When you already have a job offer and an employment contract from a Canadian employer, you can start the relocation process.
How much money will you need to spend on immigration to Canada? Here are the average figures (CAD) for one person:
- IELTS certificate: 270–340
- Apostille for your diploma: 50
- Translation of your diploma into English: 50–60
- Educational credential assessment (ECA) report: 220
- ECA delivery with Harmonized Sales Tax: 200
- Translation of other documents (your passport, marriage certificate, police certificate, bank statements, employer references, etc.) into English: 100–300
- Proof of funds: 12,960 (if you’re applying through the Federal Skilled Worker Program)
- Medical exam: 260–300
- Biometrics: 85
- Government fees: 2,150
- Visa service fees: 55
- Plane ticket: 700–800
- Renting an apartment: 6,000 (including rental deposit)
Expenses may vary depending on your circumstances and citizenship. In total, you’ll need about C$10,000 to relocate to Canada. This sum doesn’t include your proof of funds (C$12,960) as you will use it for your own needs like renting a house, buying furniture and food, etc.
And here are the main steps to follow along if you wish to immigrate to Canada as an IT worker.
1. Gathering documents
To be able to work and live permanently in Canada, you must get a permanent residence permit. But first, you need to gather documents:
- Valid passports (yours and your family members’).
- Job offer.
- Employment contract.
- Proof that you meet the requirements of the job offer (employment references, education certificates or diplomas).
- Copy of an LMIA and an LMIA number, if applicable. In most cases, the employer advertises the position locally. And if no qualified Canadian citizen or permanent resident applies, the employer offers the position to you. Unless he’s an eligible employer under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, he needs to get an LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment) to prove that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job.
- Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report for immigration purposes from a designated organization showing that your education is equal to a certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian institution. You can order an ECA on the World Education Services (WES) website (wes.org/ca/eca) for C$220. You need to submit your diploma or degree, a list of subjects, and translations into English. The standard processing time is 35 days.
- Language certificate that is not older than 2 years. You need to take the IELTS or CELPIP test (if you speak English) or the TEF or TCF test (if you speak French) in your home country or in Canada. Taking the IELTS test in Canada costs C$310–320.
- Police certificate (for you and your family members older than 18 years old). You need to obtain a police certificate in every country where you spent 6 or more consecutive months since the age of 18. Find out where to get this certificate on the website of the Government of Canada.
- Results of a medical exam. You must have a medical exam if you want to work in Canada for more than 6 months, and you lived or traveled in a designated country for 6 consecutive months in the year before you come to Canada. Only Panel Physicians can do the medical exam for immigration.
- Children’s birth certificates (if you’re relocating to Canada with children).
- Marriage certificate (if you’re married). If you live with a common-law partner and he or she is coming with you to Canada, you need to prove your relationship with rent receipts, a rental agreement, photos, utility bills, etc.
- Translations of all documents. You can get your documents translated at a professional translation agency or at an independent translator with subsequent notarization. You need to attach to the translated documents certified copies of the original documents (documents that are certified by an authorized person as genuine copies of the original), certified copies of the translation into English or French, and an affidavit (a document that confirms the correctness of the translation).
2. Applying for permanent residence
There are several ways to immigrate to Canada. As skilled workers, IT specialists can apply for a Canadian permanent residency under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, under one of the provincial nominee programs (PNPs)’ streams for skilled workers or under the Global Talent Stream.
You can apply for immigration under a federal immigration program, arrive in Canada and then start looking for a job. Or you can get a job offer first and then apply for a permanent residence permit under a provincial program. Federal immigration programs allow you to settle anywhere in Canada except Quebec. And a provincial program requires you to move to that specific province.
Alternatively, you can get a provincial nomination through one of the provincial programs and then apply under the Federal Skilled Workers Program. Thus you will get more score and more chances to get a permanent residence permit.
Now, let’s have a closer look at the Federal Skilled Worker Program and PNPs.
Federal Skilled Worker Program
As skilled workers, IT specialists can apply for immigration in Canada under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, which is one of three federal immigration programs. It has the following requirements:
- Language. You must have a minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 (= IELTS 6.0) for an official language in all 4 language areas.
