Canada does not have a Green Card per se. The Green Card is an immigration document that is specific to the United States. In Canada, the equivalent Document is called a Permanent Resident Card.
Immigration documents are often casually called Green Cards because that document has so much cultural importance in the United States. However, every country has their own version of a Permanent Resident Card.
For example, in Europe, there is a similar immigration document called a Blue Card.
Canadian PR Card
The Canadian Permanent Resident Card is often abbreviated to the PR Card.
This document is the immigration form that shows that an immigrant has the right to live and work in Canada.
There are many different ways to get a Permanent Resident Card in Canada. Below are some of the more common methods of immigration:
- Family immigration. Permanent Residents and citizens of Canada can sponsor certain relatives for immigration and Permanent Residency.
- Employment immigration. There are many different ways to immigrate to Canada if one already has a job offer. There are even some immigration programs that do not require a job offer. These programs usually require that the immigrant apply for a Labour Market Petition, a document that says that the immigrant can work in Canada. These systems are also often points based where greater education and experience gives one a greater likelihood of having their application accepted.
- Quebec immigration. Any immigrants looking to immigrate to Quebec must first apply for permission from the Quebec government before they apply with the federal government.
- Asylum and refugee. Some people, facing severe persecution in their country of origin, can apply for asylum or refugee status in Canada, which will grant them Permanent Resident status.
Permanent Residents are immigrants in Canada who have the right to live and work for as long as they so choose. This status can only be granted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Immigrants who apply for status from outside of Canada may find that coming to Canada can be a bit of a shock.
This is, of course, a perfectly reasonable reaction to have. Culture shock is to be expected upon arrival in a foreign land. However, familiarity with local customs, immigration procedures and other events that may occur upon one’s arrival may make the transition easier.
Below we have some commonly asked questions from people who have just entered Canada:
How Do I Sign Up for Healthcare?
Immigrants may be aware that Canada has a national health system. Every citizen and Permanent Resident of Canada has the right to use this system.
Immigrants should apply for their health cards as soon as possible at a doctor’s office or online, however, it should be noted that health cards may take up to three months to process.
In the meantime, it is a very good idea to sign up for private insurance to cover potential medical bills.
When Do I Get My Permanent Resident Card?
After arriving in Canada, one’s Permanent Resident Card will be sent to the address you provided in your application for immigration.
If you did not include your new Canadian address you will have to go online to the CIC’s website and inform them of their address.
It is very important that this be done within 180 days of becoming a Permanent Resident, otherwise the PR Card will be cancelled.
If the PR Card is cancelled, that does not mean that one’s Permanent Residency is cancelled, but rather, one must now re-apply for a PR Card.
Check back in tomorrow for more tips for Permanent Residents!
Canadian Immigrants are people who have received Permanent Resident Status from Citizenship and Immigration Canada and have entered the country through one of its many ports-of-entry.
Immigrants must be sure to do certain things both before and after entry to Canada.
Below is a list of some of these things. However, some immigrants may find that their situation requires more.
- Before coming to Canada, one should make sure that all of the documents used when applying for immigration to Canada be brought with the immigrant.
This could include passports, birth certificates, driving licenses, medical records and children’s birth certificates.
Be sure to include translations of these documents if they are not originally written in either English or French.
- Become acquainted with an official language of Canada. This is a gradual and continuous process.
Immigrants to Canada are encouraged to learn either English or French. Immigrants looking to become citizens will need to pass a language competency test during their application.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has found that immigrants who put an effort toward learning one of the official languages helps them better adapt to life in Canada.
- Although Canada offers nationalized health coverage, the application process for getting a Health Card can take at least three months.
In the interim, immigrants are encouraged to purchase private health insurance to make sure they are covered for any possibility.
- Depending on what time of year immigrants may arrive, warm clothing may be in order.
Canada can become quite cold in the fall, winter and spring if one is not used to temperatures at that latitude.
- Immigrants should apply for a Social Insurance Card as soon as they enter the country. A Social Insurance Card is absolutely necessary because without one, an immigrant cannot work in Canada.
The Provincial Nominee program is one of the many immigration programs made available for permanent residency in Canada.
This immigration program allows the individual provinces to select people to immigrate. If a province or territory recognizes it lacks one type of worker then it can help those workers immigrate to Canada.
A person applies for the program by applying directly to the immigration program run by the province or territory in which the applicant wants to live and work.
