Immigration has played a key role in Canada’s history. Having one of the most liberal immigration policies in the world, Canada’s immigration system addresses its dual problem of an aging population & labor shortages of highly skilled workers. Every year, millions of people from around the world travel to Canada to visit, study or work temporarily. In addition, every year over 300,000 people are approved as permanent residents under 3 broad categories – economic immigration, family reunification and humanitarian considerations.
The Canadian Immigration System is governed by the “Immigration & Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)” and the Immigration & Refugee Protection Regulations. The IRPA came into force on June 28, 2002. Immigration to Canada is administered by the Canada Border Services Agency, which is responsible for border enforcement, immigration enforcement and customs services, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Quebec has a special arrangement with the Federal government of Canada and has its own rules for choosing immigrants, including its own program to select skilled workers. Of course, once immigrants are granted permanent residency or citizenship they are free to reside in any province/territory under Section 6 of the “Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”.
Then there are the “Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)”, that also work through Express Entry, which allow Canadian provinces and territories to nominate eligible foreign applicants who wish to immigrate to Canada & live in a particular province.
Under Canadian Immigration law, immigrants to Canada are classified by 4categories :
- Economic: Applicants who are Business investors, skilled workers & caregivers
- Family : Applicants who are closely related to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Canada
- Protected person or Refugee: Applicants who are escaping persecution, torture, and/or cruel and unusual punishment
- Humanitarian or other: Applicants who are accepted as immigrants for humanitarian or compassionate reasons
To protect the health, safety and security of Canadians, all potential immigrants are carefully screened before they can travel to & enter Canada.
Anyone applying to live permanently in Canada must provide –
- a police certificate or criminal record check
- their photo and fingerprints (biometrics)
Screening ensures that anyone who immigrates to Canada –
- has a valid passport or travel document
- is in good health
- hasn’t committed a serious crime
- doesn’t pose a risk to Canada’s security
- hasn’t violated human or international rights
Under Canada’s current Immigration Levels Plan 2020-22, the country is seeking to welcome over one million immigrants in the coming 3 years.