People often ask me how they can get a "Green Card" for Canada. In Canada, our closest equivalent to "Green Card" status is called permanent resident status. About 300,000 people will be welcomed into Canada as permanent residents in 2017.
So, how can you become a Canadian permanent resident? There are dozens of different application categories but most of the Canadian immigrants selected each year come from the economic immigration stream and the family immigration stream.
Economic Immigration Stream
Economic immigrants are selected based on their qualifications, including education, work experience, language ability in English and French, age and potential to adapt to life in Canada. Applicants who have previously studied or worked in Canada or who have in-demand professional skills may have a better chance of being selected under the economic immigration stream. There are also special programs for immigrants who wish to settle in a particular province or who wish to invest in a Canadian business.
Family Immigration Stream
In the family immigration stream, someone who is already a Canadian citizen or permanent resident may apply to sponsor a member of his or her family for Canadian permanent residence, including a spouse, partner, child, parent or grandparent. In these types of applications, the sponsor may have to prove that he or she has a certain level of income in order to support the whole family in Canada.
In all immigration streams, applicants for Canadian permanent residence must undergo medical tests and backgrounds checks to ensure that they do not pose a health or security risk to Canada.
Rights and Obligations of Canadian Permanent Residents
A Canadian permanent resident enjoys many of the rights and privileges enjoyed by Canadian citizens, including the right to:
- live, work or study anywhere in Canada,
- receive social benefits, such as health care,
- apply for Canadian citizenship upon fulfillment of certain requirements, and
- protection under Canadian law, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Canadian permanent residents must also pay taxes in Canada and obey Canadian laws. They are not eligible to vote or run for public office and they may not be eligible to hold certain jobs requiring high-level security clearance.
Finally, Canadian permanent residents are subject to a residency requirement: they must live in Canada for at least 2 years out of every 5 year period (some exceptions apply) in order to maintain their permanent residence status.
Are you interested in becoming a Canadian permanent resident? Please contact me to discuss your options.