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Canada Visa Types – Find The Right Visa to Emigrate to Canada

Canada visa types

Canada’s visa application process requires a lot of paperwork and research, it can therefore seem quite daunting and challenging. However, the key to success is understanding what the authorities in Canada want from potential immigrants and adjusting your course accordingly. Remember that Canada needs immigration, so if you find the right immigration path that suits you well and also shows how Canada can benefit from having you – your Canada visa application success will be assured.

So the first thing you need to know to successfully emigrate to Canada is what immigration choices you have.

Which Canada Visa Program Suits You?

There are several ways you can obtain visa and permanent residency in Canada  depending on your status, objectives and personal circumstances. You can do it through different types of Work Visas, different types of Business Visa, Family Sponsor Visa,

Work Visas

This category of Canada visa is the most popular and meant for skilled workers and professionals.  Under this visa class you can apply for a visa if you have a job offer already or if you want to move to work in Canada.  There are certain skills that are very much in demand, for example statistical analysis and data mining are sought after, and on the Canadian immigration website you can find out all the details about which jobs, skills and trades are most in demand.  The more in demand your skills are, the more points you will receive towards your application, the more points you have, the more likely you are to receive your Canada visa!

There are several programs under which you can apply for Canada visa to live and work in the country:

The Federal Skilled Worker Visa – under this program you will be assessed by the Canadian Government on the following factors:

  • your proficiency in English and/or French,
  • your education,
  • your work experience,
  • your age,
  • whether you have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer
  • your adaptability (how well you are likely to settle in the country)

To qualify you need to have at least one year (1,560 hours total / 30 hours per week), of continuous full-time or an equal amount in part-time, paid work in the same job within the last 10 years, and at skill type 0 (management jobs), or skill levels A (professional jobs) or B (technical jobs and skilled trades) of the 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC). Volunteer work, unpaid internships do not qualify under this program.

The Federal Skilled Trades Visa – to qualify you need to have at least two years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience) in a skilled trade within the five years before you apply. You must meet the job requirements for that skilled trade as set out in the National Occupational Classification (NOC), except for needing a certificate of qualification. You also need to have an offer of full-time employment for a total period of at least one year or a certificate of qualification in that skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial or territorial authority.
The Canadian Experience Visa – to qualify you must have at least 12 months of full-time (or an equal amount in part-time) skilled work experience in Canada in the three years before you apply. You must demonstrate that you have gained your experience in Canada with the proper authorization. You must be able to meet the required language levels needed for your job for each language ability (speaking, reading, writing and listening).

The Quebec Skilled Worker Program – under this program you don’t need to have a valid job offer from a Canadian or Quebec employer. The province has its own immigration rules and criteria for selecting candidates based on Quebec’s cultural uniqueness.

First, you must apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate. To be accepted you must score enough points under the Quebec Immigration selection system. A single applicant must score at least 49 points based on the criteria and an applicant with a spouse or common-law partner must score at least 57 points. Additional points are awarded to applicants with families (especially those with young children). The factors you will be assessed upon are different from those of the Federal Skilled Worker Program and set by Immigration Quebec. There is no list of eligible occupations, so if you score high enough, you will qualify for a Quebec Selection Certificate no matter what your occupation is.

With the certificate you can apply for a Canadian permanent resident visa.

The Provincial Nomination Program (PNP) – under this program Canadian provinces can select and invite immigrant with the skills they need to apply for residency. To qualify you need to demonstrate the skills, education and work experience your chosen province needs and also must express an interest in living in that particular area.

In most cases, one must apply directly to a province or territory to be considered under the PNP. However provinces can now select their preferred candidates directly through Express Entry System.

Get Your Work Visa Through Express Entry System

Canada’s Express Entry system, started in 2015, is a selection process for Immigration to Canada. It is designed so that those professionals who wish to immigrate to Canada have a better opportunity to present themselves to Canadian employers. Canadian employers, on the other hand, can select skilled workers they need faster and more efficiently than ever before.

Express Entry is a system used by the Immigration to manage applications for Canada visa under the following federal immigration programs:

  • the Federal Skilled Worker Class
  • the Federal Skilled Trades Class
  • the Canadian Experience Class

The system is in fact a pool of global talent from which both the federal and provincial government and Canadian employers select those professionals whose skills they need most. The system has also reduced processing times, and the flow of applications is managed quicker and more efficiently.

Anyone can register in the System Applicants can register by providing the information about their skills, work experience, education, language and abilities. Those selected by the Canadian Government will be invited to apply for a Canada visa under the Federal Skilled Workers Class or the Federal Skilled Trades Class. Those selected by a Canadian employer will be offered a job and consequently will be able to apply for Permanent Residency based on the pre-arranged offer of employment.

The Express Entry database ranks all those registered in it according to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which evaluates the following factors:

  • Core human capital
  • Accompanying spouse or partner
  • Skill transferability
  • Whether it’s a provincial nomination or a  pre-arranged employment

The maximum score in Comprehensive Ranking System is 1,200 points. The candidates with the highest score, valid job offers or provincial nominations are invited to apply for a Canadian permanent residency. These candidates will have a maximum of 90 days to submit a complete application, and the applications will be processed within 6 months.

Canadian provinces are also be able to select and recruit candidates registered under Express Entry through their Provincial Nominee Programs.

