Canada is among the most preferred countries for people looking to immigrate from their native land. This popularity stems from numerous advantages that the country offers to immigrants. These include several social benefits, opportunities for career growth, high quality of living, and lower crime rates. Moreover, Canada is highly welcoming to foreign immigrants. Therefore it’s not too difficult for people to move there.

As a result, thousands of immigrants from different parts of the world are attracted to Canada every year. According to an estimate, around 226,203 people moved into Canada between mid-2020 and mid-2021. In addition, more than 8 million immigrants have acquired permanent residence in the country as of 2020, making up over 21% of the total population.

The country offers various immigration programs, further simplifying the process. That said, you would need to fulfill all the eligibility requirements to qualify for your chosen immigration plan. If you have been wondering how to move to Canada, we are here to help. In this article, we have discussed the different ways in which you can immigrate to Canada and everything you need to learn about the immigration process. Read on to know more!

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What immigration programs can I apply for?

People interested in moving to Canada can do so by applying to any of the over 100 different pathways offered by the country, as long as they fulfill the requirements. To simplify your selection process, below, we have mentioned some of the most popular programs.

Express Entry

The express entry program is one of the fastest ways of becoming a Canadian resident. But, this pathway is only applicable if you are a skilled worker. This is a points-based pathway, and your score will depend on your skill level, educational qualifications, language proficiency and work experience. There are 3 different immigration pathways offered under this program.

1. Federal Skilled Worker Program

Skilled workers who have foreign work experience can apply for permanent residence in Canada under this program. Apart from proven work experience, you also need to fulfill some essential education and language criteria. Your application will be assessed based on several selection criteria, and high-scoring candidates will be invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

2. Canadian Experience Class

Skilled workers who have a minimum of one-year of work experience in Canada can apply for this program. This should have been attained within the last three years before submitting your application. In addition, you need to fulfill some language requirements too.

3. Federal Skilled Trades Program

If you are a skilled worker holding a qualification in any skilled trade, you can apply for Canadian permanent residence under this category. Apart from fulfilling some specific language and work experience criteria, you will also need to have a valid full-time job offer or a qualification certification issued by a Canadian authority.

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Provincial Nominee Program

This program is for individuals interested in moving to a specific province in Canada. Every Canadian province or territory has its own streams targeting specific groups of people, and you need to fulfill all the requirements to be considered for nomination.

Before applying, you need to check the criteria specified by your preferred province to see if you meet all the essential requirements. You can apply for permanent residence under the Provincial Nominee Program both online and offline, although the procedure for each is quite different.

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Family Sponsorship

This pathway is applicable to people who have relatives living in and outside Canada. To be eligible to apply for immigration under this category, you need to have relatives who hold Canadian citizenship, have been granted permanent citizenship in the country, or are registered as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act. Moreover, they need to be at least 18 years old to be eligible to sponsor.

If your relative is a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, they must show that they plan to live in Canada when you become a permanent resident. However, your relative can’t sponsor you if they’re a permanent resident living outside Canada.

Family members like parents, children, spouses, or partners can be sponsored under this program, subject to the fulfillment of specific conditions. In addition, one may also be eligible to sponsor certain other categories of relatives to help them attain permanent residence in the country.

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Atlantic Immigration Program

If you are a skilled foreign worker or have graduated from a recognised post-secondary Atlantic Canadian institution, you can put in an application to become a permanent resident under the Atlantic Immigration Program. Under this pathway, you can only opt to live and work in the Atlantic provinces of Canada, which consists of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

This program aims to boost the region’s economy by helping employers find qualified individuals for jobs that the local population can’t fill. To be selected as a permanent resident under this program, you need to fulfill certain criteria regarding educational qualifications, language proficiency, and work experience.

Quebec Selected Skilled Workers

Skilled workers who wish to gain permanent residence in Canada and are willing to settle in the province of Quebec can apply for this immigration program. Due to a special agreement of the province with the government of Canada, Quebec reserves the right to set its own rules for selecting immigrants instead of offering the Provincial Nominee Program.

The application process for this program consists of two steps. Firstly, you need to apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate to the provincial government. The provincial government will then assess your application and issue a certificate if they are ready to accept you as an immigrant. After receiving the certificate, you need to apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent residence.

Start-Up Visa

If you are an entrepreneur who wants to move to Canada and set up your own business in the country, you can apply for permanent residence under the Start-Up Visa program. To be selected for this program, you need to have an innovative business idea that can create jobs for Canadian residents and has the potential to compete with businesses on a global level.

