September 2022
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Permanent Stay


Canada’s Family Class Sponsorship programs are some of the most generous family reunification programs in the developed world. After all, the Canadian government is committed to keeping families together whenever possible.
There are a number of relationships that qualify for Family Class Sponsorship, including spouses and common law partners, parents and grandparents, dependent children, and potentially other relationships under certain Provincial Family Sponsorship programs. For parents and grandparents, there is also the Super Visa program.

Certain provinces reunite families through their Provincial Nominee Programs, offering fast-track processing of Canadian immigration applications for people with family members who are residents of that province or territory. Some Provincial Nominee Programs allow Canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor the same qualifying family members as the Federal Family Class, but other programs are open for more distant relations, such as cousins.

Provincial Nominee Programs with a Family Class Category

To get started on exploring your Family Class Sponsorship options, I invite you to start free assessment on my website.

Available Sponsorship Programs

Spouse or Common Law Partner Sponsorship

These programs allow Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor a spouse or common-law partner to come to Canada.

Parent and Grandparent Family Class Sponsorship

This type of sponsorship allows a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to bring his or her parent or grandparent to Canada.

Parent and Grandparent Super Visa

Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents can apply for a multiple entry visa valid for up to 10 years.

Dependent Child Sponsorship

This program allows Canadian citizens or permanent residents to bring their dependent natural or dependent adopted children to Canada.

Provincial Family Class Sponsorship

These programs offer additional options, including the sponsorship of relatives that might not meet the eligibility requirements of the federal programs.


Provincial nomination is an important fast-track option for Canadian permanent residence.

The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) allow Canadian provinces and territories to nominate individuals who wish to immigrate to Canada and who are interested in settling in a particular province.
Each Canadian province (except Quebec, which has a different selection system) and two territories have their own unique Provincial Nominee Programs. Participating provinces and territories sign agreements with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that allow them to select immigrants who meet the requirements that they have set forth.
Provincial and territorial governments have been using these programs to more effectively and efficiently welcome newcomers to their region. Each PNP is tailored to the province’s/territory’s specific needs to select nominees who will be able to settle into life and work in the region and to effectively contribute to the community. As of 2015, most PNPs contain at least one immigration stream aligned with the federal Express Entry immigration selection system. These are known as ‘enhanced’ nominations.


The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is an immigration category for Canada’s temporary foreign workers who wish to become Permanent Residents.

Temporary foreign workers are ideal candidates for Canadian immigration (Permanent Residency). Having obtained Canadian work experience, these individuals have already settled into Canadian society and have established important networks in their communities and their careers.

CEC requirements

Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements. They must have:

  • Obtained at least one year of skilled, professional or technical work experience in Canada within 36 months of the application date; and
  • Met or surpassed a Canadian Language Benchmark threshold of 5 (“initial intermediate”) or 7 (“adequate intermediate proficiency”) depending on the level of the job.
  • Plan to live and work outside of the Province of Quebec (individuals who plan to reside in Quebec may apply to the Quebec Experience Class)

A Popular Option for International Students – For many international graduates, the Canadian Experience Class offers the fastest and most simple path to achieving Permanent Residency.


After completing a program or course of study at a Canadian educational institution, many international graduates are able to remain in the country on post-graduate work permits. If, during this time, a graduate obtains at least one year of work in a skilled, professional or technical field, they may then become eligible to apply under the Canadian Experience.

What If I completed a post-secondary program in Canada?

If you are a graduate of a post-secondary institution in Canada and have studied as a full-time student for at least 2 academic years, you may be eligible to apply to immigrate through the CEC program.

Like other CEC applicants, you must have 1 year or equivalent of skilled work experience in Canada. This work experience must have been obtained after you graduated and cannot have been obtained on a student visa.

If you were in a co-op program (or another academic program with a similar work placement or internship), your co-op work experience does not count towards this 1 year. You can only count work experience that you get after you graduate. Part-time work while you were a full-time student does not count towards your eligible work experience.

Skilled work experience may be obtained while on a post-graduation work permit or a similar work permit.

If you have graduated from, or have completed 2 years of a PhD program in Canada, you may be able to apply as a Federal Skilled Worker.

To work in Canada after you graduate, you must apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP). If you want to stay in Canada as a permanent resident after you graduate, there are a number of programs available, each with its own requirements.

Get a post-graduation work permit

The PGWPP allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience. Skilled Canadian work experience gained through the PGWPP helps graduates qualify for permanent residence in Canada through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC):

A work permit under the PGWPP may be issued for the length of the study program, up to a maximum of three years. A post-graduation work permit cannot be valid for longer than the student’s study program, and the study program must be a minimum of eight months in length. For example, if you graduate from a four-year degree program, you could be eligible for a three-year work permit if you meet the criteria. If you graduate from an eight-month certificate program, you would be eligible for a work permit that is valid for no more than eight months.

