Blog posts are not legal advice.
I am an immigration lawyer. I analyze people, facts and law, determine courses of action based on applicants' eligibility and different immigration streams available -- and complete the applications.
Many Americans are considering immigrating to Canada on a temporary or permanent basis. This is because Canada is a diverse, multicultural nation with a vibrant economy and lots of natural resources.
For those looking to make the move, here are some different immigration options for you:
If a parent is a Canadian citizen by way of birth in Canada or otherwise, that person's child is a Canadian citizen as well, regardless of where the child was born. The applicant must apply for Proof of Canadian Citizenship, and he/she will need to provide his/her Canadian parent's birth certificate and include it as part of the application package.
2. Marriage/Common-Law Relationships
For those that are married or living together for one year in a common-law relationship, and one of them is a Canadian citizen or a Permanent Resident of Canada, the Canadian can sponsor his/her spouse or partner to come to Canada as a Permanent Resident. This applies to same-sex marriages/common-law relationships as well. The applicant must prove the genuineness of their relationship.
3. Job Offer/Work Permit
If someone can obtain a permanent, full-time job offer in Canada, it is a way to live and work in Canada, and in time, obtain Permanent Residence status in Canada. Depending on the applicants' profession or line of work, there may be a series of steps for the employer to take for the Work Permit to be processed.
4. North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
If applicants meet certain requirements, NAFTA will allow them to obtain legal status in Canada to work. The applicant's profession must fall within the prescribed list of professions.
5. Provincial Programs for Skilled Workers
Many of the provinces provide a pathway to Permanent Residence through their provincial nominee programs. An applicant's eligibility is generally based on a ranking system that takes some or all the following into account: English proficiency, work experience, education and adaptability. These programs can apply to both skilled and non-skilled workers.
6. Business Immigration
If someone has the requisite wealth and is prepared to purchase or establish a business/invest in Canada, this would be an option to consider. Some provinces have provincial nominee programs for investors/entrepreneurs that have minimum net-worth requirements.
7. Study Permit
For those looking to start school or supplement their education, they can apply for a Study Permit. With a Study Permit, one is entitled to a Post Graduate Work Permit after completing a program of eight months of full-time studies. In many provinces, after six months of full-time, permanent employment, one may be entitled to apply for Permanent Residence through the provincial nominee program.
An American can enter Canada as a visitor for six months. They can remain in Canada after six months if they continue to apply for, and are issued extensions of their Visitor Record. A Visitor in Canada must have the means to support themselves and will not be authorized to work in Canada unless they obtain a Work Permit.
9. Federal Express Entry
These are federally implemented programs that are based on Canada's employment needs and assess applicants based on their ability to become economically established, which is determined based on factors such as age, education, work experience and connection to Canada.
Someone can be deemed inadmissible to Canada if they have a criminal conviction, medical issue or have previously misrepresented themselves to a Canadian immigration official. For those applicants that fall into this category, there still may be immigration options available, but the application process will be more complicated.
For more information on the various immigration options available to Americans, feel free to contact our law office or stay tuned for the remainder of this series, where I will explore each of these options in more detail.
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> Immigrants: 7.3 million > Pct of population: 20.7% > GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $42,734 > Gov’t immigration goals: Maintain Currently, 7.3 million immigrants live in Canada, equivalent to more than 20% of the nation’s total population. As 2011, the Canadian government was one of the few to propose policies that would increase the level of immigration for the purpose of family unification. The level of immigration, more generally, was considered satisfactory in the same year, according to the U.N. In spite of Canada’s exceptionally liberal immigration policies, there has been concern recently over whether Canada’s immigrants are successfully integrating into society. To avoid the potential social tension that could arise from a growing economic difference between immigrants and locals, the Canadian government has restructured its screening process to emphasize factors such as job skills and language fluency. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.
> Immigrants: 7.4 million > Pct of population: 11.6% > GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $35,548 > Gov’t immigration goals: Decrease Just 11.6% or France’s roughly 65 million residents are international migrants. According to the U.N. Population division, while the French government promoted some policies aimed at attracting skilled immigrants as of 2011, the governments overall attitude toward immigration was generally negative. As a member of the European Union, France is obligated to support the free movement of EU nationals between the EU nations. In recent years, however, the European Commission has criticized the French government for expelling Roma, popularly called Gypsies, from the country. France’s existing immigrant population is older, with nearly 20% at least 65 years of age, compared to just 11.1% globally. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.
