A Guide to Immigrating to Vancouver, Canada

Thinking of making the move to Vancouver? If you’re planning on immigrating to Canada or you’re already here and you’re wondering if you can become a permanent resident, this guide is for you. Learn more about the immigration process, how and where to apply, what fees to expect, and more.

 Main Types of Immigration

Canada and the Province of British Columbia have several immigration programs, most of which fall under either the family or economy class. Below are brief overviews of each so you can get an idea about your options:

BC Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Operated by the Province in conjunction with the federal government (Citizenship and Immigration Canada), this economic immigration program aims to attract foreign workers who can meet B.C. employers’ critical employment needs as well as entrepreneurs who want to invest in and actively manage a business here. If you’re eligible for either the Skills or Business Immigration streams and your application is successful, the Province will nominate you for permanent residence and thus accelerate the processing time. Note that it’s still CIC that will be making the final decision.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

This is for foreign nationals who’ve studied or worked in Canada and wish to become permanent residents. Eligible applicants can benefit from speedier processing times and can remain in the country while their applications are being processed.

Start-Up Visa Program

A relatively new program, it’s aimed towards immigrant entrepreneurs with unique business ideas and connects them with designated angel investors, business incubators, and venture capitalists.

Immigrant Investor Program and Federal Entrepreneur Program

CIC has temporarily paused accepting applications under both of these programs though it will continue to process those received before the suspension.

Self-Employed Persons Program

This program is for those who have relevant experience in cultural activities, athletics or farm management, which will enable them to be self-employed and to make a significant contribution to Canadian culture and sports. Those with farm management experience must intend and be able to purchase and manage a farm here.

Family Sponsorship

Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor their spouse, partner, dependent child or other eligible relative to come to the country as permanent residents.

Canada’s other immigration programs are:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Federal Skilled Trades Worker Program
  • Live-in Caregiver Program
  • Refugee Programs

Application and Processing

Applications and processing times vary greatly, depending on the chosen program, the Canadian visa office in your country, and the application method. Below are the most recent estimates from CIC. Note that the estimates for some visa offices and programs are unavailable and you should contact CIC if you don’t find the information you need.

For Provincial Nominee Applications:

 

Asia and Pacific

Visa Office

Processing Times
IN MONTHS
(based on a complete application package)

Beijing – China

20

Colombo – Sri Lanka

12

Hong Kong – China

14

Manila – Philippines

12

New Delhi – India

15

Singapore – Singapore

27

Sydney – Australia

12

Africa and Middle East

Visa Office

Processing Times
IN MONTHS
(based on a complete application package)

Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

28

Accra – Ghana

16

Ankara – Turkey

48

Cairo – Egypt

11

Dakar – Senegal

22

Nairobi – Kenya

11

Pretoria – South Africa

14

Rabat – Morocco

9

Tel Aviv – Israel

14

 

Americas

Visa Office

Processing Times
IN MONTHS
(based on a complete application package)

Bogota – Colombia

20

Buenos Aires – Argentina

10

Guatemala City – Guatemala

22

Kingston – Jamaica

15

Los Angeles – United States

30

Mexico City – Mexico

15

New York – United States

31

Ottawa (Case Processing Pilot) – Canada

17

Port of Spain – Trinidad and Tobago

15

Sao Paulo – Brazil

18

 

Europe

Visa Office

Processing Times
IN MONTHS
(based on a complete application package)

Bucharest – Romania

16

Kyiv – Ukraine

16

London – United Kingdom

27

Moscow – Russia

14

Paris – France

7

Rome – Italy

21

Vienna – Austria

17

Warsaw – Poland

9

 

For Canadian Experience Class (CEC) – 13 Months 

For Start-Up Visa – Still Unavailable

For Self-Employed Persons

Asia and Pacific

Visa Office

Processing Times
IN MONTHS
(based on a complete application package)

Hong Kong – China

70

New Delhi – India

97

 

Europe

Visa Office

Processing Times
IN MONTHS
(based on a complete application package)

Paris – France

39

 

Americas

Visa Office

Processing Times
IN MONTHS
(based on a complete application package)

Bogota – Colombia

55

Ottawa (Case Processing Pilot) – Canada

23

Sao Paulo – Brazil

38

For Family Sponsorship

These applications are processed in two (2) steps and the time estimate for step 1 is updated weekly and quarterly for step 2. The most recent time approximates can be found on the CIC website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/perm-fc.asp.

