Moving from the US to Canada – What it takes

Immigrating to Canada from the US

The American dream has taken a hit for immigrants across the world. The Trump administration has flexed its policies to keep immigrants away from the US. As the options in the USA dwindles, migrants have found a new haven of ardently sought-after opportunities and highly desired life standards: Canada.

Those who have already settled in the US as a resident or citizen too are looking for greener pastures. Canada is an obvious and endearing choice for many reasons. Being a country that welcomes migrants even in the hard times like COVID-19 could well be a starter. The proximity to the US and cordial relation between Canada and the US are other reasons.

In fact, the US is the leading source of workers, students, immigrants, and visitors for Canada. Do you know someone who wish to move to Canada for any of these reasons? You could share the knowledge we are trying to impart here to help them immigrate to Canada from the USA.

How a skilled worker moves to Canada

First things first, Canada and the US are federal countries. But a major difference lies in the fact that Canada has provinces with sub-governments that share constitutional authority with the federal government to choose immigrants.

With so many sub-governments existing, there are literally a hundred ways to immigrate into Canada. If you are a skilled worker, your pathways of entry are many.

No matter which pathway you use – federal or provincial – the basic process goes like this:

  • You will submit your profile into a system pool.
  • There, your profile along with your application will be ranked on the basis of factors such as age, education, work experience, language proficiency in English or French, and family connections in Canada or its provinces.
  • Periodic immigration draws are held in which the profiles are picked to be sent an ITA. You get respond to the ITA, get the process going and if all goes well, you land in Canada with a visa/permit to work in Canada.

For residents in the US to move to Canada after obtaining a PR, there are 2 pathways namely Skilled workers and Express Entry.

IRCC, the federal department of Canada,manages the Express Entry system. It’s the system meant for skilled workers, whose applications and profiles are kept in the Express Entry pool and chosen for processing subject to conditions.

The Express Entry draws are held once every 2 weeks. The highest scoring candidates are invited to apply for PR. After receiving the invite, the candidate can send the application for PR, which IRCC will process within 6 months.

Another pathway for skilled candidates is the PNP. Canada PNP exists for the sole purpose of serving the interest in immigration for Canada’s provinces. Every province can conduct a PNP draw to find the right skilled candidate to be invited to work in the necessary sectors with open job opportunities. These job opportunities are often vacant as there’s no native worker skilled enough to take that position.

You can put a PNP application directly to obtain a nomination certificate. You can then use that to apply for PR.

Even though processing times are delayed in certain cases due to COVID-19, the immigration draws of both types have been actively held in the times of the pandemic. Draw sizes have also been increasing.

Besides these 2 options, you could use skilled worker pathways like that offered by Quebec (with its own immigration system). There are other federal and provincial options for business immigrants too.

How to get a Canadian work permit?

Work permits may or may not need LMIA in Canada. Why LMIA? LMIA ensures that calling in workers for jobs in a province won’t affect the Canadian workers. Under LMIA, the employer must submit a petition to the federal government that hiring foreigners won’t affect the employment outcomes and wages of indigenous people who work in Canada.

For work permit streams that don’t need LMIA approval are many. Canada’s participation in USMCA (known as CUSMA in Canada) is one of the paths that allows US residents/citizens to migrate to Canada to work.

Another popular option for workers in the US in the recent years is the Global Talent Stream offered by Canada.

What about family sponsorship?

With family sponsorship, spouses and partners of Canadian PRs and citizens can enter Canada and work in Canada. It’s also a way for reunification of grandparents, parents, and dependent children.

The path to Canadian citizenship

The following ways are open for those moving from the US to become citizens in Canada:

  • US citizens and PRs of US with a Canadian parent can automatically become Canadian citizens. They must submit an application for Proof of Citizenship IRCC.
  • If you are a PR in Canada, you can become a citizen even without having a Canadian parent. After living on PR for at least 3 years in the last 5 years back from the date of application you are eligible to apply for citizenship.

So, now that you know the basic Canada immigration process and possibilities of immigrating from US to Canada, you have one up to make a better future in Canada.

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ITA – Invitation to Apply

PR – Permanent Residence / Permanent Resident

IRCC – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

PNP – Provincial Nominee Program

LMIA – Labor Market Impact Assessment

USMCA – United States-Canada-Mexico-Agreement

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