Detour to Canada

WELCOME

I want to come to Canada... where do I start?

Imagine your immigration plan as an epic road trip you’re about to start. This site, then, is your roadmap. We’re here to show where and how to start your journey to becoming Canada’s permanent residents.

But while this site is for all of you aspiring immigrants, the pathway we took may not be for everyone. But you’re all welcome to explore! After all, you’ll surely learn a thing or two from our own adventure.

Without further ado, scroll down below and let your journey begin!

Step 1

There are many ways to immigrate to Canada, and the first step of this roadmap is knowing these ways and then deciding which ones you’ll take in your journey. Explore the FAQs section below to know more.

Step 2

Once you know which way to take, it’s deciding whether to hire an agency or do it your own. Also read our posts to guide on how to check if an agency is legit. Sign-up on our mailing list to get alerts on new posts.

Step 3

In this blog, I’m going to focus on the Express Entry pathway. We’ll explore this route further as we go along, but don’t worry because we’ll try to give an overview of the other routes. Go to FAQs section below to know more.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Welcome to Step 1 of this journey!

In here, we’ll explore the different ways to immigrate to Canada and answer common questions from aspiring immigrants like you. 

But before anything else, please make sure to read our Disclaimer.

The first step that you need to do is find out what possible immigration pathways can you take based on your job title.

These pathways include, but are not limited to, the following:

Here is the a list from Canada’s website that also includes other options such as the Start-up Visa Program for entrepreneurs who want to immigrate here.

In my free-to-download guidebook, “So You Want to Come to Canada… Now What“, I briefly discussed five of the above pathways, including two options in case you don’t qualify to any of these. 

Express Entry is Canada’s online system used to manage the permanent residency applications of skilled workers with foreign work experience. This is also the most common and fastest way to becoming a permanent resident for those who are eligible. 

This is how it works according to IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada).

You’ll find a better explanation of this in our Express Entry’s journey in this article.

Explore our dedicated Express Entry FAQ section for more.

If you’re not eligible to any of Express Entry’s immigration programs, or if your chances of getting a PR visa through Express Entry is low (which I explained in this post), then this pathway is your other option.

Compared to Express Entry (which is a direct route to becoming a permanent resident), the Student Pathway has two stop-overs. 

First stop-over: You need to study in Canada for at least 12 months (in any of the designated learning institutions that offer Post-Graduate Work Permit or PGWP-eligible programs). 

Second stop-over: After you graduate, you get a post-graduate work permit (PGWP). Work in Canada for at least one year (within the jobs required by your target Express Entry program). Once you’re eligible, then you can apply for permanent residency through Express Entry.

I’ve discussed more on this in my free-to-download guidebook, “So You Want to Come to Canada… Now What?“. But I’ll soon be sharing more on this blog. 

Coming to Canada to work as a temporary foreign worker is a bit challenging, but still possible. And yes, if you come here and work legally, you can later apply for permanent residency. 

If you’re not eligible to take the Express Entry route, or you think you can’t afford to come here as an international student, then the “Work in Canada route” (as I call it) might be for you.

Just like the Student Pathway, this is also not a direct route to becoming a PR in Canada. It has one stop-over – which is to work in Canada as a foreign worker for at least a year (under the jobs qualified in any of Express Entry’s programs). Once you’re eligible, you can then apply for permanent residency either through Express Entry or through a Provincial Nominee Program.

I’ve discussed more on this in my free-to-download guidebook, “So You Want to Come to Canada… Now What?“. But I’ll soon be sharing more on this blog. 

The Provincial Nominee Program is another option for you to become a permanent resident of Canada even without going through Express Entry, the student pathway, or the work-in-Canada route.

You just need to directly apply for a nomination to the province/territory you are interested in, and once you are nominated, you then submit an application for permanent residency to IRCC.

There’s an option for you to go through the paper-based process and send your application for PR by mail, but this might take longer than if you do it online and go through Express Entry instead.

On another hand, you may still need to go through Express Entry if you were nominated under the Express Entry stream.

In whichever case, getting a nomination makes you 99% sure of getting a PR visa. (With 1% depending on whether you can submit your documents completely, correctly, and on time).

I talked more about this briefly in free-to-download guidebook, “So You Want to Come to Canada… Now What?“. 

Yes, you can definitely do a DIY (do-it-yourself) application whether for Express Entry or for other immigration pathways. But before you do that, read here the pros and cons of hiring an agency versus taking the DIY route

You can also read here about Jo Anne’s successful Express Entry DIY application journey, as this is a proof that DIY works.

Yes, you can definitely do a DIY (do-it-yourself) application whether for Express Entry or for other immigration pathways.

Read here about Jo Anne’s successful Express Entry DIY application journey

Take note, however, that DIY might not be for everyone. 

I’ll be sharing soon a list of pros and cons in this blog so you can decide whether you should hire an agency or apply through DIY.

Detour to Canada is not associated nor affiliated with any immigration consultant or agencies offering immigration-related services. 

If you’re looking for a credible agency or consultant, which you should, start by asking referrals from your trusted friends or family members who have successfully immigrated to Canada. One of the agencies I can refer is FlyNorth Immigration which is owned and co-founded by my aunt. 

