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Canada’s Top Five Immigration Destinations

Canada Permanent ResidentFor immigrants from across the globe, Canada remains a very attractive destinations.

Spanning an entire continent, and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on its east coast and the Pacific Ocean on its west, Canada offers immigrants a diverse choice of regional climates, economies and even languages.

Immigration patterns in Canada have changed in recent years, with an increasing number of immigrants relocating to the nation’s more rural and Western areas. Driving a great deal of that immigration has been Canada’s booming natural resources industry, and in particular its oil and gas industries that are centered in those regions.

Here are the nation’s top five immigration destinations, as well as a little background on each location’s defining and unique characteristics based on a 2013 Canadian government report:

5. Manitoba-13,100 immigrants

Largest City: Winnipeg—11,114 immigrants 

Winnipeg, by far Manitoba’s largest urban center, is located in exactly the center of Canada. Not only is Winnipeg the capital city of the province of Manitoba, it is often considered in Canadian culture as being the capital of Canada’s prairie provinces. Not unlike its American neighbors directly south of the province, Manitoba’s economy is mostly driven by  agriculture.

In addition to farming, perhaps the most defining characteristic of both Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba is its climate. Prairie winters are legendarily harsh, with temperatures dipping below zero for weeks at a time during the winter months; however, Winnipeg is also one of Canada’s safest urban centers and has long had a thriving cultural community.

4. British Columbia (BC)—36,210 Immigrants

Largest City: Vancouver—29,506 immigrants

British Columbia (more commonly referred to as BC) is Canada’s most western province, bordered by the American states of Alaska to its north and Washington State on its southern border. With only two major population centers, Metropolitan Vancouver and Victoria, the provincial capital, BC’s rural economies are mostly driven by natural resources, especially lumber and more recently, natural gas exploration.

Vancouver is a very multicultural city, with a strong Asian presence that has seen high levels of migration from Mainland China and Hong Kong over the last two decades. However, with limited land (the city is bordered by the ocean and mountains) in recent years Vancouver has also evolved into one of the world’s most expensive cities, and was recently rated as having the highest cost of living of any North American city, even surpassing New York and San Francisco.

3. Alberta—36.636 immigrants

Largest City: Calgary—17.602 immigrants

With its Western culture, and vast oil resources, Alberta is often referred to as ‘Canada’s Texas’. Long the center of Canada’s energy industry, Calgary—Alberta’s largest metropolitan center—is a cosmopolitan city that still retains much of Alberta’s unique Western cultural history.

In recent years, the energy boom generated by the oil sands—located in the northern section of the province, near its capital city of Edmonton—has been a strong magnet for immigration. Both skilled and unskilled foreign workers have been in much demand as a result of the energy boom; however, recent steep declines in oil prices have hit the energy industry hard and its unclear what long-term effect that change may have on the province’s immigration.

2. Quebec—51.983 immigrants

Largest City—Montreal—43,944 immigrants

Canada’s only French-speaking province, Quebec has had a rollercoaster history in terms of immigration. Historically, Montreal—Canada’s second largest city—competed with Toronto as the primary destination for immigrants from around the world.  That began to change in the 1970s with the rise of Quebec separatism and the prospect of Quebec independence.

More recently, the Quebec separatist movement has subsided—although a sizeable minority of Quebecers still favor the idea—and as a result the province has seen a resurgence in immigration over the last decade. Montreal—without question, Canada’s most bilingual city where a majority of people speak both French and English—continues to attract the vast majority of immigrants, from a diverse array of regions including Africa, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean.

1. Ontario—103,494 immigrants

Largest City—Toronto—81,691 immigrants

Ontario is Canada’s largest province by population, home to both the country’s largest city, Toronto, and the nation’s capital city, Ottawa. The province has also historically been the epicenter of Canadian immigration, making Toronto one of the most multicultural cities in the world.

