Clearing up three common misconceptions about immigrating to Canada

Edana Robitaille
Published: March 26, 2024

Canada is one of the most popular destinations for those who looking to start a new life in another country.

With that popularity, it has been easy for misinformation to spread regarding eligibility for immigration and what newcomers can expect to experience once they arrive.

One such source is fake immigration representatives who take advantage of potential newcomers and make extravagant promises guaranteeing permanent resident (PR) status upon arriving in Canada on a work permit, or that a job offer will materialize as soon as a newcomer gets off the plane.

Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration

Unfortunately, grand promises such as these are rarely true. For example:

“If you come to Canada as a student, you will automatically get PR when you graduate”

Those who arrive in Canada as an international student should be aware that permanent residency is not guaranteed. Even after studying in Canada, there are still steps to take before becoming eligible.

The most popular pathway to permanent resident status as a student is to obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). A PGWP is an open work permit for international students who wish to continue living and working in Canada after they graduate. However, these are not automatically issued to international students.

First, you must complete an academic program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) before becoming eligible to apply for a PGWP. DLIs are the only post-secondary schools in Canada that are permitted to accept international students.

For undergraduate or college students, the program must be at least eight months long.

PGWPs are typically valid for the same length of time as the academic program the student completed, up to three years. Graduate level students recently became eligible for a three-year PGWP, regardless of program length.

Most permanent resident pathways require at least one year of full-time work experience, and they value Canadian work experience. The PGWP may allow international students to get the work experience they need to apply for a permanent residency program, such as those under Express Entry, or the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

“If you marry a Canadian citizen, you automatically become a citizen”

Marrying a Canadian citizen or permanent resident does not automatically grant PR or citizenship to the foreign national spouse.

Once a couple marries, the Canadian citizen or permanent resident needs to sponsor their partner for permanent residency. It can take Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) up to 12 months to process these applications.

In the meantime, partners living outside of Canada may be eligible to arrive on a visitor visa and then apply for a spousal open work permit while they wait for IRCC to issue a final decision on their PR status. Once a sponsored spouse gets PR status, they must then complete the same eligibility requirements for citizenship as any permanent resident from any of Canada’s immigration programs or pathways.

“Everyone finds a job as soon as they arrive in Canada”

Canada’s population is aging and as the number of retirements increases, so does the number of job vacancies.

However, despite the number of job vacancies and a shortage of skilled labour in Canada, it can take longer than anticipated to find work. This is especially true for those who do not have the work experience, education, or language skills to fill urgent gaps in Canada’s labour force.

Some of these gaps include occupations that fall under category-based selection Express Entry draws. These draws are for Express Entry candidates who have work experience or occupations in:

  • Healthcare occupations
  • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions
  • Trades occupations, such as carpenters, plumbers, and contractors
  • Transport occupations
  • Agriculture and agri-food occupations

There is also a category for those with strong proficiency in French.

These categories are a few examples of occupations where it may be less difficult for qualified candidates to find work. That said, some of these occupations, especially those in healthcare and trades, require a license from a provincial authority. This means it takes more time for people with international education or work experience to get accredited.

Several other factors can for make finding a job in Canada more time-consuming. For example, Indeed.ca, a popular job search site, says that hiring managers may require multiple interviews, tests, or other evaluations before reaching a decision.

Your location can also play a part in the length of time it takes to find a job as there may not be a large industry for your skill set.

Pathways to immigrate to Canada

To help separate fact from fiction, the best place to start an immigration journey is with research into the pathway that is right for you.

There are over 100 immigration pathways for those who want to come to Canada. Many of them are economic immigration programs for skilled workers or international students but it is also possible to arrive through family class sponsorship or as a refugee or humanitarian class immigrant, if eligible under these categories.

Canada plans to welcome 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024, exceeding the 471,550 who were admitted in 2023. This target will rise to 500,000 in 2025 and 2026. These record immigration targets show that Canada is open to newcomers with varied skill sets or life circumstances.

Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration

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