Immigration Possibilities

If you’d like to move to Canada permanently or just for work but you don’t know where to start, it’s good to look into below options (the question whether it’s good to migrate and pros&cons of such a move will be discussed in another post):

1. Work permit (WP)

** LMIA – more here

a) What’s your profession? If you’re a truck driver, a mechanic or have many years of experience in roofing, then finding an employer who already has an LMIA or is willing to apply for one is not such a big challenge and you really have a good chance of finding such an employer. It’s also the quickest and the easiest way to get to Canada, especially for families. In general, it’s really hard (or close to impossible) to find an employer who would fulfill the LMIA requirements and be willing to go for it for a person they don’t know as they would need to prove to officers that they would pay you at least the average rate in Canada, that they would hire you in full-time for a min. of 1 year, that they weren’t able to find any Canadian citizen or PR to do this job for at least 4 weeks and, on top of that, who would be willing to pay the fee of 1,000 CAD for the very application.
b) It’s also a chance to stay longer in Canada once you’re already here – once you’ve worked some time for some employer, they may agree to apply for an LMIA to help you obtain a new WP.

** Express Entry – more here

a) It’s a system having a couple of programs. One needs to prove their professional experience (letters of recommendation etc.), age, education (ECA needed), language level (IELTS, CELPIP or TEF needed) etc. After getting a minimum of 477 points in the CRS system (it’s not a steady number, it changes depending on a couple of factors and this number is the one from 02/08/2017), you have a chance to be elected in the PR “competition” and you come to Canada already as a PR – it’s another very good option but also not the easiest one. The score can be improved mainly by working on one’s English and/or French (and improving the exam results) and by increasing one’s education level.
b) The score can also be improved thanks to provincial programs.

** International Experience Canada – more here

a) IEC WH is one of the most popular ways of obtaining a WP and coming to Canada BUT it’s only available to citizens of the 33 countries with which Canada has bilateral agreement regarding youth mobility. Here the only requirement is actually the applicant’s age (18-30 or 18-35 inclusively, depending on the country). This year (2017) the numbers of applicants are a bit higher than last year and in many countries the chances of being drawn in the lottery are low or very low in many cases. The WP allows you to work almost everywhere in Canada but of course some occupations require additional approvals/documents to perform the job in Canada. WP is issued for a year or two years, depending on the country again and there is no way of prolonging it.
b) IEC YP is as above but one needs to have a job offer or a work contract.
c) IEC Co-op is just like a) but one needs to be a student and have a job offer or a confirmation of internship placement.
NOTE: All of the above are very country specific and depend on the particular agreements between each country and Canada so ALWAYS check all the information about the program you’re considering. More detailed information is available here.

** Study – more here

If you study in Canada, you have a possibility of working up to 20 h/week off-campus (within your study permit). After you graduate, you can apply for a post-graduation work permit. This work permit can be for 1-3 years – its length depends on how long you studied. The study period needs to be for a min. of 12 months to get the study permit with the possibility of working off-campus.

2. If you’ve come to Canada through IEC and are thinking of staying longer than the duration of your initial WP, you may consider these:

b) EE
c) Applying to one of the PNP programs – see below
d) Coming back to your country and returning to Canada on a different type of IEC after the period of time required inbetween (NOTE: many countries do not allow more than one participation so check the link above again)
e) or applying to study in Canada (of course provided that you fulfill the requirements).

3. Which province shall I choose? Why is it such an important decision? 

PNP – more here

Thanks to this program you can receive an additional 600 points in EE. Each province has its own PNP program and each of these programs has different requirements. I will present only some major differences between some provinces. Remember that your IEC WP is for exactly 12 (or 24) months.

a) Ontario – as of Feb 19th, 2017, its PNP program is to open next week. This PNP is highly competitive and seats disappear fast. If you don’t get Ontario PNP, the only option to extend your stay is to have an LMIA (to continue working) or try to have a visitor visa (no permission to work).
b) Saskatchewan – the PNP program started January 4th, 2017 and all 10k nominations have already been given so there is no more chance this year to get PNP in one of the 2 programs: 1) where the main criteria are having a WP and a job offer (5k nominations) and 2) where the requirement was to have worked min. 6 months full-time for one employer and having a job offer confirming that they wish to continue hiring us (5k nominations). There are also 1.5k seats available for people performing one of the jobs listed here.
c) Alberta – it’s still possible to apply for PNP, having only the job offer (and fulfilling the other requirements).
d) British Columbia – the biggest number of applicants per seats available in the whole PNP program but it’s still open. Apart from some occupations, it’s only 9 months of work there needed to be able to apply to PNP.
e) Manitoba – there are new regulations to come in force in April 2017 but as for today it’s 6 months of work experience there that qualifies you to apply and the program is still open.


4. Monthly expenses

If one compares SK and MB to BC and ON, then the latter ones can easily have monthly expenses even up to 2k CAD higher (depending on the city we wish to reside in, of course), as well as house prices can be 2-3 times higher. Links needed to compare prices and a sample calculation of monthly expenses can be found here in the tab Canada->Life (or just click here).


5. Health care 

It’s a very important point, especially when someone is planning to come with their whole family. Each province has its own regulations specifying who can have insurance. More specific info can be found in provinces’ info websites. For example:
a) ON – many people say that health care is not applicable to people coming on IEC.
b) BC – health care is available only after 3 months of work; it’s the employer notifying the proper office and we receive the card by post.
c) MB – health care is available from the first day after arriving to MB and it covers both us and all our dependents coming with us under the condition that at least one person in the family has a WP or study permit valid for at least 6 months.