In recent years, there’s been a shift in immigration away from Ontario to the western provinces as a result of the energy boom in that region. Still, despite the decline, Ontario remains the most popular destination for immigrants to Canada and—despite having a very high cost of living—Toronto remains the most popular city for immigrants looking to take up permanent residency in Canada.

It remains unclear what impact the dramatic changes in the world’s energy sector will have on Canadian immigration. What remains unchanged is that Canada is still one of the most desired—and desirable—destinations for immigrants from around the world.

Can You Apply for a Study and Work Permit at the Same Time?

Canadian Work PermitCitizenship and Immigration Canada, the organization responsible for immigration to Canada allows immigrants to study and work at the same time.

Non-Canadians must apply for permits to do certain things in Canada. Permanent Residents and citizens do not need to apply with Citizenship and Immigration Canada to work or study as their status automatically allows them to do those things.

Canada is known for its excellent school systems and its robust economy. Students will do well to take advantage of the many opportunities available to them in the Land of Immigration.

Study Permit

Getting a study permit is a relatively clear-cut process in Canada and it all starts with the applicant finding a Canadian school to attend.

Students are expected to be accepted into a program when they apply for a study visa. Getting accepted into a university usually requires showing the school’s admissions department ones past school grades, test scores and letters of recommendation.

If you get a study permit you can then go study in Canada. However, many students wish to work alongside their studies either for additional funds or for work experience.

Work Permit

There are a few different options for working while a student in Canada. Students can work on-campus, off-campus or as an intern.

Jobs that you might undertake on-campus typically do not require that you obtain a work permit. On-campus jobs include doing janitorial work, working as a librarian assistant, or working at the school newspaper.

Working off-campus may require a work permit and your school can help you figure out how to get one. There are many schools that are allowed to have students work off-campus.

Non-Canadians who are temporarily living in Canada usually need to undergo a Labour Market Opinion before taking on a job.

Off-campus jobs may include restaurant work, retail, or any other job someone might be able to obtain in Canada.

Internships are a growing part of university educations in the world and many programs require the completion of an internship. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has a special process for those students who wish to or must participate in an internship.

After Graduation

One of the toughest problems for students is what to do after they graduate. It’s a lot easier to say that one should begin one’s career after graduation, but it’s much tougher to actually do it.

Canada’s immigration system happens to have a program that would be quite helpful to students in this state of flux.

The Canadian Experience Class program allows students to work toward getting permanent residency in Canada.

It is a very convenient way to live and work in Canada on a more or less permanent basis. Permanent residents can also become eligible for citizenship after a short period of time in Canada.

Study in Quebec

Quebec studentsQuebec is a province of Canada that has somewhat different requirements for immigration than the rest of the country.

There are many great educational institutions located within Quebec and foreign nationals who follow the steps suggested by the government of Quebec can find themselves studying in no time.


The first step to studying in Quebec is getting a letter of acceptance to a school in Quebec. This letter is issued after a student is accepted into an academic program.

Applications for schools in Quebec are very similar to those in other parts of Canada. Schools will look at a person’s grades, their test scores and past educational experience.


After a person has been accepted into a Quebec school they will then apply with the Canadian government for permission to study within the province

The document necessary for authorization to study in Quebec is called the CAQ or Quebec Acceptance Certificate.

Study visa

All students looking to come to Canada to study must first apply for and receive a student visa.

Students who wish to also work must apply for a separate work visa through Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

The student visa and work permit can be applied for though Canadian foreign affairs offices.


Once a student visa is arranged and the appropriate authorization from Quebec has been granted, students may then prepare for their time in Canada.

Having enough money to be able to support oneself during the school year will be necessary. Also, Quebec can get quite cold during the winter months and appropriate clothing should be arranged somehow.

Visa Extension

Visas are only granted for temporary periods of time unless the applicant also receives a Permanent Resident Card.

