One of the founding principles of Canadian immigration is the reunification of families within Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada, led by Minister Chris Alexander, intends to make this easier by reducing serious immigration backlogs throughout the system.
In particular the backlog in parent and grandparent super visas is receiving most of the focus.
Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents can come to visit in Canada for rather lengthy periods of time with the PGP super visa. The super visa also remains valid for ten years.
Previously, Citizenship and Immigration Canada had a very difficult time handling the sheer popularity of the program and the backlog was becoming uncontrollable.
“Had no action been taken, it was predicted that the backlog could increase to 250,000 persons with wait times of 15 years by 2015,” according to a Citizenship and Immigration Canada News release “Because of the Government’s aggressive actions, wait times are now expected to be just one fifth of that time.”
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced that the backlog will be reduced by fifty percent by the end of this year, further reducing the total wait time. In addition, a further 20,000 super visas will be issued to parents and grandparents in 2014.
The increase of visa issuance is a result of the sheer popularity and so far 26,000 visas have been granted for this program.
Although the super-visa is not technically an immigration visa (as it does not confer permanent status to the holders) it is still a highly effective visa category. It allows its holders to live in Canada for periods of two years at a time.
This is a longer period of time than allowed for any other visa category.
Interested applicants should inquire with Citizenship and Immigration Canada for more information regarding the program.
Canada is a very welcoming country for immigrants to come to. Not only are there many different pathways to immigration, but there are also many programs designed to help immigrants start their new lives in Canada.
However, before you apply for immigration, familiarize yourself with how immigration works in Canada.
What Is Immigration?
Immigration is a specific kind of status in Canada and generally means that a person is a permanent resident.
Permanent residents of Canada have the right to live, work, study and travel throughout Canada freely for as long as they please. Most immigration programs result in permanent residency.
Temporary residency visits are not permanent and are therefore not considered a form of immigration.
How to Immigrate
The process of immigration has a few different steps:
- Find a sponsor (employer, family member or other) to support your immigration to Canada
- Apply with Citizenship and Immigration Canada for immigration
- “Land” in Canada (meaning arrive)
- Apply for your permanent resident Card!
Different Pathways to Immigration
There are many different ways to immigrate to Canada. Below are some examples.
- Canadian Experience Class – Parlay your education into a job in Canada!
- Family Sponsorship – Citizens and permanent residents of Canada can sponsor their relatives’ immigration to Canada
- Federal Skilled Worker Program – There are many jobs in high demand in Canada and if you do one of them the country might sponsor your immigration!
This is by no means a comprehensive list and after a bit of research you may find that there is a specific program that’s best for you!
The Road to Citizenship
Permanent residency is one of the requirements when applying for citizenship along with three years of residency.
With citizenship one can’t ever be deported and it makes it much easier to help your relatives immigrate to Canada too!
A news release that came out on Monday October 28, 2013 declared Canada’s immigration plan for next year.
Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration for Canada made the announcement and also made some statements about the purpose of the immigration plan.
“While Canadians will continue to get the first crack at available jobs, getting the right people in the right places is key to addressing regional labour needs and fueling Canada’s long-term prosperity. We need newcomers willing to put their skills, ideas and energies to work,” Alexander said in the news release.
It has long been supported that immigrants contribute a great deal to the countries to which they travel.
In the past, the Canadian immigration system was rather passive in that Citizenship and Immigration Canada would accept applications from family members, refugees or workers, providing customer service to people from all over the world.
“We will continue to drive down backlogs, reduce wait times and improve service. We will continue to reunite families. We will continue to give refuge to the world’s most vulnerable,” Alexander said.
However, the newest plan for Canadian immigration is that the CIC will start an immigration recruiting program called the Expression of Interest system.
“Every summer, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) consults with provinces, territories and stakeholders across Canada to develop a balanced immigration plan. We also seek feedback from the Canadian public,” the official CIC news release said.
This year, CIC opened up its doors for suggestions from June 21 to August 31. They received almost 5,000 responses from Canadians interested in the immigration system.
A greater number of immigration visas will be granted to economic type classes next year. However, a third of immigrants will be able to apply under family visa types and humanitarian programs.
“Canada is in a global competition for the best and brightest immigrants, and this plan is crafted with attracting the people we need for Canada to succeed,” the news release said.
