Canadian Green Card Requirements

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A "green card" is actually an American term for the Permanent Resident Card granted in the U.S., which used to be issued on green paper. The Canadian equivalent, a Canada Permanent Resident Card (sometimes called a PR card), is for those who wish to stay in Canada and gives them the right to live and work in the country. To obtain such a card you must decide which permanent resident program to apply to, as there are several to choose from based on various factors that include your job and where you want to work.

Federal Skilled Workers Outside of Quebec

The Federal Skilled Workers program allows for skilled workers with foreign work experience to immigrate to Canada permanently. Minimum requirements for this program include skilled work history, language ability and education. Once these minimum requirements are met, the government then assesses applications based on:

  • Age
  • Education
  • Work experience
  • Whether you have a valid job offer
  • English and/or French language skills
  • Adaptability (how well you’re likely to settle in Canada)

These factors are part of a 100-point grid used to assess eligibility for the Federal Skilled Worker Program. The current passing score is 67.

Occupations eligible for this program include food services and restaurant management, architect, cook, social worker, registered nurse, specialist physician, dentist, pharmacist, industrial electrician, crane operator and heavy-duty equipment mechanic.

Alternatively, besides the language proficiency exam results, applicants may also have an offer of arranged employment by a Canadian employer instead of the one year of full-time employment. They must also show they have enough money to support themselves and their dependents while in the country, among other criteria. Some applicants may need to show proof of funds.

Skilled Workers Going to Quebec

Skilled workers who want to work in Quebec have certain options. If you already are working in the province, you may apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate. There are two programs to choose from under this scheme: the Quebec Experience Program for temporary workers and the regular program. The requirements for the former program include a good command of intermediate spoken French, holding a skilled job in Quebec for a minimum of 12 months during the last 24 months and being at least 18 years old. For the regular program, specific requirements are not given on the government website. The government of Quebec states that it uses its own discretion when selecting people to work in that province. However, for workers to be admitted into the province, they and their families must pass security checks and medical exams. The cost for application to the regular program varies depending on whether it is a worker, spouse, or child of a worker.

Canadian Experience Class

Anyone who has previously worked or graduated from a school in Canada as a foreign student can apply for permanent residency under the Canadian Experience Class. Among other requirements, you must plan on living outside of Quebec, have gained work experience in Canada with the right work or study authorization and have been either a temporary worker with a minimum of 2 years or equivalent of full-time skilled work experience. Also, you may apply if you are an international student who has graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution with a minimum of 1 year of skilled work experience in Canada. Skilled work experience includes professional, managerial, skilled trades and technical jobs.