Canada offers a multitude of opportunities for US citizens and nonresidents who want to immigrate.
Since Canada and the USA enjoy a close political and economic relationship, it has become a favorable destination to visit, work or study and live.
However, the process is not as easy as many think. Apart from sharing a border, the 2 countries also conduct bilateral trade of skilled workers supported by programs like NAFTA.
There are many options for those who want to visit, study, work or immigrate to Canada.
With a valid US passport, you do not need to apply for a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to come to Canada by land. However, if you are arriving by air, you will need an eTA.
Canada allows international students to work during their study programs both on and off-campus without the requirement of applying for a work permit.
International students can work up to 20 hours per week during the academic season and full-time during scheduled breaks while on a study permit.
International students can also apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) if they want to extend their stay and gain Canadian work experience after their study program is completed.
Having an educational credential from a designated learning institution in Canada and Canadian work experience will increase the chances of gaining future permanent residency.
You can apply for different types of work permits in Canada:
NAFTA Work Permits: The United States, Mexico and Canada made an economic agreement known as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to facilitate the transfer of skilled foreign workers from each other’s labor market. Contact us about work permits for US citizens or permanent residents.
A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is normally required of an employer in order to hire foreign skilled workers to demonstrate advertising efforts to hire a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for the position that was offered to the foreign skilled worker.
NAFTA permits are issued under the International Mobility Program. These permits are for US citizens who have a valid employment offer from a designated employer in Canada. These permits are LMIA exempt work permits.
Spousal Open Work Permit: If you're spouse or common-law partner is a temporary foreign worker or international student or applying for permanent residence through Inland Spousal Sponsorship in Canada, then you are eligible to apply for a Spousal Open Work Permit.
Open work permits allow you to work for any Canadian employer anywhere in the country.
Express Entry: Canada offers several immigration pathways for US residents who want to work in Canada. The most popular and easiest pathway is the federal Express Entry system.
You must be eligible for 1 of the 3 federal economic immigration programs:
All 3 programs have different eligibility requirements.
Canada also has 10 provinces and 3 territories. Except for Quebec and Nunavut, all provinces and territories offer their own immigration programs for foreign nationals under their own Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
Some PNP streams are enhanced by being Express Entry aligned. Therefore, you can check the eligibility requirements and apply accordingly for a stream best suited to your needs and specific situations in occupation and work experience.
PNPs are often targeted immigration streams for foreign skilled workers and international students with skills and work experience that can help to fill the Canadian labor market gaps.
However, if you want to immigrate to Quebec, then you must apply through different programs within Quebec Immigration. Quebec offers its own immigration streams independent of the federal government.
You will be required to acquire a Certificate of Selection (CSQ) from the Quebec government to qualify for their immigration streams.
Family Sponsorship: If you have an immediate family member residing in Canada, then they can sponsor you through family sponsorship.
Business and Investor Immigration: In addition to the above, there are several other business immigration streams at the federal and provincial levels that allow business owners and investors to immigrate to Canada by meeting the eligibility requirements.
You will be required to have significant net worth and establish or acquire a business that has the potential to significantly impact the local labor market.
Possible Challenges to Visiting or Immigrating to Canada
To have temporary residence status or eventually obtain permanent residence, you will also be required to meet the admissibility requirements of the country. Inadmissibility can be for medical, financial, criminal or several other types of inadmissibility.
We hope that you found this resource topic interesting and informative.
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