At E2, we know that moving to a new country is exciting, but it can also be a nerve-wracking decision. We’re dedicated to helping our students succeed on their migration journey, so we’ve put together this handy explainer on how to migrate to Canada.
Disclaimer: The purpose of the E2 Blog is to provide general information based on publicly available sources and does not constitute legal or migration advice in any way. Anyone seeking advice on relocating to Canada should seek advice from a registered migration agent.
Why choose Canada?
Canada has always been a popular choice for people looking to study, work and live in an English-speaking country.
Canada has an international reputation as one of the friendliest and most open countries on the planet. It has long valued immigrants’ contribution to Canadian society and welcomes new arrivals with open arms.
In 2021, Canada welcomed over 400,000 new permanent residents, and it has set a goal to attract 1.2 million new immigrants by 2023. Canada’s birth rate has been falling over the last few years, meaning it now relies heavily on immigration to keep its population stable and economy thriving.
Not only is Canada exceptionally friendly, but it’s also progressive and multicultural. Canadians know how to make new arrivals feel welcome, and its diverse community means you’ll fit right in no matter where you’re from.
Canada prides itself on an excellent education system, with more affordable higher education for non-citizens in comparison to the UK, USA and Australia. The Canadian education system is world-class, and qualifications obtained in Canada are recognised in many countries around the world.
Canada has another significant advantage for migrants – a great job market. Jobs in technology and IT, in particular, are plentiful, and the work-life balance is excellent too. If you’re a fan of hiking, swimming or enjoying the great outdoors, you’re in luck! Most Canadian cities are just a short trip away from stunning natural surroundings.
The application process
Most countries have strict laws governing who can migrate and under what circumstances. Canada is no different, but it is dedicated to making the application process as simple as possible for new arrivals.
To migrate to Canada, you’ll first need to check which visa applies to you. Depending on what you’ll be doing in Canada, you can apply for a Canadian visa for international students, a work permit, or a family sponsorship visa.
Once you’ve determined which visa is right for you, you can begin your application process. To do this, create an online account where you can submit your application and track its progress. You can also download document checklists, making it easier to ensure your application is approval-ready before you submit it.
If you want to move to Canada to study, you must apply for a study permit online. Your study permit is not a visa, but you’ll be issued a visa separately when you’re issued your study permit. This will be either a visitor visa (temporary resident visa) or an electronic travel authorisation. Your study permit allows you to study in Canada, while your visa allows you to live in Canada.
If you live in Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, or Vietnam, you may be able to apply through the Student Direct Stream, which sees most applications processed within 20 days.
To be granted a study permit, you must have a valid offer letter from a Canadian education provider.
Some people are eligible to apply for express entry into Canada. This online immigration application platform invites eligible people to apply for permanent residency. If you’re eligible, you’ll be placed in a pool with other candidates who wish to migrate to Canada permanently. You are then ranked based on points you receive for the information shared in your profile.
There are three categories you can apply for express entry in:
- Migrants with Canadian work experience (Canadian Experience Class) – applies to people who have gained skilled work experience in Canada within the last three years.
- Skilled workers (Federal Skilled Worker Program) – applies to people who have gained skilled work experience outside Canada.
- Skilled tradespeople (Federal Skilled Trades Program) – applies to people certified and skilled in specific trades.
Applicants eligible for the express entry program may also be eligible to immigrate as provincial nominees. This may be a good option if you’re preparing to build a life in Canada and wish to attain Canadian permanent residency. If you apply as a provincial nominee, you’ll have to live in the province you’re approved for. Every Canadian province has a capital city, though it may not always be the largest city. For example, Victoria is the capital of British Columbia, but Vancouver is its largest city.
The province of Quebec does not take part in the provincial nominee visa process. If you want to live, work, or study in Quebec, you’ll need to apply for permits and visas through the Immigration Quebec website.