Visa extensions for students can be applied for through Citizenship and Immigration Canada, but one must also re-apply for all authorization documents required by Quebec before one applies.

Work permits may also be extended granted all supporting documentation is included.

Immigrating to Quebec

Many people who study in Quebec also wish to become full time residents as well. In order to do so, immigrants must apply for Permanent Resident status.

Students who complete their studies in Canada may apply for Canadian Experience Class immigration. This program allows students who have completed their studies to continue working and living in Canada indefinitely.

After a period of time where the Permanent Resident has been living in Canada, they may then apply for Canadian citizenship.

Student Sponsors

Unlike the UK, which requires schools to become registered student sponsors before they can recruit international students, Canada places the onus of responsibility on the visa applicant.

The application process of course requires students to be accepted by a Canadian educational institution before being able to enter the country.

Students can choose to study in Canada for a semester or two or up to their full degree course with student visas. However, visitors taking short classes not for a larger degree might not need to apply for a student visa, instead they might only need to apply for a visitor visa.

Special Note on New Rules

By the end of 2013, some applicants from specific countries and regions must submit to mandatory biometric collection. This is part of a series of reforms that Citizenship and Immigration Canada has been implementing to prevent immigration fraud.

The countries that will have to submit to biometric collection are:

Afghanistan Haiti Palestinian Authority
Albania Iran Saudi Arabia
Algeria Iraq Somalia
Bangladesh Jamaica South Sudan
Burma (Myanmar) Jordan Sri Lanka
Cambodia Laos Sudan
Colombia Lebanon Syria
Democratic Republic of Congo Libya Tunisia
Egypt Nigeria Vietnam
Eritrea Pakistan Yemen

 Applying for Student Visa Student Visa

When applying to study in Canada you must first determine whether or not you are eligible to study. The CIC maintains a website that can help you find out your eligibility.

Basic requirements:

  • You must be able to support yourself somehow while in Canada (depending on how you apply you may not be able to get a job while studying, so you will have to have sufficient funds or loans to be self-supporting).
  • You must be accepted into a Canadian Educational institution.
  • You must be able to pay the nominal fee.
  • You must be able to provide the CIC with required documentation that proves your identity and origin. (passport, birth certificate and such).

Extend Study Visa

If you wish to continue to study in Canada after your study visa expires you will have to extend your visa. Visas are granted to non-immigrants in Canada for limited periods of time determined by the immigration officials who accept them into the country.

If your visa is about to expire and you wish to continue your studies you will need to apply for an extension at least 30 days before the expiration date.

Working Study

Student visas only concern themselves with allowing a particular person to study in Canada and if you wish to work as well you will need to file for a work permit.

There are a variety of ways to go about getting a work permit. You can work on- or off-campus or you can work in an internship or occupational training program.

Internships and occupational training programs are particularly useful in Canada because you can eventually apply for Permanent Residency through your educational experience.

Canada Student Visa Application

Study permits in Canada allow the holder to go to school and learn in one of the country’s great schools. An important thing to note is that if one wants to get a permanent resident card they must apply for it outside of Canada. Even though not everyone has to have a study permit when they enter the country to study, if they intend to study for more than 6 months they will need to apply for one. To prevent interruption of your stay in Canada you should apply before you leave.

Student Visa destination

Requirements and Conditions of a Study Permit:

  • You will need a letter of acceptance from the Canadian school.
  • You will need to show that you will return home at the end of your studies.
  • You will need to show that you can afford to go to school in Canada.
  • Criminals will not be accepted for a study permit.
  • Decent health is a requirement to go to school in Canada.
  • The course of study you undertake, the school you go to, and the time and place of appointments is all to be dictated by the visa.
  • You are not allowed to get a job without a permit
  • Your stay is for a predetermined amount of time.

