Visas for Canada

Canadian passport and customs card.

Canada is one of the most culturally advanced, socially accepting and multicultural countries in the world. With several world leading cities and an unrivalled quality of life on offer, it is little wonder so many people each year travel to Canada, either for a holiday or to live.

If you’re thinking about a holiday to Canada, chances are you do not need a tourist visa as Canada’s tourism restrictions are relatively relaxed. You can find a full list of countries requiring a tourist visa here.

However, if you are thinking of moving to Canada, you will require a Canadian visa.

Canada is currently in the process of making several changes to its immigration policy in order to maximise the benefits its immigration system offers to the country’s workforce and economy.

In short, Canada requires young, skilled and English or French speaking immigrants.

Federal Skilled Worker Category

The Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP) is traditionally known as the points system. Eligibility in this category has gotten narrower and narrower over the years; there is now a limit of 5,000 applications and a list with only 24 occupations.

Federal Skilled Trades Category

The Federal Skilled Trades Category (FSTC) is a new category that opened on January 2nd 2013.

This new category is geared at attracting more skilled tradespeople to Canada. It is not a points system but rather is a “pass/fail” system. Only certain skilled tradespeople will be able to apply (see list below). CIC will accept up to a maximum of 3,000 applications in the first year of the Federal Skilled Trades Programme.

Canadian Experience Class

This category is for applicants who have 12 months of recent Canadian full-time skilled work experience (i.e. in NOC O,A,B).

If an applicant is a temporary foreign worker then they often have the qualities to make a successful transition from temporary to permanent residence, as they are familiar with Canadian society and can contribute to the Canadian economy.

Provincial Nominee Programme

Most provinces and territories have their own programme which allows them to nominate applicants for permanent residency. These vary greatly and are updated regularly as the demands in the province or territory change – the programmes are tailored so that they can address the localised labour needs of each province or territory.

Temporary Work Permits

There are various types of work permits that can be issued depending on the situation of the employer and the prospective temporary foreign worker. As a general rule of thumb, an employer in Canada must always demonstrate to the government that they cannot find a Canadian (either a citizen or a permanent resident) to do the job before the employer is able to hire a foreign worker.

Business Visas

Those looking to emigrate to Canada on a business visa will be pleased to know that there are three main strands. Those looking to invest, those wanting to launch a start-up in Canada and for self-employed individuals.

Family Class

There are two routes for visa sponsorship for those wishing to relocate to Canada. The first is via a spousal sponsorship. There are a few areas that need to be taken into account when proving your eligibility. The parent and grandparent sponsorship route is expected to be re-introduced in 2013 initially taking only 5,000 applications. 

For further details speak to our experts.