Canada has one of the highest immigration rates in the world, welcoming about 250,000 new permanent residents each year.
Immigrating to Canada permanently is an exciting opportunity. However, there are several things you should consider before you apply to be a permanent resident. And, once you have come to Canada, there are many things to consider for making your life the best and most interesting it can be in your new country. Coming to any country means getting to know the people around you, working with them, playing with them, and talking with them about what matters to you. You are now part of a new place, a place that will matter to you, and getting as involved in your community as possible will make you feel connected to everyone and everything around you. Like anything, once you are invested in it, you care more.
You can come to Canada to study or work. Whatever you are coming for, know that there is a lot of help out there for you. If the process is overwhelming, you can get help from specialists in immigration, or you can get information from the Government of Canada.
PROGRAMS FOR NEW RESIDENTS
When applying to come to Canada, there are a number of federally-funded programs available to you that will help you enter Canada quicker, and with financial help. Canada welcomes new residents, and wants every resident to be successful in her/his new life. If you have not considered getting assistance or special consideration for your move, you may want to look into programs such as:
- Skilled Trades: If you are a qualified tradesperson, the Federal Skilled Trades Program may be an option. As Canada looks for skilled trade workers for fields such as construction and manufacturing, an applicant can apply to the program and have their application processed rather quickly - within 12 months. The program was launched in January 2013.
- Federal Skilled Workers: For applicants who are educated and have worked in professional fields such as engineering, IT and healthcare. You can apply to the program without a current job offer. For new immigrants who want to work in Quebec, your application must be done according to the province's specifications under the Quebec-selected skilled worker (QSW) program.
- Investors, Entrepreneurs and self-employed People: Many immigrants want to come to a new country and design their won life through building a new business. Entrepreneurs contribute to employment and economic growth, and Canada's commitment to new business is shown with the existence of this program.
- Canadian Experience Class: Many potential immigrants already have experience working in Canada. This program helps them apply and continue that experience, in order to become a permanent resident.
- Live-in caregivers: Qualified newcomers who are able to care for children, the elderly or those who have physical or developmental disabilities may apply for entry into Canada under this program.
- Refugees: Canada has long been known as a country that welcomes people from troubled areas of the world. If you must flee your home country, you may apply under the Refugee Program.
- Provincial Nominees: You can also apply to come to Canada by first having the government of one of the provinces or territories nominate you for entry to that jurisdiction.
As a permanent resident or Canadian citizen, you can also sponsor family members in other countries to enter Canada.
GETTING INFORMATION ON THESE PROGRAMS
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has information on all of these programs, applying to come to Canada as a worker or as a student, and can guide you through the application process. If you are coming as a student, there are processes that you must follow to get your paperwork in order. This includes getting a student visa. Many students decide to get work experience in Canada, looking at permanent residency, and use one of the programs above to assist in the transition.
Now that you have decided to come to Canada, you must be prepared to make that move. Like any move, even those within your own province or town, you need to be prepared - you need to have the financial resources, you need to have employment, and you need to be organized (such as having the needed documents). But making a big move like that to another country also requires other considerations. Although you are qualified for your selected profession in your home country, the same may not be so when you move to Canada. Make sure you have a plan of action to get those needed qualifications so you can work in Canada. It is best to have this figured out before you land in Canada. Ensure that you do your research.
If English or French are not your first languages, then you may need to get a language assessment, and consider taking classes in order to become fluent in either language, if needed for your chosen profession in Canada. Along with upgrading your language skills to ensure fluency in one of Canada's two official languages, you also should find out as much as you can about Canada - the customs, politics, laws, and the people. Also, find out about the things that make the country unique and fun- Canada's geography, arts and culture, food and drink, and beliefs.
WELCOME TO CANADA
Okay. You've made the move to Canada, followed all of the rules, and did your research. You are in your new home, and you're making a fresh start. You know everything you need to know to start your life as a Canadian, so everything should go smoothly, right? Well, a new environment, no matter how much you know about it, can be overwhelming. Know that you are not alone in figuring out your new life. Most major cities and smaller towns have immigrant settlement facilities that newcomers can use to settle into a new community. These may be large organizations, or they may be a small informal group of citizens who want to welcome their new neighbours. Wither way, it is important to seek out these helpful people. Not only will they inform you about your new community, they will also help you get involved in volunteer activities, community events, and help you network and meet new people. When you move to a new community, contact the local municipal government to find out how to register with them for services such as electoral privileges, and also contact an organization like the United Way, and they will lead you to a group who will assist you with your needs, such as applying for provincial healthcare, provincial driver's license, and other services.
Moving to Canada can be a rewarding experience. However you get here, as a student, worker or as a refugee applicant, Canada welcomes everyone, and continues to strive towards being recognized as a safe place, and one that celebrates the diversity of its population.
By: Walter Zeiss