Moving to Canada: Five Tips for Starting the Immigration Process
Thousands of newcomers move to Canada each year.
In 2022, the country welcomed 437,180 immigrants – and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) expects to welcome up to 500,000 new permanent residents from around the world by 2025.
If you are considering moving to Canada, now is a good time to learn about the immigration process. Deciding to move to Canada may be exciting, but the move itself requires careful planning and preparation.
To make your transition as smooth as possible, here are five tips on important steps to take before beginning the immigration process.
1. Establish your goal
Establishing a clear goal before preparing for your move to Canada is the first step we recommend. It will help guide your research and decision-making.
For example, if your goal is to study and earn an advanced degree in Canada, you can prioritize researching schools that align with your educational needs and goals.
2. Research settlement locations
Once you have established your main goal for immigrating to Canada, it is a good idea to research where you want to live in the country. Each province and territory have unique offerings, and it is important to understand your own needs and preferences so you know exactly what you are looking for in a new hometown or city.
For instance, if you are interested in pursuing a health care career and want to experience life in one of Canada’s major cities, you can focus your research on health care training and jobs in cities like Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, or Vancouver.
3. Explore immigration pathways
There are many economic immigration pathways available for newcomers moving to Canada. Two of the most widely used are Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Program.
- Express Entry: Express Entry is IRCC’s primary immigration pathway to Canada. Through Express Entry, immigrants may be eligible for one of three programs: the Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), or the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).
- Provincial Nominee Program (PNP): This program is run by the provincial governments and territories, except for Quebec and Nunavut. It allows the government of each participating province or territory to offer permanent residence to candidates who may help address local labour market gaps.
4. Order your educational credential assessment
Some of the economic class permanent residence pathways to Canada require an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). An ECA allows those with internationally earned educational credentials, such as degrees and diplomas, to have them assessed against Canadian educational standards.
An ECA can be acquired from an IRCC-designated provider such as World Education Services (WES). WES is one of five organizations designated by IRCC to provide ECAs in Canada (not including those for physicians and pharmacists). Please note that WES does not evaluate occupational or trade qualifications.
An ECA can benefit Express Entry and PNP candidates in several ways.
- ECAs and Express Entry: To receive an Invitation To Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence through Express Entry, a candidate must meet the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) cutoff score determined by IRCC for any round of invitations. For this reason, candidates will want to earn as many CRS points as they can. One way to earn additional points is to obtain an ECA.
- ECAs and PNP: When creating an Express Entry profile, you can specify provinces and territories in Canada where you would be interested in settling. The governments of a particular province or territory can search the Express Entry pool to offer provincial nominations to candidates interested in settling within their region. Since an ECA can increase your CRS score (as noted above), an ECA could increase a candidate’s chance of receiving a PNP nomination.
5. Organize the necessities
Before moving to Canada, it is important to secure necessities such as a phone, an internet connection, and a bank account. Take your time to research and understand everything from pricing to services offered by providers so you can make informed decisions in advance.
Factors to keep in mind:
- Phone: You will need a phone to communicate with others locally and abroad. A variety of carriers are available across Canada. Consider both costs and flexibility of contracts when choosing a provider.
- Internet: Internet connectivity is essential for living in Canada, and there are many options depending on your location, budget, and required connection speed.
- Banking and finances: Several major banks operate in the country and each offers special accounts for newcomers.
Moving to Canada from another country is a big decision. Once you begin the immigration process, some challenges are to be expected. Remember, resources and tools are available to support you. You can ask family, friends, and settlement agencies for advice or search online for resources like the WES Advisor Blog.
Allow yourself enough time to research the fundamentals, and plan well in advance. Relocating to Canada is exciting, and being prepared will help you enjoy the journey of starting a new life in another country.