Becoming a Permanent Resident of Canada

Many clients contact Pax Law Corporation to ask our lawyers about becoming permanent residents of Canada. In this article, we will give you an overview of some of ways a prospective immigrant can become a permanent resident (“PR”) in Canada.

Permanent Resident Status

First, what does it mean to be a permanent resident of Canada? An individual who is a citizen of another country can be granted Canadian permanent residency in Canada. Permanent residency entitles an individual to some rights similar to Canadian citizenship. Some of these rights include access to socialized healthcare, social services, and freedom to live, work, and study anywhere in Canada. In this post, we will talk about general requirements and different channels that lead to obtaining permanent residency in Canada.

Requirements for Permanent Residence Applications

While each program has its own set of basic and detailed qualifications, there are some requirements that are general to all programs. You will have to provide information regarding your employment history, your education, and your medical history. You will also need to have a clean criminal records checks from your country of origin and, possibly, other countries you have spent significant time in.

1 – Express Entry

This program is for immigrants who want to live and work in Canada as a skilled worker. This program allows Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to recruits immigrants who are skilled or possess qualifications to help the Canadian economy under three immigration programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
    • For skilled workers with foreign work experience who must meet criteria for education, experience, and language abilities
    • Minimum pass mark is 67 points in order to be eligible to apply. Once you apply, a different system (CRS) is used to assess your score and to be ranked in the pool of candidates.
  • The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
    • For skilled workers who are qualified in a skilled trade and must have a valid job offer or a certificate of qualification
  • The Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
    • For skilled workers who have at least 1 year of Canadian work experience that has been gained in the last 3 years before applying.

Candidates applying through these programs are evaluated under the Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS). The CRS score is used to assess your profile and to be ranked in the Express Entry pool. In order to be invited to one of these programs, you need to have a score above the minimum limit. While there are some factors that you cannot control, there are some ways to improve your score in order to be more competitive in the pool of candidates such as improving your language skills in Canada’s official languages (English and French) or gaining more work experience prior to applying. Express Entry is usually the most popular program and rounds of invitation draw occur approximately every two weeks. When you are invited to apply for either program, you have 60 days to apply. Therefore, it is crucial to have all your documents ready and completed before the deadline. Completed applications are processed in approximately 6 months or less.

2 – Provincial Nominee Program

This program is suitable for workers who have certain skills, qualifications, or work experience that can be an asset to the Canadian economy in a specific province or territory, want to reside in that province, and want to become permanent residents of Canada.

Different provinces and territories have their own streams that target different groups and have their own requirements. This process can be done through a paper-based application for some provinces or online through express entry. Candidates must pass a medical examination and get a police background check no matter which province or territory they want to reside in.

  • Paper-Based:
    • Apply to the province or territory for nomination through non-Express Entry programs.
    • Meet requirements for province or territory that nominates you.
    • Once nominated, submit paper application to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada.
  • Online Express-Entry: 2 possible ways to apply
    • Contact province or territory and apply for nomination. OR
    • Create Express-Entry profile and show provinces and territories you are interested in.
      • Provinces or territories may send “notification of interest”

3 – Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Individuals can seek asylum in Canada at any point of entry in Canada. Canada offers refugee protection to some people who seek asylum and individuals must explain their reasons for their claim as to why they cannot return to their home country. This may include they fear for their life and safety or that they fear prosecution upon their return to their home country. Based on their explanations, they can be referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The IRB decides whether an individual is considered a convention refugee or a person in need of protection. Convention refugees are either outside their home country or the country they normally live in. However, they are not able to return due to fear of prosecution based on their race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or being a member of a marginalized social group. A person in need of protection cannot return to their home country because they may face torture, or risk of cruel and unjust punishment. When filing a claim upon entering Canada, 4 possible results may occur:

  • The border services officer decides your claim is eligible
  • Officer schedules you for an interview
  • Officer asks you to complete your claim online
  • Officer decides your claim is not eligible.

If your claim is eligible, you will go through the process of medical examination and will wait for your scheduled hearing. If the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) accepts your claim, you can stay in Canada and apply to become a permanent resident.

While waiting for your refugee claim decision, you may be eligible to obtain a work or study permit.

  • Study Permit:
    • If an individual wants to study while in Canada, they must have a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution in order to apply. They cannot apply for a study permit when they submit their refugee claim. This must happen separately.
  • Work Permit:
    • When submitting their refugee claim, individuals and their family members can select to request for a work permit in their application. It requires that:
      • You need a job to pay for your basic needs (food, clothing, shelter)
      • Your family members are also applying for refugee status and are with you in Canada

4 – Atlantic Immigration Program

The Atlantic Immigration Program is another path to obtain permanent residency for skilled foreign workers and international graduates from Canadian institutions who are interested in working and living in one of Canada’s four Atlantic provinces. These provinces are New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador. Employers that have not been able to find qualified workers locally can be eligible to hire from pool of candidates in this stream. However, employers must first become designated by the provincial government in order to be eligible to find candidates to hire.

Contact Pax Law’s experienced Immigration team, headed by Mr. Haghjou and Mr. Mortazavi, if you want our assistance with your application for permanent residence.

Categories: Immigration


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