Required Documents

  • You will need to provide proof of identity. This could be fulfilled by either a passport or a travel document. You will also need two passport style photos (be sure they meet Canadian study visa standards).
  • Proof of your acceptance into a Canadian University. This will have to include the name of the school, an affirmative answer, and the amount of time it will take to finish the course of study.
  • Proof of financial support. When you go to school in Canada you will have to prove that you have sufficient funds to cover all of your expenses while in school. You can do so in multiple ways. Bank statements are very useful for this part of the process.

Study Permit Application

After you have determined that you can get a study permit you can complete the application. Below are the documents that must be completed:

  • IMM 1294, Application for Study Permit Made Outside of Canada.
  • IMM 5645, Family Information.
  • IMM 5483, Document Checklist.

And if needed:

  • IMM 5257 Schedule 1, Schedule 1 — Application for temporary Resident Visa.
  • IMM 5409, Statutory Declaration of Common Law Union.
  • IMM 5646, Custodianship Declaration  — Custodian for Minors Studying in Canada.
  • IMM 5476, Use of a Representative.

Study Permit Fees

Most immigration forms in Canada come with a certain filing fee to process the application. For Study Permits, applicants are required to pay $125 in a fee.

Canadian Student Visa Refusal

If you decide that you want to study in Canada you will have to apply for a study permit.

These documents allow foreign students to study at Canadian universities or schools, but not to work within the country. Students can additionally apply for the right to work, but, the study permit itself does not allow students to work.

Study Permit

There are some circumstances where the Canadian government, in the form of Citizenship and Immigration, will not allow you to come to Canada to study, such as:

  • If you haven’t been accepted into a Canadian school. You will have to prove that you have been accepted into a university, college or vocational program to get a study permit.
  • If you cannot support yourself financially. You should be able to demonstrate your ability to pay for all aspects of your stay in Canada as a student including tuition, living expenses and travel expenses to and from Canada.
  • If you are a criminal. Canada does not wish to accept law-breaking individuals into the country and you may have to demonstrate that you do not have a police record by providing a police certificate.
  • If you are seriously ill. Applicants for study permits in Canada must be of good health and be examined by a certified doctor.
  • If you intend to commit immigration fraud. Study permits are what are known as non-immigrant visas and are completely temporary. If you intend to stay for any period of time after your visa expires you will be denied the permit. The best way to show that you will not violate Canada’s immigration law is to provide a copy of your return ticket to the immigration officer.

But, of course, as in all things, there are exceptions.

  • Courses that take less than six months don’t even require a study permit. Really all you need for a class of that duration is a tourist visa, but those have their own rules and regulations, so be sure to examine them as well.
  • Ambassadors or other foreign representatives of that variety don’t have to gather a study permit in some cases. Checking with your embassy will give you a better idea of what you will need to do to study in Canada.
  • Foreign military members who are in the Visiting Forces Act don’t have to get study permits in Canada, but their dependents must.

Taking a close look at your application will give you a better idea of how the proper documentation works. Here at Immigration Direct, we’re providing you with “food for thought” if you will. Here we can give you an idea of your various immigration options in Canada and we hope that they help you in the course of your journey.

Happy studying!