You can run a quick online Express Entry eligibility test to see whether you are eligible for Express Entry pool and which immigration program out of the three is more relevant to you.

Business Immigration Visas

The other visa types are investors, start-ups and self-employed persons – this category is for people who wish to bring investment, start a business in Canada, employ people and generate revenue for the nation.

Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program

As of February 2014 the Canadian government stopped running the Federal Immigrant Investor or Entrepreneur Program. If you wish to apply for Canada visa as an investor, you might consider the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program which is being currently tested.

To qualify as an immigrant investor, you must invest at least CAN $2 million in Canada, and have at least CAN $10 million of capital. You must be able to demonstrate that the capital has been acquired through lawful business or investment activities, such as income or capital gains acquired through the ownership or management of commercial, for-profit entities or funds acquired through private sector activities, such as public equity investments or private equity placements.
Inheritance capital or assets cannot be qualified for this program.

You will also be required to demonstrate good language skills (french or English), meet basic health and security requirements and have a post-secondary degree. Investors with a net worth of at least CAN $50 million can be exempt from the degree requirement.

Quebec Investor Program

Quebec runs its own Investor Visa Program.

To apply you need to demonstrate the following:

  • that you alone or together with your spouse (partner) have net assets of at least CAN $1,600,000 less than six months before the date on which the application was filed
  • that you have experience in management in a legal farming, commercial or industrial business, or in a legal professional business with at least two full-time employees.  Alternatively – experience in management for an international agency or a government or one of its departments or agencies
  • Intend to settle in Québec and sign an agreement to invest CAN $800,000  with a financial intermediary (broker or trust company) authorised to participate in the Investor Program.

Quebec Entrepreneur Program

If you want to live in Quebec as an entrepreneur, you can apply for an Entrepreneur Visa. To be eligible you must demonstrate the following:

  • that you have legally obtained net assets of at least CAN $300,000
  • have at least two years’ experience in running a business acquired during the five years before your application, in which you control at least 25% of the capital equity.

You can either submit a business project with the purpose of creating or acquiring a business in Québec where you will control at least 25% of the capital equity with a value of at least C$100,000, or submit an application showing that you have acquired at least 25% of capital equity in a business in Québec with a value of at least C$100,000. You must manage the business yourself or participate in it as management and operations partner on a daily basis.

You will be further assessed based on factors such as:

  • your age
  • the nature and duration of your training
  • your language skills
  • your personal qualities and your knowledge of Québec.
  • depending on the program component selected, the steps taken to acquire a business in Québec or your ability to carry out a business project will be the key element in your assessment.

Upon your arrival in Québec for at least one year during the three years after obtaining permanent resident status you must create or acquire, in whole or in part, an agricultural, commercial or industrial business established in Québec where you hold at least 25% of the capital equity with a value of at least C$100,000. You must also permanently employ for a minimum of 30 hours a week a Québec resident other than yourself and accompanying family members.

Agricultural entrepreneurs are exempt  from employment obligations or participation in the daily management and operations of the business.

Start-Up Visa

To apply for a Canada visa for start-ups you must:

  • have a Letter of Support from a designated angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator.
  • meet the ownership requirements for a qualifying business (up to five people can apply for a Start-up Visa as owners of a single business. However, to meet the ownership requirements each applicant must hold at least 10 percent of the voting rights in the business, and the designated organisation and the applicants must jointly hold more than 50 percent of the voting rights in the business).
  • score minimum 5 at Canadian Language Benchmark in all four categories (speaking, reading, writing and listening) for either English or French – you will need to sit a test with a CIC approved organisation and include the results with your application.
  • demonstrate that you have enough money to live in the country before you start earning an income. You cannot borrow this money from another person. You will need to provide proof that you have the money when you submit your application. The amount you will need depends on the size of your family. These amounts are updated every year on the CIC site. Currently they are CAN $12,300 for a single person, CAN $15,312 for a family of two, and CAN $22,856 for a family of four.

If you meet these requirements, your application will be reviewed based on CIC’s standard admissibility criteria, including health, criminality and security.

Self-Employed Persons Visa

To qualify as a self-employed person, you must have two years of relevant experience and show that you intend to become self-employed in Canada. You will then be assessed on 5 selection factors, where you can score maximum 100 points:

  1. Education – maximum score 25
  2. Experience – maximum score 35
  3. Age -maximum score 10
  4. Ability in English and/or French -maximum score 24
  5. Adaptability -maximum score 6

During your application process you might be invited for an interview with an immigration officer where you will be asked questions to clarify any information which is unclear or inconsistent.

Family Sponsor

This category is ideal for those who already have family in Canada and wish to apply for Canada visa to live in the country.

If you have a family members who are citizens or permanent residents of Canada and at least 18 years old, they can sponsor certain relatives to come to Canada. They will need to apply to be a sponsor for you. They will need to demonstrate that they can provide basic needs—such as food, clothing and shelter—for themselves and for those they sponsor, that they can support the sponsored relative financially when he or she arrives, and that they make sure that the sponsored relatives do not need to ask for financial help from the government.

The first step is for a Canadian resident to apply to the Case Processing Centre (CPC) in Canada to become a sponsor for a family member. If the application is approved, the sponsored family member should then apply for permanent residence.


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