Top Canadian PR Eligibility Questions Answered
October 13, 2023
Deciding whether or not you want to move to a new country generally involves an exhausting evaluation process, and Canada is no exception. The governing body in charge of immigration matters for the country, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), uses a detailed evaluation process that assesses your eligibility to apply for Canadian permanent residency (PR) according to your demographic data.
To help you with your journey to Canada, we have answered your most burning questions about Canada PR requirements to give you your best possible chance of ensuring your eligibility.
What is Permanent Residency Status (PR) in Canada?
Receiving permanent residency status in Canada means you are entitled to the rights and privileges of a but is not yet a Canadian citizen. Therefore, you still retain the citizenship of your home country. Still, as a permanent resident in Canada, you are temporarily distinguished from individuals who are in Canada, like a student or foreign worker.
Certain categories of individuals can become permanent residents without using a permanent residency immigration visa program. For example, resettled refugees from overseas become permanent residents via the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program or Government-Assisted Refugee Program.
Becoming a permanent resident in Canada entitles you to:
- Most social benefits provided by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), including health care coverage,
- Apply for citizenship in Canada
- Work, study or live anywhere in Canada,
- Legal protection under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canadian law
To provide proof of your permanent residency status in Canada, ensure you apply for and receive a permanent resident (PR) card. A PR card also enables you to prove you’re a permanent resident when you return to Canada from another country using a commercial vehicle (bus, train, airplane).
Do You Need a Job Offer to Apply For Canadian PR?
No, not all Canada PR immigration visa programs require a job offer for you to be eligible to apply. This includes the:
- The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- The Canadian Experience Class
- Alberta Express Entry Stream
- Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities Stream (NSLMP)
- Prince Edward Island – Express Entry Stream
- Saskatchewan Occupation In-Demand Category
- Saskatchewan Express Entry Stream
- Ontario French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream
- Ontario Human Capital Priorities Stream
- Family Sponsorship Visa Program
While none of these immigration visa programs have a job offer as part of their eligibility requirements, having a job offer still increases your chances of being selected to apply for Canadian PR.
Find out more about how to immigrate to Canada without a job offer.
What is the Minimum Age Required to Apply for Canadian PR?
There is no specific minimum age requirement to be eligible for Canadian PR. However, individuals under 18 must have a parent or guardian apply on their behalf. Furthermore, you can get maximum points for the age factor if you are between 20 and 29 years old. Still, you are eligible to apply for Canadian PR till the age of 45.
How Long Must You Stay in Canada to be Eligible for PR using the Canadian Experience Class (CEC)?
The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is a pathway to permanent residency for individuals who have gained skilled work experience in Canada. To be eligible for Canadian PR through CEC, you must have at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada within the past three years in a job.
You must ensure the job is under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) or Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibilities (TEER) level 0, 1, and 2. As long as you meet this work experience in Canada criteria, there is no specific requirement for the amount of time you must stay in Canada before applying for PR through CEC.
Learn more about how to qualify for the Canadian Experience Class.
Can I Include my Spouse and Children in my Canadian PR Application?
Yes, you can include your spouse or common-law partner, as well as dependent children, in your Canadian PR application. Including your family members in your application allows them also to become permanent residents of Canada. However, it is important to note that each family member must meet the eligibility requirements and may be subject to additional fees and documentation.
Find out more about Canada Spousal Sponsorship Programs.
Do I Need to Take a Language Test for Canadian PR?
Yes, language proficiency is an essential requirement for Canadian PR. Canada's two official languages are English and French, and applicants must demonstrate their language skills through an approved language test.
The most commonly accepted language tests are the:
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
- Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)
The score you receive for taking these tests will be assigned a language level based on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC). Language levels range from 1 to 12, with level 1 signifying the lowest and level 12 the highest language ability.
Achieving a higher language proficiency score can increase your chances of being selected for Canadian PR.
How Can I Check if I Am Eligible for Canadian PR?
To check your eligibility for Canadian PR, you can use the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) calculator. The CRS calculator evaluates factors such as:
- Work experience
- Language skills
- Marital status, and
- Connections to Canada
By providing information about your qualifications and background, the CRS calculator will give you an estimate of your CRS score and your chances of being invited to apply for Canadian PR. Ready to check your CRS score? Use this CRS calculator.
Find out more about maximizing your CRS score.
Do You Need Work Experience to Apply for Canadian PR?
Yes, work experience is a crucial requirement for Canadian PR. The Canadian government values individuals with the skills and experience to contribute to the country's economy.
Depending on the immigration program you are applying through, you may be required to have a certain number of years of work experience in a specific occupation or skill level. Generally, the minimum work experience required by most Canada PR immigration programs is one year.
Some Canada PR immigration programs require your work experience to be from a set period. If not met, your work experience may be deemed ineligible for submission. For example, the minimum one-year work experience requirement for the FSWP must be gained within ten years before you apply. If this is not the case for you, you cannot submit your work experience to satisfy this eligibility criteria.
Can You Get Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Points if You Graduated From a Canadian Secondary or Post-Secondary Institution?
Yes, graduating from a Canadian secondary or post-secondary institution can earn you additional CRS points. The Canadian government recognizes the value of Canadian education and provides incentives for international students to stay and contribute to the country's economy.
Learn more about how to apply for a Student Visa in Canada.
Can Unskilled Workers Apply for Canada PR?
Yes, unskilled workers can also apply for Canadian PR. While many immigration programs prioritize skilled workers, pathways are available for individuals with unskilled or lower-skilled occupations.
It is important to research and understand the specific requirements and programs available for unskilled workers, as they may have different eligibility criteria.
What Makes You Inadmissible to Canada?
Certain factors can make an individual inadmissible to Canada, meaning they are not eligible for Canadian PR. Common reasons for inadmissibility into Canada include:
- Safety and security (involvement in espionage, political subversion, terrorism etc.)
- International or human rights violations
- Having a medical condition that makes you a danger to public health, or safety or burdens Canada’s healthcare system with excessive demand.
- Criminal record (includes driving under the influence (DUI)
It is important to be aware of these factors and ensure you meet the eligibility requirements before applying for Canadian PR.
What Are the Benefits of Canada's PR?
Obtaining permanent residency in Canada comes with numerous benefits. Permanent residents in Canada are entitled to the folowoing benefits.
- You Can Bring Your Family With You
- Access to Free Quality Primary and Tertiary Education
- Universal Access to Quality Healthcare
- Social Security Benefits
- Path to Canadian Citizenship
- Safety and Security
Find out more about the benefits of Canada PR.
What is the Easiest Way to Get Permanent Residency in Canada?
The easiest way to get permanent residency in Canada is through the Express Entry system. This points-based system offers a streamlined and efficient pathway to Canadian PR with application processing times as fast as six months.
How do I Apply for a PR Card?
Once you have been approved for Canadian PR, you can apply for a PR card. The PR card is an official proof of your status as a permanent resident of Canada. The online application process involves:
- Getting the application package
- Paying your PR card application fee of 50 CAD
- Submitting your application
Ensure you send your application and payment to the Case Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia.