Why Canada

You name it, Canada’s got it. The land of the maple leaf is a major player on the world stage in terms of politics and economy. Abundant in superb employment and eduction opportunities, Canada ranks high on the list of countries guaranteeing very high standard of living and impeccable healthcare services. While it may not be the cheapest location to live in, Canada’s thriving economy will surely accommodate anyone looking for honest work possibilities. Its vast, pristine wilderness attracts tens of thousands of nature lovers every year, tourists and migrants alike. It is also notorious for its convoluted migration procedures and long application processing times. But will you really have to elbow your way through the thick Canadian legislative jungle? Let’s see how to approach the task of getting a visa for Canada.

Is getting a visa for Canada necessary?

British citizens are generally allowed a visa-free entry into Canada. It is granted through the Electronic Travel Authorisation system (eTA) the Canadian government has been operating since November 10, 2016. Under its provisions, the length of a visa-free stay in the country is limited to six months and it is reserved for air travel exclusively. The procedure to obtain eTA is fairly simple and does not require visiting a Canadian embassy. In practice, it boils down to a fast online application. While eTA bears some resemblance to the visa system, there are significant differences between the two authorisations and what they entitle the holder to. In fact, some situation will require applying for a dedicated visa to visit Canada. Let’s take an in-depth look. Check our guide if you are emigrating to Canada from the UK.

Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA)

Canadian VisaThe Electronic Travel Authorisation system allows a visa-free entry into Canada to citizens of 54 countries around the world that meet a number of criteria specified in the Canadian Visa Waiver Programme. Among others, there are the Commonwealth countries and all the EU member states. Visitors requesting entry into Canada are required to follow a simple registration procedure available on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. To register, applicants must provide:

  • proof of identity – passport
  • e-mail address – once processed, the confirmation is sent electronically
  • credit or debit details – pay the application fee of CA$7

The procedure consists in filling a simplified questionnaire. Granting eligibility for eTA is based on a risk assessment procedure and a confirmation is sent to the email address provided in the registration. Although the maximum processing time totals 72 hours, in most cases authorisations are issued within minutes. Apart from the biometrics and proof of identity, the questionnaire addresses the following issues:

  • a candidate’s additional citizenships
  • available funds to support themselves during the stay
  • employment details
  • contact information
  • health condition
  • immigration history
  • conviction history

Electronically tied to a candidate’s passport, eTA allows multiple entry into Canada for a total of five years since the issue date, each time granting a six-month stay within the country. Regardless of the reason to travel to Canada, the actual length of time a given candidate is allowed to stay in Canada is determined by the Canadian Border Services operatives upon entry into the country. Extensions of the six-month allowance can be applied for at least 30 days in advance. All travellers arriving by air are required to complete the eTA application procedure. This includes children regardless of their age. Overland entries or arrivals by sea are allowed for visa holders.

There is a selection of situations where the electronic Travel Authorisation is not required. Exempt from eTA are, among others, holders of Canadian visas, passenger flight cabin crew and diplomats.

How does eTA work?

While there’s no need to remove the side panniers, the top box (if any) should be placed on the floor or the pallet. Removing all the protruding elements will prevent accidental damage. It will also reduce the overall size of the shipment. Therefore, the mirrors and the screen need removing. Consider wrapping the mirrors in bubble wrap before sticking them in the side panniers. Safety and economy.

Visas to Canada

Citizens of some countries are not eligible for eTA. For them to enter Canada, it will be required to apply for a specific visa beforehand. Likewise, there are situations where a visa-free entry is out of the question even for the citizens of the 54 privileged countries.

Types of Canadian visas

Temporary residence is granted to foreign nationals based on their intended length of stay in Canada as well as the kind of activities they will be pursuing while there. The Canadian authorities allow foreign national to arrive into the country for one of the following reasons:

  • tourism or business
  • transiting
  • work purposes
  • education
  • residence

While short-term stays, in case of visiting Canada of up to six months, such as touring the country or arriving on business-related purposes, can be legalised through the eTA system, taking up employment or a course of study, to say nothing of settling down in Canada, requires more time to complete and is subject to other relevant legislative regulations. In such situations, applicants will have to obtain specific permits in advance. Unlike eTA, temporary residence permits have to be applied for in person. This may entail several visits to the Canadian embassy or consulate and will require providing a number of other documents, such as offer of employment.

