While Canada has always been known as a country which welcomes immigrants from all parts of the world, applying for permanent resident status has become increasingly complicated and unpredictable.
The Canada Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and Regulations deal with all aspects of immigration; including the criteria for the selection of immigrants; rules regarding medical and security checks; and terms and conditions of admission. The Immigration Act and Regulations are frequently amended, resulting in an ever increasing need for a potential applicant to get competent and proper legal advice from those firms who are committed to staying current.
The following is an overview of the various categories under which a person may apply for permanent residence in Canada.
There are five categories of economic class immigrants.
1: Skilled Workers and Professionals
Applicants whose occupations are in demand in Canada are assessed on the basis of a complicated formula involving a number of factors, including education; age; knowledge of Canada's official languages; occupation; and job related experience. In order to qualify as an independent or "skilled worker", an applicant needs to demonstrate that he has the experience and the qualifications to engage in an occupation which is in demand in Canada. The Canadian government is constantly revising the lists of those occupations which are in demand in Canada.
2: Canada Experience Class
If you have worked in Canada or have graduated from a college or a university in Canada, you may be able to apply for permanent residence from within Canada. Temporary foreign workers in certain occupations require two years of work experience. Students require one year of work experience following graduation.
3: Entrepreneurs and Investors & Self Employed
Under Canada's Business Immigration Program, applicants who have been successful businesspeople and who have accumulated significant assets and who can make a significant investment in the economy and own and manage their own business can apply for permanent residence as either Entrepreneurs, Investors or Self-employed.
Entrepreneurs are described as persons who have the intention and ability to establish, purchase or make a significant investment in a business venture in Canada, which the person will manage on an active basis. The business venture must make a significant contribution to the economy and must result in the creation or maintenance of employment opportunities for one or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents other than the entrepreneur and his or her dependents.
Investors are described as persons who have accumulated assets in excess of CD$800,000 and have the ability to make a qualifying investment in Canada.
Under Canada's Business Immigration Program, a self-employed applicant is an immigrant who has relevant experience and intends, and has the ability, to establish or purchase a business in Canada that will create an employment opportunity for him/herself and will make a significant contribution to the economic, cultural or artistic life of Canada. Self-employed applicants could include artists, athletes, farm managers and small business people who engage in truly beneficial or needed activities.
4: Provincial and territorial nominees:
The provincial and territorial governments in Canada can ask the Government of Canada to process applications from individuals they need to meet their economic needs. In order to apply under the Provincial Nominee Program, you will need to be nominated by a province or territory.
5: Quebec-selected skilled workers and Businesspersons
The province of Quebec selects skilled workers and businesspersons who have the skills or business experience to contribute to Quebec’s economy and settle permanently in the province.
Canadian citizens and permanent residents over the age of 18 may sponsor the admission of their immediate relatives for residence in Canada. Relations that can be sponsored in Canada include: Spouses, common-law partners, dependent children (including adopted children) or other eligible relatives (such as parents or grandparents). Immigration law provides that the "accompanying dependants" of a family class applicant may also qualify for permanent residence. To reunite with their families, Family class applications for spouses and dependent children are given top priority in processing. Once the government is satisfied that the sponsoring relative can provide the necessary financial and other support to maintain the applicant and his/her dependents, then landed status will usually be granted if the applicant and his/her dependents meet other immigration requirements, such as, medical and security checks.
REFUGEES AND PROTECTED PERSONS
Canada will consider for admission under this category those who, on the basis of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, are justifiably in fear of persecution. Based on its humanitarian tradition and international obligations, Canada may offer refugee status or protection to people who do not wish to return to their home country because they fear persecution, torture or cruel and unusual treatment.