How You Can Move to Canada in 2021

April 8, 2021


  • Nodumo Ntoni

Canada has earned its stripes (or maple leaves) as one of the top immigration destinations in the world. The North American country holds that reputation for several reasons; political and economic stability, top-class healthcare and education, diversity, scenery, and wildlife.

Canada is a country that welcomes approximately 300,000 immigrants every year from various parts of the world. According to, immigrants make up a total of 21.5 percent of Canada’s population. The country has some of the best immigration policies because welcoming people to live and work in Canada plays a crucial role in strengthening their economy and filling labour gaps.

People choose to leave their home countries in pursuit of job opportunities and a better quality of life for their families. If you are considering immigrating but don't know how to move to Canada because you are unfamiliar with the visa options available, we'll be discussing entry options for students, unskilled, semi-skilled, and highly skilled workers.

How to Apply for Canadian Residency

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Immigrating to another country involves a lengthy application process that can take anything from six months to eighteen months, and Canada is no different. There are various entry options available, and the key to success is to choose the one best suited for you. These are the entry options and requirements for the respective skill levels:

How Can a Student Get Residency in Canada?

  1. Find a Suitable Institution or Study Program:

The starting point of moving to Canada as a student is to find a suitable study program and learning institution in Canada. There is an abundance of universities and colleges to choose from, just make sure that it’s a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).

What is a DLI?

A DLI is an approved institution by a provincial or territorial government and can host international students. There is an endless list of DLI's to choose from in various Canadian provinces.

International students who will be studying for longer than six months, need to obtain a study permit and you can only get one if you have an acceptance letter from a DLI.

  1. Gain Admission to a DLI

Submit your application to your desired institution and take note of deadlines and requirements. Admission to a study program will grant you an acceptance letter – which is crucial when applying for a study permit.

  1. Apply for a Study Permit

Canadian study permit requirements include but are not limited to:

  • A letter of acceptance from a DLI
  • Proof of funds to cover the first year of tuition and living expenses
  • Medical assessment
  • Police clearance

How Highly Skilled Workers Can Move to Canada:

Highly skilled workers can use Canada's Express Entry system that encompasses three skilled worker immigration programs.

  1. Federal Skilled Worker (FSW)

The FSW program is competitive and uses Canada's Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to rank candidates. This program helps speed up the process of approving highly skilled individuals.

Your CRS score gets calculated using the following factors:

  • English and French language skills
  • Education
  • Qualifications
  • Work experience
  • Age
  • Qualifying Canadian job offer
  • Adaptability

A high score will grant you an Invitation To Apply (ITA) for permanent residence, and your application can take as little as six months.

  1. Federal Skilled Trades (FST)

The FTS program helps highly skilled tradespeople to obtain permanent residency. Like the FSW program, candidates get scored using the CRS system, and a high score will receive an ITA.

  1. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

This program is ideal for people who have a minimum of twelve months of work experience in Canada. Like the other Express Entry pathways, it uses the CRS system to give candidates a score, and qualifying candidates receive ITAs.

Semi/Low-Skilled Worker Immigration Programs:

If you are an unskilled worker and want to make that move for a better life for you and your family, these are the four immigration programs available to you:

  1. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Each Canadian province or territory has its own Provincial Nominee Program. The programs aim to fill the labour gaps in the respective region. Like the Express Entry programs, you need to meet the requirements – they may differ for each province – to receive an ITA. The PNP is the easiest way to gain permanent residency in Canada.

There are two main options when applying for PNP's under the Canadian immigration system; either you apply directly to the province or territory or the Express Entry-linked process

  1. Atlantic Immigration Pilot

This pilot is for people who want to work in one of Canada's four Atlantic provinces; Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. To apply for this program, you'll need a job offer from a designated employer in one of the four regions.

  1. The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is for people seeking permanent residence in one of the 11 participating Canadian cities and towns. To qualify, you will need a full-time job offer from the participating regions.

