Canada is one of the best countries in the world for immigrants looking for high quality of life, economic and educational opportunities.
With a strong economy, world-class education system, and progressive immigration policies that welcome skilled workers, Canada has become an increasingly popular destination for immigrants from all over the world.
This guide provides an overview of the main pathways for studying, working and ultimately attaining permanent residency in Canada. It covers study permits, post-graduation work permits, express entry for skilled workers, provincial nominee programs, and more.
Read on to discover your eligibility and understand the step-by-step processes for living and working in Canada long-term.
- A Guide to Becoming a Nurse in Canada as a Foreign Nurse through the PNP Pathway
- Top Reasons Why You Should Consider Studying in Canada as an Internationally Trained Nurse?
- CANADA PR: 6 ACHIEVEMENTS POSSIBLE WITH YOUR VISITOR VISA | IRCC
Why Choose Canada for Study, Work and Immigration?
There are many reasons why over 300,000 immigrants choose to make Canada their new home every year.
Here are some of the top advantages:
Strong Economy and Job Market
Canada has a thriving market-based economy with steady GDP growth. Major industries like natural resources, manufacturing, AI and tech are rapidly expanding, creating strong demand for skilled foreign workers to fill labor shortages.
Unemployment rates are low across most provinces.
High WagesCanada offers immigrants far higher wages and lower taxes compared to other top destinations. The average family income is over $93,000 CAD per year. Engineers, developers, healthcare workers and other professionals earn salaries on par with the United States.
High Quality of Life
Canada ranks among the top countries globally for quality of life. Cities are clean and safe, people are welcoming to newcomers, the air and water quality is pristine, and there is near universal access to healthcare and public education.
The Canadian government recognizes the vital economic contributions of immigrants and has policies intended to attract global talent. Permanent residence options are plentiful for students, workers and entrepreneurs.
Step 1: Get a Canadian Study Permit
The first step for many immigrants is obtaining a Canadian study permit (student visa), which allows you to live in Canada as an international student while earning an academic degree or diploma.
Why Study in Canada?
In addition to receiving a world-class education that can lead to future work opportunities, studying in Canada has several advantages:
- Gain work experience: You can work part-time on campus and full-time during scheduled breaks. After graduating, you can work for up to 3 years.
- Lower cost: International tuition fees are generally lower than similarly ranked universities in countries like the US and UK.
- Ease of immigration: After graduating, you have an excellent chance of becoming a permanent resident.
- Improve English/French: You can improve your language skills while immersed in Canadian culture.
- Bring family: Spouses and children may be allowed to accompany the student to Canada.
Study Permit Eligibility
The main requirements for a Canadian study permit are:
- Letter of acceptance from a designated school (college, university, etc)
- Sufficient funds to cover tuition + $10,000 CAD for living expenses
- Clean background check / medical exam
- Valid passport and travel documents
Make sure to apply several months in advance of your program start date to allow processing time. Study permits can be renewed as long as you maintain good academic standing.Many international students also apply for post-graduate work permits after finishing their studies, enabling them to gain valuable Canadian work experience that helps transition to permanent residence.
Step 2: Find a Job and Work in Canada
In addition to international students, Canada also actively recruits foreign skilled workers to fill widespread labor shortages across various in-demand occupations.If you have relevant work experience or qualifications in a skilled trade or professional occupation, you may be eligible to work in Canada permanently.
High Demand Jobs and Salaries
Some of the top jobs in demand across Canada include:Healthcare
- Software Developers
- Computer Engineers
- Data Scientists
- AI and Machine Learning Experts
- Construction Managers
Business & Finance
- Financial Analysts
- Entrepreneurs & Innovators
- Venture Capitalists
Salaries for these occupations generally range from $60,000 CAD on the lower end up to $150,000+ CAD for senior roles, with major metro areas like Toronto and Vancouver paying top dollar for in-demand talent.
Work Permit Options
There are a few main programs to obtain a Canadian work permit if you have a job offer from a Canadian employer:
LMIA Work PermitsThe Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process requires employers to prove no Canadian workers are available for the role. It is the main work permit route for skilled trades.NAFTA Professional (US/Mexico citizens)For 63 fast-tracked professions like engineers, accountants and scientists.
Just a job offer letter is needed.IEC Young Professional1 year open work permit for tourists ages 18-35 from select countries. Lottery system.Intra-Company TransfersFor multinational executives and specialized workers to be transferred to a Canadian branch.Note that some work permits may require proof of funds or medical/background clearances.
