Canada is one of the most requested countries in terms of immigration, for several reasons: high-quality education, universal health, employment opportunities, cultural and religious diversity…
As a worker and depending on your current situation, you have different opportunities to immigrate to Canada.
Thus, in this article, we will come back point by point on the different opportunities that are available to you as a worker.
We will first study immigration programs at the federal level, namely Express Entry, the program dedicated to the self-employed and the start-up visa program. These programs will allow you to immigrate to all provinces except Quebec (I).
Next, we will discuss the programs created for young people, namely the Working Holiday Permit and the Young Professionals Permit, which make it easier than other programs to immigrate from anywhere in Canada, including Quebec (II).
Finally, the programs specific to the province of Quebec, namely the Quebec program for permanent workers, temporary workers and business people (III), will be apprehended.
I. WORKER PROGRAMS OUTSIDE QUEBEC
A. EXPRESS ENTRY
Express Entry is an application process for skilled immigrants wishing to settle permanently in Canada and who don’t have a job yet.
It should be noted that this program allows you to live outside the province of Quebec.
Express Entry manages applications for three economic immigration programs:
1. Skilled Worker Program
2. Skilled Trades Program
3. Category of work experience
Most Express Entry applications are processed in 6 months from the date your application is completed, which may be extended due to the health situation.
1. SKILLED WORKER PROGRAM
The Express Entry program has minimum requirements for:
- Skilled work experience:It is necessary that you have had skilled work experience, i.e. that you have held a job corresponding to one of the jobs provided for by the National Occupational Classification (“NOC”) A, B or 0 established by the Canadian government.
This experience must have been acquired within the last 10 years and must include at least 1 year of continuous full-time work (30 hours per week for 12 months or 1560 hours) or part-time (it is necessary to arrive a total of 1560 hours).
The experience of a student work may also be considered if it meets the general requirements of the Express Entry program.
- Language skills:To be eligible for Express Entry, you must take an approved language test in French and/or English.
- Education:You must have a diploma, degree or trade or apprenticeship certificate equivalent to a diploma from a Canadian secondary or post-secondary educational institution.
If you meet all the minimum requirements, the immigration service will also assess:
- Your age, education, work experience, whether or not you have a valid job offer, English or French language skills, adaptability, proof of sufficient funds to settle in Canada with your family, unless you have the right to work legally in Canada or have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada.
All of these factors are assessed in a 100-point grid used to assess eligibility for the Express Entry program. The current passing grade, to obtain is 67 points.
2. SKILLED TRADES PROGRAM
The Skilled Trades Program is for skilled workers who want to become permanent residents because of their skilled trades qualification.
The minimum requirements are comparable to those for skilled jobs, but differ in substance:
- Skilled work experience: Skilled trades are classified into specific NOC groups (industrial trades, electrical trades, natural resource sectors, chefs and cooks, butchers and bakers, etc.).
You must also have at least 2 years of full-time work experience (or equivalent part-time experience) in a skilled trade in the 5 years prior to your application.
- Language skills: You must take approved language tests in French and/or English.
- Education: There is no requirement but you can provide proof of a diploma, degree or trade or apprenticeship certificate equivalent to a diploma from a Canadian secondary or post-secondary educational institution to improve your eligibility.
- Job offer: To be eligible for this program, you must have either a full-time job offer valid for at least 1 year or a certificate of qualification in this skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority.
You will also need to demonstrate proof of funds unless you have the right to work legally in Canada or have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada.
Under the Skilled Worker Program, the province you wish to settle in will assess your application. For this assessment you will likely need to travel to the province or have to find an employer in Canada to get the required experience and training.
3. CANADIAN EXPERIENCE CLASS
The Canadian Experience Class is intended for skilled workers who have Canadian work experience and wish to become permanent residents.
- Skilled work experience:You must have acquired at least 1 year of skilled work experience in Canada in the last 3 years before you apply, i.e. have accumulated at least 1560 hours of full-time or part-time work when you had temporary resident status and were authorized to work.
- Language skills:You must take one or more approved language tests in English and/or French.
- Studies:There is no educational requirement. Nevertheless, proof of a diploma, degree or trade or apprenticeship certificate equivalent to a diploma from a Canadian secondary or post-secondary educational institution will improve your eligibility.
