It should be noted that there is no one simple way to immigrate to Canada. While some programs may be easier for you to apply to, the process is long and involves many steps.
While immigrating to Canada does require a significant financial and emotional investment, the end result is worth it. Canada consistently ranks among the best countries for quality of life and is known for its positive attitude toward immigration.
These are the four of the most popular ways for overseas applicants to immigrate to Canada in 2023:
#1 – Express Entry
Express Entry is Canada’s fastest and most popular immigration program. Candidates that apply through the Express Entry system can receive permanent residence status as soon as six months.
By 2025, Canada plans to invite half a million newcomers. Of which a large percentage will come through one of the three streams of Express Entry:
The Express Entry system involves submitting an online profile that is scored by Canada’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). To submit an Express Entry profile, you must first be eligible under one of Canada’s above three federal streams. The Canadian government then issues invitations to apply for permanent residence to the highest-ranking candidates in the Express Entry pool.
The Express Entry process may be the easiest way to come to Canada for certain candidates eligible to submit a profile. It can be difficult to meet the CRS cut-off in the federal draw. However, just by being in the pool of candidates, you could be nominated for permanent residence by a province.
The cost of immigrating to Canada through Express Entry is typically about $2,300 CAD for a single applicant, or about $4,500 CAD for a couple. This does not include the settlement funds that must also be shown as part of the eligibility requirement, which will vary by family size.
Visit our Express Entry page to learn more about submitting a profile and how to increase your ranking in the pool.
#2 – Provincial Nominee Programs
Throughout the pandemic, provinces continued to nominate overseas workers for Canadian permanent residence. By 2025, Canada plans to welcome 117,500 new immigrants through PNPs.
There are countless nominee programs offered by Canada’s ten provinces and three territories. Each PNP has its own unique eligibility criteria. Many PNPs require a connection to the province to apply for nomination. However, there are some programs that invite overseas candidates solely based on their ability to respond to the province’s labour market needs.
Each PNP has its own application processing time. After receiving a nomination, PNP candidates must apply to the federal government for Canadian permanent residence. The time it takes to process the permanent residence application will depend on whether the PNP operates using the Express Entry system.
The cost of immigrating to Canada through a PNP is usually the same as Express Entry, with some additional fees, depending on the province. Certain provinces don’t charge a fee to process PNP applications, while others, such as Ontario, can charge up to $1,500 CAD.
#3 – Business Immigration
If you have experience managing or owning your own business, the easiest way to immigrate to Canada could be through a federal or provincial business immigration program.
The federal government offers immigration programs for individuals that plan to be self-employed in Canada or start up a business in Canada.
There are also several PNPs specific to overseas candidates interested in starting a business in a certain Canadian province.
Business immigration programs typically require a significant investment in the company you intend to start in Canada. The amount required will depend on the program you are interested in. Many PNPs have regional entrepreneur programs that require a lower investment for candidates interested in starting a business in a less populated area.
#4 – Sponsorship
If you have a qualifying family member that is a permanent resident or citizen of Canada, family sponsorship will likely be the easiest way for you to immigrate to Canada.
Canada offers several immigration programs that give permanent residents and citizens the chance to bring their family members to the country. This year, Canada plans to welcome 105,000 new permanent residents through family sponsorship programs.
If your spouse, child, or grandchild is a permanent resident or citizen of Canada, you may be eligible for family sponsorship.
Sponsoring a relative typically costs about $1,135 CAD. Additional fees will apply if the sponsor resides in or intends to reside in Quebec.
The processing time for a sponsorship application will depend on the family member who is sponsoring you. For spousal sponsorship, applications typically take about 12 months to process from start to finish.