usually require a diploma or apprenticeship, such as plumbers, electricians, and chefs.
Documentation and the application process
Even though the application processes for the different pathways to PR do differ, there are standard documents that must usually always be submitted. These include:
- Proof that you have the financial means to support yourself and your family in Canada
- Passport and travel documents
- Police clearance
- Background declaration and the completed application form
- Your biometrics
- Proof of language skills in keeping with the different program requirements
Financing your application
All applications must be submitted together with the full fees required. This is an online process using a credit card or a Canadian debit card. IRCC will not process applications until they receive these fees.
The basic fees usually include a processing fee for the application, a right of permanent residence fee, and a biometrics fee.
There may also be additional fees that you will have to pay to third parties, such as police certificates, medical examinations, and language assessments.
What to expect after you submit your application
If you’ve finally reached the point of submitting your application, what should you expect from this point onward?
The interview process
In all instances, there is a possibility that you will be asked for an interview. While this can be daunting, this is usually simply a face-to-face or video discussion in which you talk through the various aspects of your application.
Invitation to apply for Express Entry
Even though the Express Entry option is the quickest, you cannot apply unless you are invited. When you get that invite, you’ll have 60 days to apply, so it can be a good idea to use the time in between to get all your papers ready.
Arriving in Canada
Presuming you aren’t already in the country, when you arrive as a new permanent resident, you will be screened again. This is simply a security and safety precaution. If your documents are all in order, there are unlikely to be any issues or delays.
One thing to remember is that you will need to confirm your Canadian address within 180 days of becoming a permanent resident. If you don’t, your PR card will be canceled and you will have to apply for a new one and pay the processing fees again.
Need help with your Canada PR application?
With so many different paths and programs to choose from, it can be tough to know where to start. If you’re serious about immigrating to Canada, you might benefit from consulting someone with experience. Here at Express Entry PR, we’ve helped many clients walk the road to permanent residency in Canada. Reach out to us today to see how we can help!