With the ripple effect that has followed the US Presidential Elections, markets dipping to record lows and shock (and dismay) expressed from around the entire globe, something had to give. It turns out that the sudden interest in Americans wanting to immigrate to the Great White North not only crashed government websites dealing with immigration, it has made Canada cool once again.
So to save you a ton of extra research here is a simple guide on how you can beat the rush and run for the Border – the Canadian Border, that is! See the recent news on Canada’s immigration website crashes on election night
First things first. You can’t just load up the U-Haul and sail into Canada on a vacation and decide to stay. You actually need permission from the government level to live in Canada and you need a really good reason. Politics is not one of the reasons recognized by Immigration Canada from US Citizens.
But one of these will do:
- You have a skill required by an established Canadian business
- You have a guaranteed Canadian job waiting for your arrival
- You have been nominated by family or friends for permanent residency
- You are an entrepreneur worth a bundle
Once you have an accepted reason for running to Canada you will need to pick a province to move to. Luckily there are only a few to choose from. Your best bet is to find out which ones have a need for someone with your skills. Each province has different demands as well as immigration guidelines.
After you have picked your province of choice, do some research on the immigration rules of that province. This is where you need to be particularly careful in choosing the correct program and to stay on top of it. There is an ‘express entry’ option in British Columbia which speeds up the whole process.
Next, you will be required to ensure you actually meet all the eligibility requirements of the province of your choosing. In basic terms, eligibility relies on age, nationality, whether or not you have family living in Canada, your level of education, type of work experience, income, what you are worth, if you have a job waiting for you and various other pieces of personal information.
What will really screw up your chances if you’ve made it this far is those errors in judgment in your past that will earn you a rejection on your application form(s). Automatic DQs come from such things as any kind of criminal activity, financial difficulties, if someone else in your family has already received a DQ and if your health poses a serious risk.
There are several different immigration programs available for entry into Canada. You need to find the one that fits your situation best and it should speed up the process. They include the following:
Express Entry is meant to speed up the process of getting skilled workers into Canada. There are three different levels of Skilled Worker that can utilize the Express Entry program. But you need to actually fit one of them in order to use this program.
The Federal Skilled Worker program is for workers wishing to live anywhere in Canada but Quebec. The Quebec Skilled Worker program is for those who do. The third choice is a PNP (Provincial Nominee Program). These vary from province to province but provide a faster way into Canada than most other programs.
If you are already a foreign worker, including US citizens, working in Canada you can use what is called the Canada Experience Class designation. The CEC is designed specifically for those non-Canadians who have been working in Canada and have decided to make it their permanent home. Think seasonal workers as an example.
On the off-hand chance you really think Quebec is your new home and you’ve been working there, the Quebec version of the CEC is the PEQ or Quebec Experience Class program. The difference between the CEC and PEQ is that the Quebec program is a two-step system.
One other option is to use the Family Class Sponsorship program. This is where family, typically grandparents, parents, children or spouses can be sponsored for entry into Canada. If you don’t have a job to go to over the 49th, this is a good way to get in. Check your provincial destination for precise guidelines as some provinces are a tad more lenient on what they consider a ‘family’ member.
Maybe your plan is to start up a business in Canada. That opens some doors at the Border for you as the Start-Up Visa Program will give entrepreneurs a leg up on getting into the Country. The hook here is that the business you intend to start must create jobs for Canadians.
One final program option comes in the form of providing assistance to a sick or elderly person who would otherwise not have that aid. The Live-In Caregivers (LCP) program is what you would need to qualify for and it is not an easy one. Guidelines are extremely strict and you need to be able to verify any and all claims made in the application form. Expect to fill out a lot of forms on this one.
Before you can immigrate to Canada you have to pass something called the Canadian Language Test. This is not a joke. There are two English and one French test and there are different sections and levels that must be passed in order to apply for permanent residency or Canadian citizenship.
Here’s one step you can do long before you leave The States. Apply for your permanent visa. This little gem will take some time to be approved. Give yourself anywhere from two months to a year for this to be finalized. Fast tracks on this come from programs mentioned above including CEC, Express Entry or the PEQ programs.
If you have never been to Canada and think it snows here year ‘round, you really need to do yourself a favour and visit. Try to make a trip to your destination province so you have a clue what to expect. Online pictures will help but nothing compares to actually being there to experience the beauty, sights, smells and hospitality.
Do you have friends in Canada? Facebook friends don’t really count but can actually be of some service in steering you in the right direction when trying to make connections in your chosen new home town. Get to know the people and the region so when you do immigrate the transition will be smooth and worry-free.
Down The Road
After living in Canada for four out of six years following your permanent residency designation, you should apply for Canadian Citizenship. That’s the final step to becoming one of us. Welcome to Canada, the true North, strong and free!