Determine your eligibility Work after graduation

To obtain a work permit after your graduation, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have studied full time in Canada and you must have completed a program of study that lasted at least eight months.
  • In addition, you must have graduated from:
    • a public post-secondary institution, such as a college, trade/technical school, university or CEGEP (in Quebec), or
    • a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as public institutions, or
    • a private secondary or post-secondary institution (in Quebec) offering qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer leading to a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP), or
    • a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees but only if you are enrolled in one of the programs of study leading to a degree as authorized by the province and not in all programs of study offered by the private institution.
  • You must apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation (for example, a transcript or an official letter) from your institution indicating that you have met the requirements for completing your academic program.
  • You must have completed and passed the program of study and received a notification that you are eligible to obtain your degree, diploma or certificate.
  • You must have a valid study permit when you apply for the work permit.

NOTE: If you have graduated from a vocational or professional training program at a public or private secondary institution in Quebec, regulated by the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS), you may be eligible to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit. In addition, applicants must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older at the time of application
  • Have a valid study permit when you apply for the work permit
  • Have completed a full time program that lasted 900 hours or more (normally eight months in length), leading to a Diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an Attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP)
  • Apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation (for example, a transcript or an official letter) from your institution indicating that you have met the requirements for completing your academic program
  • Provide a supporting letter from your institution outlining the duration of studies and the program code

Impact of length of program of study in Canada and the length of the work permit

A Post-Graduation Work Permit cannot be valid longer than the official length of your program of study in Canada. For example, students graduating from a four-year degree program might be eligible for a three-year year work permit. Students graduating from an eight-month certificate program would only be eligible for a work permit of eight months.

If the official length of your program of study is:

  • less than eight months
    • you are not eligible for this program
  • less than two years but more than eight months
    • you may get a work permit for a period no longer than the length of your program of study (for example, if you studied for nine months, a work permit may be issued for a period of nine months)
  • two years or more
    • a work permit may be issued for three years

You are not eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program if you:

  • study in a program that is less than eight months long
  • participate in a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD)
  • participate in a Government of Canada Awards Program funded by DFATD
  • receive funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
  • participate in the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada-Chile
  • participate in the Canada-China Scholars Exchanges Program
  • participate in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program
  • participate in a distance learning program either from abroad or from within Canada or
  • have previously been issued a Post-Graduation Work Permit following any other program of study.

Immigrate to Canada – Canadian Experience Class

If you are a foreign student who recently graduated in Canada, you likely have the qualities to make a successful transition from temporary to permanent residence. You are familiar with Canadian society and can contribute to the Canadian economy. You should have knowledge of English or French and qualifying work experience.

You may be eligible to apply to stay in Canada permanently under the CEC.

PhD eligibility stream Federal skilled workers

Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced a new initiative aimed at boosting Canadian innovation and helping Canada’s educational institutions attract and retain talented scholars at the doctoral level.

As of November 5, 2011, international PhD students who wish to become permanent residents of Canada have been able to submit applications for processing as Federal Skilled Workers. To be eligible under the new stream, which is capped at 1,000 applications per year, applicants must have completed at least two years of study toward the attainment of a PhD and remain in good academic standing at a provincially recognized post-secondary educational institution in Canada. Foreign nationals who have graduated from a Canadian PhD program within the preceding 12 months are also eligible. Note that PhD applicants must also meet all the requirements of the Federal Skilled Worker Program. This initiative will help Canada and Canadian universities to attract and retain top talent in a global economy. While PhD holders make up a small proportion of the population, they play a unique and integral role in our nation’s economic health. Doctoral graduates drive research, encourage innovation and pass on their knowledge through teaching.



Express Entry is used to manage applications for permanent residence under these federal economic immigration programs:

Provinces and territories can also recruit candidates from the Express Entry system through their Provincial Nominee Programs to meet local labour market needs.

Step 1) Potential candidates complete an online Express Entry profile

Potential candidates will complete an online Express Entry profile. This is a secure form that they will use to provide information about their:

  • skills,
  • work experience,
  • language ability,
  • education, and
  • other details that will help us assess them.

Those who meet the criteria of one of the federal immigration programs listed above will be accepted into a pool of candidates.

Anyone who does not already have a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) (if you need one), or a nomination from a province or territory, must register with Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Job Bank. Job Bank will help connect Express Entry candidates with eligible employers in Canada.

Candidates are also encouraged to promote themselves to employers in other ways, such as using job boards, recruiters etc.

