Ever since the election in November, we’ve had lots of Americans getting in touch wondering how to move to Canada from the USA. With the Donald Trump inauguration taking place this week, we’ve put together this article to guide you through your options.
How to move to Canada from the USA: A surge in interest
From the moment state after state turned red on election night, there’s been a spike in the number of people wondering how to move to Canada from the USA.
On a typical day, 11% of our audience comes from the USA. As President-Elect Trump’s victory became clear, this figure rose to 75% – surging to 90% at times.
Moving2Canada’s election day visitor stats (Pacific time). Traffic surged as Donald Trump’s victory became clear, fuelled by Americans seeking information on how to move to Canada from the USA.
Many attributed the surge in interest to a breakdown in the official Canadian immigration website, which crashed on election night.
It follows several spikes in interest from American visitors to Moving2Canada this year.
- Our traffic from the USA in 2016 was 37% higher than 2015.
- Previous biggest spike of the year was on March 2nd, after President-Elect Trump won seven states on Super Tuesday.
- USA visits were up 65% in October 2016, compared to October 2015, occurring alongside the release of the ‘Trump tapes’, and the televised debates.
- USA visits were up 54% in November 2016, compared to November 2016, as the prospect of a Trump inauguration became clear.
We should also note there’s been interest in a move to Canada from the USA following successes for the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, too.
Our visits from the USA were up 53% in July, when Bernie Sanders withdrew from his party’s nomination race, and there was a noticeable spike on July 25th, while the Democratic convention was taking place.
But now that the Trump inauguration is soon to be a reality, we know many of you are wondering how to move to Canada from the USA.
You can of course apply for short-term visitors’ visas, if you don’t wish to work, but want to escape the madness for a little while.
For longer-term moves, and to secure work permits, you’ll need to investigate permanent residency or temporary work permits.
The government’s official Canadian immigration website crashed on election night – which many attributing to the surge in searches by Americans wondering how to move to Canada from the USA.
How can I find out if I’m eligible?
IRCC has a convenient tool on their website, called the Come to Canada wizard. It takes about 10 minutes to fill out, and will give you an indication of what programs you may be eligible for so you can move to Canada from the USA.
There is lots of free assistance available online. However, if you have specific questions we recommend seeking a professional consultation. It may cost you $200 or $300, but if you are prepared with the questions you need answered, it could save you headaches later in the application process.
Move to Canada from the USA as a permanent resident
Canada has a range of permanent residency programs for those wishing to move to Canada from the USA. The system of selecting candidates for the most popular programs is called Express Entry.
Each program has its own criteria, and the Express Entry system can help you discover which ones you may be eligible for.
To get started, candidates looking to move to Canada from the USA can submit an Express Entry profile to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, the government department that processes applications. Candidates will be assessed to determine their eligibility for at least one of these programs.
They will need to provide some information on their foreign work history, Canadian work history (if any), qualifications, and language ability in either English or French. From there, they will be assigned a score out of 1,200 points, under what’s called the Comprehensive Ranking System.
You can receive up to 200 points right away if a Canadian province has agreed to nominate you for residency, or if you have received a job offer with a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). In short, this is a job offer where the employer has proved that a suitable Canadian could not be found to fill the vacancy.
Some 600 points were previously offered for LMIAs, but this was among the Express Entry changes introduced in November 2016.
However, 600 points are available if you can find a Canadian province who will nominate you to live and work there, under a Provincial Nomination Program.
Remaining points are assigned for the remaining attributes (career history, education, and language skills).
Twice a month, usually, IRCC will select the top-ranking candidates and invite them to complete their application. In other words, anyone with a score above the minimum cut-off, will receive an invitation to apply.
The cut-off is typically between 450 and 500 points, but varies from draw to draw.
To learn more about residency, see the Express Entry Canada guide on Moving2Canada.
How to move to Canada from the USA using NAFTA
There are three key ways you can obtain a work permit using the North American Free Trade Agreement. These categories are:
1. NAFTA Professional
Candidates in this category must meet the following criteria:
- Qualified in one of 60 targeted professions (including accountants, architects, engineers, lawyers, teachers, medical and scientific staff).
- Must have pre-arraanged work in one of these fields.
- Self-employed work is not elgible.
2. NAFTA Intra-Company Transfers
Staff of an American company can transfer to a Canadian branch of the firm. The following requirements apply:
- Must have been in continuous employment at the firm for at least one of the last three years.
- Must be employed by the company when applying.
- Must work in a specialized or managerial role.
3. NAFTA Traders and Investors
Suitable for those who are investing in a Canadian business, and are seeking a move to Canada from the USA or Mexico to grow that business.
Under Express Entry changes that were introduced in November 2016, work permit holders under NAFTA may be eligible for bonus points in their permanent residency candidacy.
How to move to Canada from the USA as a recent graduate
If you have been enrolled in a full-time, post-secondary educational program in the past year, you may be able to receive an open work permit for Canada.
The permits, issued under the SWAP Working Holidays program, last for 12 months. They are available for those aged 18 to 35.
What do I do when I have my work permit?
Explore our website! Since 2011, we’ve specialized in providing updated news and information across our website for newcomers. If Trump inauguration day has left you feeling blue, read our articles to help you plan your move to Canada.
Our Outpost Recruitment agency has also been finding work for construction and engineering professionals with Canadian work permits, placing them in companies across Canada who value foreign work experience.
What other advice is there for those who want to move to Canada from the USA?
Americans seeking information on how to move to Canada from the USA following the Trump inauguration have been reading these articles on our website.
- 10 things you should know before moving to Canada
- Information on the latest points cut-off in each Express Entry draw
- How to find teaching jobs in Canada
- What’s it like living in Vancouver?
- Where to live in Vancouver: Neighbourhoods guide
Have more questions about a move to Canada from the USA? Our free Getting Started Guide download can help.
And for updates, be sure to join Moving2Canada on Facebook. Long after Trump inauguration day is done and dusted, we’ll be sharing the latest news across our Facebook community.
Social image credit: Michael Vadon.