Understanding the Canadian immigration system: the difference maker

Canada flag is depicted on a puzzle, which the man's hand completes to fold.

You dream of Canada and you already imagine yourself travelling to this beautiful country in North America for tourism, studies, work or even to live here permanently. Very well! But first, it is essential to determine the purpose of your trip to Canada and especially to target the program that best suits to your profile and projects. 

It is important to keep in mind that immigrating to Canada consists of two main categories: temporary immigration and permanent immigration.


Temporary residence in Canada: visiting, studying or working?


A temporary experience in Canada can be experienced in many ways. Various immigration programs allow you to come to Canada to travel, study or work. Specific conditions apply to each of these programs. For example, the tourist visa will only be issued if the Canadian authorities are convinced that you will leave the country at the end of your visit. 

With regard to the study permit, it will be crucial to obtain a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution before you apply for a Quebec acceptance certificate (“CAQ”) and a study permit.

As for the work permit, obtaining a valid job offer is usually required for most types of work permit applications. The most common work permit is a closed work permit which allows you to work for a specific employer.


A work permit will also be given for a limited duration of time. Why should you consider choosing temporary residence?


The Value of Obtaining a Temporary Resident Status


Your temporary residence will be rewarding whether it is to study in a valuable educational system, to test the dynamic Canadian job market or even to prospect for a future job or training. Most importantly, it may be a stepping stone to permanent residence in Canada.


Temporary status can sometimes be renewed to extend your experience in Canada. If your experience in Canada is really successful and you wish to settle here permanently, there are programs that will allow you to apply for permanent residence once you have the experience of a study or work permit. 


In the Province of Quebec, for instance, there is a program called the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ). This program allows students who have some work experience and foreign workers who have valuable work experience in Quebec to be selected by the Province. The candidates are selected through a “simplified” process and will be in a position to apply for permanent residence in Canada as soon as they are selected by Quebec and receive their CAQ.


Permanent Residence: Settling in Canada Permanently 


Having permanent residence in Canada is equal to having all the benefits of Canadian citizenship (except for the right to vote and the passport), with the sole condition that you must actually reside in Canada for at least 730 days or 2 years per 5-year period. And you will have the possibility to renew your permanent resident status and eventually apply for Canadian citizenship after three years of residence in Canada, if you do not have any criminal record.


Applying for permanent residence requires a lot of work, diligence and especially patience. Indeed, between the time required to prepare your file, its submission and its processing by the Quebec and Canadian authorities, you may have to wait between 2 and 5 years before being able to enjoy permanent residence. But it is well worth the wait!


As you may have noticed, an application for permanent residence is a two-step process involving the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la francisation et de l’intégration du Québec (MIFI) and the federal government’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). For those who want to settle in Quebec, you will first have to be selected by the Province and obtain a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) before you can apply for permanent residence in Canada.


The regular process in Quebec starts with an application called “declaration of interest” filed on a web platform named “Arrima”. It is an online portal used by Quebec authorities to select skilled workers for permanent residence. You will be able to formally submit your application for permanent residence to the federal government only after you have received an invitation from the Quebec Government. Through this regular process, the authorities evaluate your application according to a point system based on criteria such as age, work experience, academic training, and proficiency in French and English.


There are many paths to Canadian permanent residence. The most important thing is that you are well advised so you can choose the most appropriate immigration program for your settlement in Canada. Plans to come to Canada may be unsuccessful or delayed simply because a rigorous analysis of your options was not done.


This article contains general information  on immigration and does not constitute a legal opinion. For legal advice about your personal situation, contact the Jurinovo team.

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