How to Study in Canada

Coming to Canada to study is an excellent way to eventually get your Permanent Resident Card through the Canadian Experience Class visa. The Canadian government even intends to increase the total number of CEC visas within the next year, and the best way to get this type of Permanent Residency is through going to school in Canada.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has very specific outlines for what must be submitted in order to apply for a study permit and student visa. If there are documents missing or incorrectly filed, they may be returned to you. The CIC has compiled a useful checklist to ensure that your application is complete upon its submittal. For a study permit, your application must include:
• IMM 1294—This immigration form is called the “Application for a Study Permit Made Outside Canada”. The application may be completed online, but the bar-code related to the document must be included on all other documents within the application.
• IMM 5645—This application, titled “Family Information”, is to include all of your relatives (mother, father, brothers, sisters, spouse, children) and whether or not they will be accompanying you.
• IMM 5257—Entitled “Schedule 1 Application for Temporary Resident Visa”, this will be necessary if you are from a country that requires this. Check with a visa office to see if you need a Temporary Resident Visa.
• IMM 5409—The “Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union” is only necessary if the spouse on your Family Information application was not officially wed to you, rather the law simply recognizes your marriage.
• IMM 5646—“Custodianship Declaration – Custodian for Minors Studying in Canada”.
• IMM 5476—“Use of a Representative” this form is necessary if you are having a lawyer or other representative file your application for you.
• A letter of acceptance from the school that you will be attending.
• Evidence that shows that you have the funds to support yourself (or if someone else is supporting you) during school is also necessary.
• If you will be studying in Quebec you will need to obtain MICC’s approval and submit its application letter as well.
• A fee of $125 comes with every person on the application.
• If you need to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa you will need to include your original and valid passport. Make sure that you have a couple of extra blank pages in this passport.
• If you do not need a Temporary Resident Visa you can just include a photocopy of the information page of your passport. The Photocopy must include the passport number, the date it was issued, the expiration date, your photo, your name, and your birthday and birthplace.
• You will also need to include two photos. CIC is very insistent upon meeting the very strict requirements regarding the photographs and we will have an article later in the week that deals with that.
• Individual, provincial visa offices will have their own requirements and you should check with those offices before submitting your application.

Depending upon how many people you will be claiming on your trip to Canada to study your application might be longer or shorter. But regardless of the length, you should be sure to double check your application both with Immigration Direct as well as with Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the provincial governments.

What is a Canadian Study Permit?

Canada Study PermitA study permit is an official document granted by the Canadian government to a non Canadian citizen. This study permit allows the foreign national to attend university or school in Canada. It allows the holder to remain in Canada for its duration and it is granted for a period of one year to 4 years and its duration depends on the granting institution. Canada allows more than 90,000 students, every year to come and study in Canada. Most of them learn English or French. Canada also says that the foreign students bring forward a rich culture and so Canada welcomes a large number of skilled students to its classrooms.

A foreign national who intends to study in Canada must apply for a study permit or a temporary resident visa. The person who wishes to study in Canada must choose a recognized school or university in Canada and must have been accepted by the selected school or university. The selected student must establish that he has enough funds to support himself in Canada and he must be capable of paying his tuition fees and meeting his own expenses. Canada welcomes only law-abiding individuals and at no cost a person with criminal records will be allowed to enter Canada. You may be required to provide a police certificate to establish that you do not have criminal records. Before applying for a study permit, you must complete a medical examination. You may not be granted a study permit, if you do not prove that you will leave Canada, at the end of your authorized stay.

There are certain cases where a foreign national may be allowed to study in Canada, without obtaining a study permit. A person who wishes to take a short course, that lasts for six months or less, in Canada may not require a study permit. Even if a study permit is not required for a short term course, it is good to apply for a study permit before you enter Canada. It will help you to continue your studies in Canada, if you wish to do so, at the end of your short term course. You may not require a study permit, if you are an eligible dependent of a foreign representative in Canada. Similarly, if you are a member of a foreign armed force, you may not require a study permit, to study in Canada, under the Visiting Forces Act.

You can apply for a study permit to study in Canada, through a Canadian Embassy or Consulate, in your home country. Citizens of certain designated countries may at times be required to obtain a temporary resident visa along with a study permit. The visa officer will process both the petitions at the same time and you may not be required to submit separate petitions. You must submit certain supporting documents, such as proof of acceptance from the school or university, proof of your identity such as a passport or a travel document, along with your application. You must also submit proof of financial support, while applying for a study permit. If you wish to study in a Canadian province such as Quebec, you must receive a certificate of acceptance before you could apply for a study permit.

After entering Canada with a study permit, you will be allowed to renew your permit if you wish to continue your studies. But you must apply to renew your study permit before it could expire. You may not be able to remain in Canada if your permit expires.