How to immigrate to Canada from the Middle East

Mohanad Moetaz
Updated: Aug, 21, 2023
  • Published: August 30, 2020

Many Middle Easterners choose to immigrate to Canada for a variety of reasons. The pathway to Canadian citizenship leads to universal health care, high quality education and job opportunities.

Middle Easterners typically immigrate to Canada as skilled workers since Canadians typically look to immigration to support labour market shortages. As a result, most of Canada’s economic-class immigration pathways favour candidates who have skilled work experience. 

Skilled workers are evaluated based on a number of factors, including age, work experience, level of education and language proficiency. Many of the immigrants that consider Canada already have a strong grasp of either English or French. This gives them an advantage when immigrating to Canada.

Express Entry is the name of the system that the federal government uses to manage permanent residence applications.

Immigrants submit their interest in immigrating to Canada through the Express Entry system. However, prior to making an Express Entry profile, candidates must be eligible for one of three immigration programs: the Foreign Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Foreign Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

The FSWP tends to be the most suitable option for those who have never lived in Canada.

If you are eligible for the FSWP, you will be able to create an Express Entry profile. You will need to complete a recognized language proficiency test in English or in French. You will also need to get your foreign educational credentials assessed.

All candidates in the Express Entry pool are given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on their profile.

Every two weeks, the Canadian government invites the highest ranking candidates in the Express Entry pool to apply for permanent residence.

How to immigrate through the PNP

In addition, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is another major option people from the Middle East could consider. Provinces and territories in Canada are able to nominate individuals in order to meet their economic needs. 

There are two ways candidates may receive a provincial nomination. They can apply to a specific PNP stream directly, or they may receive an invitation to apply for a provincial nomination through the Express Entry system.

This means that having an Express Entry profile provides more options, as you may receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence through the federal government, or you may receive an invitation to apply for a provincial nomination.

These are not the only ways people from the Middle East can immigrate to Canada. In fact, Middle Easterners have over 100 skilled worker options to choose from in order to pursue their Canadian immigration goals.

Find out if you are eligible for Express Entry

History of Middle Easterners coming to Canada

The first wave of immigration from the Middle East came from Syria and Lebanon as early as 1882.

There are hundreds of thousands of people of Middle Eastern descent currently living in Canada.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Canada is still processing permanent residence applications. Welcoming immigrants into Canada will be the key to economic recovery post-coronavirus.

In fact, Canada is looking to welcome over one million immigrants by the end of 2022, as per the Immigration Levels Plan 2020-2022.

Making Canada your home

Middle Eastern and Arab immigrants are able to join existing social networks, integrate into the Canadian labour market and seamlessly integrate into Canadian society.

There are many religious institutions that exist in Canada including various churches, mosques, synagogues and other temples.

Several religious institutions were built around Canada over the last century including Melkite churches and Maronite churches. The first Coptic Orthodox church was built in 1965, and the first mosque in Canada, Al Rashid mosque, was built in Edmonton in 1938.

In addition, there exists many ways to connect with other members of an immigrant’s community, including Facebook groups and country-specific or region-specific community centres around the country.

It is also important to keep in mind that links to immigrants’ ancestral origins often remain intact through community events. These events may focus on music, dance, food or religious practices. There also exists many restaurants with various Middle Eastern cuisines. As a result, Middle Eastern immigrants feel at home in Canada.

Get a free Canada immigration eligibility assessment

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