Canada has a worldwide reputation as a land of immigrants and is also known for his success in accommodating immigrants with diverse backgrounds into Canadian society. Canada’s immigration policy welcomes new-comers based on the conditions that they face in their country of nationality and their need to flee. However, Canada’s widely known compassion in welcoming refugees often overshadows the need for and well-developed programs related to economic immigration and the value Canada places on those who qualify under many economic classes designed to attract immigrants.
In the context of immigration policies, Section 95 of the 1867 Constitution Act grants the provincial and federal Governments a joint power to regulate the rules and regulation governing matters of immigration. The Federal government determines the immigration policies at the national level whereas each province holds the power to enact their own laws for the immigrants who are willing to stay within their territories. The exercise of such a joint power has given rise to various immigration streams at both provincial and federal levels.
Economic immigration can be segmented into two major classes according to the following two main criteria: skilled workers and economic contribution to Canada. Skilled workers are assessed and selected based on such factors as the applicants’ age, education level, work experience, language proficiency, and transferability of skills. The second class of economic immigration, economic contribution to Canada, requires that a potential investor be assessed on the basis of the investor’s ability to contribute financially by investing in Canada – the amount of investment, and the creation of employment for others.
Economic immigration to Canada can be grouped under temporary residence and permanent residence according to the nature of the status sought after and obtained. Study permits and work permit holders hold temporary residence. Express entry, family sponsorship and other provincial streams allow immigrants to achieve permanent residence. In addition to these two groups, some Start-up programs and Provincial Investment Streams may initially grant temporary residence and eventually permanent residence if investors satisfy the conditions laid out in a performance agreement. More details on these types of immigration to Canada are as follows:
Candidates who would like to study in Canada for more than six months are required to apply for a study permit with an offer of admission from a Designated Learning Institute. Only the candidates that have a proof of sufficient funds for their living and education expenses may obtain a study permit. Depending on the duration of college or university programs, study permit holders are entitled to a post-graduate work permit for a certain period of time. In this context, a candidate with Canadian education or work experience can more easily achieve permanent residence through either the Express Entry Class or another appropriate provincial immigration stream.
Work Permit (ICT and LMIA)
Intra-Company Transferee (ICT) and Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) constitute the two main work permit applications provided to foreign workers to come and work in Canada except for the categories created by Canada’s regional or international trade agreements like NAFTA. ICT is a mode of work permit application allowing multi-national companies with an affiliate in Canada to transfer their international employees, including high managerial positions. The impact of transferring foreign workers on the labour market and economy of Canada is assessed in LMIA applications. Work permit holders can switch to permanent residence through Express Entry application or appropriate provincial immigration program owing to Canadian work experience.
Statistically Express Entry is the most frequently used immigration program to Canada. Through Express Entry Program conducted under the initiative of the Federal government, candidates are assessed and selected on the basis of an objective point system, Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) having regards to but not limited to such human factors as age, education level, language proficiency, and work experience. The candidates that have Canadian education, work experience, family member with permanent residence status or citizenship, nomination of provincial programs can qualify for additional points on Express Entry. The candidates that achieve a score above cut-off point in the periodically held draws receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence.
By means of family sponsorship applications, Canadian permanent resident or citizens can sponsor their spouse, partner or dependent children to become permanent residents of Canada under certain conditions. Other relatives such as sister, brothers, aunts or uncles can be sponsored if certain strict conditions are met. On the other hand, parents or grandparents can be sponsored for permanent residence if they meet the criteria or receive super visa which allow them to stay up to two years in Canada with multiple entry up to ten years of extendable stay.
Provincial Investment Steams and Start-up Programs
Provincial investment steams also provide investors with an opportunity to apply for permanent resident if investors undertake to make a certain amount of investment in a province and create employment. Upon the satisfaction of pre-conditions of the relevant provincial programs, investors are granted work permit to fulfil the conditions undertaken in the performance agreement concluded with the provincial government. Provincial governments issue Certificate of Nomination for investors and families to make permanent residence applications when investors fulfil the conditions of performance agreement.
Canada has devised a special immigration program for start-ups. Entrepreneurs ought to have a qualifying business and get a letter of support from a designated organization to be eligible for the start-up program. In addition to this, the start-up requirements include minimum capital and language proficiency. In start-up programs, applicants can first achieve work permit and then eventually receive permanent residency. *
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