In addition to the above, you also need to produce a letter of support from a designated organization, fulfill the necessary language requirements, and have proof of enough financial capacity to support yourself and your family.

Self-Employment Visa

Under the Self-Employment Visa program, you can apply for permanent residence in Canada as a self-employed person if you have prior experience in the fields of athletics or cultural activities and can contribute significantly to the above fields while in Canada.

Apart from possessing the will and expertise to be self-employed, you also need to fulfill some requirements to gain permanent residence under this program. You need to have a minimum of two years experience in the relevant field and meet all the selection criteria and pass the required medical and security checks. In addition, you also need to provide proof of possessing enough funds to settle in the country.

Visa Application Process

Once you have identified the immigration pathway most suitable for you, you need to begin your visa application process. For this, the first step is to visit the official Canadian immigration website and set up your account there. You will then need to provide some details to prove your eligibility.

If found eligible, you will be informed about the application procedure depending on your chosen immigration program, along with a list of essential documents you need to provide. In addition, you will also receive a reference code, which must be noted down carefully for future use.

Most applications are submitted online, however, there are still some applications that require submission by mail. You are also responsible for paying the applicable visa application fees as required. The amount may vary depending on the type of visa you have applied for, if any family members are included on your application and you may also be required to pay some additional charges; such as medical examinations and biometrics.

It should be noted that not everyone needs a visa to enter Canada. For example, if you are a UK citizen, you can enter Canada and stay there for up to 6 months without a visa. But, after the end of this period, you are required to apply for a suitable immigration program to continue staying in the country. Instead of a visa, an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) will need to be applied for by visa-exempt foreign nationals.

Cost Of Immigration

Apart from the immigration costs you need to pay to the Canadian government, you may also need to show proof of possessing enough settlement funds to cover your cost of living. While certain costs are the same no matter where you settle in Canada, others may vary significantly in different parts of the country. Some of the significant expenses that you will need to bear include:

  • Housing and utilities - include the cost of buying or renting a house and electricity, water, and phone bills
  • Health insurance - you may not be eligible for the national healthcare plans offered by the country to all its citizens until you complete 3 months of residence
  • Food costs
  • Clothing expenditure
  • Transportation costs
  • Car insurance (if applicable)

Suppose you are moving to Canada as a skilled worker under the Express Entry program (excluding the Canadian Experience Class) or as a self-employed person. In this case, your application won’t be accepted unless you can show proof of having enough funds for the purpose.

In general, a single individual may need around 13000 CAD to be eligible to settle in the country, although this may vary depending on the area you are moving into. Moreover, the amount will increase further if other members of your family accompany you.

In addition, you also need to set apart some funds for any additional expenses you might incur during the immigration process. These may include, for example, the cost of getting your belongings shipped to the country.

Things To Know

If you are thinking of emigrating to Canada, it's a good idea to get to know the country before moving. To help you out, here we have noted down some of the essential things that you should be aware of as a potential immigrant to Canada.

Healthcare Benefits

Canada offers publicly-funded healthcare for all citizens, permanent residents, and some other groups of people like international students. But, in some instances, permanent residents may not be eligible for these healthcare benefits till three months after moving in.

In such cases, you can opt for private health insurance to cover your costs during this period. But, the public healthcare benefits do not cover certain facilities, except for certain specific groups like senior residents, children, etc. These include expenses for prescription drugs, dental care, optical care, ambulance costs, physical therapy, mental health, etc.
You can purchase additional health insurance plans to cover the costs mentioned above, as these can be pretty expensive in Canada.

Freezing Winters

While the Canadian landscape is undoubtedly beautiful, the same cannot be said about its weather. In winter, the temperature drops drastically, so you need to be well equipped to handle cold weather. Snowfall is also common, which can make going outdoors difficult.


Canada is a multicultural country, thanks to its welcoming attitude towards immigrants from all around the world. So no matter which city or province you decide to move to, you will come across culturally diverse people with different food habits and languages.

Tax System

Canada follows a decentralized federal system. Therefore, you must pay taxes at multiple levels (federal, provincial, and municipal). The income tax will be deducted directly from your salary unless you are a self-employed professional. In the latter case, you are required to pay the taxes by yourself. You might also be eligible for some tax benefits in certain cases.

In addition to the above, Canada also levies a sales tax on every item you buy. This may vary across different provinces and is applied during billing. In other words, the tax will be added to your bill amount every time you purchase any item.


Hopefully, this article has successfully addressed your question of ‘how to immigrate to Canada.’ Make sure you go through all the essential information before starting the process of applying for permanent residence in the country. This will enable you to make the right choice when it comes to choosing the most suitable immigration program.