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The 5 Minute Guide On How To Emigrate To Canada
|Published:||29 Sep at 2 PM|
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There are a number of avenues for emigrants to obtain a permanent resident visa in Canada. The country is one of the most welcoming in the world, eager to accept foreigners with certain skills to enhance the society. Special work visas are available for 29 specialised fields (for those already working on a temporary work permit in Canada), with a point system used to determine who gets priority when handing out visas http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/assess/index.asp.
Business visas are also available for entrepreneurs with sufficient capital to start their business, and Investors Visas are available for wealthy foreigners who simply want to invest large amounts of cash with the Canadian government. All of the different visa categories are well explained on the government website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/index.asp.
Long stay visas and other non-immigrant visas are also available for those who do not plan to move permanently to the country. More than 35 million foreigners visit Canada each year on temporary non-immigrant visas, so they are fairly easy to obtain. From students to business people exploring business opportunities, the government has several visa extension options. This official site lays it out well: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/apply-how.asp.
The process of getting established in Canada is one of the easiest in the world. Each province has special government offices that help set up the national services like healthcare and identification cards. Although each province is autonomous they all answer to the federal government in Ottawa for many major programs and funding. A useful website is available from the government with loads of information.
The costs of living in Canada are among the cheapest in the developed world. There are extensive rental property markets in all the main towns and cities, and well-established expat communities in every large city. Internet and mobile phone service covers the entire country except for a few remote pockets in the far north. The job market reflects the current overall global economy, so finding work depends largely on your training and experience, and the needs of the local markets.
Healthcare is one of the positive things about being a resident of Canada. While it certainly has its flaws, the government subsidises nearly all healthcare as part of its taxation. Private health cover can also be purchased if the perennial problem of long wait times for certain medical care is unacceptable.
Despite the sheer size of Canada, the entire country is far enough north that it experiences largely the same climate. The coastal regions like Nova Scotia and British Columbia have their own weather, which is rainier and cooler than the interior provinces. But throughout the interior of Canada there are four distinct seasons, with slightly long winters and warm humid summers. Since nearly all Canadians live within a horizontal band along the southern border with the United States, most cities share the same climate. The further north you go, the colder and harsher the climate becomes. At its extreme north it is winter nearly all year. But few people actually live up there.
Money and Costs
Living in Canada can be as affordable or luxurious as you want. Basic costs of living are very reasonable, especially in the smaller cities. Even the most popular cities like Vancouver, Alberta and Toronto have affordable districts alongside their posh neighbourhoods. The prices of heating gas, electricity and water are all in line with most developed countries. Extras like internet, cell phone service and cable tv are typically bundled together. Start up costs will be fairly high, however, especially for emigrants planning to rent their home. So be sure and bring sufficient cash of several thousand dollars to cover the initial outlays.
To open bank accounts, enrol children in school and get your healthcare card you need to first obtain a Canadian identification card or driving license. Once the proper ID has been completed it’s straight forward to open new accounts and take advantage of government programs and assistance. Check the official government site on costs of living.
The value for money of hiring a professional international moving company to help transport your household goods cannot be overstressed. Companies such as Mayflower are experts at navigating the red tape of Canadian customs and arranging transport and moving from start to finish. They can even pack your household items if you want. The service they provide is not cheap, but it eliminates one of the biggest headaches of making a major relocation to a new unfamiliar country.
Canada has one of the world’s most open property markets. Even non-residents are allowed by law to fully own real estate in their name under certain minor conditions. Renting property is even easier, requiring simply enough cash for the deposit and sometimes proof of income. People looking to buy a home or apartment typically use a licensed real estate agent to help them find the right property then handle all the documentation involved with the transfer of ownership. In Canada, the seller pays the real estate agent’s commission, so their services are free for buyers.
Renting is very common in Canada. Whether it’s a home or apartment, even the smallest Canadian town will have a lively rental market. Nearly all rentals require that you sign a lease, typically for one year. The landlord will ask for a deposit, often one or two months equivalent of the rent price, to ensure against any damage you might cause during your lease. To move in you will need to pay the first month’s rent and when you vacate at the end of the lease you can expect to get your full deposit returned. Renters are responsible for all basic utilities as well as the general upkeep of the grounds. It’s suggested to browse the government’s website on housing.
English is the official language of the federal government, media and most business in Canada. The exception is Quebec province, a fully French region where French is spoken first and often only in the cities like Montreal and Quebec City. The Quebecois can certainly speak English as well, but their fierce sense of pride means that they will often converse only in French. In Canada’s larger cities such as Vancouver and Toronto it is common to hear other languages from around the world such as Spanish and Mandarin. These large urban hubs are where most emigrants move to when they arrive, and each has strong ethnic communities from dozens of cultures across the globe. Toronto is arguably the most cosmopolitan of Canada’s cities, with a selection of English language schools for students and emigrants who need to improve their English and French skills.
