This week, I had the opportunity to write this op-ed column in the Winnipeg Free Press on how the Canadian immigration system will make it easier for skilled trades and persons with Canadian work experience to immigrate here.
While the new changes target certain skilled individuals, the overall thrust of the Canadian immigration system of the 2010s is clear – immigrants will no longer choose Canada, employers will choose immigrants.
Who is qualified to immigrate to Canada?
For the most part in order to immigrate to Canada an individual must have either:
1. A guaranteed job offer for which that person’s Canadian employer has received government approval to hire a foreign worker; or
2. An educational credential from a Canadian post-secondary institution and anywhere from 6 to 12 months of work experience in Canada after graduation (depending on the province one is looking to immigrate to); or
3. Some previous work history in Canada – again, typically 6 to 12 months depending on the province one is looking to immigrate to.
In short, without an employer in Canada, immigration to Canada is becoming increasingly difficult.
In addition to having one of the above, almost all individuals must now be proficient (not necessarily fluent) in English of French. Tests must be written to establish proficiency and Citizenship and Immigration Canada specifies which tests are acceptable.
Whatever happened to family reunification?
While there are still provisions for spouses and dependent children to immigrate to Canada, the pathway to bring other relatives to Canada without a job or job offer is essentially closed.
The only two provinces that allow immigration without a job or job offer are Manitoba and Prince Edward Island. In this connection, prospective immigrants will only qualify if they are supported by relatives who are residents of those provinces. Even then, there are still minimum requirements for age, education and work experience.
In addition, prospective immigrants must show that they have a minimum amount of funds to support their own immigration. For a family of four, this could exceed $16,000.
What about supporting friends to immigrate to Canada?
The main test for immigration is now jobs or job offers. However, Manitoba stands alone as the one province in which a Manitoba resident can support the immigration of a distant relative or friend. However, the distant relative or friend must still meet mandatory criteria which may be more stringent.
As with other applicants, the ability to show a minimum amount of funds is also necessary.
Are there other ways to immigrate to Canada?
In addition to the above routes to immigrate to Canada, there are at least two other ways to immigrate here.
First, one can apply as a business immigrant. While there are various business immigration programs, most require some business experience and a minimum net worth. For individuals with a net worth of less than $350,000, these programs may not work.
The other way to immigrate here is as a refugee. However, like other immigration categories, this route is also getting increasingly hard.