The documentation you will need to present depends on the type of visa you apply for. Always check the specific documentation needs of the visa you’re applying for, and remember that some forms of documentation may take some time to access.
For a study permit, you’ll need these documents:
- Proof of acceptance to your chosen educational institution
- Proof of identity (valid passport or travel document)
- Proof of financial support
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English language requirement
Canada has two official languages – English and French. Most Canadians speak English as a first or second language, although French is the official language of Quebec. For most visas, you’ll need to provide proof of your English language skills, typically by sitting an official test.
E2 is the one-stop shop for all your test preparation needs. We’ve helped over 1.6 million students achieve the test scores they need to achieve their migration dream. Our packages are designed to fit your needs regardless of your English level.
E2 has partnership agreements with and offers test preparation packages for the most recognised English language proficiency tests worldwide: IELTS, PTE, OET, CELPIP, TOEFL and TOEIC. Make sure to find out well in advance which test you need to pass, which will depend on the type of visa you’re applying for.
Your visa may not be approved if you can’t provide evidence of adequate English language skills, so ensure you begin preparing early and with high-quality learning materials.
E2’s English language learning materials are developed by experts so that you can feel confident on test day.
Passing your English language test with the score you need for your visa is crucial. With E2’s test packages, you can create a study pathway and access mock tests, practice questions, one-on-one tutorials and feedback from qualified teachers, meaning you’ll be well prepared and confident for your test. E2 has helped over 1.6 million students gain the test scores they need. You can learn more about E2’s resources and our dedication to our students via our blog.
In certain situations, you’ll need medical clearance to be granted a visa. This applies if you’re planning to remain in Canada for more than six months and any of these conditions apply to you:
- You’ve spent more than six consecutive months of the last year in specific countries
- You’re applying for a parent or grandparent super visa, or
- You plan to work in particular jobs, including working with the elderly or young children or in medical settings
Some medical conditions are considered a threat to public health and safety or likely to cause excessive demand on health or social services, and these conditions may make individuals ineligible to migrate to Canada.
Proof of funds
For most visa types, you’ll have to provide proof of funds. This means you need to prove to the Canadian government that you have enough money to support yourself and your dependents, even if you’re moving to Canada alone. Your dependents include your spouse, your children and your spouse’s children.
Not everyone applying to migrate to Canada needs to provide proof of funds, so check your visa category details before you begin collecting your documentation.
Permanent residency is an essential step between a Canadian visa and citizenship of Canada. Once you have permanent residency, you can live indefinitely in Canada, move about freely within Canada and access most social benefits. You can also apply for Canadian citizenship.
To apply for permanent residency in Canada, you’ll need to fill in a form and provide these documents:
- Filled in Application for a Permanent Resident Card or Permanent Resident Travel Document, completed and signed
- Proof of residency requirements
- Receipt showing you have paid the application fee
- Completed document checklist
- A photo following the specifications for Permanent Resident Cards
- A copy of one primary identity document (like your passport)
Depending on your circumstances, you may need to provide further documentation. Always check the details of the required documentation before you begin your application.
While you’re a permanent resident, you can’t vote or hold political office, and some jobs may not be open to you, particularly if they require a high-level security clearance.
Under normal circumstances, you must enter Canada on a visa, so don’t worry about permanent residency before moving. If you want to stay in Canada indefinitely, you’ll have plenty of time to organise your permanent residency application later.
Depending on your circumstances and visa type, you may be eligible to sponsor your family members to live in Canada. Family sponsorship applies to spouses and children, but you may be able to sponsor other family members like your parents or grandparents.
The Canadian government website has extensive information on how to apply for a visa and what conditions you need to fulfil. If you’re still unsure about what you have to do, or your personal circumstances complicate your application, consider speaking to a reputable immigration lawyer.
Whether you’re planning on moving to Canada in a year, six months or just a few weeks, E2 has all the resources you’ll need to gain English language skills and begin your new life in Canada.
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