Canada has virtually no health risks to worry about besides the occasional case of mosquito-borne disease in the summer and the possibility of hepatitis from poor restaurant sanitation. The government offers a healthcare program to all its residents that is essentially free. It is paid for by taxes, but it has a few problems that make it unpopular with a fairly large sector of the population.
Each resident receives a healthcare card that can be used for everything from simple doctor visits to serious medical care. Regardless of social status or wealth, every Canadian receives the same level of health care, known as Medicare. The problem with this system is that many popular medical procedures have incredibly long wait periods. Demand outweighs doctor and facility supply in Canada, and it’s the biggest social issue in debate right now in the country. Private medical insurance is also available but it won’t necessarily reduce the dreaded wait times. On the plus side, medical care is totally free and Canadian doctors are expertly trained.
Like all developed countries, Canada has jobs in every possible field. The nation has weathered the global economic slump better than most, so there are still decent opportunities for professional jobs in most fields. In particular, fields like engineering, science, oil and gas exploration and medicine are in high demand. Oil and gas is one of the country’s top industries, so engineers with this kind of specific training and experience will have little trouble finding good work. Medical technicians, nurses and doctors are also always in demand. Manual labour and wage positions in retail and food and beverage are also fairly easy jobs to secure. But for virtually every job in Canada (outside of Quebec) it is essential that your English skills are nearly fluent. In Quebec, you will need to speak French to have any chance at a decent job. Canada’s government website explains all the steps involved.
Entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Canada. Many residents choose to open their own business, and there many sectors that plenty of room for growth. The government red tape involved with starting a new business is manageable, though many emigrants hire a specialised lawyer to assist them. Canada also has an Investors Visa, which gives wealthy investors a permanent resident visa for simply investing a huge amount of money with the government. The immigration webpage
Public education is offered free in Canada to every resident, and attendance is mandatory by law. In general, the level of public schooling is very good. Parents who want more for their children can opt to pay for private schooling, which is very expensive in Canada. Children begin school at around age 6 and continue through high school at age 18. In high school, students are encouraged to pursue specific skills training for careers they want to have after graduation.
The large cities in Canada like Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Alberta have the best schools in the country, both public and private. Except for French-speaking Quebec province, all public schools are taught in English. For higher education, Canada has two types of school. Colleges focus on specific skills training akin to vocational schools, while universities are more geared towards academic studies and professional careers. The government heavily subsidises higher education in Canada, so the costs of a college degree are quite reasonable.
Often overshadowed by its more high-profile neighbour to the south, Canada does indeed have a culture uniquely its own. Canadian society resembles that of America in many ways, just in a less pretentious and more relaxed manner. As a relatively new nation, Canada is a land of immigrants mixed with an interesting indigenous culture known as the First Nations people.
English is the official language used in nearly all of Canada, except for Quebec province, a unique pocket of French culture, society and language in the eastern region of the country. Canadians pride themselves on being a laid-back, tolerant society, welcoming emigrants of all races, creeds and religions. The major cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton all have large and diverse ethnic communities.
Canadian cuisine is not a highlight of its culture, though in most cities the cuisine of the world is well represented. Its western city of Vancouver is home to a large Asian community, while the Maritimes on the eastern coast are made up of colourful independent folks with Scottish, Irish and Creole roots. Canadians love the outdoors, and spend their precious short summer months fishing, camping, hiking and playing outside. Hockey is the national sport, ubiquitous in every town during the winter. The government’s website lays it all out pretty well.
Travel & Leisure
Canadians are fairly well travelled, their maple leaf flag stitched to backpacks and bags that tour the world. They love their free time, and spend as much of it as possible outdoors pursuing recreational activities and sports in the hundreds of national parks and public areas. During the brief summer months you will see many people fishing, biking, hiking, camping and playing sports. Autumn is popular for hunting in the forests, and the long winter opens up the backcountry to skiing, snowmobiling and even ice fishing.
Canada is a truly massive country, spread from the Pacific to the Atlantic Oceans. Most Canadians own a car or two and use it as their main form of transport, both for daily use and as a means of long-distance travel. The fastest way to travel around Canada is by air, with excellent airports in Vancouver, Toronto and most cities of note in between. Greyhound Canada is the national bus service that provides affordable transport to even the smallest towns in the country. Alternatively, VIA Rail has train routes that run straight across the country and between a handful of cities in the eastern region. The Canadian government’s tourism website is a wonderful place to explore.
Comments » There are 2 comments
Dianne wrote 10 years ago:
Lots of good info here, but the visa information in the first paragraph is no longer valid...the Federal Skilled Worker program is no longer an option unless someone is already working on a temporary work permit in Canada, and when the revamped version of the program comes out in Jan 2013, it's predicted that there will be a requirement of a job offer in order to qualify. CIC and the various provincial immigration programs change all the time, so it's hard to keep up :-)
ExpatsBlog.com wrote 10 years ago:
Thanks for the correction Dianne :) Will amend the article so its up-to-date. For those interested, Dianne is Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant and can be contacted at www.dirussellimmigration.com