Immigrating to a new country is a big undertaking, even in a culture that welcomes immigrants like Canada does. You’re uprooting your entire life and building a new home in a place that has different customs and possibly even a different language than what you’re used to. The more support you have during this transition, the easier and smoother the process will be. Here are some things that all people who are considering immigrating to Canada or have recently arrived should know.
1. one-fifth of canada’s population is foreign-born
First off, it’s important to know you’re not alone as a new immigrant in Canada! Canada is a country of immigrants. 21.9% of people who live and work in Canada were not born in the country, and 22.3% of the population identifies as a visible minority. Those numbers are even higher in urban centres. Overall, Canada is a very open culture that welcomes new immigrants and celebrates multiculturalism. Canada’s major cities are especially multicultural and attract a very high number of immigrants. Over 50% of the residents of Toronto and Vancouver, for instance, identify as visible minorities. Toronto has been called ‘the most multicultural city in the world’ and over 200 unique cultural groups reside in the city.
2. you don’t need a job to immigrate to canada
You don’t necessarily need to have a job lined up to come to Canada, but it does make it a lot easier. Canada’s Express Entry immigration system is points-based, and having a job offer waiting for you will award you a good amount of points. The more points you’re awarded, the more likely you’ll be invited to immigrate to Canada. You get points for your age, education, work experience and knowledge of English or French, among other things. 57% of all Canadian immigrants gain entry as skilled workers or business-class immigrants under this points system. The vast majority of remaining immigrants arrive in Canada as refugees or join family already living in Canada. Altogether Canada welcomes more immigrants per capita (tied with Australia) than any other developed country, for a total of about 300,000 per year.
3. you can fast track immigration if you’re a skilled worker
Express Entry is Canada’s immigration program for skilled workers. The program aims to process new immigrants in 6 months or less. Before you fill out an Express Entry profile, determine if you’d eligible under one of the federal programs for skilled workers. If you qualify, go ahead and complete your profile and pay the relevant fees. This is the first step to immigrating to Canada! Keep in mind that to complete your Express Entry, you’ll also need to be prepared to take a language test, and have your education credentials and experience assessed. After you’ve completed these steps, your profile will be evaluated and you’ll be placed into the Express Entry pool of candidates. Being in the pool doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be invited to become a permanent resident. The higher your Express Entry score, the better your chances of gaining an invite. This is the point at which it’s recommended that you start looking for jobs through Job Bank, Canada’s official job matching platform.
4. the process to become a canadian citizen
The first stage towards Canadian citizenship for most new immigrants is obtaining permanent residency. Permanent residents are entitled to many of the same social benefits as Canadians including provincial healthcare coverage and protection under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If you’ve been admitted into Canada under the Express Entry skilled workers’ program, you’re granted permanent residency automatically. Refugees, students, and other temporary or foreign workers who have not entered the country as skilled workers under the Express Entry program must apply for permanent residency before they can progress to citizenship.
You can be a permanent resident for your entire stay in Canada, if you choose, however many immigrants opt for the more permanent step of becoming a full-fledged Canadian citizen. To become a Canadian citizen you must have lived in Canada for at least 1,095 days of the past 5 years and pass a language and citizenship test. Canadian citizens gain additional rights that permanent residents don’t have, such as the right to vote and run for office, travel on a Canadian passport, hold government jobs that require citizenship, and a guarantee they will not lose their status in Canada.