News report | | 21/02/2024 | ±4 minutes reading time

Canada runs several immigration programmes aimed at attracting skilled workers. For example, the national Express Entry programme allows applicants to obtain a permanent visa for Canada. Most Canadian provinces also have their own immigration programmes, which fall under the so-called Provincial Nominee Program.

How Canada attracts immigrants

Canada offers one of the most extensive immigration programmes in the world. Since mid-2021, nearly half a million immigrants per year have arrived to the North American country. The number has increased dramatically in comparison with the roughly 300,000 immigrants per year who moved to Canada before the COVID-19 pandemic. About half the immigrants are skilled workers travelling to Canada on a work visa, which is a large portion of the total number of immigrants compared to other countries.

This is in line with the Canadian government’s long-term plan to attract this group of immigrants. To support this plan, Canada offers several visa opportunities to skilled workers. The goal of this policy is to compensate for the ageing population so that the country’s economy can keep growing in the future.

Immigrating to Canada temporarily or permanently

There are several options for relocating to Canada. For example, the country offers temporary visitor visas and travel authorisations, such as the eTA Canada, which allows travellers to stay in Canada for up to 6 consecutive months. Visitor visas and the eTA do not allow travellers to study for more than 6 months or to work in Canada. However, these visitor visas can be combined with a work permit or a study permit to stay in Canada for longer periods. In most cases, the work or study permit expires when the employment contract or study programme ends. At that point, travellers must either apply for a new visa or leave Canada.

In order to relocate to Canada and stay in the country indefinitely, travellers must obtain the permanent resident status. People holding this permanent visa for Canada are considered permanent residents and can stay in the country as long as they want. The main way to become a permanent resident is to participate in the so-called Express Entry programme or in one of the provincial immigration programmes.

Provincial immigration programmes in Canada

Most Canadian provinces have their own immigration programmes. These immigration programmes are designed to recruit workers for essential economic in a specific region. The immigration programmes fall under the Provincial Nominee Program. Each province determines what criteria applicants must meet, for example in terms of education, work experience and language skills. If an application is approved, the applicant will receive a permanent visa for Canada and may thus move to the province in question. The following Canadian provinces and territories have a Provincial Nominee Program:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

Requirements of the Provincial Nominee Program

The exact requirements of the Provincial Nominee Program are established by each province according to its specific needs. Through the provincial immigration programme, qualified workers and entrepreneurs can obtain a permanent residency permit for Canada. To be eligible, applicants must be employed in sectors crucial to the province in question, such as agriculture, healthcare, or the tech industry. In addition, usually applicants must already have a pending job offer from a company in the province. Applicants must also be able to prove that:

  • they will actually immigrate to the province in question;
  • their level of education meets the requirements;
  • they have sufficient language skills;
  • they have relevant work experience;
  • their financial resources are sufficient to move to the province.

Obtaining a permanent visa for Canada

It is possible to qualify for a permanent visa for Canada by simply participating in a Provincial Nominee Program. However, the Provincial Nominee Program can also be used to obtain extra points for the national Express Entry programme and dramatically increase the chances of being invited to apply for permanent residency. To obtain a permanent visa via the Express Entry programme, applicants must meet stricter requirements in terms of education, language skills and relevant work experience.

Regardless of the programme chosen to apply for a permanent visa, applicants must always wait for their application to be assessed. Applicants are assigned a score based on the listed criteria, and then ranked according to their total score. The applicants with the best scores will then obtain an invitation to apply for permanent residency. Once this application has been approved, the applicant receives a permanent visa to Canada and is thus allowed to live, work and study in the country indefinitely. Nonetheless, receiving a permanent visa does not grant eligibility for Canadian citizenship.

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