Canadian Immigration Programs Overview
There are more than 80 pathways to immigrate to Canada! We will outline the broad categories of Canadian immigration in an effort to keep things simple for our readers. Click on the links to the specific programs to learn more about the requirements and qualifications needed to be eligible to apply.
Economic and Business Immigration Options
Economic and business immigration options are for professionals who have skills that support the Canadian economy. Each program differs greatly in the qualifications required so no one-size-fits-all description is possible.
- Provincial Nominee Programs
- Express Entry
- Quebec Immigration
- Investor Programs
- Entrepreneur and Self-Employed Programs
- Other federal classes of immigration like the Caregivers Program, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, and the Agri-Food Pilot are also options under the umbrella of economic immigration to Canada.
Family sponsorship is a category of immigration available to the family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
Family members eligible to sponsor include:
- Spouse or common-law/conjugal partner
- Dependent child (adopted or biological)
- Parents and grandparents
In some circumstances, you may be eligible to sponsor other family members outside the above-mentioned categories. If you have no other eligible relatives to sponsor you may sponsor the following family members:
- Orphaned brother or sister
- Orphaned nephew or niece
- Orphaned grandchild
Humanitarian and Refugee Immigration
Canada has an international reputation as a leader in accepting new refugees and other immigrants for humanitarian and compassionate reasons. A significant portion of Canada’s annual immigration target is dedicated to admitting refugees.
How Much Money do You Need to Immigrate to Canada?
The necessary amount of funds you need to immigrate to Canada varies greatly. Some immigration programs do not require anything more than the processing fees for your application. Others require a substantial investment in Canada. We will break it down by category below.
Economic immigration: Most economic categories of immigration require proof that you are able to financially support yourself during your resettlement in Canada. Some however do not. The categories of economic immigration that do not request proof of settlement funds usually require the applicant to have Canadian work experience or a Canadian job offer. The rationale being that these candidates do not require funds for resettlement in Canada given the fact that they have already integrated into the Canadian workforce.
Business immigration: All forms of business immigration require significant investment in Canada. It might require the applicant to have invested in a Canadian company or require an applicant to make an interest free loan to the federal or provincial government.
Family sponsorship: In most cases, you do not provide financial information to sponsor a spouse or dependent child. If you are sponsoring other family members like a parent or grandparent, there is a financial requirement that will need to be met in order to be eligible to apply.
Humanitarian and refugee sponsorship: If you are applying under humanitarian and compassionate grounds applications, no financial requirements exist. The only time financial information is required under this category of immigration is if the refugee is a privately sponsored applicant. In that case, the Canadian group sponsoring the refugee must demonstrate that they have raised sufficient funds to sponsor the resettlement of the refugee candidate.
What are the Requirements to Immigrate to Canada?
The documents required for an immigration application depend on the program to which you are applying. For example, some immigration programs require Canadian experience and some do not require any at all.
Documents that are likely to be required include identification/travel documents, educational records, proof of work experience, financial history, etc. In order to determine the documents, you will require, first you have to determine which immigration program is best for you!
What is the Fastest Way to Immigrate to Canada?
The fastest method of immigrating to Canada is through Express Entry. Express Entry processes most applications in six months or less.
What is the Maximum Age for Canadian Immigration?
There is no specific age limit requirement for any Canadian immigration program. That said, in most categories of economic immigration, applicants 25-35 receive the maximum points. That doesn’t mean older applicants cannot be selected. Having substantial work experience, high language proficiency, connections to Canada, and advanced education can easily offset any points lost for age in economic immigration.
Family sponsorship and humanitarian and refugee immigration to Canada do not use a ranking system and therefore do not have any penalties for age whatsoever.
Is it Easy to Immigrate to Canada?
With over 80 pathways of immigration, Canada has a range of options for all types of applicants. That said, moving to a new country requires some effort. Some immigration programs require higher qualifications and more documents than others. Using the services of a Canadian immigration lawyer can greatly assist in the immigration process from start to finish.
Canadian immigration lawyers are the point of contact with the government for your application. They handle the submission of your application and advise you on the documents you need, the ones you might want to include, and the documents you should not provide.
To learn more about how the skilled legal professionals and lawyers at the Canadim Law Firm can help you, check out our Canadian immigration services page.
Do I Need a Job Offer to Immigrate to Canada?
No. The vast majority of all Canadian permanent residents do not have a job offer in Canada when they apply. While some Canadian immigration programs require applicants to have a Canadian job offer, there are a range of programs and options available to foreign nationals without an offer of employment in Canada.
What is a Permanent Resident?
A Canadian permanent resident is a citizen of another country who has been granted permission to live in Canada as a permanent resident. Once a person has permanent resident status, they have the right to live and work anywhere in the country. Permanent residents receive a significant number of benefits in Canada, including access to healthcare and social services, the right to live, work, and study anywhere in Canada, and protection under Canadian law. As well, after being a permanent resident for a certain amount of time, permanent residents are eligible to apply to become Canadian citizens! Notably, Canadian permanent residents do not have the right to vote in Canadian elections.
What is a Citizen?
Canadian citizens have many rights and privileges in Canada. Citizens have access to healthcare, social services, support under the law. A citizen can live, work, and study, anywhere in Canada, and has the right to vote in Canadian elections. As well, citizenship cannot be revoked or removed. All people born in Canada automatically qualify for Canadian citizenship. As well, foreign nationals can become naturalized Canadian citizens by going through the proper application process with Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Can I Work Anywhere in Canada?
Once a person has Canadian permanent resident status, they have the authorization to live and work anywhere in Canada. If a foreign national does not have Canadian permanent resident status, then they must have the proper authorization to work in Canada. Usually, this authorization comes in the form of a Canadian work permit.
Can I Bring My Family to Canada?
Certain immigration programs allow foreign nationals to immigrate to Canada with their family members. However, the family members able to accompany a foreign national varies depending on the immigration program. For example, those immigrating through Canada’s Express Entry system are eligible to include their spouse and dependent children on the application, but not their parents. However, Canada has family sponsorship programs enabling Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner, dependent children, and parents/grandparents. In order to determine whether or not your family members may join you, first you must determine which immigration pathway you choose to pursue!
Why is Canada Looking for Immigrants?
Canadian cities and rural areas depend on newcomers to keep their populations growing and to support their labour markets. Canada also has an aging population, and without a robust system of immigration, Canada would be on a similar trajectory to that of Japan in the 1990s. But unlike Japan, Canada embraced immigration and that has allowed us to maintain a large proportion of the population in prime working age, between 25 and 54. This would not be possible without mass immigration to Canada.