The following is a summary of some of the major provisions ofemigrating to Canada as a permanent resident.
  1. The summary is strictlyan overview and is not in any way a detailed analysis of Canadianimmigration law and should not be construed as such. 


    There are four basic categories under which persons may apply forpermanent residence in Canada:


    Family Class immigrants are those persons who are immediate familymembers (i.e., spouses, unmarried dependant children, parents,grandparents, siblings under 19 years and unmarried, nieces, nephews,etc.) of Canadian citizens or permanent residents who may besponsored.


    Independent Immigrants are persons who qualify under a pointsystem of immigration selection based primarily on occupational skillsthat are deemed to benefit the Canadian economy. Independentimmigrants must achieve 70 points of assessment out of a 10 factorSelection Criteria. Canada's point system of immigrant selection isdesigned to link the arrival of immigrants with Canada's labour needs.


    Business Immigrants are persons who qualify for immigrationpursuant to a sophisticated legislative selection and processingsystem. The programs set up in Canada for business immigration arethe following:

    a) Entrepreneurs
    b) Self-employed persons
    c) Investors
    d) Family business applications


    Refugees are accepted on the basis of Canada's commitment to theprotection of persecuted peoples pursuant to its obligations as asignatory to the United Nations Convention on Refugees.


    The purpose of the Family Class category is to facilitate the reunion in Canada of Canadians citizens and permanent residents with their close relatives from abroad. A Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor, as members of the Family Class, the following:Spouse Dependent son or dependent daughterFather or mother

      A Family Class application is initiated by the Canadian citizen orpermanent resident (the "sponsor") filing an Undertaking of Assistanceapplication inside Canada. The Undertaking of Assistance must includeproof of the sponsor's ability to assist the intending immigrantfinancially, proof of the sponsor's Canadian citizenship or permanentresidence, proof of the sponsor's relationship with the intendingimmigrant and the required processing fee. Only in the case of aspousal sponsorship is a sponsor not required to meet the financialrequirements. In every other case, the sponsor must prove his/herability to provide for the needs of the intending immigrant oncepermanent residence in granted.

      Upon confirmation by Canada Immigration of the sponsor's informationand approval of the application, Canada Immigration will notify thesponsor by mail and forward the approval to the Canadian consularoffice which will process the application of the intending immigrant. When the consulate has received notification of the approvedsponsorship, an Application for Permanent Residence and instructionswill be sent to the intending immigrant.



      Canada's point system of immigration selection is designed tofacilitate the entry of persons who fulfill Canada's designatedskilled labour needs. Emphasis in the Selection Criteria is placed oneducation, practical training, experience and the likelihood ofsuccessful establishment in Canada. The Selection Criteria is composed of ten factors which are used to determine if the applicant will be successful in establishing in and adapting to Canadian society. Points are allocated for education, vocational preparation, employment experience, occupational demand, arranged employment, age, fluency in English and/or French, demographics (these units are pre-assigned by the government), having a Canadian relative and, ultimately, personal assessment. The Selection Criteria is applicable to all immigrants applying underthe Independent category. While the Selection Criteria also applies toimmigrants applying under the Business category, applicants in thelatter category are not assessed on all ten factors.

      The Canadian government publishes a list of "general" occupationswhich are considered to be in demand in Canada. This list containsmore than 100 broad occupational groups covering a wide range of workskills and at present encompasses over 800 separate occupations. Fromtime to time, the government also publishes a list of "designated"occupations in demand in certain provinces. A designated occupationreceives an additional 10 units in the Selection Criteria. Theoccupations list is amended from time to time.

      The Canadian government recently changed its treatment of potentialindependent immigrants who have relatives in Canada (other than FamilyClass) resulting in a change to the independent Selection Criteria. Formerly, if an applicant had brother, sister, grandparent,grandchild, aunt, uncle, nephew or niece in Canada who was willing toprovide an undertaking of assistance to support the applicant, theapplicant would be awarded an additional 10 or 15 points depending onthe kinship. Recent changes reduce the kinship points to five whileincreasing the number of points awarded to applicants who arequalified in occupations requiring advanced skills and highereducation. Thus those persons who have post-secondary education andadvanced skills which are in demand in Canada will find it easier toqualify.

      The Canadian government places great emphasis on the applicant'sfluency in English and French, Canada's official languages. Anapplicant who is fluent in both languages will achieve the maximumnumber of language points. An applicant who has no fluency in eitherlanguage will receive no points for language ability, which may placehis/her application in jeopardy.

      Maximum points are accorded as follows:



      Specific Vocational Preparation (the measure of formal professional, vocational, apprenticeship in plant or on the job training to acquire basic skills for the occupation in question)




      Occupational Demand in Canada


      Arranged Employment (Canada Employment Service validation or approved position in family business)


      Age (21 - 44 years)


      English/French Knowledge


      Personal Assessment


      Levels (fixed by the government)


      Assisting Relative in Canada



      Canada boasts one of the world's most comprehensive businessimmigration programmes. The point system assessment summarized abovedoes not apply in its entirety to entrepreneurs, investors andself-employed applicants. Entrepreneurs and investors are not assessedon occupation or arranged employment. They are rated only accordingto those factors which actually affect their ability to becomesuccessfully established in Canada. In the case of self-employedapplicants, the arranged employment factor does not apply.a) Entrepreneur

      This program is intended for successful business persons whosebackgrounds are suitable for managing large to medium-sizedenterprises. Immigrants in this category must actively manage thebusiness they establish in Canada.

      The program requires applicants to establish, purchase or make asubstantial investment in a business or commercial venture in Canadathat will make a significant contribution to the economy, and wherebyemployment opportunities will be created or continued in Canada forone or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents other than theentrepreneur and his/her dependants.

