The path to securing permanent residence in Canada can be a long and complicated process. Figuring out the best route for you depends entirely on your situation. If you're married to a Canadian citizen, then you’ll want to take a different path than if you’re a temporary foreign worker. Matching the correct path with your current situation will ensure that you have the best chance of earning the right to live in Canada on a permanent basis.
Foreign Students & Temporary Workers
Those who are already in Canada under foreign student and temporary work programs may seek to live in the country permanently. If you happen to be in this situation, then the Canadian residence path for you will be the Canadian Experience Class.
A relatively new path to permanent residency, the Liberal government recently announced "we must do more to attract students to this country as permanent residents,” with Immigration Minister John McCallum stating that "international students have been shortchanged by the express entry system… they are the cream of the crop, in terms of potential future Canadians."
The prerequisites for this immigration program state that you must plan to live outside of Quebec and have been working in Canada for at least one year as a full-time, skilled temporary foreign worker.
For international students, you need to have graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution and have earned a year of full-time experience in a field of skilled work.
Although the Immigration Minister plans to open up the program in order to attract more foreign students, this program is already relatively flexible, allowing you to apply while you work in Canada or up to a year after leaving your job.
If you’re in a conjugal, common-law or spousal relationship, then one of the best paths to becoming a permanent resident of Canada is through spousal sponsorship. Typically, these types of applications take place in two parts. First, the person sponsoring you has to apply before the person being sponsored begins their end of the process.
Sponsors have to be above the age of 18 and must already be a citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. If the sponsor has previously supported someone arriving in Canada as a permanent resident during the past five years, then they must wait before they're able to help their current partner.
This and other requirements have to be met before a sponsor will be approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada or "IRCC".
Once the sponsor is approved, the application for the spouse should be prepared. Similar to any other immigration process, the spouse will have to fill out extensive paperwork to prove that they meet the requirements for the program.
When both sets of paperwork are ready to go, they need to be submitted together as sponsor and spouse. The processing time for your case will vary, but you can find approximate waiting times by visiting the government website dedicated to this information.