Moving to Canada permanently

As a response to certain shortages in skilled workers, the Canadian government launched an immigration system dedicated to managing foreign workforce with the aim of filling the urgent labour gaps. The Express Entry system targets skilled workers, offering a simplified way of applying for permanent residence to those who are deemed most likely to succeed economically in Canada.

Express Entry

Express entryThe Express Entry system is a collection of federal economic immigration programmes designed to attract skilled workers. Based on a number of requirements, the system offers several ways of express entry for foreign specialists without any working experience in Canada. As such, Express Entry comprises the following:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Programme
  • Federal Skilled Trades Programme
  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Provincial Nominee Programme

Applicants’ eligibility to apply for the Express Entry system is judged on the basis of the following requirements:

  • candidates must be less than 45 years of age
  • they must possess a bachelor’s degree
  • they must have a documented minimum of 2 years of experience in country of origin
  • they will have to score high on a 1200-point scale in the Comprehensive Ranking System
  • must be literate in English
  • must have a clear criminal record
  • must clear health exams

Express Entry fees are CA$1325 for every grown-up family member and CA$225 for every child.

Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP)

This key economic migration programme in Canada addresses skilled workers with work experience in foreign countries. Among its main eligibility requirements is a minimum score of 67 points out of 100 in a dedicated FSWP qualifying questionnaire. Here’s the factors and points:

  • education – maximum 25 points
  • language abilities – 28 points
  • work experience – 15 points
  • age – 12 points
  • employment – 10 points
  • adaptability – 10 points

A successful candidate is placed in the Express Entry Draw, where they must score high against other competitors on a scale of 1200 points, as was explained above. The processing time spanning up to six months, admission is confirmed by an official government invitation letter. FSWP allows relocation of all the family members of a successful candidate.

Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP)

This key economic migration programme in Canada addresses skilled workers with work experience in foreign countries. Among its main eligibility requirements is a minimum score of 67 points out of 100 in a dedicated FSWP qualifying questionnaire. Here’s the factors and points:

  • education – maximum 25 points
  • language abilities – 28 points
  • work experience – 15 points
  • age – 12 points
  • employment – 10 points
  • adaptability – 10 points

A successful candidate is placed in the Express Entry Draw, where they must score high against other competitors on a scale of 1200 points, as was explained above. The processing time spanning up to six months, admission is confirmed by an official government invitation letter. FSWP allows relocation of all the family members of a successful candidate.

Federal Skilled Trades Programme (FSTP)

Tailored to address gaps in the skilled labour shortages, FSTP targets individuals possessing skills and documented work experience in a specific trade. The eligibility requirements differ significantly from those above. Successful candidates will:

  • meet the communication requirements by taking a language test
  • have demonstrable 2 years of working experience in their specific trades
  • have a full-time job offer form up to two Canadian employers that extends at least a year or supply a certificate of qualifications in their skilled trade issued by a Canadian Provincial or a territorial authority

As before, candidates will have to score high on the CRS and get approved. This is confirmed by receiving an official Invitation to Apply (ITA), which marks the beginning of a 60-day period during which candidates should file their application. A security and medical check will be a must, too. Thus completed application should be filed online with the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

This programme targets individuals with a minimum of one year of working experience gained in Canada within the last three years. It allows immigrating back into the country on a permanent basis. Here, however, the occupations in question have to be mentioned in the National Occupation Classification (NOC). Moreover, CEC candidates will not be able to live in the province of Quebec. As was the case before, communication skills will have to be tested and approved.

Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP)

Provincial Nominee Programmes differ from the previous three programmes in that the Canadian Provinces can nominate certain candidates to the Express Entry Pool, thus increasing their chance of success. This is practically a guarantee of receiving permanent residency in Canada. Again, qualifying will initially mean the necessity to score high on the 1200-point CRS scale. A provincial nomination, however, gives candidates instant 600 points. As was the case before, language skills, age and work experience are assessed and will have a bearing on the outcome.

The PNP fees differ from province to province. Here are two examples illustrating the fee requirements:

  • Alberta – CA$490: Permanent Residence Fee CA$1150
  • British Columbia – CA$500: Skills Immigration Registration CA$300, Application CA$3500, Request for review CA$500

International Experience Canada (IEC)

Working visa to CanadaThis is a programme dedicated to individuals aged between 18 and 30, who, at the time of application, do not have any specific job offer from a Canadian employer. In its import, it resembles the American Work and Travel programme. Successful candidates receive a Working Holiday visa that allows them to live, work and travel in Canada for a total of 2 years. Here are the eligibility requirements:

  • candidates must be aged 18 – 30
  • they must have a valid passport covering the entire stay in Canada
  • they need to have a private health insurance covering the whole duration of their stay
  • they must supply a Health and Character certificate
  • they can participate in the IEC programme only once

Despite the fact that IEC allows legal employment, candidates are required to provide proof of financial support for their stay in Canada. Apart from the obvious documents such as passport, they will have to provide a detailed resume and a digital photo, coupled with some information about their families. Naturally, they must be literate in English or French and be able to document their educational qualification credentials. Needless to say, eTA is a must. An IEC application fee totals CA$153.

