Canada and India on a map Mouse is back [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

by Mouse is back / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

India is now one of the top source countries for immigration to Canada, ranking 2nd in 2016 according to Statistics Canada.

As well, the Government of Canada made important changes to Canada's citizenship policy in 2017 through Bill C-6. These include the following changes:

  • As an applicant for Canadian citizenship, you are no longer required to demonstrate your intent to live in Canada once you have been granted citizenship. This change recognizes the reality of 21st century life, with work and family requirements often dictating a change in one's country of residence.
  • The age requirement for citizenship has been removed under subsection 5(1) making it easier for minors to apply.
  • Disabled people applying for citizenship will have their needs explicitly taken into consideration with reasonable accommodations of such needs to be provided by immigration authorities.
  • Applicants only need to be physically present in Canada in 3 of the last 5 years (that is, for a total of 1059 days) and must file income taxes for 3 of the last 5 years. Both of these requirements were previously for 4 out of the last 6 years.
  • All days physically present in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person will now count as half-days up to a maximum total of 365 days over the most recent 5 years you are in Canada.
  • English and/or French language requirements now apply to applicants between 18 and 54 years old, rather than between 14 and 64 years old.

In other words, there has rarely been a better time to apply to immigrate to Canada. Once you decide to immigrate to Canada from India, what then are the steps you should follow?

Canada By User:Pmx [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

[Public Domain]

Step 1: Are you eligible?

First you should determine your eligibility by going to the following IRCC page: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/come-canada-tool.html. Answer the questions honestly and you will be given an assessment of your eligibility to migrate to Canada.

Step 2: Before you create your online profile

Familiarize yourself with the Express Entry portal before you create your Express Entry profile. If you are not applying as a skilled worker, then Express Entry is something you have to work towards. But Express Entry is the only way to get an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Permanent Residence (PR). The information you upload to your Express Entry profile will include data on your education, language skills, and work experience, as well as whether or not you have a job offer waiting for you in Canada. Decide which of these factors you can upgrade by doing things like:

  • Taking studies to improve your language skills and retaking the IELTS test, or the CELPIPS or TEF (French). If you have not taken an approved language test in either English or French, you will have to do so. The approved tests are CELPIP, IELTS, or TEF (French).
  • You should find your job under Canada's National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. Getting a recognized certification for your work trade or skill is a good way to improve your ranking. Taking specialized courses related to your job skills is another helpful thing to do.
  • You will need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) to verify your foreign degree, diploma or certificate is equivalent to a Canadian one. There are several designated organizations that will perform the ECA for you. They include: Comparative Education Service; International Credential Assessment Service of Canada; World Education Services; Medical Council of Canada; and Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada. Remember, an ECA is necessary but not sufficient. It does not guarantee you work in your field or certification in Canada of your professional qualifications. Because of this, upgrading your education by getting a Masters Degree in your field of expertise is always a good idea. If your budget allows for it, consider applying to study in Canada as a temporary student.
  • Make sure before you begin the application process that you will have sufficient funds to migrate to Canada. The requirements for funds are very specific and depend on how many immediate family members will form part of your application. You will need $12,475 for an individual and about $3,500 for each additional family member. If you can't show documented proof that you have the necessary funds, you will not be accepted to come to Canada.

If you are not currently eligible for Express Entry through the Skilled Worker or Skilled Trades programs, you will need to come to Canada as a temporary resident first, either through a work permit or through a study permit followed by a work permit. Click the links to learn more.

Step 3: Create your profile using Express Entry

Be completely truthful when creating your profile. Do not exaggerate or bend the facts. You will need supporting documentation (see Step 4 below) for most of the information you upload to your Express Entry profile. There are no fees involved when you create your Express Entry profile. Once your profile is created, you will be placed in a pool of candidates and ranked according to the Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS) Express Entry gives you. Your CRS will be based on a number of factors, grouped as follows:

  1. Core factors for a maximum of 500 points:
  2. Spouse or Common Law partner factors for a maximum of 40 points:
    • Education
    • Language proficiency
    • Canadian work experience
  3. Skill Transferability factors for a maximum of 100 points
    • Education + good language skills
    • Foreign work experience + good language skills
    • Certificate of qualification (trades) + good language skills
  4. Additional factors for a maximum of 600 points:
    • Siblings living in Canada
    • Post-secondary education in Canada
    • French language skills
    • A job offer (50 to 200 points within the 600 points under Additional Factors)
    • A provincial nomination

Your maximum total CRS points for all the above listed factors is 1,200 points. Your CRS score will be shown in table format in your Express Entry account at the Express Entry website. Currently you need a score over 440 points to qualify for an ITA. If you cannot achieve a score of 400 points, you should consider working in Canada first, before applying for permanent residence.

A Personal Reference code (usually an alpha-numeric like JM1234567) is what you will receive after completing the Come to Canada tool (which assesses your chances of being accepted). It should be written down and saved.

You will also receive your Express Entry Profile Number by email once you have completed your Express Entry profile and it has been deemed eligible. Please save it as well. You will need your Profile Number when accessing the Job Bank or for submitting information to a Provincial program that has expressed an interest in your profile, or for re-submitting an Express Entry profile.

You will have 60 days to complete your Express Entry profile once you begin to create it at the Express Entry website.

Once you are placed in an Express Entry pool of candidates, you should create a Job Match account with Job Bank to help link your skills with a Canadian employer who might then offer you a job.

Step 4: Gather your supporting documents

Indian Passport By Jovianeye (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

[Public Domain]

You should in fact, have any and all documents (see list below) at hand as you create your Express Entry profile. This is because any discrepancy between the information in your profile and your supporting documents may result in you being considered ineligible to apply. Here is a list of the most common documents you will need:

Step 5: Invitation to Apply

The highest-ranked (according to their CRS) candidates in any pool of Express Entry Candidates will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) from Express Entry. Once you receive your ITA, you will then have 90 days to apply online for Permanent Residence (PR) in Canada. You should have all necessary supporting documents (Step 4) ready to submit with your application for PR. Most applications for PR will be completed within 6 months time. Currently ITAs are being issued to candidates with scores over 440 points. If your score is below 400 points, you should either improve it by increasing your skills or get a job offer or PNP.

If you do not receive an ITA, your profile will remain in the candidates pool for up to 12 months, as long as you meet the requirements for the federal program you are applying under.

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