After the provincial government has approved an application for nomination, the immigrant proceeds in applying for an immigration visa through the CIC.
Below are some commonly asked questions by people looking to immigrate to Canada.
What Is the CIC?
The CIC is Citizenship and Immigration Canada, which is the government organization responsible for the issuance of Permanent Resident Cards and Citizenship certificates.
The CIC operates multiple offices throughout Canada and even works with Services Canada to provide assistance to immigrants.
Immigrants applying for the Provincial Nominee program will only start to interact with CIC after they have received a nomination from one of the provinces in writing.
What is Permanent Residency?
Permanent Residency is an immigration status in Canada which states that an immigrant has the right to live and work in the country for as long as they so choose.
This is only limited by a residency requirement (a person has to live in Canada for a certain amount of time in order to keep their status) and a requirement of lawfulness. As long as the immigrant does not commit any crimes they will be allowed to keep their status.
What is a Work Permit?
A work permit allows an immigrant the right to work at a specific job in Canada temporarily. Permanent Residents do not need to obtain work permits because their status implies the right to work.
Foreign residents who wish to work in Canada must obtain a work permit before beginning employment.
In some instances people may enter Canada temporarily solely to work. These applicants may then choose to change their immigration status to something more permanent (such as a Permanent Residency), to extend their work permit or to leave Canada.
Students living in Canada and going to school must obtain work permits only if they wish to work off-campus.
A common thread throughout all applications for work permits is that in order to obtain one, visitors must get a favourable Labour Market Opinion (LMO).
An LMO is a government document that affirms that there are no Canadian residents already in the area and that it is acceptable to have a foreign resident come into Canada to fill the position.
There are some different scenarios for extending one’s status in Canada, but a general rule is that a temporary resident may only work in Canada for a maximum of four years before they must either change their status or leave.
If one’s status expires while they are still in Canada that could make it exceedingly difficult to come back to the country after leaving.
- Workers can apply for a work permit extension, or, if their job changes, they can change the nature of their work permit
- Being offered an entirely new job within Canada will require the application for a new LMO and a new work permit
- Workers interested in continuing working in Canada indefinitely would do well to look into getting Permanent Residency
- If a worker needs to leave Canada temporarily, but wishes to come back to continue working they must follow certain rules
Citizenship and Immigration Canada is responsible for the issuance of work permits and all applications must be sent to their offices.
People looking to visit Canada may have to obtain a tourist visa.
Tourism visas are government issued immigration documents that allow a person to remain in Canada for up to six months without renewal.
Not everyone needs to obtain a tourist visa to Canada. Depending on what country one may be from, one may be able to apply for entry at the Canadian border without prior visa arrangements.
Below is a list of countries whose residents do not need to obtain a visitor visa:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The Bahamas
- British citizens, overseas citizens, nationals and subjects
- The British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- The Falkland Islands
- The Holy See (The Vatican)
- Hong Kong
- The Republic of Korea
- The Republic of Latvia
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- San Marino
- Solomon Islands
- St. Helena
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- Citizens and permanent residents of the United States of America
People who are not from one of the above countries are advised to contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada at a Canadian foreign consulate to arrange for a visitor visa before their trip to Canada.
The fees associated with a single entry visitor visa are $75.
For multiple entries, for example coming to Canada multiple times over the course of many years, the fee is $150.
Immigration officers at the border will let the visitor know when they will be required to leave the country to maintain the validity of their visa.
For a person to be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program they must be able to show that they fit into one of the accepted skill types.
Skilled workers are expected to be ready to accept employment as soon as they enter Canada and claim their Permanent Residency.
These skill types are listed in the National Occupation Classification (NOC), which is a list of job descriptions that help human resource professionals match peoples’ skills to the jobs that they will be well-suited to.
There are three skill types that can be used to enter the Federal Skilled Worker Program: Types 0, A and B.
Type 0 skill class is for managerial positions. Managers are responsible for the supervision and direction of workers in an organization and are high ranked in companies.
There are a great many different kinds of managers who fall under this classification such as construction managers, finance managers or architectural or engineering managers.
People with skills falling under Type 0 skill level will be expected to have appropriate experience, education and references for the position they wish to undertake.
The Type A skill classification is composed of jobs that require at least a bachelor’s degree. This also includes positions that require master’s degrees and doctorates (medical, legal or otherwise).
This positions are high level and require a large set of specific skills that can only be obtained through extensive education.