For a job offer to be valid in Express Entry and receive points, employers will need an LMIA from ESDC. The LMIA process ensures employers have made an effort to hire Canadians and permanent residents for available jobs. There will be no LMIA fee for permanent resident applications.

Note: Entry into the Express Entry pool does not guarantee a candidate will be issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. Invited candidates still have to meet eligibility and admissibility requirements under Canada’s immigration law (Immigration and Refugee Protection Act).

Step 2) The highest-ranking candidates in the pool will be invited to apply for permanent residence

Candidates will be ranked against others in the pool using a point-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System. Points are awarded using the information in their profile.

Candidates with the highest scores in the pool will be issued an Invitation to Apply. Candidates will be awarded points for:

  • a job offer, and/or
  • a nomination from a province or territory, and/or
  • skills and experience factors.

A candidate can get additional points for:

  • a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment, or
  • a nomination by a province or territory

These additional points will make a candidate rank high enough to be invited to apply at the next eligible round of invitations.

If someone is invited to apply, they will have 60 days to submit an online application for permanent residence.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada will process the majority of complete applications (meaning those with all the necessary supporting documents) in six months or less.

Candidates can stay in the pool for up to 12 months. If they do not get an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence within 12 months of submitting an Express Entry profile, they may submit a new profile. If they still meet the criteria, they can re-enter the pool. This will prevent backlogs and ensure quick processing times.


As of January 2015, skilled foreign workers have access to Express Entry a new electronic application management system which applies to Canada’s key economic immigration programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP);
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP);
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC); and,
  • A portion of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP).
  1. Express Entry is not a new immigration program; it is a new way for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to manage economic immigration applications online.
  2. For prospective skilled foreign workers, Express Entry will result in faster processing times.
  3. Express Entry will also make it easier for candidates to secure a job before they arrive, by facilitating matches with Canadian employers.
  • Moving away from the old system
    First application in, first to be processed
    Average of 12-14 months or longer to process a permanent residence application

Moving forward
Candidates who are most likely to succeed in Canada, rather than the first in line, will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence.
Express Entry candidates will benefit from processing times of six months or less.

With Express Entry

Provinces/Territories are able to use the Express Entry pool to find candidates for their Provincial Nominee Programs.
Canadian employers have a greater and more direct role in economic immigration. Candidates in the Express Entry pool have the opportunity to increase their chances of being invited to apply by promoting themselves directly to employers.
The Government of Canada’s new and improved Job Bank helps connect Express Entry candidates with Canadian employers, making economic integration faster once immigrants arrive in Canada.

The New Two-Step Application Process


Step 1: Online Express Entry Profile
Potential candidates express their interest in coming to Canada by creating an Express Entry profile and providing information about their skills, work experience, language ability, education and other details.
To qualify for the Express Entry pool, potential candidates must meet the criteria of at least ONE of three federal economic immigration programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
  • Canadian Experience Class CEC)

Job Bank & Self-promotion
Candidates need to register with Job Bank if they do not already have a Canadian job offer or a Provincial/Territorial nomination.
Candidates should also promote themselves and signal their presence in the Express Entry pool to employers, recruiters, private sector job boards, etc.

Express Entry Pool
Candidates are given a score  to determine their place in the pool using a Comprehensive Ranking System, which consider skills, work experience, language ability, education and other factors that we know contribute to economic success for immigrants once in Canada.
While in the pool, candidates are required to update their profile to reflect changes in status, e.g. language, education, family composition, etc.

Step 2: Invitation to Apply (ITA)
An Express Entry candidate can receive an Invitation to Apply if they:

  • Have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer (subject to the Labour Market Impact Assessment in place at that time);
  • Are nominated by a province or territory; or,
  • Are among the top ranked in the Express Entry pool based on their skills, education and experience.

Candidates who receive an Invitation to Apply will have 60 days to submit an online application for permanent residence in one of the following programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP);
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP);
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC); or,
  • A portion of the Provincial Nominee Program PNP).

CIC will process the majority of complete applications received within six months or less.

Provinces and Territories = Key Partners

  1. Potential candidates may qualify for a provincial or territorial nomination as part of Express Entry.
  2. Provinces and Territories are able to nominate candidates who meet their regional labour market needs.
  3. When an Express Entry candidate is nominated through a Provincial Nominee Program, they will be invited to apply for permanent residence.

A few things to keep in mind

  1. Potential candidates are not required to hire an immigration representative to participate in Express Entry.
  2. To complete an Express Entry profile, candidates must submit valid language test results and Educational Credential Assessments (if their education was completed outside of Canada and they wish to receive points towards their Express Entry score).
  3. Express Entry profiles are valid for one year. Candidates who still want to come to Canada as skilled immigrants will need to complete and submit a new profile. If they still meet minimum entry criteria, they will receive a new Express Entry Profile Number.

