A Guide to Moving to Canada

The first thing you’ll notice about Canada is its beautiful landscapes. The country boasts over 2000 lakes and rivers and thousands of lakeshores, making it easy for residents to enjoy activities such as fishing, swimming and hiking.

Moving to Canada is an exciting opportunity. As a country, they are also well known for being very welcoming of different cultures, religions and lifestyles. This makes it a great place to move to if you want to experience a multicultural society with lots of opportunities for diversity. There are many benefits to life in Canada, but there are also many things you need to consider before moving here.

Below, we’ll take a look at some of the steps you may have to take to live, work or study in Canada.

What are the requirements of moving to Canada?

Depending on your home country, requirements for moving to Canada may differ as rules for immigration vary greatly. This also changes depending on the province that you wish to live in. You must be at least 18 years old, and the process is made a lot easier if you are a skilled worker.

Do I need a visa to immigrate to Canada?

Firstly, you’ll need to check to see if you need a visa as it depends which country you are moving from. If you’re from a country requiring a visa, you’ll need to apply for one before coming to Canada.

If you’re already a citizen of a country that has an agreement with Canada (like the US, for example), then you don’t need a visa. If you’re from a country without an agreement, you’ll need to apply for the visa before coming to Canada.

You can find out more about what countries require visas and also those that are exempt here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas-exemptions.asp

What immigration path do I need to take?

Canada has several immigration programs, each with eligibility requirements and an application process. The main four programs are as follows:

Express Entry Program: The quickest way to gain permanent residence in Canada, this program is only available to highly skilled applicants. The program is points-based, and applicants will be scored on experience, qualifications, education, and skills, the highest of which will be invited to live in Canada. Access to the express entry program can be achieved through one of three streams; Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class and Federal Skilled Trades Program. Applications are aimed to be reviewed within 6 months.

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP): One of the most popular options for people who want to live and work in Canada, the PNP program was created to help Canada’s provinces meet their economic needs for skilled workers. You will need to apply through your preferred province to come to Canada under this program. Each region has its criteria for accepting applicants, so you need to check with your local government office to see what they are. Some provinces require that you have a job offer before applying, while others do not. Any information provided on your application must be accurate and up to date because your background will be investigated before deciding whether or not they want to accept you as a candidate.

You may also need to submit proof of language proficiency from a trusted language test such as IELTS. More about this can be found below.

Immigration to Quebec: The province of Quebec has a separate immigration system. It is a distinct territory of Canada with a unique culture and history that separates it from the rest of the country. Quebec has been a part of Canada since 1867, but has its own laws and regulations regarding immigration and citizenship. Quebec is a French-speaking region, and you must submit proof of language proficiency to immigrate.

Those who wish to live in Quebec must apply for an “immigration certificate” through Quebec’s Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion (MIDI). If accepted, you will be issued an immigration certificate allowing you to live in Quebec for up to 3 years before applying for permanent residency status.

There are a few options if you wish to immigrate to Quebec, for example, the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP), the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) and business immigration programs aimed at self-employed individuals and investors looking to run a business in Quebec.

Atlantic Immigration Program: Qualifying for this program requires an open work permit and an approved job offer from an employer with whom you’ll be working in one of Atlantic Canada’s provinces (New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island). You must also have completed at least 12 months of full-time study at an accredited Canadian university or college within the past two years (or three years if you’ve studied French).

For more details on Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) System, please visit:

How much money do I need to immigrate to Canada?

As part of your application, you may need to prove that you have a settlement fund available upon your arrival in Canada to cover the initial cost of living. This starts at $13,310 for one person and increases each time an additional person is added to the application. Proof of funds is needed via registered bank accounts to meet the requirements of the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Federal Skilled Trades Program; however, this may not be required if you are authorised to work in Canada and have a valid job offer from a Canadian company.

You will also need to budget additional funds for a health screening, any required language tests, biometrics, residence fees and any courier fees for delivering documents.

Do I need to take a language test to immigrate to Canada?

As part of your application, you must be able to provide proof of English or French language proficiency from an approved test provider. There are a few different types of exams, of which you will be tested on your speaking, written, listening and reading skills to determine how fluent you are in that language.

The Canadian government requires that all applicants for immigration who are 18 years of age and older have a basic knowledge of English or French.

Applicants have a choice of English proficiency tests, the most recognised one being International English Language Testing System – IELTS.

What is an IELTS test?

IELTS is a test that measures your ability to communicate in English while also testing your language knowledge. There are four parts to the test: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. You cannot fail the IELTS test, it simply assesses your current ability. Test takers do have the option to take the test multiple times if needed to improve your score. Each component is scored from 0-9 on a scale from 0 “very poor” to 9 “excellent”. Your overall score is calculated by adding up all four components and dividing them by four.

The test takes about three hours in total—a bit longer than a typical exam—but it’s worth it! You can find out more about taking IELTS with British Council on our Canadian IELTS website here: https://www.ielts.ca/blogs/everything-about-the-ielts-exam/

*This information is correct as of July 2022.