As Donald Trump waltzed to victory in no fewer than seven of the 11 state primaries on “Super Tuesday” last week, a familiar pattern re-emerged — many U.S. citizens proclaimed that if Trump was to become president, or even just the Republican nominee, they would pack up and move to Canada. While this has happened during previous election cycles, this time the proposition seems more serious. The deliberations come at a time of rising anxiety among Americans about Trump, who many fear is becoming unstoppable.
Now, people are moving from the ‘why’ to the ‘how’ with regard to Canadian immigration. It is not just a case of loading up the car, driving north, and finding a job right away in a safe neighbourhood. While there are many ways to immigrate to Canada from the United States or to reside in Canada temporarily, each pathway requires a plan.
Every year, thousands of Americans make the decision to move to Canada. Some are attracted by economic opportunity, others are sponsored by a spouse or partner, while many other Americans come to work or study in Canada on a temporary basis.
Immigrate to Canada
Individuals who view Canada as their potential new long-term home are encouraged to assess their options for obtaining Canadian permanent residence. In some cases, permanent resident status can be obtained within months, while other situations may necessitate a waiting period of over a year.
After living in Canada for a few years, permanent residents may be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship. This is a process known as naturalization, and Canada has one of the most liberal and welcoming naturalization processes in the world. According to both U.S. law, individuals can be a citizen of the U.S. and of another country. The same provision exists for Canadians who acquire a second citizenship.
Permanent resident status can be acquired in a number of ways. First, there is the Express Entry immigration selection system. A major advantage with this system is that applications are processed within six months.
Canada also has a number of Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). Canadian provinces, which correlate roughly with states in the U.S., can nominate newcomers based on labour market needs. The PNPs may be a practical starting point for residents of the U.S. who know which province they wish to move to, as well as others who have specific skill sets and work experience that certain provinces are looking for. The province of Quebec has its own economic immigration program, which may prove attractive for U.S. residents who enjoy a more European style of living and want to live close to the Northeast U.S.
Another important portion of Canada’s economic immigration policy focuses on attracting businesspeople and entrepreneurs, which the U.S. has in abundance. Candidates for one of these programs typically require a minimum net worth and the ability to invest a minimum sum in the Canadian economy. While the most well-known business immigration programs have criteria set by the federal government, over recent years many Canadian provinces have also jumped on board and established their own business immigration programs.
Lastly, for U.S. residents in a marriage or common-law relationship with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, the prospect of immigrating to Canada is obviously appealing. Fortunately, the government of Canada offers a sponsorship program for these cases. Moreover, Canada recognizes same-sex marriage. Same-sex partners may be eligible to apply to reunite in Canada, provided they meet all eligibility requirements.
To view a full rundown of Canadian immigration options for U.S. citizens, click here.
Work in Canada
U.S. citizens may work in Canada temporarily, either as a temporary measure or as a transitory stage towards applying for permanent residence in Canada. There are many ways to begin working in Canada, including:
To learn more about each of these options for working in Canada, click here.
Study in Canada
At a time when young Americans are not only faced with unpalatable rhetoric from candidates for the highest office in the country, but also escalating tuition costs and debt, a growing number are considering Canadian colleges where the tuition is a fraction of what students pay in the U.S. Around six percent of all students at McGill University in Montreal, for example, are U.S. citizens.
Today, with an exchange rate that benefits U.S. citizens looking to study in Canada, there has never been a better time to head north for an affordable education that can lead to attractive career opportunities. Studying in Canada doesn’t just make sense from an educational and economic point of view — it is also a pathway towards developing a professional career and immigrating to Canada permanently.
The true land of opportunity
“Many Americans are going to bed at night these days asking themselves ‘whatever happened to the American Dream?’ They see the potential of a Donald Trump or Ted Cruz presidency, and all that that may entail, and are looking for pastures new. Fortunately, they may not have to go too far,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“Much like their American counterparts, Canadians enjoy a free market economy, where individuals and enterprises are rewarded for their creativity, innovation and hard work. Compared to the U.S., however, Canadians work less, live longer, and enjoy better health. They also have less personal debt and enjoy more time off. While Americans have been busy pursuing happiness, Canadians have been living it. I would encourage Americans who are seriously thinking about moving to Canada to determine their options in short order.”
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