  1. Agri-Food Pilot
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This program for people in the agricultural and meat-manufacturing industry. Farmers and livestock workers seeking to live and work in Canada permanently can apply provided they meet these general requirements:

  • One year of non-seasonal work experience
  • Full-time non-seasonal permanent job offer in Canada
  • Have a minimum CLB/NCLC score of 4 in either English or French
  • Canadian high school diploma or an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) of a foreign equivalent or higher
  • Proof of finances

How Temporary Workers Can Immigrate:

A work permit is required for a foreign national to be able to work in Canada. You need to apply for a work permit from Canadian Immigration but, work permits don't allow you to immigrate to Canada. You can, however, apply for permanent residence once you've gained work experience in Canada through the following programs:

  1. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  2. Ontario Immigration Nominee Program (OINP)
  3. Caregiver Program

Here are the requirements for applying for a work permit:

  • Proof of funds
  • Police clearance
  • Health examination
  • Job offer

Application Process:

Getting your immigration application underway can be a lengthy and intimidating process. Breaking it up into small steps will alleviate the anxiety and make it relatively simple. We have divided the application process into four easy steps that you can follow:

Assess Eligibility

The eligibility test determines your eligibility and will give you options on the various entry pathways best suited for you. The test will advise the easiest ways to move to Canada for your occupation, education and experience levels.

Eligibility tests typically ask questions related to the following factors:

  • Age
  • Nationality
  • Language capabilities
  • Family members
  • Education level
  • Work experience
  • Income
  • Job offer (where applicable)

Choose Entry Pathway

Your results from the eligibility test will help you choose the most suitable immigration program. Ensure that you meet all the requirements and have all the necessary documentation to proceed with your application.

Complete and Submit your Application

Fill out all the required fields on your application form and submit with accompanying documents. The documents required are dependent on the type of visa or program you select but, for the most part, they will include:

  • Passport
  • Proof of clean criminal record
  • Proof of medical exam
  • Photographs required for your Canadian Visa
  • A cover letter explaining the purpose of your travel
  • Proof of financial means
  • Certified copies of documents

Track your Application

You will get a unique tracking number that you can use to track your application status. When complete, you can collect your visa at the application centre. Upon receiving your visa, do your due diligence and check if all the details are correct.

Frequently Asked Immigration Questions

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I Want to Move to Canada – Where Do I Start?

Your point of departure should be determining which pathway is best suited for you. Choosing the right entryway increases your chances of success. But with over eighty entry options available, it may feel overwhelming.

A variety of factors will determine your eligibility and include, but are not limited to:

  • Education level
  • Language proficiency
  • Employment experience
  • Age
  • Arranged employment
  • Adaptability

Conduct a personal evaluation with our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) to determine your eligibility and get professional advice on the best visa options for you.

How Much Money Do You Need to Immigrate to Canada?

Canada is one of the most affordable countries to immigrate to as opposed to other destinations. Immigration costs depend on the size of your family, visa processing fees, settlement funds as well as the type of immigration program you apply for.

Below is a breakdown of the costs involved when moving to Canada:

How much money it takes to move to Canada | how to move to Canada


What Is the Maximum Age to Immigrate to Canada?

Although applicants between 25 and 35 are favoured and get maximum points on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), there is no age limit for moving to Canada. Extensive work experience, high language proficiency, advanced education, and having family members in Canada, can count in your favour.

Also note that humanitarian, refugee and family sponsorships do not operate on the same CRS system, which means that age is not a penalty for those entry options. The trick is to find the entry option that is best suited to maximize your chances.

What Are the Best Immigration Options for Me?

From Express Entry to the Provincial Nominee Program, and Federal Skilled Worker program to name a few discussed in this article, pathways to Canada are abundant. Although candidates with higher education, work experience and are younger are more likely to receive higher rankings, there are ways to manoeuvre the system – finding the right entry for your unique circumstances will give you a better chance of success.

If you need more clarity on how to move to Canada, our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) will conduct an eligibility test, advise you on the visa option best suited for you and help you handle all the necessary paperwork.