The application procedure usually lasts 61 weeks and involves the following steps:

  • Completion of the dedicated online form
  • Uploading of all the relevant documents
  • Payment of the fees
  • Submission of the completed application
  • Submission of biometrics

Other ways of immigrating to Canada permanently

Apart from the Express Entry and the Working Visa programmes, Canada offers a few more options to consider, if you’re thinking of settling down in the country of the maple leaf.

Atlantic Immigration Programme

As the name itself suggest, the programme facilitates immigration to a number of specific regions in Canada. These are: Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Labrador, New Brunswick and New Scotia.

As such, the programme features a three-way division in relations to the skills possessed by the applicants:

  • The Atlantic High-Skilled Program
  • The Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program
  • The Atlantic International Graduate Program

While the first two pathways into Canada require of the candidates a high school diploma, the The Atlantic High-Skilled Programme is stricter in this respect. Here, a two-year post-secondary diploma from a publicly funded educational institution within the Atlantic region is necessary. Moreover, it will have had to be gained within the last 12 months prior to filing toe application. Unlike the first two programmes, it does not require any skilled work experience. Otherwise, one year in a related field is more than enough. A letter of endorsement will be a must for any of the options above. So will be a language test with the result of Level 4 for English or Niveau de compétence Linguistique Canadien for French.

Quebec Immigration

Other regional immigration programme targetting individuals looking to settle down in the province of Quebec. Among its requirements are:

  • candidate’s age must be below 40
  • a bachelor’s degree is a must
  • a documented 2 years of work history
  • a minimum score of 50 points on the criteria for eligibility questionnaire
  • a clean criminal history
  • good health

The list of criteria for eligibility assumes the following scores for individual requirements:

  • area of training – 12 points
  • valid employment offer – 10 points
  • work experience – 10 points
  • age – 16 points
  • language proficiency – 22 points
  • close relatives in Quebec – 8 points
  • spouse criteria – 17 points
  • children – 8 points
  • financial self-sufficiency – 1 point

The cost of applying for this programme is CAD $773 for the main applicant. Their spouse will have to pay  CAD $166, and each of their children is an additional cost of  CAD $166.

Business Immigration

Business immigrationCanada offers four visas enabling candidates to transfer their private businesses to the country.

Start-up Visa Investor Programme is dedicated to those who own a business and would like to run it in Canada. To qualify, candidates will have to submit a letter of support from a specific institution as a way of demonstrating funding. Additionally, proving financial self-sufficiency will be required. Level 5 of English and French literacy, too.

Entrepreneur programme is tailored for those who have established a business in Canada within two years since arrival into the country. Additionally, you will have to evince skilful and active management of your business and employ at least one Canadian citizen who is not related to you.

Self-employed Persons Programme will be available for those who can demonstrate a minimum of two years of experience within the last five years. Being in good heath and having a clean criminal record will be a must. A minimum score of 35 points is on the requirement list, too.

Business Provincial Nominee Programmes differ from significantly, depending on a given province. Here, however, specific financial investments will have to be made into the local economies and a detailed business plan will have to be submitted. Previous business management experience is needed. Candidates will have to meet region-specific age, language, health and character requirements.

Family Class Immigration

The Canadian government facilitates family reunions by allowing immigration into Canada of the parents, grandparents, spouses, partners and children of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, who can demonstrate their ability to provide financial support of their family members.

Student Immigration

Taking up a course of study at one of the many fine Canadian institutions of higher learning can be a sure way of securing permanent residence in the country. To apply for a university course, candidates must first make their choice as to the university they would like to study at and file their application for admission. It can be done online on the website of the preferred university.

One last step to take is the application for a student visa. It will authorise staying and studying in the country. Here are the requirements:

  • proof or enrolment at a Designated Learning Institute
  • demonstrable financial resources to support oneself
  • proof of one’s ability to meet the cost of returning
  • proof of a reason to return home after the expiration of the vsa
  • a clean criminal record certificate
  • a medical certificate