Lots of people talk about running away to Canada. In a recent survey by U.S. News & World Report, Canada ranked #1 in the world for quality of life. It’s known for its friendliness and liberal political culture. It is huge, too. With that much land, the population is quite spread out, which is probably how everyone stays so friendly.
Of course, universal healthcare and a thriving jobs market help, too. So how can you achieve the dream of Canadian living? We’ll break down the seven easiest and most affordable ways to immigrate to Canada.
Easiest Ways to Immigrate to Canada
#1 – Trade Agreements
Trade agreements with certain other countries allow for intra-company transfers. That means that if your company has a Canadian arm, or even just a contract with a Canadian company, you could request to be transferred there. This is one of the easiest ways to immigrate to Canada because it gets you out of needing a Labour Market Impact Assessment. An LMIA states that no qualified Canadian was available to take the role you want. So which countries have agreements like this with Canada?
You are in luck if you’re a citizen of Chile, Jordan, Peru, Colombia, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States of America, Iceland, Norway, Israel, or Panama.
This program is casually called the NAFTA Visa, and grants immigrants the right to work in Canada for their current company or its affiliate, parent company, or subsidiary. It takes only 12 months of work in Canada to be eligible to apply for permanent residence. You’ll want to explore the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or a Provincial Nominee Program.
#2 – Work Permit with Job Offer[quads id=2]
If don’t qualify for an intra-company transfer, it can be trickier to land a job in Canada. The first hurdle is simply securing a job offer. But then, you will need to get an LMIA by having your potential employer tell Human Resources and Development Canada that no Canadian could possibly do the job you will be hired for.
However, Canada runs a Federal Skilled Worker program that lists 347 occupations that could qualify you for express entry. The list includes careers like hair stylist, editor, sales manager, and administrative assistant, so you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to meet the criteria. And once you do secure that job, your work experience counts heavily toward a petition for permanent residence.
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#3 – Spousal Sponsorship
It’s a tale as old as time – the green card marriage. This route is popular because it virtually guarantees acceptance, but penalties are extremely stiff if you try to fake it. And Canada doesn’t joke around with this – the immigration office will observe you and your spouse for two full years before signing off on the legitimacy of the union.
So if you’re not already in a relationship with someone from Canada, get on the dating sites, stat! Once you find the right partner for life, Canada is pretty flexible about how you go forward. You may marry your partner in the country of your citizenship or any other country in the world except for Canada, and afterwards receive an overseas sponsorship.
Or, it is also okay to head to Canada on a visitor visa and tie the knot there. In that case, you’ll request an inland sponsorship. Different rules apply to each method, so read up carefully before making a choice. And in case you wondered, same-sex marriage has been legal throughout Canada since 2005, so there is no difference in this path for homosexual couples. Just be sure to marry in a country where gay marriage is legal.[quads id=2] [quads id=1]
#4 – International Experience Canada (IEC)
How about a little working holiday? This route is only for young people (between 18-35) but is very convenient in that you can land in Canada on an open work permit without needing a job offer in advance. The program is also only good for people from certain countries. Read on to find out which ones.
Participating countries are Australia, Denmark, Japan, Norway, Taiwan, Austria, Estonia, South Korea, Poland, Ukraine, Belgium, France, Latvia, Slovakia, United Kingdom, Chile, Germany, Lithuania, Slovenia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Mexico, Spain, Croatia, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden, Czech Republic, Italy, New Zealand, and Switzerland. For a few of them, eligibility expires at age 29 or 30.
The nice thing is that work experience gained on a working holiday can be used toward your application for permanent residence via the CEC, a federal skilled worker of trades program, or a particular province’s skilled worker and semi-skilled worker program. So your holiday can totally turn into a lifestyle.
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#5 – Study Permit
Another great option for Canadian living is a study visa. There are a ton of great schools, including several universities that are among the best worldwide. Attending school in Canada gets you on the path to permanent residence, if you want it, but there are some rules.
In most cases, you will be required to stay and work in the province where you went to school. A job offer is also necessary to stay long term, so be sure to network like crazy after classes. You’ll have a major advantage over someone who never spent any time in Canada. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that part time work during your course of study will count toward any IEC residence streams.[quads id=2] [quads id=1]
#6 – Visitor Visa
A job is critical to your ultimate goal of permanent residence in Canada, but it can be difficult to manage from home. Plus, it’s smart to at least check out your potential new country before committing. A visitor visa is a great way to both sightsee and do some professional networking.
Now, a visitor visa is not actually meant for job searching, so make sure that the vacation part of your trip is primary. An immigration official will ask you about your purpose for visiting at the border, and you can’t lie about it. But if you say you are there to job search, it will likely raise alarm bells about whether or not you’ll leave when your visa expires. So go, have fun, and spontaneously chat with people who happen to be in your industry.[quads id=2] [quads id=1]
#7 – Start a Business
If you happen to be sitting on some cash, or have assets in your home country that could be liquidated before your move, you can start a business in Canada rather than secure a job offer. It can’t be just any roadside stand, though. Canada is recruiting entrepreneurs to start businesses that create jobs for Canadians and can compete on a global scale.
It can be very rewarding to start a business in Canada if you have what it takes. With the support of a strong economy, low taxes, and low business costs, you may find it more advantageous than at home. Be sure to review the requirements for a start-up visa before taking the leap.
Easiest Ways to Immigrate to Canada
Canada certainly has a lot of things going for it, and with a bit of hard work, one of those things could be you! It’s a country that embraces multi-culturalism and offers clear, reasonable pathways to residence for immigrants. No matter which route you take, Canada can be the whole new world you crave.