If the applicant received their education outside of Canada they will need to have an Education Credential Assessment before they apply for immigration.
Type B workers are those who work in a profession which required two to five years of trade school or apprenticeship. There is a high demand for these kinds of jobs in Canada and it is relatively easy to immigrate under Type B.
People whose skills sets match those outlined in the National Occupation Classification Skill Type 0 can often apply for immigration to Canada though several different kinds of programs.
These programs grant Permanent Residency to qualified applicants.
Permanent Residency is an immigration status that allows a foreign national to live and work within Canada indefinitely. Permanent Residents are also allowed to use many of the national public services.
These immigrants are given proof of their status in Permanent Resident Cards (also known as PR Cards).
The National Occupation Classification is a list of job descriptions and the qualifications necessary to fulfil those job duties. This list is very helpful in matching professionals with the jobs most appropriate for them.
Immigrants will need to have their educational credentials assessed before they apply for immigration based on employment.
Below are some of the positions classified under the NOC’s Skill Type 0:
- Senior Management
- Administrative Services Management
- Financial and business services management
- Communication Management
- Engineering, architecture, science and information systems management
- Health Care Management
- Public Administration management
- Education, social and community services management
- Public protection services management
- Art, culture, recreation and sport management
- Corporate Sales Management
- Retail and wholesale trade management
- Food service and accommodation management
- Customer and personal service management
- Construction and facility operation management
- Maintenance management
- Transportation management
- Natural resources production and fishing management
- Agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture Management
- Manufacturing management
- Utilities Management
Immigrants in these professions can apply for Canadian Experience Class immigration if they are already working in Canada.
People in these professions who wish to immigrate to Canada can apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program and receive an immigrant visa through that system.
Many immigration options in Canada require certain qualifications and Canada has specific rules for having them recognized.
The Foreign Credentials Referral Office is the governmental department that helps to translate the skills and qualifications earned in other countries to something that can be easily understood and matched to a position in Canada.
This is a particularly important step for people immigrating for a job or those whose educational background figures in heavily into their acceptance into an immigration program.
An Educational Credential assessment must be completed before an immigration applicant is accepted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
There are a number of organizations that provide credential assessments. Some of which are directly approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and some are independent organizations, which also receive approval from CIC.
Below are the designated organizations for Educational Credential Assessments. Depending on what kind of education the applicant has received, one organization may be better suited to them than another.
Comparative Education Service. This is more of a general educational comparison service for people in Canada and can be used for University credits.
International Credential Assessment Service. This service is more specifically used for the Federal Skilled Worker Program.
World Education Services. This is also an excellent service for applying for the Federal Skilled Worker Program.
Medical Council of Canada. This service is used specifically for those credentials earned in medical fields and professions.
These organizations will examine an immigrants education and compare it to a similar education in Canada. Of course they will also ensure that these credits earned outside of Canada are indeed valid.
The assessment one receives from their ECA can also be used to better pinpoint a good job for themselves out of the National Occupation Classification, a list of job descriptions and titles in Canada.
This list is not so much a list of job openings, but rather a list of definitions of what a job entails and what education a person needs to perform said job.
However, with Permanent Residency, nothing is set in stone. Permanent Residents are allowed to move most places in Canada. The only exception being if their employment is integrally part of their Permanent Residency.
Canada has a great diversity of geographies and cities in which to live. Below are some examples:
Montreal: Located in the northeast of Canada in Quebec, Montreal’s official language is French. One of the oldest settlements in North America, there is a great deal of culture and beauty in this part of the country.
Toronto: The Capital of Ontario, Toronto is Canada’s largest city and is located very close to Detroit, Michigan, U.S., for quick weekend trips. Toronto is a central cultural location for the greater part of Canada. The climate in southern Ontario is comparable with the other lake-climates in the midwest.
Vancouver: Vancouver is located on the west coast of Canada in British Columbia. It is the largest city that far west in Canada. It is located near to Seattle, Washington, U.S. This part of the country has mild winters and a very wet climate which it shares with the entire coastal region from Oregon to Alaska.
Calgary: Calgary is located in Alberta amidst the vast Canadian plains. Calgary is smaller than other cities on the coasts, but it maintains a lovely midwestern charm. Montana in the United States is only a short drive south.
There are also huge expanses of rural areas of Canada where a person can live a peaceful and quiet life, but still be within range of the amenities and conveniences of Canadian cities.