Last Updated on December 31, 2020
Foreign nationals hoping to immigrate to Canada in 2021 will be able to take advantage of five ways to gain their permanent residence once Covid-19 border restrictions are lifted.
Certainly, the country is eager to boost its levels of immigration.
During the pandemic, Canada’s federal government increased its immigration targets for the next three years. In late October, it announced it would be welcoming 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021, 411,000 in 2022 and 421,000 in 2023.
Prior to the pandemic, the previous plan set targets of 351,000 in 2021 and 361,000 in 2022.
In its bid to meet those higher immigration targets in the coming years, Canada has streamlined some immigration programs and struck new deals with other countries.
“Canada is innovating immigration during the pandemic to accelerate our economic recovery and reunite more families,” tweeted Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino in early December.
During the pandemic, Canada undertook many measures to improve the access foreign nationals have to its immigration programs.
In late October, the country re-opened its borders to international students attending approved colleges and universities under new exemptions to coronavirus travel restrictions. To be allowed into Canada, international students approved for a study permit only now need to show they are attending a Designated Learning Institution with a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by their provincial or territorial government.
Throughout 2020, Canada has continued to issue Invitations to Apply (ITAs) through the Express Entry system despite the restrictions in place due to the pandemic, making it a record year with the issuance of more than 100,000 ITAs to prospective skilled worker immigrants.
In September, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada also gave a break to Provincial Nominee Program candidates who lost their employment offers due to coronavirus. Ottawa gave them a year to find a new job and still qualify for Canada immigration.
Quebec launched a new Arrima Expression of Interest employer portal in the past year to make it easier for employers to hire highly-skilled immigrants.
And Canada inked a deal with Italy to allow young Italian and Canadian adults to work in one another’s countries more often and for longer periods of time under a new International Experience Canada Youth Mobility Agreement.
As 2021 gets underway, foreign nationals will be able to come to Canada to seek permanent residence in five ways.
Under the Express Entry system, Canada receives immigration applications online. Applicants who meet eligibility criteria submit an online profile known as an Expression of interest (EOI), under one of three federal immigration programs or a participating provincial immigration program, to the Express Entry Pool.
Candidates’ profiles then are ranked against each other according to a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The highest-ranked candidates will be considered for an ITA for permanent residence. Those receiving an ITA must quickly submit a full application and pay processing fees, within a delay of 90-days.
PROVINCIAL NOMINEE PROGRAMS
Under a shared jurisdiction between Ottawa and the provinces, Canada operates a two-tiered immigration system, offering programs for skilled workers, at both federal and provincial levels.
Through a network of Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), almost all of Canada’s ten provinces and three territories can nominate skilled worker candidates for admission to Canada with the specific skills required by their local economies. Successful candidates who receive a provincial or territorial nomination can then apply for Canadian permanent residence through federal immigration authorities.
START-UP VISA PROGRAM
Immigrant investors can also come to Canada under the Start-up Visa program which can grant them Canadian permanent residence.
The program aims to recruit innovative entrepreneurs to Canada and link them with the Canadian private sector businesses, such as angel investor groups, venture capital funds or business incubators, and facilitate the establishment of their start-up business in Canada.
A designated venture capital fund must confirm that it is investing at least $200,000 into the qualifying business. Candidates can also qualify with two or more commitments from designated venture capital funds totalling $200,000. A designated angel investor group must invest at least $75,000 into the qualifying business.
CANADA STUDY PERMIT
International students can also eventually get their permanent residence in Canada by first coming under a Study Permit, then applying for a Post-graduation Work Permit, and finally seeking their permanent residents by applying through the Express Entry system.
Canada welcomes more than 350,000 international students every year. To be eligible to study in Canada these students must demonstrate that they:
- have been accepted by a school, college, university or other educational institution in Canada;
- have enough money to pay for their tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation;
- are law-abiding citizens with no criminal records;
- are in good health and willing to complete a medical examination, and;
- can satisfy an immigration officer that they will leave Canada at the end of their authorized stays.
Once issued a study permit, these students can work in Canada under the following categories:
- on campus without a work permit;
- off campus with a work permit;
- in co-op and internship programs, where work experience is part of the curriculum, with a work permit.
Upon graduation, a foreign student may apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. Under this program, the work permit may be issued for the length of the study program, up to a maximum of three years.
POST GRADUATION WORK PERMIT
The valuable work experience gained while an international grad works in Canada under a Post-Graduation Work Permit can count towards a permanent residence application through Canada Express Entry system.
Under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) used by Express Entry system programs, applicants for immigration are assigned points based on:
- Work experience;
- Language ability;
- Language ability and education of the applicant’s spouse or common law partner;
- Possession of a job offer supported by a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment;
- Possession of a provincial government nomination for permanent residence, and;
- Certain combinations of language skills, education and work experience that result in a higher chance of the applicant becoming employed (skill transferability).