The Self-Employed Immigration Program allows you to immigrate to Canada permanently if you have valuable experience in cultural or sporting activities.
To immigrate as a self-employed person, you must:
- Possess useful experience – you must have at least 2 years of experience acquired in the last 5 years in the field of cultural activities or sports activities;
- Intend to create your own job in Canada; and
- Meet the selection criteria established for the program: experience, education, age, language skills and adaptability.
- Fulfill requirements regarding, among other things, medical examination and security screening.
The processing time for applications under this program is 34 months.
C. FEDERAL START-UP VISA PROGRAM
It is also possible to immigrate to Canada by starting a business and creating jobs or offering support to innovative entrepreneurs.
Applicants may receive funding, advice and expertise for the opening and operation of their business in Canada through private sector organizations in Canada called “Designated Organizations” by the Government of Canada.
To be eligible, applicants for a start-up visa must meet the following requirements:
- Have an eligible business: First condition: At the time you obtain the commitment of a designated corporation, each applicant must hold at least 10% of the voting rights attached to the shares of the corporation & that the designated corporation and the applicants jointly hold more than 50% of the voting rights attached to the shares of the corporation. Second condition: At the time you obtain your permanent residence, you must incorporate a corporation in Canada, ensure the active and continuous management of the business from Within Canada and an essential part of the activities must be carried out in Canada;
- Obtain a letter of support from a Designated Organization;
- Meet language requirements – as with Express Entry applications, you must take a language test in French and/or English;
- Bring enough money to settle:You must prove that you have enough money to support yourself and your family when you arrive in  Canada.
The processing time for applications under this program is 12 to 16 months.
NB: While your application for permanent residence is being processed, you can apply for a temporary work permit to start your business in Canada.
II. THE CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE FOR YOUTH: WHT & YOUNG PROFESSIONALS PERMIT
The International Experience Canada (IEC) initiative is for youth aged 18 to 29, 30 or 35 (depending on their nationality) who wish to travel and/or gain work experience anywhere in Canada on a temporary basis.
The IEC program is composed of several categories: the Working Holiday Permit (“WHV”), the Young Professionals Permit(“JP”) and the International Co-op Internships. The first two permits, intended for workers, will be discussed in this article.
Depending on your nationality, you have access to one, two or three of these categories. The French have access to these 3 categories. WHV and JP cannot be combined, in other words if you have already obtained a WHV or a JP permit before 2015, you will only be able to apply to the Internship category and vice versa.
A. THE WORKING HOLIDAY PERMIT (WHV)
The WHV is an “open” work permit, which means you have the opportunity to work in Canada for one or more employers. You will be able to go to Canada for a maximum of 1 or 2 years (depending on your nationality) to travel and/or work.
There are several conditions to be eligible for a WHV:
- You must be between 18 and 35 years old (30 years old for Belgians) at the time of your permit application;
- You must hold a valid passport issued by a country that is a signatory to a WHV agreement with Canada;
- You must have the equivalent of $2500 CAD in your bank account;
- You must not have already obtained a WHV Canada in the past, with some exceptions;
- You must take out health/hospitalization/repatriation insurance valid for the duration of the stay;
- You will be able to register for the candidate pool without having a job offer. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you must obtain a job offer in order to obtain an invitation for WHV Canada.
Your application must be made in several steps:
1. As a first step, you must create an account on the Canadian immigration website, canada.ca and then submit a free application in the WHV category of the IEC program.
2. Once you have submitted your application, you must find an employer willing to hire you in Canada to obtain an invention to apply for. Once you have found a job, you will need to notify the Canadian authorities that you have a job offer and then wait until you get an Invitation to Apply (IPD) to proceed to the next step.
3. Once you receive your invitation, you only have 10 days to accept or decline it. In the event that you do not receive an invitation, you can re-register in the pool of candidates the following year.
4. From the moment you accept your invitation, you will have 20 days to finalize your request. You will need to provide a number of documents and pay the participation fee ($314 for the WHV).
5. Within 24 hours of submitting your work permit application, you will receive a letter of instruction asking you to give your biometrics. You then have 30 days to go to a Canada Visa Application Centre to have your identity verified and biometrics given.