 Fee Schedule

The majority of CIC applications will have processing fees. As of this writing, the latest required fees (in Canadian dollars) are below.

 

For Citizenship

Right of Citizenship            $100

Grant of Citizenship           $100

 

For Family Class Applicants

Sponsorship application (per application)

$75

Principal applicant

$475

Principal applicant, if less than 22 years of age and not a spouse or common-law partner (including a dependent child of the sponsor, a child to be adopted and an orphaned brother, sister, niece, nephew or grandchild)

$75

A family member of the principal applicant who is 22 years of age or older, or is less than 22 years of age and is a spouse or common-law partner

$550

A family member of the principal applicant who is less than 22 years of age and is not a spouse or common-law partner

$150

For Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and Provincial Nominees

 

Principal applicant

$550

Each family member age 22 or older

$550

Each family member under age 22 who is married or in a common-law relationship

$550

Each family member under age 22 who is unmarried and not in a common-law relationship

$150

 

For Self-Employed Persons Class

 

Principal applicant

$1,050

A family member of the principal applicant who is 22 years of age or older, or is less than 22 years of age and is a spouse or common-law partner

$550

A family member of the principal applicant who is less than 22 years of age and is not a spouse or common-law partner

$150

 

For Start-Up Business Class

 

Principal applicant

$1,050

Each family member age 22 or older

$550

Each family member under age 22 who is married or in a common-law relationship

$550

Each family member under age 22 who is unmarried and not in a common-law relationship

$150

 

Other Fees

Once your application is approved, you will need to pay the Right of Permanent Residence Fee. Dependent children are exempt.

 

Principal applicant

$490

Spouse or common-law partner

$490 

More Info on Permanent Residency

What does it mean to be a permanent resident? If you have been granted permanent resident status, this means that you have the right to:

  • apply for citizenship
  • live, study or work anywhere in the country
  • enjoy most of the social benefits that citizens receive such as health care
  • be protected by Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

You cannot vote or run for any political office, however, nor hold particular jobs that require high-level security clearance. As a permanent resident, your responsibilities include paying taxes and respecting Canadian laws at all levels.

Your status also comes with residency obligations – you must reside in Canada for at least two years in a five-year period. Not meeting this obligation may result in your losing your status.

You will also get a permanent resident card, also known as the PR card, which you will need if you plan to travel outside the country. This is the official proof of your status and it will need to be shown upon re-entry if you are onboard a commercial vehicle.

More on Sponsoring Parents and Grandparents

Are you thinking about having your parents and/or grandparents join you in Vancouver? The Parent and Grandparent stream of the Family Sponsorship program, which has been on hold for two years, has just reopened, but before you send in an application it’s important that you become aware of your responsibilities as a sponsor and that your parents understand the benefits and drawbacks of immigrating here.

The advantages of moving to Canada – and B.C. in particular – are manifold:

  • The standard of living and quality of life are topnotch. Vancouver has been ranked among the world’s best cities to live for years.
  • The natural setting is beautiful and offers plenty of options for outdoor recreation.
  • The healthcare and education system are excellent and there are plenty of seniors’ programs and centres to help seniors make the most of life here.

Those moving to a new country will always face challenges, however, and you must also weigh the disadvantages when making your decision. These include:

  • Language – English is B.C.’s official language and immigrants who don’t speak it can have a difficult time settling in and becoming part of the community.
  • Culture – Adjusting to a new place with different cultural norms will always be challenging, especially for older individuals who are used to a different way of life.
  • Climate – While the climate in B.C. is more temperate than most other parts of the country, it can still get pretty cold here and those unused to dealing with winter might get a shock if they aren’t prepared.
  • Social support network – For many immigrants, immigrating means leaving behind an extensive social network. Your parents and/or grandparents may feel isolated and this can lead to depression.

To find out if moving to Canada is the right step for them to take, consider testing the waters first, so to speak. Consider applying for a Parent and Grandparent Super Visa instead. A multi-entry visa, it’s valid for up to ten (10) years and will allow them to stay in the country for up to two (2) years without renewal.

For more insights and for recommended professionals and service providers who can help you with your immigration needs, get in touch with me anytime. Contact me as well for more information on real estate investment opportunities in BC. I must also note that immigration law is constantly being amended, so it’s always best to check with the appropriate provincial and federal government agencies for the latest updates.

 

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