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Immigrating to Canada

Canada Immigration Programs

Canada offers many programs that allow a person to apply for Canadian permanent residence:

  • Economic Immigration Programs

  • Business Immigration Programs

  • Family Sponsorship Programs

  • Humanitarian and Refugee Pathways

Economic Immigration Programs

Several federal programs help foreign workers with job offers, and who have certain skills and credentials, to gain permanent residence or immigrate to Canada.


The Express Entry system manages applications for permanent residence under most of these federal economic immigration programs:

  1. Federal Skilled Worker (FSW)

  2. Federal Skilled Trades (FST)

  3. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

The Express Entry system is a merit-based immigration system - all eligible candidates are ranked against one another based on a number of criteria, and only the most competitive candidates are invited to submit an application for permanent residence.

As well, each of Canada’s provinces and territories operate their own immigration programs, called Provincial Nomination Programs (PNPs). Some of these PNPs are aligned with Express Entry. This means that a province can nominate a foreign national for Express Entry immigration to Canada.


With the exception of Quebec, all of Canada's provinces and territories manage their own immigration programs designed to target their individual economic and demographic needs, called Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). PNPs vary greatly in terms of program type, eligibility requirements, and application procedures. 

Business Immigration Programs

The Canadian Government provides many opportunities for potential immigrants with business-related skills. A number of Canada's immigration programs offer accelerated permanent residence to entrepreneurs, investors and self-employed persons.


To be eligible for these programs, individuals must have a net worth in the millions of dollars and be willing to invest that wealth in the Canadian economy. 


These programs are for foreign nationals with significant experience as proven successful entrepreneurs. These programs cater to individuals with business management experience and individuals with experience starting new businesses.


These programs are for individuals working in self-employed positions that need an opportunity to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents. They will need to provide documented proof of self-employment as well as an intention to maintain self-employment once they arrive in Canada.

Family Sponsorship Programs

Canada has several immigration programs designed to reunite family members, allowing eligible Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor spouses, common-law partners, children, and other dependents, parents, and grandparents.


Canadian citizens or permanent residents are eligible to sponsor their spouses or common-law partners for Canadian permanent residence as long as the marriage is legally recognized in both Canada and the country of marriage. For common-law partners, a person can sponsor their partner for Canadian permanent residence as long as the couple meets Canada’s definition of legal common-law partnership. The sponsor however, must be able to support their partner financially and make sure they don’t need social assistance from the government.


Parents are able to sponsor their dependent children and other legal dependents for Canadian permanent residence if they are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and the person being sponsored meets Canada’s definition of a "dependant," which is any child under 22 years old who does not have a spouse or common-law partner, or a child over the age of 22 that is unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition.


Using a lottery system to select sponsors, this stream allows eligible Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their parents and/or grandparents if they meet certain financial requirements proving that they could financially support them, if necessary. 

Humanitarian and Refugee Options

Canada has an international reputation as a leader in accepting new refugees and other immigrants for humanitarian and compassionate reasons. A significant portion of Canada’s annual immigration target is dedicated to admitting refugees.

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