Have you been thinking of going Canadian? If you are a U.S. citizen seriously considering Canadian immigration, there are a few routes worth considering:
- Temporary residence visa: Obtain a visitor’s or temporary residence visa, which is valid for up to six months. Selecting this option should give you a chance to explore the country and assess employment opportunities if you are thinking long term. All you need in order to apply for this is your valid U.S. passport.
- Work permit: If you receive a viable job offer from a Canadian employer and decide to accept it, you can live and work in Canada for one to three years. All you need is the job offer to get a work permit, provided that the job is covered by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). For those not identified in the NAFTA professional category, your prospective Canadian employer needs to get a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before they can offer you the job.
- Study permit: If you gain admission to a Canadian school program, you can obtain a study permit valid for the program's duration (one to four years). You can work part-time in the country and, after graduation, get an open postgraduate work permit, as well.
- Express entry: The express entry program is open to skilled workers who want to obtain permanent residency status, and are currently employed in Canada or other countries. It’s a fast and efficient way of getting to Canada faster and finding potential employers. However, this program is based on a points system whereby the information you provide about yourself (e.g. skills, work experience, language ability and education) corresponds to a certain number of points. You need to obtain about 450 points out of 1200 to qualify.
- Family class sponsorship: For those with immediate kin residing in Canada (i.e. adult children, a spouse or partner who are Canadian permanent residents or citizens), these family members can sponsor you to acquire permanent residence status, without needing an employer.
- Canadian experience class: Under this program, foreigners already living and working in Canada who want to become permanent residents can apply for a PR card.
- Provincial entrepreneur: Employers and business owners looking to provide job opportunities and immigrate to Canada can apply for a visa under one of the provincial entrepreneur programs.
What makes going Canadian worth it
There are a number of benefits of Canadian immigration and acquiring PR and citizenship status. These include:
Safety and political stability
Canada enjoys political stability and is one of the safest countries in the world, with the Legatum Global Prosperity Index of 2016 ranking Canada No. 2 globally in terms of personal freedom. Gun ownership is illegal but only a third of the population is licensed to carry firearms. Canadians are also considered to be among the politest, friendliest people in the world.
The Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) not only works as a retirement pension but also functions as a disability plan and provides life insurance benefits.
Canada provides Medicare, which is a universal publicly funded healthcare system, for all permanent residents and citizens. With Medicare, you won’t need to pay for the majority of healthcare services, including emergency medical attention even in the absence of a government-issued health card.
Ease of travel
The Canadian passport is ranked No. 6 (Henley Passport Index) among the most powerful passports in the world in 2019. Tied with Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, and the United States, this means Canadian passport holders can travel to 183 countries visa-free.
Canada practices multiculturalism and is generally supportive of immigration, welcoming refugees from war-torn countries or areas of unrest. In fact, as far back as the 1970s and 1980s, the Canadian government was committed to multiculturalism.
There are more advantages to becoming a Canadian permanent resident and citizen, but the ones listed above should be enough to provide you a fair idea of how Canadian immigration can be truly worth it.
If you have concerns or questions about Canadian immigration matters, be sure to consult with us at the Atlas Law Group. We’ll be guiding you every step of the way.