Immigrate to Canada From China

May 7, 2024


  • Sinethemba Phongolo

With its diverse culture, strong economy, and renowned healthcare and education systems, Canada stands as a beacon of promise for Chinese citizens who want to immigrate to Canada. The healthcare system in Canada is known for its universal coverage and high-quality care, while the education system offers a wide range of opportunities for students of all ages.

From the bustling streets of Toronto to the quiet landscapes of British Columbia, Canada offers rich experiences for immigrants to embrace. Ready to open a new page in your life as a Chinese Canadian? Then, join us as we guide you through the steps to immigrate to Canada from China.

Chinese Community in Canada

The story of Chinese Canadians is one of resilience and triumph. The first wave of Chinese immigrants in Canada arrived in the mid-19th century, primarily Cantonese men who toiled under harsh conditions building the Canadian Pacific Railway. Despite facing prejudice and discriminatory laws like the Chinese Head Tax (1885-1923) that limited immigration, they persevered, laying the groundwork for future generations.

The early 20th century saw a shift towards family reunification. Following World War 2, the introduction of the Immigration Act of 1967, which focused on skilled labor, opened doors for a new wave of Chinese immigrants from Hong Kong and Taiwan in the 1980s and 1990s. This influx of skilled professionals significantly impacted Canada's economy and social fabric.

Today, Chinese Canadians number over 1.7 million, making them the second-largest visible minority group in Canada. They are concentrated in major cities like Toronto and Vancouver, where vibrant Chinatowns serve as cultural hubs. However, the Chinese Canadian experience extends far beyond these enclaves. Younger generations are redefining what it means to be Chinese Canadian.

They are entrepreneurs, artists, politicians, and community leaders actively shaping Canada's diverse landscape. Chinese immigrant contributions are evident in all sectors of Canadian society, from business leaders like Benson Leong, the founder of Lee Valley Tools, to renowned scientists like Dr. Roberta Wong, a pioneer in blood stem cell research. Their cultural influence is woven into Canada, from popular noodle restaurants to the sounds of dragon boat races echoing across city harbors during summer festivals.

How Can I Immigrate to Canada From China

Dreaming of a fresh start in Canada? As a Chinese citizen, you have several pathways available to immigrate and contribute to this vibrant nation. If you want to immigrate to Canada from China, here are the essential steps to guide you through the immigration process.

Step 1: Research Your Eligibility to Apply

Before taking the first steps on your immigration journey, assessing your eligibility is crucial. The Canadian government offers various immigration programs, each with its own requirements. Here are some key factors to consider.


Points-based systems like the Express Entry system often favor younger applicants (generally under 40). However, some programs prioritize experience over age.


A university degree or relevant trade certification can significantly boost your points in Express Entry and other programs.

Work Experience

Skilled work experience in an in-demand field in Canada strengthens your application.

Language Skills

Strong English or French language proficiency, proven through standardized tests like the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP), is essential for most programs.


Factors like the education level of your spouse/partner and planned settlement location can influence your application score as they indicate your ability to adapt to Canadian life.

Step 2: Choose an Immigration Program Suitable For You

Canada offers various immigration programs to suit individuals' qualifications and goals. Some of the main pathways include:

Express Entry System

The Express Entry system manages applications for federal economic immigration programs:

Eligible candidates create an online Express Entry profile and are ranked based on age, education, work experience, language proficiency, and adaptability. Those with the highest scores will receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residency.

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) allow Canadian provinces and territories to nominate individuals with the skills, education, and work experience needed to contribute to the local economy. Each province and territory has its PNP with specific eligibility criteria and streams tailored to its labor market needs.

Learn more about the Provincial Nominee pathways to Canadian permanent residency (PR).

Business Immigration to Canada From China

Entrepreneurs, investors, and self-employed individuals may research business immigration programs such as the Start-Up Visa Program and Self-Employed Persons Program. These programs aim to attract individuals with innovative business ideas, managerial experience, or significant investment capital to contribute to Canada's economy.

Learn what you need about business immigration to Canada.

Immigration Pilots

Canada has introduced several immigration pilots to address specific labor market needs and regional shortages. Examples include the

These pilots offer unique pathways for immigrants to obtain permanent residency by working in designated industries or regions.

Family Sponsorship

Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor their eligible family members for immigration to Canada using the Family Sponsorship Visa program. This includes:

  • Spouses,
  • Common-law partners,
  • Dependent children,
  • Parents, and
  • Grandparents.

Family reunification is a fundamental aspect of Canada's immigration policy, allowing families to be together and support each other through family sponsorship.

Learn more about the three easy ways to move to Canada with your family.

Canada Work Permits

Individuals with job offers from Canadian employers may be eligible to apply for temporary Canada work permits, which can eventually lead to permanent residency through pathways such as the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). Temporary work permits allow individuals to gain valuable Canadian work experience and transition to permanent residency.

Learn more about how you can work in Canada as a temporary worker.

Step 3: Gather the Required Documents

Once you've determined which immigration program you're eligible for, gather all the required documents to support your application. Common documents include:

  • Identification papers (passports etc.),
  • Educational credentials,
  • Language test results (such as IELTS or CELPIP),
  • Proof of work experience and
  • Police clearance certificates (if applicable).