- Work experience. You must have at least 1 year of continuous work or 1,560 hours total (30 hours per week) of skilled work experience.
- Proof of funds. You must have at least C$12,960 for 1 person, C$16,135 for a couple, C$19,836 for a family of three or a job offer from a Canadian employer.
- Intention to live outside the province of Quebec (it has its own immigration system).
You can apply for permanent residence under this program only if you get an invitation to apply. The candidates are selected through the online Express Entry system.
How to participate in the Federal Skilled Worker Program:
3. Wait until you’re in the pool of candidates.
4. Wait for a round of invitations (which are held twice a month).
5. Get an invitation to apply. You get this invitation in your Express Entry account if you have at least a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)’ score that can vary from 357 to 475. You can calculate your score on the official website.
6. Apply for permanent residence.
PNP Express Entry Streams
Most Canadian provinces’ and territories’ PNPs have Express Entry streams that allow getting a provincial nomination and consequently apply for permanent residency:
- Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) — Alberta Express Entry Stream
- British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) — Express Entry BC Stream, Tech Pilot
- New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) — New Brunswick Express Entry Stream
- Newfoundland Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NLPNP) — Express Entry Skilled Worker Stream
- Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP) — Express Entry Stream
- Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) — Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry Stream
- Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) — Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream
- Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP) — PEI Express Entry Stream
- Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) — International Skilled Worker: Saskatchewan Express Entry Stream
- Yukon Nominee Program (YNP) — Yukon Express Entry Stream
- You must have a profile in the Express Entry system.
- You must have stated an interest in immigrating permanently to the specific province.
- You must have been asked to submit an application to the provincial Express Entry stream.
- You must meet the criteria of the Federal Skilled Worker Program.
- Your minimum CRS score must be 300.
- You must have a job offer or work experience in the province.
- If you apply for a Nova Scotia residence permit, you need to get a minimum level of CLB 7 (= IELTS 6.0).
PNP Skilled Worker Streams
All Canadian provinces and territories (except Nunavut) also have provincial immigration programs’ streams for skilled specialists:
- Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) — Alberta Opportunity Stream
- British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) — Skilled Worker Stream
- Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) — Skilled Workers in Manitoba, Skilled Workers Overseas Stream
- New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) — Skilled Worker Stream
- Newfoundland Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NLPNP) — Skilled Worker Stream
- Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP) — Skilled Worker Stream
- Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) — Skilled Worker Stream
- Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) — Employer Job Offer: In-Demand Skills Stream
- Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP) — Skilled Workers Outside Canada, Skilled Workers in PEI Streams
- Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) — International Skilled Worker: Employment Offer Stream, International Skilled Worker: Occupation In-Demand Stream
- Yukon Nominee Program (YNP) — Skilled Worker Stream
- Ties to the province. Most provinces require you to have temporary resident status, a valid work permit in Canada, and a job in the same province where you apply for permanent residence.
- Proficiency in English. Alberta and Nova Scotia require to be proficient in English at a minimum level of CLB 5 (= IELTS Reading 4.0, Writing 5.0, Listening 5.0, Speaking 5.0). Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan require CLB 4 (= IELTS Reading 3.5, Writing 4.0, Listening 4.5, Speaking 4.0).
- Education. You must have completed a minimum of high school education in your country of origin.
- Work experience. You must have a minimum of 6 to 24 months of relevant work experience in the province (it depends on the specific province).
- Age. In Newfoundland and Labrador, you must be 21 to 59 years old, between 21 and 55 in Nova Scotia, and between 18 and 59 in Prince Edward Island. Other provinces don’t have age requirements.
Here is the process of applying under the provincial programs:
1. You register on the provincial program’s website (this step is called “creation of expression of interest”):
2. You get a score and stay in the pool of candidates for up to 12 months or until you receive an invitation to apply.
3. If you get an invitation to apply, submit a completed application through the provincial program’s website or by mail. You have up to 30 calendar days from the date of invitation to submit your application. You can find all the required forms on the websites of the provincial programs.
