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Visas to Canada

Canada is considered to be one of the best countries for immigrants due to its comprehensive and progressive immigration policies. In 2021, Canada welcomed 405,000 immigrants and expects to welcome more than one million during the next three years.

Currently, there are several immigration and visa programs available for persons who want to become a Canadian permanent resident. Examples of these programs include:

  • Express Entry
  • Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP)
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
  • Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Each of these Canadian immigration programs allows skilled foreign workers who want to achieve permanent residency status in Canada to do so while meeting the labor needs of the country.

Express Entry

The Express Entry system was first established in 2015 by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as a way to accommodate applicants for Canadian immigration while also meeting the needs of its labor market and continuing to maintain the country’s economic growth.

Since its introduction, several thousand Invitations to Apply (ITAs) have been issued, officially inviting “economic immigrants” to apply for a Permanent Resident Visa to Canada. These numbers are expected to increase significantly as an estimated nine million Canadian workers retire during this decade and more skilled immigrants are needed to replace them.

As such, any person interested in applying to become a Canadian Permanent Resident through the various federal economic immigration programs – like the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) – will apply using the Express Entry system. Foreign workers applying for immigration to Canada through the PNP have the option to apply through the Express Entry system or to apply directly to the PNP of the relevant province or territory using the “traditional” application method.

The skilled immigrant worker will first file an online Express Entry profile with his or her relevant details and receive a point score on the Comprehensive Ranking System.
An applicant who is placed in the Express Entry pool and then receives an Invitation to Apply (ITA) may file a Canadian visa application for permanent residency.
To read more about Express Entry to Canada, click here!

Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP)

The Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) is a points-based immigration program for foreign skilled workers who wish to live and settle in Quebec, Canada’s largest province.
The applicant must score at least 50 points out of 103 points possible if they are unmarried or score at least 59 points out of 120 points possible if they have a spouse, whether conjugal or common-law.

The following criteria are assessed by the immigration department in Quebec in order to qualify for a Quebec Selection Certificate (QSC):

  • Education Level
  • Relevant Training
  • Work Experience
  • Valid Employment Offer
  • Duration of Stay and Family in Quebec
  • Age
  • Language Skills (French and/or English)
  • Financial Capacity
  • Adaptability
  • Qualities of Spouse
  • Children

In general, a foreign worker who wants to immigrate to Canada and live and work in the French-speaking province of Quebec will first apply to the QSWP by filing an Expression of Interest through the online Arrima portal.

If the applicant receives enough points and satisfies all of the criteria to receive a Quebec Selection Certificate (known in French as the Certificat de sélection du Québec), he or she can then apply for a Permanent Resident (PR) Visa to Canada with the federal Canadian immigration agency.

To read more about the QSWP, click here!

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) is an immigration program created by the Canadian federal government that allows skilled foreign workers in specific trades to apply for permanent residency in Canada if they meet the requirements for eligibility.

One of the defining requirements of this immigration stream is having a valid Canadian job offer or certificate of qualification to receive an ITA or Invitation to Apply. With an ITA, a foreign worker may apply to receive permanent resident status in any province in Canada excluding Quebec. Foreign workers who want to live and work in Quebec can apply for Canadian immigration through the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP).

The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) requires an applicant to have relevant work experience (two years in the past five years) in one of the qualifying skilled trades that are considered in-demand in the country and expected to remain relevant as time goes on.
Examples of qualifying occupational categories include:

  • Industrial sector
  • Electrical sector
  • Maintenance
  • Construction
  • Agriculture
  • Central Control Operators
  • Chefs
  • Butchers

A skilled tradesperson must also meet the minimum proficiency score in one of Canada’s official languages – either English or French – which will be measured by the Canadian Language Benchmark through an approved language evaluation exam (such as the IELTS or TEF).

In order to apply for immigration to Canada through the FSTP, a foreign worker must file an Express Entry profile with the Canadian immigration agency.

To read more about the FSTP, click here!

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

The Federal Skilled Worker Program or FSWP is one of Canada’s immigration programs that allow skilled foreign workers to apply for a permanent residency visa if they meet the requirements set by the Canadian government.

Unlike most of the other immigration programs, the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) relies on a points-based scoring system wherein the applicant can score more points the more that he or she meets the requirements.

An applicant must gain a score of at least 67 points out of 100 points possible upon assessment for the following criteria:

  • Education – maximum of 25 points for post-secondary education
  • Work Experience – up to 15 points for relevant paid work in the last 10 years
  • Language Skills – maximum of 28 points for English and French
  • Arranged Employment – up to 10 points for pre-arranged employment in Canada
  • Age – maximum of 12 points possible.
  • Adaptability – up to 10 points possible for adaptability factors.

In addition to receiving at least 67 points, foreign workers must satisfy other requirements, including completing a minimum of one year of full-time paid work experience within the past 10 years in a high-demand occupation that qualifies for the FSWP.

They must also successfully complete the procedure for Express Entry immigration to Canada, including receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and filing a Canadian visa application for permanent residency.

To read more about the FSWP, click here!

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is an agreement between the Canadian federal government and the local provinces and territories that allow the latter to nominate applicants who are interested in residing and working in that specific region of Canada.

The applicant will need to apply for the PNP through that specific province or territory to receive a nomination from the local government for immigration to Canada.

Approval of their application will be considered based on the eligibility of the candidate and whether or not they qualify for the specific labor and immigration needs of that province. Moreover, they will also assess whether the applicant is serious about settling in that province.

Quebec is exempted from the list of provinces and territories participating in the PNP agreement as this mostly French-speaking Canadian province has own program for accepting immigrants, known as the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP).

The following Canadian provinces and territories are participating in the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and anyone interested in applying as a permanent resident may do so through this program:

  • British Columbia
  • Alberta
  • New Brunswick
  • Manitoba
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Yukon
  • Saskatchewan

Should someone be interested in applying for a nomination through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), they will need to check the qualifications for eligibility for each participating province or territory as there are different requirements for each province.

There is, however, a similar two-step procedure to apply for Canadian immigration through the Provincial Nominee Program.

In general, the foreign worker will apply to the PNP of a participating province or territory, or they can file an online Express Entry profile, and if they receive a provincial nomination, they will apply for a Permanent Resident Visa to Canada with the national immigration authorities.

To read more about the PNP, click here!

With its progressive and more positive approach to immigration as well as its reputation for having one of the best living situations in the world, Canada is a great place where immigrants can live while helping the country meet its economic needs.

To learn if you qualify to apply for a PR Visa to Canada, click here!

DISCLAIMER: This information is not and shall not be considered expert or professional advice.