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An Expat Guide To Permanent Residence Visas For Canada

One of the most complex aspects of emigrating to a new country is the visa process – which visa to choose, what the criteria are, and whether it covers your family. It can certainly be an overwhelming and stressful period amongst all the preparation for your move, so we’ve compiled this guide to provide you with all the basic information that you will need when considering which visa you should apply for in order to qualify for permanent residence in Canada.Below you will find a list of the permanent residence / working visas currently available, an explanation of what exactly each visa entails, and the criteria for application.

Types of visa

• Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
• Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
• Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP)
• Quebec-Selected Skilled Worker Program (QSWP)
• Family-Sponsorship Program (FSP)
• Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP)

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

What is it?

A Permanent Residence visa for qualified tradespeople in occupations of skilled trade. The main groups of skilled trades are as follows:

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• Butchers and bakers
• Chefs and cooks
• Industrial, electrical and construction trades
• Maintenance and equipment operation trades
• Processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators
• Supervisors & technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture & related production

These categories can encompass a wide range of occupations, for example carpenters, concrete finishers, crane operators, gas fitters, plumbers, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics, tool and die makers, water well drillers, etc.

Do I qualify?

Applicants must meet required levels of English or French, have a minimum of two years’ experience in full-time paid work during the past five years in an eligible trade, and an offer of full time employment for the total of at least one year, or a certification of qualification. A certificate of qualification in skilled trades will be issued by the provincial or territorial trades authority (depending on your area of residence) upon assessment.

Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP)

What is it?

Also a permanent residency visa, where applicants are evaluated based on factors such as education, work experience, language proficiency and age.

Do I qualify?

You need to accrue at least 67 out of a possible 100 points to qualify for this visa, and your profession must be a “wanted profession” in Canada, some examples of which are accountants, engineers, experienced managers, nurses, physicians, and occupational therapists.

The points are assessed on the following criteria:

• English/French language skills – assessed by IELTS or TEF exams (28 points possible)
• Education (25 points possible)
• Work experience (15 points possible)
• Age (12 points possible)
• Qualifying Canadian job offer (10 points possible)
• Adaptability (10 points possible)

The rules for application for this visa are often subject to change, so always check the Canadian government website for updated requirements.

Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP)

What is it?

Permanent residence visa for applicants who do not qualify for a skilled work visa. This visa is aimed at semi- or low-skilled professionals who are still able to work in Canada and contribute to the economy. This visa is for specific provinces in Canada that are looking for employees in certain professions.

Do I qualify?

You will need to follow the application process for your chosen province which will be assessed. Depending on the profession you may be required to provide the following:

• Language proficiency tests
• Medical examinations
• Police Certificates
• Proof of sufficient funds to support yourself and any dependants in Canada

Quebec-Selected Skilled Workers Program (QSWP)

What is it?

Quebec province has a separate programme for immigration. Since the first language of Quebec is French, some of the criteria (especially language requirements) differ somewhat to other provinces.

Do I qualify?

The Quebec skilled workers application process is as follows:

• Apply to the Quebec government for a certificate of selection (Certificat de sélection du Québec)
• A) Quebec will assess you using its own rules
• B) The certificate shows that Quebec has accepted you as an immigrant
• If Quebec chooses you, apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent residence
• As part of the process, you will be required to undergo a medical exam and provide police certificates

Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP)

What is it?

Visas specifically for live-in caregivers who have qualified to provide care for children, elderly or the disabled in private homes without supervision.

Do I qualify?

This visa process can be particularly complicated but the core criteria are as follows:

• Work experience
• High school diploma
• Good level of English or French
• Employment contracts signed by the future employer and yourself

Family Sponsorship Program (FSP)

What is it?

Once you have become a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, you are entitled to sponsor certain family members to become permanent residents.

Do I qualify?

To sponsor a family member you must be at least 18 years old. Family members who can be sponsored under this visa include your:

• Spouse
• Common-law partner (defined as a partner of any sex who has been living with you for at least one year)
• Dependent children (defined as children under the age of 19)

If your family is moving with you to Canada, they can be included in the initial visa application. There is no age limit for dependant children if they have a physical or mental disability.

Super visa for parents and grandparents

What is it?

If you are looking to sponsor a parent or grandparent as opposed to the family members above, you can apply for a parent or grandparent “super visa”.

Do I need to use a visa consultant or have an attorney?

There are no rules stating that you must hire a visa processing consultant or lawyer/attorney in order to go through the Canadian visa application process. There are certainly benefits to using one, especially with the ever-changing criteria; it can make the process more streamlined and less stressful, but it’s down to personal discretion.

We hope this guide will provide you with all the information you need on permanent residence visas and will help you to make a decision about which Canadian visa is best suited to your qualifications and attributes.

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