On October 25, 2013, in the midst of Citizenship Week, the Citizenship and Immigration Minister, Chris Alexander, delivered the 1,000,000 ePassport personally making a major milestone for the relatively new program.
An ePassport is not that much different from any other passport used by Canada in the past. It is still used as an identification document and can still be used for foreign travel for Canadian citizens.
The primary difference is the technology used within the passport. These new documents have a radio chip embedded within the paper designed to be read automatically by certain machines at Canada’s borders.
The advantage of this kind of technology is that it makes it quite a bit more difficult (nearly impossible, one might say) for fraudsters to counterfeit a Canadian passport.
Fraudsters might be able to change some of the text on the biography page of the passport, but they won’t be able to change the information on the chip itself.
When the immigration officer scans the passport at a border entry-place, they will be able to check the information printed on the document to the information on the chip and detect if the passport is fraudulent or not.
Another advantage of this new passport is that it is a ten-year passport. Canadian citizens who apply for this new passport can hold on to it for a whole 10 years!
This will greatly limit the frequency at which one has to renew their passport.
The Honourable Chris Alexander said during a Citizenship Week event that “The 10-year ePassport is the ultimate symbol of citizenship and has proven to be a huge success with Canadians.”
Which is very true. If you’re a citizen and don’t have a new passport, now is the time to get one!
Citizenship week is a time of the year where Canadian citizens can celebrate all of the things that make Canadian citizenship great and for permanent residents to take their citizenship oaths and become new citizens!
The Canadian government and particularly Citizenship and Immigration Canada work together to create many events that Citizens and new citizens can take part in.
Although citizenship week is almost over, that doesn’t mean there’s not still time to participate in the celebrations. It doesn’t even mean that you might not have a chance to become a citizen.
Citizenship applications and oaths are accepted all year long.
Some of the citizenship week celebrations are symbols of national solidarity, such as the lighting of the CN Tower with the country’s colors, red and white.
There will also be citizenship re-affirmation ceremonies where people who are already citizens can go to a public gathering place and re-take the oath. By doing this, a person can declare their patriotism and dedication to Canada with other people of like mind.
New citizens will be invited to take their oaths during this auspicious week as well.
Permanent residents who have lived in Canada for three out of the four past years can apply for citizenship as long as they have a clean record and are able to pass a language and knowledge test.
With citizenship, a person can’t be deported and their status cannot be revoked. Citizens are also allowed to carry Canadian passports which are very useful for international travel as they represent the backing power of the Canadian government.
Research suggests that immigrants who become familiar with the native language of the country in which they immigrate to are more successful than those who do not try to learn the language. This success translates to success in work, education and just general mood.
The two languages spoken primarily in Canada are English and French. For some immigration visas and the citizenship test, immigrants are expected to be at least minimally competent in one of these languages.
However, with more study, one opens up even more avenues for success and development in one’s new home.
The Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) Program was started in 1992 and is still going strong under the leadership of Minister Chris Alexander.
Immigrants looking to participate in the program can contact local immigration organizations to begin their classes in English or French.
On October 18, 2013, Minister of Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Alexander, announced that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) would be funding Bow Valley College’s LINC program for the next three years.
This investment will help immigrants in Calgary, Alberta and in surrounding areas. The fund is a total of $16.2 spread over three years.
Minister Alexander made an excellent point in a press release on the 18th about language skills and immigration: “By giving immigrants the tools they need to succeed, we are helping to build a stronger community and a stronger economy. Study after study confirms that being able to speak English or French is key to ensuring newcomers to Canada can contribute more fully and provide for their families more quickly.”
The Canadian Start-Up Visa (SUV) is an immigration program run by Citizenship and Immigration Canada designed to add to the strength of Canada’s economy.
The SUV brings innovators and entrepreneurial partners to Canada to build and grow businesses.
Recently, CIC announced that it will be offering other programs alongside the SUV:
- A business incubator program and
- Five new venture capital funds
Both of these new programs will start accepting applications on Saturday October 26, 2013.
“We are excited about the expansion of the Start-Up Visa and look forward to welcoming innovators through this program in the near future,” Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander was quoted as saying in a CIC press release.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada is hopeful that the new Start-Up Visa Program will create high-growth industry and lead to the creation of jobs for native Canadians and even additional immigrants.