Make sure to carefully review the document checklist provided by the immigration authorities to ensure nothing is missed.

Learn more about which documents you need with the Canadian immigration document checklist.

Step 4: Submit Your Application

After compiling all the necessary documents, submit your application through the designated immigration program's online permanent residency portal or by mail at your local visa application center (VAC), depending on the program's requirements. Pay close attention to instructions and deadlines to avoid any delays or complications. Some programs may require payment of application fees at this stage.

Step 5: Prepare to Arrive in Canada

Once your application is submitted, you must prepare to arrive in Canada. This may include planning travel arrangements, finding permanent accommodation, and researching settlement services in your destination. If you're already in Canada on a temporary visa, ensure you maintain a valid status while your permanent residency application is processed.

Learn about preparations to arrive in Canada using the ultimate Canadian travel visa checklist.

Benefits of Moving to Canada From China

Moving from China to Canada offers numerous benefits that attract individuals and families seeking a better quality of life, diverse opportunities, and a welcoming environment. Here are some advantages if you immigrate to Canada from China.

Strong Job Market in Canada

Canada boasts a robust economy with diverse industries, including:

The country's strong job market provides many in-demand jobs for immigrants from China to secure employment and advance their careers. Canada offers a fertile ground for professional growth and development with a relatively low unemployment rate of 6.1%, according to Statistics Canada.

Learn more about Canada’s job mark through its National Employment Service.

Affordable Cost of Living

Compared to many other developed countries, Canada offers a relatively affordable cost of living, including housing, healthcare, and education. Housing options are diverse, from apartments in urban centers to single-family homes in suburban areas. Canada's publicly funded healthcare system also ensures access to essential medical services without the high costs often associated with healthcare in other countries.

Learn more about Canada’s affordable cost of living.

Entrepreneurial Opportunities

Canada fosters an entrepreneurial spirit and supports small businesses and startups. Immigrants from China with innovative business ideas or entrepreneurial aspirations can benefit from various government programs, funding opportunities, and a supportive ecosystem to launch and grow their ventures. Furthermore, Canada's strong economy and diverse market offer ample business growth and opportunities for success.

Learn more about the most successful immigrant businesses in Canada.

Safe and Secure Environment

Canada is known for its safety and security, low crime rates, and stable political environment. According to the Institute for Economics and Peace’s Global Peace Index, Canada is the 11th safest country globally. This ensures that immigrants from China can feel reassured by Canada's reputation for safety, allowing them to settle in and focus on their personal and professional goals without concerns about security issues.

Inclusive and Diverse Communities

Canada is a multicultural country that values diversity and inclusivity. Immigrants from China can find communities that embrace cultural diversity and offer support networks to help them integrate into Canadian society. Canada's immigration policies promote multiculturalism and provide opportunities for immigrants to contribute to and enrich the country's culture.

Learn more about Multiculturism in Canada.

Excellent Education System

Canada offers a world-class education system, with high-quality schools, colleges, and universities nationwide. Immigrant children from China can access excellent educational opportunities, including English or French language instruction, advanced placement programs, and extracurricular activities.

Learn more about why you should study in Canada.

Clean and Sustainable Environment

Canada is known for its clean air, abundant green spaces, and commitment to environmental sustainability. Immigrants from China can enjoy the benefits of living in a clean and healthy environment, with access to outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, skiing, and camping. Canada's conservation efforts and environmental policies, such as the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 ( CEPA ), contribute to preserving its natural beauty for future generations.

Learn about the five reasons why you should move to environmentally-friendly Canada.

Natural Beauty and Outdoor Recreation

Canada's natural landscapes are among the most beautiful in the world, featuring majestic mountains, pristine lakes, and scenic coastlines. Immigrants from China can get to know Canada's vast wilderness areas, national parks, and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites, experiencing the country's rich biodiversity and stunning scenery. Popular outdoor activities for residents and citizens of all ages include:

  • Hiking,
  • Skiing,
  • Camping, and
  • Wildlife watching.

Learn about the seven places you must visit in Canada.


How Long Does It Take to Process a Canadian Immigration Application From China?

The processing time for a Canadian immigration application from China varies depending on the type of visa and the specific immigration program. Generally, processing times can range from several months to over a year, with factors such as application completeness, program quotas, and administrative processing affecting the timeline.

Can I Work in Canada While Waiting For my Immigration Application to be Processed?

While waiting for their immigration application to be processed, individuals in Canada on a valid temporary work permit or visa may be eligible to work legally. However, it's essential to ensure compliance with the conditions of the temporary status and any restrictions outlined by the immigration authorities to avoid potential issues with the application process.

Learn more about the six great part-time jobs for new arrivals in Canada.

What Support Services Are Available For Chinese Immigrants in Canada?

Chinese immigrants in Canada can access a wide range of support services tailored to their needs, including settlement assistance, language training, employment resources, cultural integration programs, and community networks.

Learn more about top settlement services for newcomers in Canada.