Updated: Mar 12
Welcome to Immigrant Chronicles — here is a practical post based on my experience with Express Entry program and helpful information on how to immigrate to Canada.
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As a new immigrant in Canada, I would like to share important information about Canada's immigration system and my journey so far, hoping that it will be useful for fellow immigrants starting out to their journey and considering Canada to become their permanent home.
First of all, why Canada is attracting so many immigrants?
There are various reasons behind why people around the world choose Canada to call their home. According to a recent survey, Canada is rated as the most welcoming country in the world. Canada welcomes around 300.000 people every year and around 20% of Canada's population is foreign-born!
Immigrant Friendly, Multicultural, Diverse
The immigration rate is high as Canada has consistently built a positive reputation over the years as being immigrant-friendly, multicultural, and diverse. Here is a great article summarizes why Canada is seen as an amazing place for new immigrants. Aside from the above-mentioned characteristics, some other highlights of why Canada is a great place to live are universal health care system, safety and inclusive environment make Canada very appealing to immigrants. Also, the quality of the Canadian public school system and the paid maternity leave are great magnets for young couples and families.
Of course, there are other arguments out there about how the Canadian immigration system has its own issues and compares to the US which is worth a read, too.
Canada puts great effort and emphasis on immigration policy and reassures its continued commitment to welcoming immigrants, even during unprecedented times like the global Coronavirus pandemic.
After all, I don't seem to sound like I am all for Canada, as everyone has their own reasons to immigrate (economical, social...) and immigration is a highly personal choice and decision. You need to decide if this is the path for you and whether you would like to come to Canada or not.
Unsplash - Silvestri Matteo
How do I immigrate to Canada through Express Entry?
After careful consideration, if you indeed decide to immigrate to Canada, great!
First, you need to understand the Canadian immigration system and different ways to immigrate to Canada to choose the best way for you and your family.
Obviously, my disclaimer is -- I am not an immigration consultant or lawyer therefore I strongly encourage you to do your own research online, consult regulated immigration consultants, or lawyers regarding your specific case if you need. In this article, I give information based on my research and experience on economic immigration through Express Entry through Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) stream.
The most important resource for the immigration system in my opinion is the Government of Canada Website. You can investigate the immigration and citizenship menu for IRCC and different ways to immigrate to Canada. As it's shown in this particular article, there are so many other ways than Express Entry to immigrate to Canada or gaining temporary residence through work (WP) or study. I encourage you to investigate these links and here, to make an informed decision for you and your family.
Express Entry System
Time to explain the famous Express Entry system. I came across it in 2019, through my husband Arda. He mentioned at the time its completely online, fast, and easy to do so. It sounded too good to be true, to be honest as I imagined a torturous, opaque system (of the US immigration) when I think of an immigration system.
Well, long story short; we decided to apply through this system as it's indeed very easy to understand and navigate. (Not fast though!)
Some history behind EE; in order to allow smoother immigration for immigration, Canada launched this structured online immigration system called Express Entry in 2015.
(From here on there will be a lot of abbreviations, so please check the definitions box below to navigate through)
Express Entry (EE) is the online system where immigrants submit their profile to an online pool and receive ranking points (CRS) based on language ability, education, skills, and experience. Canadian government carries out draws every two weeks more or less and defines a threshold for each draw. The candidates above the threshold are invited to apply (ITA) for permanent residence (PR).
After receiving ITA, candidates typically have 60 days (90 days during Covid times) to accept or decline this invitation. If you decide to accept, then within 60 days, you need to collect documents to prove your points. (Most stressful part!)
After you submit all documents and get your AoR, the processing times for applications were typically 6 months. (Most torturous waiting part...)
This data is highly inaccurate now in Covid times. As even in 2019, wait times were around 9 months for FSW stream. (Table 35) Now, it is pushing towards 12 months...