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Oct 14, 2022
Moving to Canada: a guide to Canadian Visas for foreigners

Tips for relocating to Vancouver

When you want to make the move and get started building a great new life in Canada, there’s a few pieces of paperwork you need to have in order. As well as plane tickets, employment and housing, there’s of course the big issue of securing a visa. 

With so much information online from so many sources, it can feel a little overwhelming when you have to wade through it all. With this in mind, we’ve put together a quick and easy 5-minute guide that will talk you through all the basics before you know it. Ideal when you want to get everything you need to understand the Canadian visa process from a single article. All you have to do now is get yourself a drink, make a little space in your day and have a read. Hope it helps! 

First things first: Welcome to Canada!

We love every second of life here and truly hope you will too. The beauty of Canada is that it combines a liberal and tolerant culture with stunning scenery and a strong economy. There’s so much to see and do here that you’ll know you made the right choice on your very first day, and that’s before you’ve even had the chance to meet our super-friendly locals. 

The Canadian way of life is relaxed, community-focused and all about get things done with the minimum of stress and fuss. If this sounds like exactly what you and your family are looking for, you’re sure to fit right in from the moment you arrive. And if this sounds too good to be true, rest assured that Vancouver is always ready and waiting to extend a warm welcome. 

Now you know what we have to offer and why you’d want to move here, it’s time to get into the fine details that make it possible. 

Different types of Canadian visas

Here’s a quick rundown of all the main visa types and who they’re typically aimed at: 

  • Visitor visas: These are for anyone who is traveling for a short stay mainly for tourist reasons or visiting family. There are options for single or multiple entries, which is something really important to consider if you want to make multiple entries as part of your plan
  • Student visas: The name says it all and to get one you need to have proof of a place to study in Canada. This will typically be from a college or university and will require written proof from the institution to be submitted as part of your application 
  • Work visas: Like many countries Canada looks to attract skilled professionals from overseas. Having an employer sponsor your application is really important because it will show the Canadian visa service you have a position ready and waiting for you. It’s also proof that you will be able to support yourself when you arrive 
  • Permanent Residence visas: These are typically granted for families who want to permanently relocate and wish to make Canada their new primary residence. There are a number of restrictions on days spent in Canada, country of origin, and what you plan to do once you arrive in Canada
  • Business Immigrant visas: If you are building a business or working in a permanent capacity as part of a large corporation on Canadian soil then this option will be worth consideration. Again, there are specific restrictions and guidelines you will need to follow, but knowing the option exists in the first place is always the first step
  • Express Entry Program visas: These are online applications that have been fast-tracked to help skilled workers move to Canada with the minimum amount of friction. If you can pass a basic language proficiency test and demonstrate at least 1 year of continuous employment in your profession in the previous 10 years, you will likely have strong grounds for being accepted. 

Visas for the rest of the family

Moving dependents and children under 18 years of age to Canada is possible provided the main visa holder in the family holds their own visa. They can then sponsor the dependents and children and allow them to apply for their own permanent residency visa. An example of this would be a scientist who wants to move to Canada and uses his proof of employment at a Canadian university to show he can support his wife and children. He can then use this as grounds to sponsor their applications. 

Moving to Canada for Employment Opportunities

One of things to consider when moving to Canada is the degree of security your job is likely to give you. Not only will this impact your quality of life once you arrive, it can also have a large impact on your chances of being accepted for a visa before you even arrive. 

Skilled workers and professionals, as well as those with university education looking to retrain, will often be able to submit strong applications. This is not to say that only these people will be allowed to enter Canada, but it’s certainly something worth having in mind. 

Money can also be an issue for some. If you are moving to Canada by yourself you need CAD $13,213 worth of savings to apply for permanent residency. This increases to CAD $16,449 for couples. Please note that as these figures are adjusted regularly by the Canadian government, we include them only as a guide here. 

Restrictions on you during the visa process

This will depend heavily on your country of origin and the manner in which your choice of occupation influences the quality of your application. To make sure you never fall foul of complex issues like this, it is always worth checking with the relevant bodies before you: 

  • Travel to a country other than Canada or your country of origin for any reason 
  • Change your employment status or occupation, or turn down a job offer in Canada
  • Marry or enter into a civil partnership with someone not named on your application 

What happens if your visa expires

Having a valid visa is a legal requirement for any foreign citizen residing in Canada. If it expires you can face deportation to your country of origin. To return you will have to apply, and be accepted, for a new visa before being allowed to travel to Canada again. 

What to do if your application is rejected

Speaking to a visa lawyer or legal specialist dealing with immigration will tell you if you have grounds for appeal. They will also be able to advise whether you are likely to be accepted in the future and what your next course of action should be. 

Transitioning from visa holder to citizen

Last but not lease, if you want to become a full Canadian citizen you will need to: 

  • Be a permanent resident in Canada
  • Lived here for at least 3 out of the 5 previous years
  • Filed your taxes and kept your records up to date 
  • Pass a Canadian citizenship test that shows you understand Canadian culture 
  • Pass an English proficiency test 

Final thoughts

At HighStreet, we know that the language of the world of visas and government paperwork isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re moving from abroad where things may work rather differently. But trust, a little bit of hard work now is a small price to pay for your dream life right here in Vancouver. Work through the steps above and you’ll find everything slots right into place quickly and easily. See you soon!

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