Staying in Canada

As Canada is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, has one of the strongest economies and a consistently high quality of life, it is no surprise that many of those who move to Canada wish to stay in the country permanently. If you have lived and worked in Canada temporarily and wish to stay longer, we have provided this guide outlining your options.

There are two main ways to stay in Canada – permanent residency and Canadian citizenship. We have detailed the process of applying for both of these, including providing information on the several different pathways which lead to permanent residency.
 

 

BECOMING A CANADIAN CITIZEN

The moment you arrive in Canada, you can start preparing to become a Canadian citizen. You will need to demonstrate a deep commitment to the country by living in Canada, learning to communicate in at least one of the official languages (English and French), learning about Canada and obeying Canadian laws.
 

To be eligible for Canadian citizenship:
  • You must be a permanent resident;
  • You must live in Canada for at least three years before applying to become a citizen;
  • You will need to have adequate knowledge of either English or French;
  • You will need to demonstrate your knowledge of Canada and the rights, responsibilities and privileges of citizenship;
  • You must be 18 years old or more to apply;
  • You must pass a citizenship test if you are 18 years of age or older;
  • You must attend a citizenship ceremony and take the oath of citizenship.

Citizenship requirements and the way they are assessed are subject to change.

Under the current rules, adults who are 65 years old or older do not have to meet the language and knowledge requirements but are encouraged to do so.

When you apply for citizenship, you may also apply on behalf of your minor children (less than 18 years old). These minors must be permanent residents of Canada.

To get more information and an application kit to become a Canadian citizen, visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. To learn more about Canada and the meaning of Canadian citizenship, read the free study guide for the citizenship test called Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship available online

 
 

PERMANENT RESIDENCY IN CANADA

If you have come to Canada on a temporary visa (e.g. Temporary Foreign Worker visa, IEC Program or Student Visa), you may wish to stay longer or live in Canada permanently. To do this, you must be eligible for permanent resident status.

Permanent residents are residents in Canada who can live and work in the country indefinitely, but are not Canadian citizens. Once you have obtained permanent residence status, you will be issued with a permanent resident card, which is necessary for re-entering Canada if you have travelled outside the country.

 

Permanent Residency Advantages

Permanent residents are eligible to:

  • Live, work & study anywhere in Canada
  • Receive the majority of Canadian social benefits, such as health care coverage
  • Protection under Canadian law
  • Apply for Canadian citizenship

 

How to Obtain Permanent Resident Status

We have outlined in this section the different types of visas and programs that provide newcomers with permanent resident status, provided they are eligible. These are as follows:

 

Permanent Residence (PR) Card

Once you have been given permanent resident status by the Canadian government, you must then apply for your permanent residence card, or PR card as it is more commonly known. The PR card application pack can be downloaded on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website

 
 

STAYING IN CANADA ON THE FEDERAL SKILLED WORKER PROGRAM

If you are a skilled worker wishing to stay in Canada, one option available is the Federal Skilled Worker program, which offers permanent residency.  Skilled workers are defined as a person with skilled professional work experience, and are selected for permanent residency based on their ability to contribute to the Canadian economy.

 

Requirements

In order to be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you must fulfil certain criteria. For example:

  • Your must have one year of paid skilled work experience within the last ten years
  • Your work experience must be in the same National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill type
  • You must show that you meet the language and educational requirements
  • You must have sufficient funds to finance yourself upon arrival in Canada

These factors are part of a 100 point grid, used to determine a worker’s eligibility. You must earn 67 points to pass. For a full list of criteria and to find out if you are eligible, see the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

 

How to Apply

All applications for this program must be submitted through Canada’s new Express Entry system, a method of selecting candidates for permanent residency. To find out more about this system, take a look at our ‘What is Express Entry?’ section. Applications for Express Entry can be submitted online through the IRCC website. 

