Canada Newcomer: You’ve just touched down at Toronto/Montreal/Edmonton/Vancouver International airport, awaiting a connection to your destination or picking up your luggage to hit the town and paint it red.
Well, the flag of the country is already red (and white), so your immigration to Canada shouldn’t bleed your account red.
Canada has become an immigration hotspot in recent years. It’s openness to highly skilled professionals all over the world.
Some seek a new life away from the busy lifestyle of Europe to people moving out of Asia/Africa to raise their families in a more stable economic terrain, or simply people who want to live in a less populated country (per square mile).
I have spent over a decade between the U.K. and Canada; there are visionary hindsight checklists I wished I had before starting in a new country.
Let’s dive into them:
Table of Contents
Pre-Arrival Due Diligence
Quality research before living in (or visiting) Canada is strongly encouraged, but this may become insufficient with Canada’s realities.
Websites like numbeo.com are great with number comparison, but the government’s page on start your life in Canada is also a great resource. In fairness, most immigrants are primarily concerned with being approved and entering Canada.
As a Canadian Immigrant, the job market issue, banking, real estate, your career hotspot, kid’s education, or special needs will come to the front burner. As you know, many micro-economic variables differ from province to province.
For example, a child with a special need may have a shorter wait time to get medical attention in some provinces than others.
Depending on your career in your country, you may fit into a similar job differently in Canada. Also, some provinces may actively have your career path as a significant part of their economy than other provinces.
For example, a finance career will stand a higher chance of a role in Toronto than in Yukon Territory, just as Oil and Gas will have more jobs in Alberta than Bouctouche, New Brunswick.
Landing in a province is good enough, but as a Canada Newcomer, you may have to pivot location if you have no location restriction on your status.
N.B: If Provincial Nomination sponsors you, I strongly encourage you to keep to the terms of your P.R. and stay in the province.
Special Need Child
Some kids have special needs, either medical or social/behavioural, which could trigger the need to move to a different province in the country.
The waitlist to get a family doctor is different from one province to another as medical services are provincially regulated; as such, you may have to make a judgement call on whether to move on or wait.
The same applies to child psychologists, speech therapists, children on the autism spectrum and others.
In Canada, you have about four Primary/Secondary school options, depending on what province you reside
- Public/Government schools (free)
- Private schools (paid)
- English or French schools
You may need to contact your Provincial or Territorial ministry of education to determine your acceptable options.
You may have arrived in Canada on a non-immigrant visa (student, temporary worker, spouse of a student or worker), or your options to become a permanent resident tie close to the provincial nomination.
Let’s face it, in the past six (6) months, the Express Entry system has issued ITAs (Invitation to Apply) to candidates o Provincial Nominee Program ONLY.
Family ties in some provinces add to your points; contrariwise, family ties in other provinces outside where you live will deduct points from you as it solidifies your attraction to leave (for family reasons).
The Immigration Process
It’s also important to understand the immigration process and requirements. Here are some general steps involved in immigrating to Canada:
1. Determine Your Eligibility
Canada offers various immigration programs, each with its own eligibility criteria.
Assess your qualifications, skills, and circumstances to determine which program suits you best.
2. Language Proficiency
Proficiency in English or French is typically required for immigration to Canada.
Taking language tests like IELTS (for English) or TEF (for French) and achieving the required scores is important.
Strong language skills can enhance your chances of success.
3. Education and Credential Assessment
If you plan to use your education for employment purposes in Canada, you may need to have your educational credentials assessed.
Organizations like the Comparative Education Service (CES) or International Credential Assessment Service (ICAS) can evaluate your educational qualifications against Canadian standards.
4. Express Entry System
The Express Entry system is the primary pathway for skilled workers.
It manages applications for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, and Canadian Experience Class.
All you need is to apply through Express Entry by providing information about your skills, work experience, education, language proficiency, and other factors.
Eligible candidates are ranked based on a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, and those with the highest scores are invited to apply for permanent residency.
5. Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)
Many Canadian provinces and territories have their own immigration programs called Provincial Nominee Programs.
These programs allow provinces to nominate candidates who meet their specific labor market and economic needs.
If you are interested in a particular province, you can explore their PNP options.
6. Gather Documents
As part of the immigration process, you will need to gather various documents, including passports, educational transcripts, language test results, work experience letters, and police clearance certificates.
Ensure that you have all the required documents in the correct format.
7. Submit an Application
Once you have determined your eligibility and gathered the necessary documents, you can submit your immigration application through the relevant program.
Follow the instructions provided by the Canadian government and pay the required fees.
8. Medical and Security Checks
As part of the immigration process, you and your accompanying family members will undergo medical examinations and security background checks.
These checks help ensure that you meet the health and security requirements set by the Canadian government.
9. Wait for Processing
The processing times for immigration applications can vary depending on the program, the number of applications being processed, and other factors.
Stay updated on the processing times for your specific application and be prepared for potential delays.
10. Decision and Landing
If your application is approved, you will receive a confirmation of permanent residence (CoPR).
You will need to provide your CoPR at the port of entry when you arrive in Canada to complete the landing process and become a permanent resident.
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Immigration to Canada: The Bottom Line
Immigrating to Canada is a choice. Your circumstance should influence what province you settle (not your old friends/high school mate).
If you need more help on your immigration to Canada, hit me up in the comment. For more information about other related financial realities in Canada, visit our blog section.