5 Ways to Get Canadian Permanent Residency

April 12, 2021


  • Robynn Farrell

With over 100 Canadian immigration and visa options to choose from, the process of selecting the best option for your specific needs can be quite a challenging one.

Thousands of people apply for Canadian Permanent Residency (PR) every year in the hopes of making their dreams of living a better life in Canada a reality. Knowing where to begin is key, and having an evaluation done to see which programs and visas you qualify for helps to narrow down the search and save valuable time and possibly hard-earned money too.

In this article, we will take a look at the top five ways to get permanent residency when you move to Canada.

Top 5 Canadian Immigration Programs for 2021

As mentioned before you have over 100 options to choose from when applying for PR in Canada but where do you begin and how do you know if the program or visa you have selected is the right one for you and your loved ones or will give you the best possible chances to be successful in your pursuit of a fresh start in Canada?

Here are five of the top choices that have already opened up doors for so many foreigners.

1. Express Entry System

Canada’s Express Entry system is one of the most popular choices amongst newcomers for various reasons.

Firstly, it has one of the quickest turnaround times for processing Canadian visas. Express Entry candidates can look forward to having their applications evaluated by Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in as little as six months. Draws take place biweekly, where only the top-scoring candidates receive invitations to apply (ITAs) for PR.

It is also one of the most accessible programs as skilled foreign workers can complete and submit their applications online from anywhere in the world through one of three programs:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP);
  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSTP); and
  • The Canada Experience Class (CEC).

It is important to note that the FSWP has a prerequisite; all applicants will be evaluated on a different ranking system and must score at least 67 out of a possible 100 points to be able to apply before being ranked according to the Express Entry rating system known as the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). All applicants will receive a score based on factors such as their age, education, work experience, language skills as well as their ability to adapt to Canadian life.

These programs are generally for professionals and trade workers, such as doctors, architects, plumbers and electricians as well as for skilled workers who have at least one year of previous Canadian work experience.

2. Provincial Nominee Program

If the Express Entry system is not for you, you may want to consider the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). These two programs differ slightly in various ways.

Firstly, the Express Entry system manages programs that focus on skills and experience whereas the PNP focuses on regions in Canada and their specific infrastructure and economic needs.

Canada has 11 PNPs, each with specific requirements that need to be met. This is because each province or territory in Canada has different labour markets and economic needs. These requirements include having a job offer in your province or territory of choice. The best way to be successful in a PNP application is to choose a region in Canada where your occupation is in high demand. This will improve your chances of receiving a Provincial Nomination (PN), which you will need when applying for Canadian PR through a PNP or Express Entry-linked PNP.

It is important to note that processing times vary depending on the province or territory you apply to as well as your method of application. Online applications are generally much quicker than paper applications. Applying directly to a province can take anywhere from 15 to 19 months. Applying through an Express Entry-linked program can take as little as six months whereas some provinces such as British Columbia have their own online registration portal where candidates can register and apply online, cutting processing times down to as little as two to three months!

3. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) is a region-specific program aimed at bringing skilled foreign workers to the Atlantic region of Canada. It comprises four provinces; New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia as well as Newfoundland and Labrador. Successful candidates can look forward to processing times of just six months.

It is also less competitive than other immigration programs such as those under the Express Entry system and PNPs. Most newcomers usually choose provinces such as Ontario or Alberta when moving to Canada whereas Atlantic provinces are often overlooked. Most of these provinces have the same amenities that urban city centers do but without the hustle and bustle that comes along with it. If you enjoy a simple way of life with all the comforts of big city life then this could be the perfect opportunity for you and your loved ones.

Businessman pressing virtual button with Canadian flag | Canadian Permanent Residency

4. The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) is a community-driven initiative to entice skilled workers to immigrate to smaller and lesser-known communities predominantly in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. There are currently 11 participating communities to choose from:

  • North Bay, Ontario;
  • Sudbury, Ontario;
  • Timmins, Ontario;
  • Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario;
  • Thunder Bay, Ontario;
  • Brandon, Manitoba;
  • Altona/Rhineland, Manitoba;
  • Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan;
  • Claresholm, Alberta;
  • Vernon, British Columbia;
  • West Kootenay(trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Nelson), British Columbia.

These communities are in search of skilled workers in all sectors of the economy including forestry, agriculture, Information Technology (IT), construction, medical professions, education manufacturing, aviation and the list goes on. The opportunities are endless and if you enjoy a slower pace of life as well as that small-town charm and friendliness that makes settling into a new home abroad, then this may be the program for you.

5. Canadian Work Experience Programs

There are various programs under the Canadian Immigration system that offers skilled foreign workers the opportunity to move to Canada permanently.

