Canada offers six major pathways to permanent residency that may lead to citizenship. These include Canadian Experience Class, business immigration, provincial nominees, family-sponsorship, skilled workers and professionals, and Quebec-selected skilled workers. Each class has its own qualifications and regulations.
Although each immigration class is different, some requirements apply to all immigrants. All immigrants are required to submit to medical and criminal background checks, and must demonstrate knowledge of English or French. The immigration process can take up to two years.
Canadian Experience Class
This class of immigration allows temporary foreign workers with two years of skilled work experience in Canada and graduates of Canadian tertiary schools with one year of skilled work experience in Canada to apply for immigration based on their ability to assimilate quickly to Canadian society.
People who wish to start a business in Canada outside of Quebec may apply for immigration as investors, entrepreneurs or self-employed people. The first two classes have business experience and minimum net worth requirements, while the third class requires cultural, athletic or agricultural experience.
Individual provinces except for Quebec may nominate people who have the education, experience and skills to contribute to the province's economy. Prospective immigrants must apply to provincial authorities in order to be nominated. Requirements vary according to the economic needs of the province.
Those with spouses, dependent children, grandchildren, conjugal or common law partners, and certain other family members who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents may seek immigration to Canada through sponsorship by a family member. Spouses, conjugal or common law partners, and dependent children receive priority in consideration.
Skilled Workers and Professionals
This class of immigration applies to those who wish to work and live anywhere in Canada except Quebec. Skilled workers and professionals are admitted for immigration if they possess education and work experience, generally in occupations for which there is a shortage of qualified Canadians. In many cases, immigrants in this class are admitted without prior job offers if they demonstrate the financial ability to support themselves while seeking employment.
Quebec-Selected Skilled Workers
Quebec has its own system for selecting skilled workers for immigration based on education, experience and the potential to make an immediate contribution to Quebec's economy. Proficiency in French is more important for this immigration class than for other classes. Applicants must petition the provincial government, receive approval and then apply to the Canadian national authorities for immigration.