6. Within a maximum of 8 weeks, you should receive a “letter of introduction at the point of entry”, also known as a “letter of correspondence”, which will allow you to enter Canada.Your WHV Canada is valid for 12 months from the date your Letter of Introduction is issued or it will be cancelled.
B. THE YOUNG PROFESSIONALS PERMIT
Unlike the WHV, the Young Professionals permit is a “closed” work permit, in other words once in Canada, you will only be able to work for one employer, the one who has done with you the steps to obtain your work permit.
The conditions of participation are similar to those of the PVT category, you must:
- Be between the ages of 18 and 35;
- Have a passport from a state that has signed an IEC agreement with Canada;
- Have taken out health/ hospitalization/repatriation insurance and have a minimum of $2500 CAD in your bank account.
This permit nevertheless requires specific conditions relating to your employment:
- You must have a job offer in Canada, in your field of expertise, that is to say directly related to your studies or career;
- Your job must be paid and you cannot be self-employed;
- Your job must be classified as NoC Categories A, B or 0. Your job can also be level C if you attach a post-secondary diploma, certificate or degree to your application.
The application process is as follows:
1. As with the WHV, you must create an account on the Canadian immigration website and register in the “candidate pool” of the Young Professionals permit.
2. You must then wait until you receive an Invitation to Submit an Application (“IPD”) once you have proven that you have found a job in Canada.
3. Once the DPI is received, you have 10 days to accept the request. If you accept it, you have 20 days to finalize your request. You will have to fill out a linen form, attach documents and pay the participation fee, which amounts to $241 for the permit. During this period, your employer must submit your job offer on the Canadian immigration website. He will have to pay $230 in the employer’s compliance fee and provide information about the position you will occupy.
4. Once these steps have been completed, the employer will obtain a “job offer number” that you will need to complete your application for a permit. To obtain this permit, your employer will not need to do a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
5. Once you have submitted all the documents, you will receive within 24 hours a letter of instruction for you to collect your biometric data. Within 30 days, you must go to a centre authorized by Canada to complete this process.
6. Once your biometrics have been submitted, the Canadian authorities will review your work permit application and within a maximum of 8 weeks they will send you their final decision. If your work permit application is accepted, you will receive a letter of introduction/correspondence that you must present upon arrival.
This permit will allow you to gain work experience that will be useful for an application for permanent residence in Canada via the Canadian Experience Class via Express Entry after one year of Canadian experience to immigrate outside Quebec see details I.A or the Certificat de Sélection du Québec via the Quebec Experience Program to immigrate to Quebec after two years of experience see details III.C .
III. IMMIGRATION PROGRAMS SPECIFIC TO THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC
The province of Quebec offers several immigration routes for people wishing to settle there, immigration procedures that are distinct from the system provided for at the federal level.
Québec thus proposes a procedure for:
The Regular Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) allows you to immigrate to Quebec permanently to work without having an employer before arriving on Canadian soil.
To access this program, you must first complete an expression of interest in immigrating to Quebec. To do this, you must be 18 years of age or older and intend to reside and work in Québec. You will also need to provide information about your educational background, professional background, knowledge of English and French, and your family situation.
Once all your information has been studied, if your profile corresponds to the needs of Quebec, you will receive an invitation to submit an application for permanent selection. You will need to provide additional information and documents and pay the fee for the examination of your application.
After reviewing your application, there are three options:
-Your application is accepted, in which case you will receive your Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ);
-Your application is refused, in particular if you have not fulfilled all the conditions of the program or if you have not submitted all the requested documents in the format and deadline given;
-You will be able to present documents or justifications to improve your application, which will be re-examined once these additional documents have been submitted;
The processing time for your application for this program is 15 to 17 months.
B. QUEBEC TEMPORARY WORKER PROGRAM
This program is intended for people wishing to stay in Quebec and work there temporarily. Some Quebec companies use recruitment abroad when they have trouble finding the staff they need in Quebec.
Under this program, the positions offered and available are classified according to the median hourly salary in Quebec and each category of position will involve different administrative procedures:
- High-wage position (equal to or higher than the median hourly wage in Quebec) you must first find an employer in Quebec who wants to hire you temporarily. Your employer must then take certain steps with the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration and then service Canada, including an application for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), unless your job is exempt from a work permit or the LMIA (Study details at the end of the article). Your employer will then have to draw up a written employment contract.You will then have to obtain the consent of the MIFIC to stay in Québec to work temporarily, through a permanent selection.If your application is accepted by the Ministère de l’Immigration du Québec, you will have to apply for a work permit from the Government of Canada.