      If a person has excellent business experience but no firm businessproposal for a Canadian venture, the applicant will receiveconditional landing. This admission provides the entrepreneur with theopportunity to become familiar with the Canadian business environmentprior to locating or finalizing arrangements for a business which iscommensurate with his or her interests and experience. In order to beprocessed on this basis, the applicant must execute an undertaking toCanada Immigration. Conditional landing is imposed for two yearsduring which time, if a business is established successfully, anapplication can be made for the condition to be removed.

      As a condition of landing, the entrepreneur will be required to reportto a local Canada Immigration Centre before the end of the first12-month period after landing, to submit a report on the progress thathas been made in establishing or purchasing and managing a business. The entrepreneur may be required to report once again before the end of the second 12-month period for verification that the terms and conditions of his/her business establishment have been fulfilled.

      A conditionally-admitted entrepreneur can formalize his/her statuswithin two years or as soon as a business is established or purchasedwhich employs one or more Canadians, which provides significanteconomic benefits to the province of destination and which theentrepreneur actively manages.

      Persons considering applying as entrepreneurs are advised to travel toCanada for the purpose of an exploratory business visit. Such visitsare in their best interests as they provide prospective entrepreneurssome idea of the Canadian business environment as well as anopportunity to meet with officials of the province of destination toobtain their input. This procedure is recommended by CanadaImmigration.

      b) Investor

      The second type of business immigration visa is based on anapplication for permanent residence as an investor. This category isintended for successful business persons who wish to immigrate toCanada and invest in an enterprise here but who do not wish toparticipate in its management. The Canadian government's requirementsfor an investor are that:

      1. the investor must have operated, controlled or directed afinancially-successful business or commercial undertaking.

      2. the investor must have accumulated, by his/her own endeavours, anet worth of $500,000 (Cdn) (net worth = total assets less totalliabilities).

      3. the investor must make an irrevocable investment of a minimum of$250,000 for at least five years which will contribute to the creationor continuation of employment opportunities for Canadian citizens orpermanent residents other than the investor and his/her dependents. For provinces such as Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta theminimum level of investment is not $250,000, but rather $350,000 for aminimum period of five years is required. There are three tiers ofinvestments available. (Only at Tier 3 is the investment guaranteed.The investor is required to have a net worth of $700,000.00 and theinvestment has to be of $500,000 for a minimum period of five years).

      All investments are to be made in projects which have been approved bythe federal government in consultation with the particular province. The projects are promoted by private enterprise and the federalgovernment monitors compliance with the guidelines of this programmeonly and does not guarantee a return. The investor may choose to commit the funds to a business, private investment syndicate or government capital venture fund which is identified by the provincial or federal government as being of significant economic benefit and which results in the establishment, expansion or maintaining of a business or commercial venture, either solely or in conjunction with other investors. The investor does not have to settle in the province of investment.

      c) Self-EmployedThis category is intended for individuals who can demonstrate thatthey have the ability and the intent to establish a business that willmake a positive contribution to Canada either in economic, cultural orartistic terms. There is no specific job creation requirement forthis category, however, the business must generate sufficient revenuesto support the applicant and his/her dependents. The applicant is notexpected to enter into a traditional employer/employee relationshipwith a Canadian employer.Examples of applicants processed under this category include farmers,artisans, sports personalities, actors, consultants and operators oflarge business outlets which certain communities may need.

      d) Family Business Applications/Job Offers to Relatives

      Family members may apply to immigrate to Canada to join an existingfamily business. The policy is based on the Canadian citizen orresident family member demonstrating that it is more sensible toemploy a family member than using normal recruiting practices to findan employee. There must be some aspect of the job which clearly makesthe relative the logical and common sense choice, eg. the element oftrust, close relationship, working environment involving unusualworking conditions, such as long working hours. The following factorsare requisite in such applications:

      a) The applicant must fall within the assisted relative or Family Class definition in the Immigration Regulations;
      b) The job offer must be considered bona fide and must offer reasonable prospects of continuity;
      c) Wages and working conditions must be normal for the particular occupation and in the area where the family business is located;
      d) The business must have been in viable operation for a minimum of one year (this is not necessary where the business is an expansion or the branch office of an existing business which has been in viable operation for one year);
      e) The applicant must have, in his work experience and aptitude, sufficient abilities to indicate that he could successfully fill the position;

      A family business application is considered in two stages. First, theCanadian relative/owner of the business in Canada must be interviewedby an Immigration officer at an inland Canadian Immigration Centre whowill assess the business to determine if it is a bona fide andacceptable offer of employment within the immigration guidelines. TheImmigration officer will notify the appropriate visa office of theoutcome of the assessment. Second, the applicant must complete anapplication for permanent residence and undergo an interview by a visaofficer to determine his relationship to the business owner in Canadaand his ability to fulfil the job offered. A family businessapplicant is treated as an Assisted Relative applicant. The familybusiness offer of employment is treated as a validated offer ofemployment, giving the person 10 points under the arranged employmentfactor.

            Grandfather or grandmother

            Brother, sister, nephew, niece, grandson, or granddaughter who is an orphan and is under 19 years of age and unmarried (6)


            any child under 19 years of age whom the Canadian citizen or permanent resident intends to adopt and who is

            (a) an orphan
            (b) an abandoned child whose parents cannot be identified
            (c) a child born outside of marriage who has been placed with a child welfare authority for adoption
            (d) a child whose parents are separated and who has been placed with a child welfare authority for adoption
            (e) a child one of whose parents is deceased and who has been placed with a child welfare authority for adoption

            one relative regardless of age or relationship, where the Canadian citizen or permanent resident does not have a spouse, son, daughter, father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece.