Getting Permanent Residency
What is Permanent Residency
- Get social benefits equal to Canadian citizens
- Government paid health care
- Live, work or study anywhere in Canada
- Freedom to launch your own startup or business
- Freedom to remote work for companies anywhere
- Worry free entry and exit to and from Canada
- Visa free holiday travel to few countries like Costa Rica, Bahamas, etc
- Can apply for Canadian Citizenship (After 4⁄6 years, changing to 3⁄5)
- You cannot vote or run for political office
- Get super-visa’s for parents and grandparents (Stay upto 2 years)
- Sponsor partners, parents and grandparents for PR
High level view of PR process
- Collect Docs: NOC Code, Language Score, Education Assessment
- Check Eligibility: Using the “Come to Canada” web site.
- Create an Express Entry Profile Online
- If You Qualify for Express Entry then wait for invitation to apply
- On receiving invitation complete the application
- Submit Police Clearance and Medical Test Results.
- You will receive your Confirmation of Permanent Residence
Detailed view of the PR process
Getting Permanent Residency in Canada is a straight forward and transparent process. We had applied under the Federal Skilled Workers program in 2014 and got our PR in less than 6 months from the date we posted our application. We felt the process was simple and well defined on their website www.cic.gc.ca. Additionally CIC officials are highly responsive and can be reached via email or phone for any queries and concerns.
The process has changed a little since we applied. In 2015, Canada introduced the Express Entry Program, the changes are mostly in relation to how CIC manages the entire application process. To us it seemed like they have further improved the process. It is now entirely online (no more mail the application package to Nova Scotia) the requirements and documents needed remain the same.
Preparing to Apply
If you’re a Software Engineers looking to move to Canada you’re in luck. Your skills are needed here and listed on the NOC - National Occupational Classification list. That means you qualify to apply under the Federal Skilled Workers program for Permanent Residency in Canada. Before you fill out your application online under the Express Entry program you need to have the following three things ready in hand.
Figure out the NOC code most closely related to your skill and work experience. You can find the NOC code and skill type here. Be careful to read the skill description and example titles to make sure it closely match with your work experience.
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Take a language test to prove your proficiency in English. If you are proficient in French as well you can take a test for that too and score extra points. I remember driving 3 hours to take my test in Fresno, CA as I got the first available date at that centre. So be quick to book your english proficiency test with IELTS. You need the language score to get started with your application.
Obtain ECA - Educational Credential Assessment Report. Since most likely you were educated outside Canada, you need to have your educational credentials assessed against Canadian standards. I used WES - World Education Services to get our ECA report, they take about 20 days once you have posted them your degree.
Once you have determined your NOC, obtained your language score and ECA report you are all set to apply.
Step 1 - Check eligibility
Use the online tool Come to Canada to see if you meet the criteria to get into the Express Entry pool. It will take you about 15 minutes. You will need your language test results, your NOC skill type or level described above and your Education Credential Assessment (ECA). At the end, you will be provided a reference number. Write it down. You will need it later when you go to build your profile in the next step.
Step 2 - Build your Express Entry profile
If you get a positive result from the Come to Canada tool, it will send you to your account. If you do not already have an account, you will need to create one. Then you will need to fill out an Express Entry profile that includes the following.
- Contact information
- Education Detail
- Work experience
- Family immigrating (dependants)
You will need:
- Your passport, travel document or other national identity document
- Your NOC job title and code
- Your language test results
- Your Educational Credential Assessment
- Copy of written job offer from an employer in Canada (if you have one)
- Reference code from Come to Canada (Example: JM1234567890)
Express Entry Candidate Pool
Once you’ve built your profile online and CIC qualifies you to be eligible (based on the info you provided) you’ll be placed in the Express Entry pool of candidates and given a score based on their CRS - Comprehensive Ranking System.
CRS is the point based system that assigns you a score based on factors like skills, work experience, age, education, language etc. The higher the score the better the chances of they inviting you to apply for PR.
You can earn extra points based on factors like having a job offer in hand from a Canadian firm or if you have a sibling living in Canada, french language skills etc. Note, I didn’t have a job offer went I applied for PR, neither I had any siblings in Canada, my score was completely based on the primary factors.
Once you have been accepted in the pool you will stay in there for a year and CIC can reach out to you at anytime during that period inviting you to apply for PR. Once they send you an invitation to apply, you have 90 days to finish your application and submit the Police Clearance Certificates and the Medical Tests. Since obtaining police certificates take time, it is best to start the process as soon as you are placed in the Express Entry pool. You will need the police certificates for all applicants 18 years and above from all the countries that you have spent six months or more in.
In our case we had to get it from three different countries - India, Singapore and the US. Getting the police clearance from India was surprisingly fast. We got it within 10 days after making our application in person at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco. US took the longest, we had to post our application to the FBI and it took about 12 weeks to process. So we highly recommend getting started with the US clearance early on.
The Medical Test is pretty simple, you need to setup an appointment with one of the doctors on the CIC approved physicians list. We went to one based in Berkeley, got an early morning appointments. We were done by noon with the exam. The physician electronically submitted the results.
Once you complete your application and submit it online, CIC states that it processes most applications through Express Entry in six months or less. (This period starts on the date they get a complete application and ends on the date a final decision is made.). You can check the status of your application online. If everything goes well and your application gets approved, CIC will issue you a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR). If you are from a country that requires visas, you will need to submit your passport by post to Canada to get the stamp of the permanent resident visa. We were a little apprehensive about posting our passports but it’s a common practice and we got them back safely with visas attached.
There is an expiry date on the visa, you need to make sure you enter Canada and validate your PR before the expiry date which is generally a year from the date of your medical exam.
Do You Have Questions? 🙂
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- CIC - Express Entry
- NOC - National Occupational Classification list
- IELTS - English Language Testing
- ECA - Educational Credential Assessment
- WES - World Education Services
- Come to Canada Tool
- CRS - Comprehensive Ranking System
- Police Clearance Certificates
- FBI Clearence Application
- Medical Test
- CIC approved physicians list