It’s worth noting, especially when it comes to IT, that it’s not Europe and you don’t get jobs here immediately (of course it could happen but usually it takes some 1-3 months). The best way is to meet as many people as possible and inform each newly-met person about your job seeking. It’s also worth remembering that in some places it’s a bit harder for a woman to find a full-time job, whereas in other places it may be quite the opposite.

Taking all the above into account, you need to get really well prepared for the move so as to decrease the number of surprises to the minimum, and it’s best to think of permanent residence way before leaving your home country and  before deciding where exactly to go. 

We also recommend to have some backup plans, including the one of coming back home. And not to burn one’s bridges. Due to the fact that finding a job is not the easiest, it’s good to have funds to survive for at least 6 months. Some cities would not require a car as their public transport is quite sufficient. But in some places (like Winnipeg) having a car may be necessary to get a job as the workplace’s nearest bus stop may be a 30-min walk away in the summer (it matters that it’s summer because in winter, when it’s -30C and we’re wearing a lot of layers, we will not walk that fast).

Before departure

What should I take? It all depends on whether you’re going to Canada for good, going there and considering staying or only for holiday. We will discuss only the first 2 options here. This is because if you’re going there on holiday only, you don’t need to worry too much about official stuff, apart from a passport, eTA, flight tickets, funds to support you and insurance.

Of course it’s not avbsolutely necessary to take all of the stuff we list here – treat it as a tip only. 

  • passport;
  • eTA [electronic travel authorisation] – necessary to board the flight;
  • travel insurance;
  • cash in Canadian dollars (since transfering funds is not the fastest or the cheapest option);
  • credit card;
  • mobile phone with no sim lock;
  • when it comes to suitcases, then take the lightest ones as the limit usually (depending on the airline) is 23 kg per person (kids too) – big registered luggage that goes underneath the plane deck PLUS 8-10 kg for carry-on luggage PLUS 8-10 kg for a laptop bag or woman purse. Always remember to check what kg limits the airline has – it’s best to check it already when booking tickets (since sometimes it may be difficult to find this info later on, although one can always call the airline infoline). If you travel with a small child/toddler, you can additionally take a diaper bag, pass the car seat underneath the deck and take a stroller with you (it will be put underneath the deck just before you get on the plane and will be given back to you immediately after landing). The lightest luggage is the one looking like a sports bag but with wheels and a handle;
  • international driver’s licence (usually a booklet in various languages which you get issued in a proper office);
  • thermal underwear – even the one from eBay will do (not that much needed if you’ll be travelling by car a lot);
  • painkillers (forte and night), anti-bacterial medicines, any antibiotics you may need, tantum verde (or other sprays for a sore throat), a bigger supply of contraception you are using, herbal teas that you think may be specific to your country;
  • winter/cold cream;
  • warm clothes (but better not to buy them specifically for the trip as they are likely to be better and cheaper in Canada);
  • I recommend to buy some nice/fancy clothes beforehand (like Zara, Stradivarius, Bershka) as they’re not the easily available here;
  • leather shoes;
  • if your hair dryer, hair straightener, iron etc. are 110/220 V, you can take them with you; but if they are only 220 V (or 230 V), then don’t take them as they won’t work;
  • one or two extension cords so that you can connect many appliances when using only one adapter;
  • a couple of plug adapters (but NOT voltage adapters);
  • a bigger supply of contact lenses;
  • headphones  (you will need them in the plane);
  • jewellery (gold, silver, amber, stainless steel, etc.) – they are 3 times more expensive in Canada so if you were planning to buy something, do it now;

ADDITIONALLY before departure:

  • arrange a proxy in your country so that they are allowed to receive your registered mail, close your account if it’s needed, get your police certificate, etc.;
  • translate everything you have (school diplomas/degrees, full birth certificate, marriage certificate, police certificate, etc.) and take those documents with you;
  • (if applicable) inform proper authorities about your leaving the country (military service, student loan organisation) and make sure other offices and banks have a proper correspondence address for you (e.g. not your rental flat address but maybe your parents’ house);
  • visit a dentist;


    I think it’s best to have all the cash on you and pay it into a Canadian bank account as soon as you land in Canada. What if, for various reasons, we don’t want to take that much money with us? Fees for transfers and ATM withdrawals are very high. I suggest sending the money via one of those services (but check beforehand if they operate in your country):


Immigration to Canada. There are a coupe of programs available – you can apply directly to some of them, whereas the other ones require passing other programs/stages first. You have two types of programs: provincial and state ones. State programs have the same requirements for all provinces within Canada, while provincial programs are diferent for each province/territory.

State programs:

  • EE – Express Entry

Provincial programs:

  • PNP – each province has a few programs and each of program has different requirements:



If you can’t pass the EE requirements right away, you may want to do one or all of these programs first:

  • IEC – depends on the country of nationality, you can get a WP for one or two years.
  • Study – if you graduate from a college/university in Canada, you can get an open WP for up to 3 years.
  • LMIA – if you find an employer who wishes to hire you and you don’t have a WP (yet), they can apply for LMIA and if they get approved, you will get a WP (employer-specific).