 
 

STAYING IN CANADA ON THE FEDERAL SKILLED TRADES PROGRAM

If you’re qualified in certain skilled trades, you may be eligible to become a permanent resident in Canada through the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

 

Requirements

The minimum requirements to be eligible for this program are:

  • You must meet the required level of English or French
  • You must have at least two years of  full time work experience in your skilled trade
  • You must meet the job requirements for that trade as set out in the National Occupational Classification
  • You must have an offer of full time employment for a period of at least one year, or a certificate of qualification in your trade issued by a Canadian authority

If you already have a job offer from an employer, you will increase your chances of being approved for the program. For a full list of eligibility requirements and more information on the Federal Skilled Trades Program, see the IRCC website.

 

How to Apply

All applications for this program must be submitted through Canada’s new Express Entry system, a method of selecting candidates for permanent residency. To find out more about this system, take a look at our ‘What is Express Entry?’ section. Applications for Express Entry can be submitted online through the CIC website. 

 
 

STAYING IN CANADA AS A QUEBEC SKILLED WORKER

Quebec has different immigration laws and procedures to the rest of Canada, due to its special agreement with the Canadian government. If you wish to stay in Canada and intend to live and work in Quebec, you can apply for the Quebec Skilled Worker visa.

 

Requirements

To be selected as a skilled worker in Quebec, you must:

  • Settle in Quebec
  • Hold at least one diploma in that corresponds to a secondary school diploma or a diploma of vocational studies
  • Have acquired training and occupational skills that will facilitate your integration into the job market in Quebec

It is also recommended to have a good knowledge of French (the most widely spoken language in the province of Quebec) and/or English, as this will benefit your application greatly. For more information on requirements, see the official site of the Government of Quebec.

 

How to Apply

If you are applying for permanent residency in Quebec, there are two steps to the process.

Firstly, you must obtain a Certificat de sélection du Québec , commonly referred to as a CSQ. To apply for this, see the Government of Quebec website.

If you have been selected by the Government of Quebec and received your CSQ, you must then apply to Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) for permanent residency. All of the information necessary for the application process can be found on the IRCC website

 
 

STAYING IN CANADA WITH CANADIAN EXPERIENCE CLASS

If you have already built up work experience in Canada and wish to stay in the country, you may be eligible to apply for Canadian Experience Class (CEC). The Canadian Experience Class program takes into account previous Canadian work experience and issues successful applicants with permanent residency.

 

Requirements

To be eligible to apply for CEC, you must:

  • Have at least 12 months full time skilled work experience in Canada within the three years before your application
  • Have gained your work experience in Canada with the proper authorization
  • Meet the required language skill level needed for your job

It’s important to note that those who are self-employed or those who gained work experience while studying full time (e.g. internship) are not eligible for the CEC program. To find out more about Canadian Experience Class, see the IRCC website.

 

How to Apply

All applications for this program must be submitted through Canada’s new Express Entry system, a method of selecting candidates for permanent residency. To find out more about this system, take a look at our ‘What is Express Entry?’ section. Applications for Express Entry can be submitted online through the IRCC website. 

 
 

STAYING IN CANADA ON THE PROVINCIAL NOMINEE PROGRAM

One option for those who wish to obtain permanent residency in Canada is the Provincial Nominee Program.  Due to an agreement with the Government of Canada, most provinces and territories in Canada can nominate skilled workers who wish to settle there.

 

Requirements

It is compulsory to take a language test in order to be eligible for the Provincial Nominee Program, if you are applying:

  • For a semi- or low skilled job
  • Under Express Entry for a:
    • Managerial Job
    • Professional Job
    • Technical Job and Skilled Trade

It is important to reach the minimum required standard of English or French. Language test results are generally valid for two years from the day you take the test. It’s also important that you plan to live and work in the province you are applying to.

 

How to Apply

Firstly, you must apply to the province or territory you wish to move to, and they will review your application and assess their skill shortages, immigration needs etc. If your application is successful and you have been nominated, you must then apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for permanent residence.

For more information on the Provincial Nominee Program, see our section on ‘What is the PNP?’ and the IRCC website.  For a list of provincial governments, go to our ‘Immigration Advice’ section. 

 

Helpful Links


IRCC Website
Express Entry
Language Test Requirements

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