Express Entry Candidates

Those who are highly skilled and have a minimum of one year’s experience working in Canada may be eligible for Canadian permanent residency through the Canada Experience Class as long as they meet the application criteria for the FSWP or FSTP.

Provincial Temporary Work Visa Candidates

There is also a wide range of provincial programs aimed at helping experienced workers who have been working in a Canadian region on a temporary basis, apply to stay and work in Canada on a permanent basis. Below are the options available to you in each province or territory.

Provincial Permanent Residency Programs for Experienced Temporary Workers
Province/Territory Program
  • Alberta Opportunity Stream
British Columbia
  • Skills Immigration Category: Entry Level & Semi-Skilled Stream
  • Skilled Workers in Manitoba Stream
  • Skilled Workers Overseas Stream
New Brunswick
  • Skilled Worker Stream
Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Skilled Worker Category
  • Priority Skills Category
Nova Scotia
  • Express Entry Category: Nova Scotia Experience Stream
  • Skilled Worker Stream
Northwest Territories
  • Skilled Worker Program
  • Entry Level & Semi-Skilled Occupations Stream
  • Employer Job Category: In-Demand Skills Stream
  • Express entry Category: French-speaking Skilled Worker Stream
Prince Edward Island
  • Critical Workers Stream
  • Skilled Workers in Prince Edward Island Stream
  • Work Experience Category: Skilled Worker with Existing Work Permit Stream
  • Work Experience Category: Semi-Skilled Agriculture Worker with Existing Work Permit Stream
  • Work Experience Category: Health Professionals Stream
  • Work Experience Category: Hospitality Sector Project Stream
  • Work Experience Category: Hospitality SectorLong-Haul Truck Driver Project Stream
  • Skilled Worker Stream
  • Critical Impact Worker Stream

Canadian Graduate Candidates

For graduates who have either recently completed their studies at a Canadian institution or have been working in Canada and have a temporary work permit or are Post-Graduation Work Permit holders, there are a variety of options available to get Canadian PR. Below are the options available to you in each province or territory.

Provincial Permanent Residency Programs for Canadian Graduates
Occupation Average Salary per Year
  • International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
  • Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream
British Columbia
  • Express Entry Category: PNP International Graduate Stream
  • Express Entry Category: PNP International Post-Graduate Stream
  • International Education Category: Career Employment Pathway
  • International Education Category: Graduate Internship Pathway
  • International Education Category: International Student Entrepreneur Pilot
  • Skilled Worker Category: Manitoba Work Experience Stream
Newfoundland & Labrador
  • International Graduate Category
  • International Graduate Entrepreneur Category
Nova Scotia
  • International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
  • Skilled Worker Stream
  • Employer Job Category: International Student Stream
  • Express Entry Category: Masters Graduate Stream
  • Express Entry Category: Ph.D. Graduate Stream
Prince Edward Island
  • International Graduate Stream
  • Graduate Streams (inside & Outside of Canada)

5 Ways to Get Canadian Permanent Residency Infographic | Canadian Permanent Residency

How Do I Know if I’m Eligible for Permanent Residency in Canada?

If you have qualified for a program that offers permanent residency, are deemed admissible to enter Canada you should be eligible for permanent residency. The best way to find out is by consulting an immigration professional or Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) as they have years of experience and are knowledgeable of all immigration options, which means they will be able to give you advice on which programs will be best for you.

How Long Do I Have to Live in Canada to Become a Permanent Resident?

Some immigration provincial programs have requirements that you have lived and worked in Canada for at least 6 months to be eligible to apply for PR as well as federal programs such as the CEC, which requires at least one year, however, many federal programs do not have this requirement. If you are a newcomer who has been granted permanent residency through programs such as the Federal skilled or Trade Worker Programs you will automatically get a PR card in the mail once you get to Canada.

Can You Lose Your Permanent Residency Status?

To maintain your PR status you have to physically be in Canada for a minimum of 730 days in the past five years, regardless of whether or not they were consecutive or not. You cannot, however, automatically lose your PR status unless it is officially processed. The only time that you may lose your status is if:

  • an adjudicator deems your permanent resident status is no longer valid after an inquiry or PRTD appeal;
  • you voluntarily renounce your permanent resident status;
  • a removal order is made against you and is implemented; or
  • you become a Canadian citizen.

What’s the Next Step to Becoming a Permanent Resident in Canada?

Smiling diverse business people standing with folded arms | Canadian Permanent Residency

Now that you have some insight into some great programs to consider when applying for Canadian permanent residency, the next step is to find out which Canadian Immigration programs you qualify for and which options would most likely result in a successful outcome. Simply click the link below for professional guidance and support to set you on your pathway to move to Canada.