> Immigrants: 7.8 million > Pct of population: 12.4% > GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $36,941 > Gov’t immigration goals: Decrease About 7.8 million million immigrants live in the U.K., up from just under 6.5 million as of 2010. This is despite the U.K. government’s view, as of 2011, that the large influx of foreigners to the country was somewhat of a problem. The government’s policies intended to lower the level of immigration to the country, including high-skilled workers immigration. Only one of the world’s eight largest destinations for immigrants, the United Arab Emirates, had a higher average annual increase in immigration that exceeded the U.K.’s 4.0%. Although the country’s aging population may actually signal a necessity for more immigrants, British Prime Minister David Cameron has stated that immigration has strained the nation’s public services. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.
> Immigrants: 7.8 million > Pct of population: 83.7% > GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $49,012 > Gov’t immigration goals: Decrease A stunning 83.7% of UAE residents are international migrants the most of any country in the world, excluding only Vatican City. Between 2010 and 2013, the emirates let in more than 4.5 million migrant workers, more than any other nation in the world. The UAE is able to attract workers to come there because the country is extremely wealthy, with an economy driven by oil and finance. As of 2012, the nation’s per capita GDP exceeded $49,000, on-par with that of the U.S. But despite the nation’s appeal for immigrants, the UAE’s government as of 2011 considered immigration to be too high. Additionally, the country has been criticized for the poor living and working conditions faced by many migrant workers. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.
> Immigrants: 9.1 million > Pct of population: 31.4% > GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $31,275 > Gov’t immigration goals: Decrease Nearly one-third of Saudi Arabia’s population consists of immigrants, while between 2000 and 2013 the number of immigrants rose by an annual average of 4.2% per year, higher than most other nations. Between 2010 and 2013 alone, the number of immigrants to Saudi Arabia rose 24.3% As of 2011, the Saudi Arabian government regarded the overall level of legal immigration as too high and implemented policies to reduce immigration, according to the UN had. Similarly, the government’s policies on the naturalization of immigrants were also considered restrictive. Recent news reports suggest immigration policy in Saudi Arabia has only become more restrictive with new measures implemented to prevent undocumented workers from finding employment. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.
> Immigrants: 9.8 million > Pct of population: 11.9% > GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $39,028 > Gov’t immigration goals: Maintain Germany, one of the world’s largest economies, is a popular destination for immigrants. Its well-developed infrastructure and top-rate higher education only add to its attraction. Just under 10 milllion of the country’s 82 million residents are immigrants. As of 2011, Germany’s policies reflected approval of the country’s rate of immigration. In 2012, with the eurozone crisis still unabated, a growing number of young workers immigrated from southern Europe to Germany. But Germany has openly recruited high skilled-workers to live and work in the country permanently, especially as the country’s population ages and shrinks, according to Der Spiegel. Unfortunately, many such workers fail to stay for even as little as a year, and since 2010 the number of immigrants to Germany has actually dropped. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.
> Immigrants: 11.0 million > Pct of population: 7.7% > GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $17,709 > Gov’t immigration goals: Increase More than 12 million immigrants lived in Russia in 2010 and the Russian government was among the few seeking to increase the number of foreigners entering the country. In 2011, the country’s government viewed immigration as too low and oriented its policies towards increasing immigration. However, these policies have failed to attract more net immigrants: as of this year, there are just over 11 million immigrants living in Russia, a decrease of roughly 10% from 2010. Local authorities have not embraced the prospect of single-ethnicity communities for Chinese, Uzbeks, Tajiks and other ethnic groups in Russia ,and have even sought to ban them in some cases, hoping instead to promote integration into Russian society. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.
> Immigrants: 45.8 million > Pct of population: 14.3% > GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $49,922 > Gov’t immigration goals: Maintain The U.S. is by far the largest destination for immigrants, with more than 45.7 million living in the country, according to the UN. As of 2011, the U.S. government’s policies toward both immigration and emigration remained effectively neutral. However, immigration reform has been especially prominent in Congress this year. This reform is expected to address issues related to illegal immigration, while determining how, and whether, undocumented immigrants should be able to attain citizenship. Considering the U.S. has one the highest per capita GDPs in the world, at nearly $50,000, its appeal to immigrants is fairly straightforward. It is the world’s largest economy, as measured by output, and has the second largest total exports. Also, the U.S. offers well-developed infrastructure and financial markets, as well as quality education. Read more at 24/7 Wall St.
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