How Can I Immigrate To Canada?
After an election in the US, it’s not unusual for people on both sides of the political divide to send us questions about immigrating to Canada. With the election of Donald Trump, right now is no different. Most of the questions revolve around moving to and working in Canada, with some questions about Canadian health care and housing prospects.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada – also known as Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) – has a website which has comprehensive information on the various ways to legally relocate to Canada. We can help with all of them. The most popular methods are:
If you are married and your spouse is a Canadian citizen, you may be sponsored to live in Canada. For most persons residing in the US, the process is fairly painless and relatively quick. Note that you will have to prove that the marriage is genuine and was not entered into for the purposes of immigration.
For people under the age of 40 that have a good education and work experience, Express Entry may be the way to go. This is the route for people who want to come to Canada and work as permanent residents. Express Entry judges people on the basis of age, education, work experience, and language ability, among other attributes. You will need to take a language test (IELTS for English or TEF for French) in order to input your language score. If your attributes add up to a good enough Express Entry score, then you may be eligible for moving to Canada. Contact us for help with the Express Entry procedure.
If you are the business person and are interested in moving your business to Canada or you wish to establish a subsidiary in Canada, it may be possible for you to qualify under one of the business categories. Intra-corporate transfers are also possible (for example, transferring from IBM’s office in New York to an office in Toronto). You may then be eligible as a temporary or permanent resident of Canada. I would definitely recommend that you consult an immigration lawyer or consultant if you are contemplating this route. Business immigration can be straightforward when done properly, but when it’s not, trouble awaits.
Immigrate Through NAFTA
Finally, Canada still has a free trade agreement with the United States called NAFTA. This allows for the relatively free movement of professionals or skilled persons between the United States and Canada. However, your profession needs to be on the list of accepted NAFTA professions. Contact us for help with immigrating through NAFTA.
We sometimes receive emails from people who ask if they can come to Canada and claim refugee status from the US. This is a non-starter. Canada does indeed accept refugees, but they must fall under the UN definition of a refugee: someone who is not in their home country, is fleeing persecution and has no recourse through local authorities. Being unhappy with election results in the US does not meet the standard of a refugee classification and you will be sent home.
Things to Consider
When done right, moving to Canada is often straightforward and, depending on your circumstances, can happen fairly quickly. But you should note:
Canadian healthcare is not “free,” as it is paid for through taxes. Until you are a permanent resident, you will not be able to access Canadian health care without purchasing health insurance. If you or a child has serious health problems, the authorities may not let you immigrate to Canada because you might be considered a burden on the health care system.
In British Columbia, foreigners who buy a house have to pay an extra 15% on the price of the home. There is a chance that this system will spread across the rest of the country.
A criminal record seriously hampers your ability to immigrate to Canada – or even to visit the country in the first place. Always check with an immigration lawyer or consultant to see if your criminal record will stop you at the border. There’s a good chance that it will.
We would be happy to answer any questions that you have so that you are coming into Canada with eyes wide open. Best of luck.