The application cost is between C$250 and 700 depending on the province. The highest price is set in British Columbia and Ontario.
4. If you’re approved, you receive a provincial nomination.
5. You submit your application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for a temporary work permit and an application for a permanent residence permit (PR).
6. You can work for the employer in Canada under a temporary work permit while your PR is in process.
Depending on your citizenship, you may need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visitor visa. It will be issued at the same time as your work permit so you do not have to apply separately or pay an additional fee.
Your spouse will apply for an open work permit. The open work permit will allow them to work full-time for any company. As for your children, you will apply for a visitor visa or for a study permit, which will allow them to study in Canadian schools.
7. You get your PR card and become a resident of Canada.
There are also other immigration programs for skilled workers.
If you get a job offer in one of the Atlantic provinces (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island), you can apply for permanent residency under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot — Atlantic High-Skilled Program. It has the same requirements as PNPs, except there are no age thresholds, and the minimum CLB level is 4 (= IELTS Reading 3.5, Writing 4.0, Listening 4.5, Speaking 4.0).
If you worked in Quebec for 1 year and speak French, you can apply under the Quebec Skilled Worker Program — Temporary Foreign Worker Stream or under the Quebec Experience Program — Skilled Foreign Temporary Worker Stream.
Finally, as IT occupations are in the Global Talent Occupations List, your employer can apply for your behalf under the Global Talent Stream (Category B). You cannot apply yourself directly.
3. Finding a home
After you get a work permit and a visa (if applicable), you can come to Canada. The first thing you should do after arriving in the country is finding a place to live. As it may be hard to find a permanent apartment or house in large cities due to the high rental demand, allow one or two months to hunt for a home.
Before you arrive in Canada, you can rent a house or apartment on Airbnb or similar websites for one or two months while you’re searching for a permanent home.
To rent a home for the long term, you will need the following documents:
- Copy of your credit report, if you have a credit history.
- Proof of income (bank statements, a letter from your current or most recent employer).
- Letters of reference from your previous landlords. Before coming to Canada, ask your former landlord to write a reference letter with their contact details.
- Guarantor (someone who promises to make payment for you if you fail to pay rent).
A permanent home can be found on one of the real estate websites:
Most long-term rental apartments and houses in Canada come unfurnished. However, there can be a fridge, stove, and a washing machine. So be ready to pay for furniture and essential things for your rental home if you’re not planning to take them with you to Canada.
Rentals in Canada normally start on the 1st of every month. You will likely have to sign a lease for a fixed term (often one year). You will need to pay rent for 2 to 6 months ahead and at least half a month’s rent as a refundable security deposit.
4. Settling in Canada
To settle in Canada, you also need to get a Social Insurance Number (SIN), health insurance, a local phone number, as well as to open a Canadian bank account.
To get a Social Insurance Number (SIN), you need to go to the nearest Service Canada office and provide two pieces of ID (e. g. your work permit and passport). You need the SIN to work in Canada and to have access to government benefits.
To get the state health insurance, you need to complete a form that can be found on the provincial Ministry of Health’s website. You should provide your ID, visa or Permanent Resident card, and documents showing your place of residence.
Health care insurance in Canada covers basic diagnostic procedures, drugs administered in a hospital, nursing services, maternity care, standard ward accommodation — you don’t pay for them. However, insurance normally doesn’t include prescription drugs and dental care.
To get a Canadian phone number, you can buy a SIM card from one of the network operators (e. g. Bell, Rogers or Telus) or at mall kiosks like Wireless Wave or K-Mobile. You don’t have to provide any IDs.
To open a bank account, you usually need to go to a bank in person and provide an ID (a passport, Canadian driver’s license, Permanent Resident card, etc.). You also may need an employee ID card with your picture on it or a debit or credit card with your name and signature on it.
The largest Canadian banks are:
- Royal Bank of Canada
- Toronto-Dominion Bank
- Bank of Montreal
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Those banks usually offer newcomers no monthly fees for 6 or 12 months, free international money transfers, as well as a credit card, car loan, and mortgage with no credit history required.