- Low-wage position (lower than the median hourly wage in Quebec) if you have found an employer in Quebec wishing to hire you temporarily, in a low-wage position, you must normally obtain a Certificat d’Acceptation du Québec (CAQ). You may be exempted from obtaining the Certificate when the continuous work time is less than 30 days or when the employee is not paid or when the employer is exempt from LMIA or the requirement to hold a work permit.
If you wish to settle permanently in Québec after having worked there temporarily, you will be eligible for the Programme de l’expérience Québécoise (PEQ).
The time it takes several months to obtain the documents authorizing you to come and work in Québec. This period may vary depending on your country of origin.
C. QUEBEC EXPERIENCE PROGRAM
This program is intended for skilled foreign workers wishing to obtain a Quebec selection certificate in order to live in Quebec permanently.
The Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) has two components: one for temporary foreign workers and one for Quebec graduates.
The general conditions for foreign workers are as follows:
- Have complied with the conditions of your stay in Canada;
- Intend to settle in Québec to hold a job;
- Be 18 years of age or older;
- Have a knowledge of oral French equivalent to 7;
- Be legally in Québec when you submit your application;
- Be financially self-sufficient.
The job(s) you have previously held must:
- Correspond to a NOC level 0, A or B occupation;
- Have been legally and full-time in a paid manner (minimum of 30 hours paid per week);
- The job must have been held for at least 24 of the 36 months prior to submitting your application.
If you meet all these conditions, you can apply for permanent selection in the PEQ on the Government of Quebec’s Arrima Platform.
Once the documents are uploaded to the platform, you will have to pay the fee for the examination of your application. The cost is $822 CAD per principal applicant, $176 for spouses and common-law partner and $176 for each dependent child.
You have 60 days after submitting your application to pay the fee for the review of your application.
If your application is complete, it will be processed within 6 months, which begins when the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration receives your application for permanent selection, your proof documents and the payment of the fee for the examination of your application.
When your application is processed, you must obtain a certificate of learning democratic values and Quebec values, which will be necessary for the success of your application and must be obtained within 60 days of being requested.
After reviewing your application, there are three options:
1. Your application is accepted, in which case you will receive your Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ).
2. Your application is refused, especially if you have not met all the conditions of the program or you have not submitted all the requested documents in the given format and deadline.
3. You will be able to submit documents or justifications to improve your application, which will be re-examined once these additional documents have been submitted.
You will then be able to submit an application for permanent selection, according to the same procedure as under the Regular Skilled Worker Program (QSWP).
D. QUEBEC BUSINESS PROGRAM
The province of Quebec has its own immigration program for business people, and offers a typical multi-step pathway.
First, you have to develop a business project, in the form of a business plan, which will be at the heart of your application by Quebec.
Thereafter you will have to apply for business immigration with 5 important phases:
- Selection phase in Quebec – (entrepreneur, investor, self-employed);
- Admissibility phase to Canada;
- Phase of choosing one of the three business immigration programs – E
- Final selection phase that aims to examine specific points of your application based on the immigration program chosen. You may be required to submit additional documents or be invited to a selection interview;
- Admission phase of your application: Once your application has been accepted, you must send the official immigration application and free yourself from the application amount depending on the immigration program chosen. Finally, you will be able to submit your admission to the Government of Canada.
The processing time for your application for this program is 50 months.
In any case, if you get a job offer before arriving on Canadian soil without being part of the programs mentioned above in I, II and III, you will be able to apply for a closed permit with Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Most employers need to obtain this study before they can hire a temporary foreign worker. Your employer will need to fill out a form, depending on your occupational category, and then send it to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to verify that the temporary foreign worker meets a need and that no Canadian or permanent resident is available to do the work in question.
The Province of Quebec provides for a specific immigration system for skilled workers that is apprehended in Part III.
This article does not include the possibility of immigrating through a family member residing in Canada or if you already have work experience in Canada or if you wish to immigrate to Canada as a student.
This article presents the different immigration programs in Canada with the main requirements but is not intended to be exhaustive. This is an article giving an overview of the different programs to date.