But also make sure to check that the agency you’re hiring is legally authorized to represent your application. Otherwise, you risk a lot of things (such as losing your hard-earned money, and a chance of getting your PR application denied). 

Making sure that the agency you’re planning to hire is legally authorized to represent you is crucial in your application. If you happen to hire an unauthorized immigration consultant, your application might get delayed or worst, rejected. (Read this news about applicants who got rejected due to hiring an unauthorized immigration consulting firm).

In other common scenarios, these unauthorized consultants may simply scam you, stealing your money even before you start your application. 

One way to know if an agency is legit is to check whether the immigration consultant who’ll represent your application is licensed and is an active member (with good standing) of ICCRC or the  Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council. 

Read here for tips from ICCRC on how to avoid immigration fraud.

We’ll be preparing posts to give you more tips and advice. Sign-up on our mailing list to receive alerts on new posts.

Explore Express Entry's FSWP

The first step to applying through Express Entry is finding out if you’re eligible to any of its three immigration programs, namely:

  1. the Federal Skilled Worker Program
  2. the Federal Skilled Trades Program
  3. the Canadian Experience Class

To find out if you’re eligible to any of these three programs, you can do any of these:

  1. Answer IRCC’s online questionnaire
  2. Read the detailed requirements for each of the program (here’s for the Federal Skilled Worker Program)
  3. Get a pre-assessment from a licensed immigration consultant (some offer this for free)

You can find more details in my article, From Dubai to Canada: Our Express Entry PR Application Journey.

If you’re eligible to any of the three programs under Express Entry, the next step you need to do is to gather the documents required to open your Express Entry profile. 

Since the focus of this blog is the Federal Skilled Worker Program, here are the next steps you need to do if you’re eligible to this program:

  1. Take an approved language test (IELTS or CELPIP for English; TCF Canada or TCF Canada for French)
  2. Send your academic records to WES (or other authorized institutions) who will assess the Canadian equivalent of your education (if you graduated outside Canada)

If you’re applying through the Federal Skilled Trades Program or the Canadian Class Experience, you also need to take a language test. But you don’t need to send your academic documents to WES. However, if you want to gain points from your academic degrees, you can still do this step. 

We’ll soon share detailed steps in our future posts. 

If you live in Dubai and you plan to take IELTS (that’s what my husband and I took), you can book for a General Training test online through any of the following:

Or go to IELTS’s official website to find  a test location near you.

You can also choose to take the CELPIP-General test instead of IELTS, as it is also accepted by IRCC. If you’re more fluent in French, then take the TEF Canada or TCF Canada. If you’re fluent in both languages, you can take tests for both English and French to get extra points.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Language test results have validity (2 years for IELTS), so make sure that the result you’ll submit in your Express Entry profile is valid.

If you’re aiming for the Federal Skilled Worker Program and you plan to take the IELTS, you need at least to get a CLB 7 or higher (a score of 6 or higher in each of the 4 abilities in IELTS).

The minimum score required for the Federal Skilled Trades Program and Canadian Experience Class is different.  Check here for the complete details about the language requirements.

If you don’t get the minimum required score in your language test for the program you’re aiming, then you can’t apply through Express Entry. In this case, you can either request for a re-evaluation (for a fee, which is refundable in case your score increases), retake the test (and prepare better this time), or consider other immigration pathways. 

We’ll share in our future posts some tips on how to prepare for your language test.

ECA stands for Education Credential Assessment. This is a process done by the World Education Services (WES) to know the Canadian equivalent of your academic degree.  That is, if you graduated from a school outside Canada.

If you’re applying through Express Entry’s Federal Skilled Worker Program, this process is a must. One of the minimum requirements for FSWP is to be at least a high school graduate (in Canadian education). 

If you’re applying through Canadian Experience Class or Federal Skilled Trades Program, then this process is not a must. But you can still get an ECA report and get extra points for your education. 

To get an ECA report, go to WES’ website to find out what documents you need to submit. Create your own account and follow the steps in the website.

Once you submit the required documents, WES will assess your academic degree and determine its equivalency in Canadian education. You will get your ECA report usually after a month or so.

If you got the minimum required IELTS results (or whatever language test you took), and you also have your ECA report saying that your degree is equivalent to a secondary level graduate or above, you can start completing your Express Entry profile. 

If you’re hiring an immigration consultant, they’d probably submit your profile for you. Or if you’re doing it DIY-style, then you go online and submit your own profile. 

Once your profile is in the Express Entry profile, you will receive a score based on your language test results, education level, work experience, age, etc. This is your CRS score.

If you are among the top scorers in the Express Entry pool, Canada will send you an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence. 

If your score is low, then you must find ways to improve it. 

I shared our experience in this article and wrote about how long we waited. But more or less, from the time you submit your Express Entry profile until you get your PR visa, you’d have to wait around 1 to 2 years. It’s case-to-case basis, though, so don’t take my word for it. I have a friend who took 1 year, while in our own experience, it took us 2 years. 

If your CRS score is low and you haven’t been applying for PNP or trying other ways to improve your score, then you might wait a little longer. 

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