How to immigrate to Canada from China

Julia Hornstein
Published: December 7, 2023

Canada aims to welcome a large number of permanent residents under its Immigration Levels Plan. By the end of 2023, the goal is to land 465,000 new permanent residents, and this number is increased to 500,000 by 2025.

Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration

In 2022, Canada welcomed over 437,000 new permanent residents. China was the second largest source country of immigrants with Canada welcoming 31,815 new Chinese permanent residents. Chinese immigrants made up 7.2% of Canada’s total permanent residence number in 2022.

According to Statistics Canada data, Canada has almost 1.8 million Chinese immigrants, with the majority living in Vancouver or Toronto.

Canada is a popular destination for Chinese immigrants due to the variety of job and economic opportunities, high quality education, universal health care and a diverse multicultural population.

The Federal Skilled Worker Program

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is a popular option for applicants overseas looking to immigrate to Canada. The FSWP is great for candidates who have not lived in Canada and are not a skilled trades professional. It allows candidates with no connection to Canada or a job offer to apply for permanent residence.

The FSWP is one of three programs managed by Express Entry, which is the Canadian government’s application system that also manages the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

In order to be eligible for the FSWP, candidates must meet the follow criteria:

  • One year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in the past 10 years in a skilled occupation classified under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) TEER category 0, 1, 2, or 3;
  • Validated language ability equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in English or French across all abilities (reading, writing, listening, and speaking); and
  • A Canadian educational credential (certificate, diploma, or degree) or foreign credential and Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report.
  • At least 67 points on IRCC’s six immigration selection factors.
  • Enough money for you and your family to settle in Canada.

A candidate can apply for the FSWP through Express Entry by uploading their profile onto Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) website. They will then be given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on human capital factors such as age, education, work experience and language ability.

IRCC has recently launched category-based draws for Express Entry candidates. Candidates who have a strong French language proficiency or have work experience in the following professions will be chosen:

  • Healthcare
  • STEM professions
  • Trades, such as carpenters, plumbers and contractors
  • Transport
  • Agriculture and agri-food

The Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is another immigration option for Chinese foreign nationals. Each province and territory (except for Quebec and Nunavut) has created their own immigration pathway through the PNP by focusing on their labour and job market needs.

If eligible based on the criteria of the program, candidates may apply directly though the PNP. If chosen, the province or territory will nominate the candidates to immigrate to their respective jurisdiction.

A candidate can also apply to the PNP through Express Entry. If done this way, candidates will be chosen by a province or territory who has selected them from the Express Entry pool. If nominated by a province or territory through Express Entry, the candidate will receive 600 CRS points, which essentially guarantees an invitation to apply (ITA) in an upcoming Express Entry draw.

Work permits

A foreign national can come to Canada by getting a Canadian work permit. Work permits in Canada are divided into two programs: the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP). The difference between the two programs is that the TFWP requires a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), while the IMP does not.

The purpose of an LMIA is to demonstrate that hiring a foreign worker will either have a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian job market.

If you have a job offer from a Canadian employer, you can apply for a work permit. A job offer is usually required before you can apply for a work permit. However, there are situations in which candidates may apply for an open work permit, which means the candidate is not tied to any specific employer and can work almost anywhere in Canada.

Start Up Visa

The Start Up Visa Program grants permanent residence to immigrant entrepreneurs. The purpose of the program is to recruit innovative national entrepreneurs who will create new jobs and drive economic growth in Canada.

In order to be eligible, applicants for a Start-Up Visa must meet the following requirements:

  • Meet minimum language requirements in English or French (CLB 5 in all abilities);
  • Have sufficient funds to settle in Canada;
  • Plan to settle in a province other than the Province of Quebec;
  • Pass Canadian security and medical clearances;
  • Prove your business is supported through a designated organization; and
  • Show your business meets ownership requirements.

Study permits

In 2022, Canada welcomed a record-breaking number of international students: 551,405 students from 184. In 2023, 15,655 Chinese international students obtained a study permit to pursue an educational program in Canada.

Canadian study permits are popular due to high quality of education, affordability, and the opportunity to work in Canada while studying. Further, a Canadian study permit provides the opportunity for permanent residency after graduation, as many Canadian immigration programs value candidates that have Canadian study and work experience.

In order to apply for a study permit, a prospective international student must get a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada.

Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration

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