Immigration Corner | Options to become a Canadian citizen
Dear Ms Powell,
I was doing some research online and came across your articles. I notice that you write mostly for people in Jamaica, but I wonder if you would still be able to help me although I am in the UK. I have lived in the UK for years but only on a work permit. I have a friend who lives in Canada, and he said he is now applying for his citizenship. Canada seems to be the best option for me and my family. When I researched, I saw so many programmes. I don’t know what the best option is. I’m highly skilled and my wife and I have degrees. I am confused. Please help.
Thank you for your email. I enjoy hearing from my readers around the world. Although the articles are published in The Jamaica Gleaner, the policies and programmes are applicable to individuals in other countries except where I specifically highlight that it is specifically for a particular country.
Canada has several routes to becoming a permanent resident and then becoming a citizen, after a few years, if you qualify. To apply for citizenship, you must first be a permanent resident, have lived in Canada for at least three out of the last five years, prove your language skills, have filed your taxes, and pass your citizenship test (if required).
Since you now live in the United Kingdom, the first step would be to select the best route to come to Canada and then apply for citizenship.
Canada has more than 80 economic programmes to become a permanent resident and several options for sponsorship. The most popular route for a professional is via the express entry system that manages the economic programmes such as the Federal Skilled Workers Programme, Federal Skilled Trades Programme, Canadian Experience Class, and some Provincial Nominee Programmes.
WHO CAN QUALIFY?
Individuals who have a minimum of one year work experience in a professional occupation such as senior manager, supervisor, phlebotomist, teacher, lecturer, lawyer, accountant, dentist, doctor, financial adviser, engineer, nurse, computer programmer, insurance worker, land surveyor, to name a few, usually qualify under the Federal Skilled Workers Programme (FSWP).
There is the Federal Skilled Trades Programme (FSTP), which is for individuals with experience in industrial, electrical, construction trades, maintenance, and equipment operation trades. Additionally, individuals with technical work experience in natural resources, agriculture, related production, processing, manufacturing, utilities, and central control operators usually fit in this category. For individuals who have experience, training, and certification as chefs, cooks, butchers, and bakers also fall in this category. To qualify, you must have done a minimum of 3,120 hours of paid work in one of the eligible trades and have the required educational credential.
The Canadian Experience Class is for individuals or their spouse who have experience working in Canada within the last three years. The work experience must be in a job that is classified under the National Occupation Class skill level ‘O’, ‘A’, ‘B’. These jobs are usually managerial, supervisory, professional, and technical or skilled-trade jobs.
Each province or territory has its own rules for individuals to apply to live permanently via the Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP). These programmes are based on the economic needs and job demands within the province.
There are other programmes available for students, entrepreneurs, self-employed individuals, especially in sports, agriculture, the arts. Application for permanent residence may be submitted through one of these specialised programmes.
The option that is best suited for you and your spouse would be based on your age, education, language ability, work experience, and other factors such as your financial status and relatives in Canada. Another factor is having a qualifying job offer, which opens many additional options for permanent residence.
I would suggest that you schedule a telephone meeting to find out the best option for you and your family so that you can have an immigration plan/strategy for becoming a permanent resident and ultimately, a citizen of Canada.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public with office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Connect with her social media, www.deidrepowell.com. Telephone 613.695.8777.