Step 3: Become a Permanent Resident
Once you’ve lived in Canada for a while as a student or worker, the next step is attaining permanent residence so you can continue building your new life without needing to renew a temporary visa.Over 80% of Canada’s economic immigrants are admitted through the Express Entry system. There are also Provincial Nominee Programs in each province.
Express Entry for Skilled Immigrants
Express Entry uses a comprehensive points-based system that ranks candidates based on core factors like age, education, work experience and language ability in English and/or French.The highest-ranking candidates in the pool are issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. Complete applications are usually processed within 6 months.
Here are the main Express Entry immigrant categories:
Federal Skilled WorkerFor skilled professionals with over 1 year of full-time work experience in Canada or abroad. Education, skills and qualifications must align with those listed on Canada’s skills shortage list.
Federal Skilled Trades
For skilled tradespersons with qualifying work experience as plumbers, electricians, mechanics, welders, and more. Unique job offer or skills certification may be required.
Canadian Experience ClassFor skilled workers with over 1 year of full-time professional, technical or trade work experience specifically within Canada.
Prior study or travel does not qualify.In addition to meeting Express Entry eligibility criteria, you’ll need to pass medical, security and background checks.While not every occupation is eligible, Express Entry offers the most straightforward path to permanent residence for skilled immigrants with strong English or French skills.
Provincial Nominee Programs
In addition to the federal Express Entry system, each Canadian province and territory runs its own Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) tailored to their local labor market needs.PNPs allow provinces to directly select and nominate immigrants for permanent residence, after which they apply via Express Entry.Every PNP has different eligibility criteria, but most require:
- In-demand occupation for that province
- Recent work experience in Canada or abroad
- Strong ties to the nominating province
- Minimum savings or net worth
Some PNP streams facilitate permanent residence for international student graduates or entrepreneurs investing in local businesses.Which PNP you apply for depends on your occupation, work experience and connections to that particular province.
Step 4: Prepare Your Move to Canada!
Once your permanent residence application is approved, it’s time to wrap up any loose ends in your home country and make arrangements for your upcoming move to Canada!Here are some things you should take care of:
Entry DocumentsEnsure your passport and travel documents are valid. Have your visa, medical/police certificates and signed record of landing handy.
Shipment & Storage
Decide what possessions to ship vs. store. Hire reputable international moving companies and storage facilities.
Housing & Accommodations
Book short-term accommodations for your arrival. Research neighborhoods and start looking for apartments or houses to rent or buy.
Open a Canadian bank account and credit card before arriving. Consider transferring funds internationally.
Apply for your provincial health card as soon as possible. Get copies of medical records and prescriptions from your home country.SchoolsIf relocating with kids, research school districts, enroll them in advance, and arrange for tutoring if needed.With the right amount of planning and preparation, your move to Canada will go smoothly!The experts at Vision Canada can help guide you through the complex process of studying, working and immigrating to Canada.
How Vision Canada Can Help You Immigrate
Vision Canada is a leading immigration firm with over 60 years of experience helping people study, work and settle permanently in Canada.
Here are some of the valuable services Vision Canada provides:
Get a free assessment from a regulated immigration consultant to determine your eligibility for various study, work and immigration programs.
From start to finish, Vision Canada guides you through completing your application forms, gathering supporting documents, taking biometrics, medical exams and more.
Vision Canada assists with key parts of your move like shipping belongings, arranging housing, opening bank accounts, registering kids for school and accessing healthcare when you arrive.
Eventually apply for Canadian citizenship so you can travel with a Canadian passport and enjoy the full rights and privileges of living in Canada permanently. With personalized guidance tailored to your unique situation, Vision Canada streamlines the process so you can feel confident embarking on your new life in Canada.
Start Your Canadian Immigration Journey Today
As one of the best countries in the world for skilled immigrants thanks to an open society, robust economy and abundance of work opportunities, Canada offers an outstanding quality of life.Whether you want to study at a top-ranked Canadian university, have your skills welcomed by Canadian employers hungry for global talent, or settle down permanently so your family can flourish – the first step is to assess your options.
Vision Canada offers free Canadian immigration eligibility assessments to see what programs you qualify for and discuss pathways that match your career goals.Don’t wait – contact Vision Canada today to get the ball rolling on turning your Canadian dreams into reality! The future you’ve always wanted is closer than you think.