There are a number of requirements that must be met for a person to be eligible for the SUV program.
Below are some highlights of those requirements:
- First, an applicant has to secure funding for their business idea in Canada. This can be done by searching for designated investor groups on the CIC’s website.
- SUV program applicants also need to be functional in one of the official languages of Canada, namely, French or English. You can use a variety of testing organizations to confirm your ability in either of these languages.
- The SUV program also requires that you have proof of one year of tertiary education in which you were in good standing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to have graduated.
- SUV applicants also need to have enough money to make sure that they can live while they start up their company in Canada. Bank statements are typically sufficient.
Becoming a Citizen
Permanent residents of Canada who have lived in the country for three out of the past four years can apply for citizenship with the CIC.
All citizens are required to pass a couple of tests, specifically a language test and a Canadian knowledge test. Canadian citizens are required to be competent in one of the official languages (English or French).
After a successful application and completion of the tests, permanent residents will take an oath and become a citizen!
During the week there will be many different activities taking place centered around Canadian citizenship.
- Citizenship ceremonies — permanent residents will take their oaths and become full citizens of Canada in formal ceremonies taking place at various community centers across Canada.
- Reaffirmation ceremonies — reaffirmation ceremonies are for people who are already citizens and wish to publically take the citizenship oath again (or for some, the first time) as a gesture of allegiance to the country that they call home.
- Public Activities — Many organizations, businesses, institutions and schools will be doing things during this week in honor of Canadian citizenship. One very notable event is that the CN Tower, the tallest structure in Canada, will be lit up red and white for the week.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada lists a lot of different ways by which you can celebrate your citizenship, but probably the best of all is to get out into your community and participate in events with other Canadians.
Citizenship and Canada makes this process somewhat easier by allowing applicants to pay their fees online, but the physical copies of applications still need to be mailed in to CIC processing offices.
However, there are some forms that can be filed entirely online. Below are the immigration benefits that can be taken care of entirely online.
Visitors who need to obtain a visa before entering Canada can file and pay for their visa application entirely online.
Before you begin the process of applying for a visitor visa, please be sure to check the list of countries that require visitor visas.
The fees for visitor visas vary. Families who apply together at the same time and place do not have to worry about the total costs rising above $400. Single entry visas cost $75 a person. Multiple entry visas will cost $150 a person. The fees are independent of an applicant’s age.
Foreign residents who wish to go to school in Canada will need to apply for a study permit.
Before applying for a study permit, applicants must first secure an acceptance letter from a Canadian educational institution that has been accepted by the CIC for study permits.
Study permits come with a $125 fee.
Foreign students may be eligible for immigration through the Canadian Experience Class program.
Foreign residents who wish to come to Canada to work temporarily need to obtain a work permit.
Before applying for the work permit, workers need to obtain a positive Labour Market Opinion, a confirmation from the Canadian government that says that Canada does indeed need the applying worker.
Work Permits cost $150.
Immigration can be tricky, but with these helpful hints you can immigrate and become a Canadian in no time!
Know What Visa You Need
There are many different kinds of visas, all of which are used for different purposes. Do some research to find the best visa for your purposes.
Moving to a new country can be expensive and you will need some money to be able to live in Canada as you search for a job.
Start saving for your move before you apply for immigration so that you can transition even easier.
Renew Your PR Card
Permanent Resident Cards are granted to immigrants after a successful application. Be sure to renew your PR Card every five years.
Without a PR Card you won’t be able to sign up for government benefits or programs.
Continue Your Education
Citizenship requires a test that examines applicants’ knowledge of English or French and the history and culture of Canada. It is a good idea to study up on these topics while you live in Canada.
Not only will you do better on the citizenship test, but it will make adjusting to life in Canada just that much easier.
Pay Fees Online
While you do have the option to pay for your applications in person at a Canadian financial institution, it’s probably more convenient to pay these fees online.
This is especially convenient for people who may live in more rural areas.
File for Employment Insurance and a Health Card
After you land in Canada you will need to apply for an Employment Insurance Card almost immediately and then after about 90 days you can apply for your Health Card.
Bring a Coat
Canada can become rather cold in the winter time and it might be a good idea to get a sturdy coat before arriving at your new home!