I’ve been living in Singapore for more than 7 years now. I love Singapore, its efficient transport system, admirable civil service, delicious food and world class airport. But I don’t see myself living here for the rest of my life. Despite the perks like high paying job, very low income tax and living in a safe environment, living in Singapore is just another phase in my life that would eventually just pass. I decided in migrating to Canada and apply for a permanent residency 2 years back.
Why Canada? Canada is one of the countries that is open for migration where professionals and highly skilled workers can apply to migrate without physically living there. The most enticing is the Canadian Passport, migrating to Canada will eventually give you a Canadian citizenship and having to travel with a Canadian passport to almost everywhere without applying for a visa is a dream. Before I tell you how I got my Canada Immigrant Visa in just 5 months, let me define some terms related to the process.
Immigrant Visa – Immigrant visa is a single entry visa that will be stamped in your passport once your application for Canadian Permanent Residency is approved.
Permanent Resident – Once you landed in Canada with your immigrant visa, you’re automatically considered as a landed immigrant and you already have your permanent resident status in Canada.
As a permanent resident, you have the right to:
- get most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage,
- live, work or study anywhere in Canada,
- apply for Canadian citizenship,
- protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
You are not allowed to:
- vote or run for political office,
- hold some jobs that need a high-level security clearance.
Being a permanent resident, you must pay taxes and respect all Canadian laws at the federal, provincial and municipal levels.
Skilled Workers – Canada uses a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system to classify jobs/occupations. For immigration purposes, the jobs are grouped in different skill levels. Check this link for more information. Canada uses NOC to decide if a job or type of work experience meets an applicant’s eligibility.
Express Entry – It’s a system that Canada uses to process permanent residency application faster for the most qualified candidates.
Provincial Nomination – Provincial nomination is an important fast-track option for Canadian permanent residence. The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) allow Canadian provinces and territories to nominate individuals who wish to immigrate to Canada and who are interested in settling in a particular province. The requirements and processes vary from different Canadian Provinces. In Canada, a province is equivalent to a State in the United States. Once you became a PR through this program, you would need to stay longer in the province that nominated you, but this doesn’t restrict you to move to other provinces depending on different circumstances.
This is not an official guide on applying as a Permanent Resident in Canada or migrating to Canada. This is based on my experience and changes in the process can happen anytime, though you can use this as your starting guide. I suggest you check the official Canada Immigration Website for up to date information. Here’s how you can apply:
1. Do a self-assessment. – Express Entry has an online self-assessment tool to see what your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score might be. If you get the minimum number of required points, you can apply.
2. Check your Savings. – All single immigrants are required to have at least CAD$12,300. Proof of funds is required and if you have dependents joining you in Canada, you need to add another CAD$3,000 for each dependent.
3. Take your Language Test. – If you speak English and French you can take a language test for both but it’s only required to take one test for 1 major Canadian Language. Your score determines your ranking in the Express Entry pool. IELTS is the most common english test required by Canada.
4. Have Your Bachelor’s Degree Assessed. – You will need to get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) for your international degree. This is for Canada to find out what’s the equivalent educational level of your degree in Canada. Check here for more details.
5. Watch out for Provincial Nominee Opportunities. – A successful provincial nomination will guarantee you 600 points in your Express Entry profile and the highest chance of getting an invitation to apply for a Permanent Resident in Canada. Here’s the list of provinces in Canada that offer a Provincial Nominee Program.
6. Create Your Express Entry Profile. Once you think you are eligible to apply for Express Entry, you can start creating your profile and filling out your details and uploading the required documents. Take your time to ensure accuracy in your application, you can save and go back to the system and update your application before you finally submit it. Your profile is valid for 1 year.
In my case, I created my Express Entry profile even before I got a provincial nomination. It took me just a month to complete my profile and submit it upon receiving my provincial nomination from Manitoba. After a month I got my invitation to apply for PR, I’m mostly prepared with the basic requirements since the same are required in applying for a PR in Australia which I postponed due to this opportunity in migrating to Canada (which I preferred).
Before I submitted my application for Permanent Residency, I was asked to take an upfront medical examination (this is required for all express entry candidates). After I submitted my application in June, I was asked to submit my passport in August and at the end of the month I got my immigrant Visa stamped in my passport including my COPR (Certificate of Permanent Residency) . In the visa, there’s an expiry date in which you should arrive to Canada before that date to activate your PR status.
I arrived in Toronto on June 2016 and with no tedious process, just submitting my COPR to the immigration officer and confirming my address in Canada I am officially a Permanent Resident in Canada. My PR card was delivered to the address I indicated in my COPR. Overall, I just spend around CAD$2,000 for the process.
After 3 years of living in Canada, I can apply for citizenship and have a Canadian Passport and travel the world with no more hindrance of securing a visa in many countries! Migrating to Canada could be the best decision you can make for yourself and your family.
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UPDATE: Since I have received an overwhelming response from this article and a lot of people are consulting rather than having just few questions, I will start to entertain readers who are genuinely interested in Migrating to Canada. If you are interested, please send me an email at email@example.com and I will give you more details. I am not an official immigration consultant and will only give coaching for independent applications.
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