Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada of at least 18 years old can sponsor specified categories of relatives for a permanent residence. After eligible relatives become permanent residents, they can live, study and work in Canada. A spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, dependent children, adopted children, parents/grandparents or other relatives in exceptional cases could be sponsored by the eligible sponsor. Admissibility and funds requirements could be different depending on the category of a sponsored relative.

Express Entry

Express Entry System is a tool used by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for management and processing of immigration applications for permanent residence for skilled workers in Canada or overseas. Express Entry System manages applications for permanent residence under the federal economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class. Canadian provinces/territories can also recruit candidates from Express Entry through their Provincial Nominee Programs. First, a candidate has to create an Express Entry Profile and provide information about his or her skills, work experience, language ability, education, etc. Each of the three federal economic immigration programs has the minimum eligibility requirements. If a candidate meets the requirements of at least one program, then this person will be put in the Express Entry Pool of candidates. Top ranking candidates from the pool will be invited to apply for permanent residence. Express Entry allows fast processing of immigration applications within six months or less.

Federal Skilled Workers

Skilled workers are chosen as permanent residents based on their education, work experience, knowledge of English and/or French, age, arranged employment in Canada and adaptability. These selection factors often help skilled workers to succeed in Canada. If the skills and experience qualify a candidate as a federal skilled worker, the candidate will be assessed on six selection factors and scored using the Comprehensive Ranking System. If the candidate scores 67 points or higher (out of 100), he or she may qualify to immigrate to Canada as a federal skilled worker.

Federal Skilled Trades

The Federal Skilled Trades Program allows people who are qualified in a skilled trade to become permanent residents of Canada. Currently, eligible skilled trades are the following: industrial, electrical and construction trades, maintenance and equipment operation trades, supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production, processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators, chefs and cooks, butchers and bakers. To qualify under this stream, a candidate must also meet the language ability, work experience, and qualification requirements. Applications under the Federal Skilled Trades Program are managed through the Express Entry System.

Canadian Experience Class

The Canadian Experience Class Program allows people with Canadian skilled work experience to become permanent residents of Canada. Eligible Canadian skilled work experience must be full-time, 12 months, gained within three years of applying and be in managerial jobs (NOC skill level 0), professional jobs (NOC skill type A) or technical jobs and skilled trades (NOC skill type B). A candidate should also prove language ability by taking a language test approved by the Government of Canada. Applications under the Canadian Experience Class Program are managed through the Express Entry System.

Start-up Visa

Entrepreneurs who developed an innovative business idea and have the skills and potential to build a business in Canada may apply to become permanent residents of Canada. Canada's Start-up Visa Program has requirements for a start-up business and its owner(s) that must be met before a candidate can apply for permanent residence. As such, a start-up business should be supported by the designated organization(s) (business groups that have been approved to invest in or support possible start-ups), can create jobs for Canadians and compete on a global scale. Owner(s) should meet the ownership requirements, language requirements and have enough funds to settle in Canada.

Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program (IIVCPP)

International investors with a personal net worth of CDN $10 million or more, the skills and abilities needed to contribute to the Canadian economy and integrate into Canadian society, may be eligible to apply for permanent residence under the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital (IIVC) Pilot Program. Net worth must have been acquired through lawful, private sector business or investment activities (not by inheritance or in the value of the primary residence). Also, the due diligence report, as an independent examination and validation of past business/investment experience, a source of funds and personal net worth would be required. An international investor must be willing and able to make an at-risk investment (non-guaranteed) of CDN $2 million in the IIVC Fund for approximately 15 years. International investors under IIVC Pilot Program must also meet the language and education requirements.

Self-employed Person

A foreign national who gained at least two years of work experience in the past five years as a self-employed in cultural activities, for athletics, or through managing a farm may be eligible to apply for permanent residence under the Self-Employed Persons Program. A candidate has to show that he or she is intended to become self-employed in Canada. There is a selection grid to assess whether a candidate will be able to make an economic contribution to Canada and is required to score at least 35 points (out of 100 points) to meet eligibility criteria. Selection criteria include experience, education, age, language abilities, and adaptability.


A foreign national can immigrate to Canada under the federal or provincial programs. Canadian provinces/territories can nominate immigrants through the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). Candidates must want to live in the specific Canadian province and have the skills, education, and work experience to contribute to the economy of that province/territory. Each Canadian province/territory has its own immigration programs that target certain groups (students, business people, skilled workers or semi-skilled workers) and selection criteria for each stream. Some provinces/territories manage their immigration streams under Express Entry.

Atlantic Immigrant Pilot Program

The four Atlantic Provinces: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, entered into a partnership with the Government of Canada. Only eligible candidates from these four provinces can apply for permanent residence in Canada through one of the three programs: high-skilled workers, intermediate-skilled workers, or international graduates. Each of the three programs has its own requirements, which all must be met. Most importantly, a job offer is required under all of the three programs and must be made by eligible businesses is these provinces. Also, a settlement plan and an endorsement by an Atlantic province are required.


If a foreign national has two years of Canadian work experience in the four years before applying as a Live-in Caregiver or Live-out Caregiver (i.e., Caring for Children or Caring for People with High Medical Needs pathways), this person may be eligible to apply for permanent residence under the Caregiver Program. Also, the language, education, and admissibility requirements must be met. Caregivers qualify for an open work permit while their application for permanent residence is being processed.

Humanitarian and Compassionate

In the exceptional circumstances, the permanent residence could be granted to a foreign national who would otherwise not qualify in any class. The purpose of humanitarian and compassionate discretion is to allow flexibility to approve deserving cases not covered by the legislation. If there are compelling grounds, a foreign national can make a submission under the H&C exemption. H&C grounds assessment encompasses circumstances and factors that may be sufficiently compelling to allow for the requested exemption and must be assessed altogether. Amongst the factors are the best interest of the child, establishment or ability to establish in Canada, family relationships, hardships that could be caused by the potential removal of a foreign national back to the home country, etc.


March 2019