The Government of Canada believes that foreign workers can help employers meet their labour needs when Canadians and permanent residents are not available. As part of this process the government supports higher-skilled foreign workers based on their potential to become economically established in Canada and to assist employers to meet their skilled labour shortages.

Employers who wish to hire skilled foreign workers and support their permanent resident visa application can make a job offer under Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) Express Entry system. The job offer must meet the criteria of 1 of the listed economic immigration programs.

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

The employer must be offering a job that is:

  • for higher-skilled positions such as: management, professional, scientific, technical or trade occupations (National Occupational Classification (NOC), skill type 0, and skill levels A and B)
  • full-time hours (a minimum of 30 hours of work per week);
  • permanent; and
  • non-seasonal.

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

The employer must be offering a job that is for:

Note: Under the FSTP, the employment offer can be made by up to two employers.

Applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

As an employer, you must apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before you can hire a Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW). A positive LMIA will show that:

  • there is no Canadian worker available to do the job
  • there is a need for the foreign worker to fill the job you offer
  • hiring a TFW will not negatively affect the Canadian labour market

Some work categories are exempt from the LMIA process.

How to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment

  • Refer to the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system to determine the skill level of the occupation.
    The NOC is Canada’s nationally accepted system for organizing job titles into occupational group descriptions, each of which has a four-digit code. This coding is used to classify occupations according to skill type (i.e., the nature of the work performed) and skill level (i.e., education or training required).
    To learn more, review the NOC 2011 Matrix, which provides an overview of the entire occupational classification structure based on skill levels and skill types.
  • Meet minimum advertising requirements. Employment and Social Development Canada/Service Canada (ESDC) reserves the right to require alternative or additional advertising if it believes that broader advertisement would find qualified Canadians or permanent residents.
  • Meet or exceed the prevailing wage rate for the position. Prevailing wage rate is identified as the average hourly wage for the requested occupation in the specified geographical area.
  • Special conditions apply if you hire foreign workers in some industry sectors and occupations, including seasonal agriculture, live-in caregivers and occupations requiring lower levels of formal training (NOC C and D; review the NOC 2011 Matrix).
  • Eligible foreign workers can work in Canada for an authorized period of time if employers can demonstrate that:
    • they cannot find suitable Canadians/permanent residents to fill the jobs and
    • the entry of these workers will not have a negative effect on the Canadian labour market.
  • Submit an application for an LMIA to Service Canada. You can submit this application before identifying the Temporary Foreign Worker.
  • If Service Canada approves the job offer, send a copy of the LMIA confirmation letter to the foreign worker.
  • Advise the foreign worker to apply for a work permit from IRCC.
  • IRCC must be satisfied that the foreign worker is qualified and meets certification and licensing requirements for regulated occupations in Canada. Consult the professional association’s website to determine the process for foreign-trained workers.

Additional criteria

You must use the new LMIA application form specific to each stream of the TFWP: the application form includes a signed statement that the employer will abide by the program requirements.

  • If you have not previously applied for an LMIA, you must provide a business licence or permit.

Business licence or documentation

All employers must submit a copy of the following documents:

  • Job offer (signed by the employer and the foreign worker);
  • Proof of recruitment (e.g. copy of advertisement and information to support where, when and for how long the position was advertised);
  • Business registration or legal incorporation documents (if first LMIA application);
  • Provincial/territorial/municipal business licence (where applicable and if first LMIA application);
  • Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) documents, including:
    • T4 Summary of Remuneration Paid (most current year ending)
    • PD7A Statement of Account for current source deductions (for 12-month period preceding LMIA application)
    • Schedules 100 and 125 – T2 Corporation Income Tax Return (for corporations only – 2 most recent returns filed)
    • T2125 Statement of Business or Professional Activities (for sole proprietorships/partnerships only – 2 most recent returns filed)
  • Commercial lease agreement (if applicable)
  • Provincial documentation requirements:
    • Alberta – Employment Agency Business Licence (Alberta’s Fair Trading Act), if applicable
    • British Columbia – Employment Agency Licence (British Columbia’s Employment Standards Act), if applicable
    • Manitoba – Certificate of Registration (Manitoba’s Worker Recruitment and Protection Act)
    • Nova Scotia – Employer Registration Certificate (Labour Standards Code)
    • Saskatchewan – Employer Registration Certificate (The Foreign Worker Recruitment and Immigration Services Act) (no documentation required, however employers must be registered).