Moving from USA?

Moving from USA to Canada

In the recent times, there has been a massive spike in the number of enquiries from U.S. asking about their eligibility to move into Canada either temporarily or permanently. Canada has been a long-trusted friend and neighbour of the U.S. since many years. With it’s natural beauty, raw appeal, great standard of living, and sound economy, it has been a sought after country for people who want to call Canada, home. Applications from the United States come from a vast demographic and it can be broadly classified as applicants who want to make a:

  • Temporary Move to Canada
  • Permanent Move to Canada

Temporary Move to Canada: U.S. citizens looking to work or visit Canada temporarily have a lot of different options to do so. Various agreements have been made by the Canadian and U.S. governments to have a safe and steady trade flow between the two countries. This allows citizens of U.S. and Canada to move freely across borders and work temporarily if they are able to meet certain eligibility criteria.  

  • Study: American students who are looking to gain exposure while studying consider Canada as one of the best options to study abroad. Given Canada’s world-class education, a North American style of learning, lesser tuition costs a stress- free environment conducive to higher education, more and more students from U.S. are making their way into Canada for higher education. International students in Canada with a valid study permit are also eligible to work part-time while they are studying and full-time after finishing their program. This allows them to gain vital work experience to move ahead with their careers. They have an option to either stay back and apply for immigration, or they can go back to the U.S. to pursue other options.
  • SWAP Working Holidays: Under the student work abroad programs (SWAP) U.S. citizens between the ages of 18 to 30, inclusive, may obtain an open work permit for 12 months, provided that they have been enrolled in full-time post-secondary study in the past twelve months. Final year students not returning to studies are also eligible.
  • Visit and Work Without a Work-Permit: Canada is a beautiful country. And if you are looking to visit Canada, all you need to do is to book your tickets and carry identification documents. American citizens, including American-Canadian citizens do not need a Canadian passport, a Canadian visa or an eTA to enter Canada if you are travelling with a valid U.S. passport. Business visitors can perform work in Canada without needing to secure a Temporary Work Permit. This includes individuals who engage in business or trade activities in Canada but will not enter the Canadian labour (labor) market, for example: athletes, performing artists, media, etc.
  • Work: For a U.S. citizen or a resident to start working in Canada, they need authorization from the Canadian government known as a work permit. In order to secure a work permit, you need a job offer from a Canadian employer in one of the skilled occupations. An eligible employer grants you a document which is called a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) which proves that there is a shortage of skilled labour in that region (under the NOC category you applied for) and that you are a suitable candidate for that particular position in the company.
  • NAFTA: Under the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA), U.S. citizens do not require an LMIA in order to work in Canada. There are three different categories under which a U.S. citizen can work in Canada:
    • NAFTA Professional: This include 60 targeted positions including teaching, science, finance, medicine, law etc.
    • NAFTA Intra-Company Transfer: Includes managers or executives being transferred from U.S. to their subsidiary in Canada on a temporary basis.
    • NAFTA Traders and Investors: A U.S. investor who wants to make a substantial investment in a new or existing Canadian business are allowed under this category.

Permanent Move to Canada: U.S. citizens or Temporary Residents (people on H1B visa, H4 EAD, F1,CPT, OPT etc.) can apply for a permanent residency in Canada under one of the following categories:

  • Express Entry: Express Entry is an online system introduced by the Canadian government in 2015 which is used to manage Canadian permanent residency applications. This system works on a points-based system that evaluates your background, skills, age, work experience, education and language abilities. Out of a total of 1200 points, roughly 450 points are required in order to qualify to apply for a permanent residency. Express entry has three different categories, out of which Federal Skilled Worker Program is the most suitable for U.S. citizens or Temporary Residents in the U.S.
  • Provincial Nomination: Apart from the federal system of immigration, Canadian provinces carry out their provincial immigration as well with their own set of eligibility criteria. The Provincial Nomination Program (PNP) is designed for individuals who are committed to live and work in the particular province and become permanent residents of Canada. This makes it easier for them when they apply for a federal permanent residency as their application is already backed by the provincial government. An approved PNP gives 600 points to an individual under the federal express entry points allocation, which is a sure-shot to a Canadian Permanent Residency.
  • Family Sponsorship: If you have a relative who is above 18 years old and a Canadian permanent resident or Citizen then they can sponsor you for a Canadian permanent residency as long as both the parties meet certain eligibility criteria.
  • Business Immigration: Entrepreneurs, investors and individuals who are looking to open a new business or to manage an existing business which will benefit Canada’s economy in the long run are eligible to apply for permanent residency in Canada. There are specific requirements which needs to be adhered to in order to apply under this category.

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