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If you want to immigrate to Canada in 2021, this is your guide!

2021 is going to be an epic year for immigration, as Canada is expected to relax its COVID-19 border closures and embark on the most ambitious Canadian immigration plan on record — with a goal of welcoming more than 400,000 new permanent residents, plus hundreds of thousands of temporary workers and students.

If you’re hoping to immigrate to Canada in 2021, first you have to understand your Canadian immigration options. There are more than 100 different pathways for immigrating to Canada — but, a few immigration pathways standout when it comes to planning your immigration to Canada for 2021. 

In this guide, we’ll give you an overview of five of the most popular options for people wanting to immigrate to Canada in 2021. 

Please be aware that there are other immigration options out there. If you want a personalized understanding of which immigration options are the best suited for you, check out our guide to Canadian immigration or consider booking a consultation with one of our recommended Canadian immigration consultants.

#1 — Express Entry for Canadian immigration in 2021

Express Entry is a Canadian immigration system designed for skilled workers with the skills and knowledge to contribute to the Canadian economy long-term. Canada plans to welcome more than 100,000 new permanent residents through Express Entry in 2021. There are three different immigration programs aligned with the Express Entry system:

Express Entry is a highly competitive system. If you meet the eligibility requirements for one of the programs listed above, you’ll be given a score out of 1,200 points based on things like your language ability, level of education, work experience, connections to Canada, and more. Only the candidates with the highest scores are invited to submit applications — this happens through Express Entry draws

If you’re invited to apply, you and your accompanying family members can all apply directly for Canadian permanent resident status. These applications are typically processed in less than six months — it’s the fastest option for permanent resident status in Canada and a great option for highly-skilled applicants looking to immigrate to Canada in 2021.

You can get a full comprehensive overview of Express Entry by signing up for the Express Entry Roadmap — our free email-education service designed to teach you everything you need to know. 

Please note that the province of Quebec does not participate in Express Entry. Learn more about Quebec immigration here.

#2 — Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs in 2021

Provincial Nominee Programs, or PNPs, are mini-immigration programs organized by Canada’s different provinces and territories. Canada plans to welcome more than 80,000 new permanent residents through PNPs in 2021.

PNPs allow provinces to implement immigration programs designed to meet their specific needs — so, each province will usually have multiple different PNP streams. Generally, there are four types of PNP streams:

  • Job offer: For those with a job offer from an employer in the province.
  • In-Demand occupations: For those with work experience in a priority occupation for the province. 
  • Connection to the province: For those with a connection to the province, usually through previous work experience or education. 
  • Business / Entrepreneur: For those with business management experience, high personal net worth, and the desire to invest in an entrepreneurial venture in the province.

In total, there are more than 80 different PNP streams in Canada, and each one has its own unique set of eligibility criteria and application procedures. You can filter through different PNP streams based on location, occupation, and more, by using our PNP Live Tracker tool.

Please note that the province of Quebec does not participate in PNPs. Learn more about Quebec immigration here.

#3 — Work Permits for Canada in 2021

A work permit is a type of immigration status that allows you to come to Canada and work for a specified period of time. Some work permits allow you to change employers and move around the country, while other work permits are tied to a specific employer in a specific location. In 2019, the last year for which we have complete data, Canada admitted more than 400,000 temporary workers.

Despite being a type of temporary residence, a work permit can be a stepping-stone towards permanent status. In fact, gaining Canadian work experience may make you a more competitive candidate for both Express Entry and Provincial Nominee Programs. 

There are many different types of work permits, but some of the most popular work permit options are:

  • International Experience Canada (IEC) work permits: IEC is a program for youth from 36 participating countries between the ages of either 18-30 or 18-35, depending on the country. If you’re eligible, an IEC work permit is often the simplest work permit option. But! IEC has been largely paused since COVID-19 hit and it’s unclear how the 2021 season may be impacted. If you’re planning on moving to Canada on an IEC work permit, you can still get started with Moving2Canada GO, which will provide you with a personalised checklist of to-dos to help you get ready. Create your Moving2Canada GO account here.
  • Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) work permits: These are work permits that require you to first obtain a job offer from a Canadian employer. They’re trickier than they may sound, as your Canadian employer will have to prove that they were unable to find a Canadian to fill the position.
  • Intra-company transfer work permits: Do you work for a multinational company with an office in Canada? If so, you might be able to land a work permit by having your company transfer you to a Canadian location. 
  • USMCA (or CUSMA) work permits: The new free trade agreement between Canada, the United States, and Mexico, allows workers in certain professions from these three countries to obtain work permits in the other countries.

Again, these are just a few of the most popular types of Canadian work permits for 2021, but they’re not the only options. Learn about the different types of work permits available in our guide.

#4 — Study Permits for Canada in 2021

Canada is a great choice for post-secondary education. Canadians take education seriously, hosting some of the world’s top-ranked universities, plus a broad range of small and medium universities and colleges offering a range of academic programs and technical training. In 2019, the last year for which we have complete data, Canada admitted more than 400,000 new international students.

Whether you’re looking to complete your first post-secondary credential or you’re looking to train up, coming to Canada as an international student has many benefits. A Canadian study permit enables you to work while studying, plus you may be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit after you complete your studies. This work permit enables many international graduates to gain valuable Canadian work experience and serves as a stepping stone towards permanent resident status through Express Entry or Provincial Nominee Programs. 

One consideration for international students in Canada is the expense. While tuition fees and cost of living varies dramatically in different parts of Canada, international students can expect to pay more than their Canadian counterparts and you should consider finances when considering studying in Canada in 2021. 

Learn more about coming to Canada for studies in our International Student Roadmap — a free email-education service designed to teach you everything you need to know about studying in Canada. 

#5 — Family Sponsorship for Canadian immigration in 2021

Are you in a relationship with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident? If so, family sponsorship might be the best way for you to immigrate to Canada in 2021. Plus, family sponsorship is expected to account for more than 25 percent of all new Canadian permanent residents in 2021. 

Only certain types of relatives are eligible to be sponsored for Canadian immigration. Spouses, common-law partners, and dependent children of Canadian citizens and permanent residents are typically eligible to be sponsored. As well, Canada has a smaller sponsorship program for the parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, although spaces for parents and grandparents are limited.

If you think you have a qualifying type of relation, you can learn more about family sponsorship in our guide

And there you have it — the most popular options for Canadian immigration in 2021. Again, there are more than 100 pathways for Canadian immigration — if you’d like personalized guidance as to which option is best for you, we recommend booking a consultation with a  recommended Canadian immigration consultant.

  • Canada Abroad team

    Canada Abroad

    Canada Abroad is a transparent Canadian immigration consultancy with advice you can trust. Led by Deanne Acres-Lans (RCIC #508363), the team delivers professional, regulated, and efficient service.

  • The Doherty Fultz Immigration team staff members

    Doherty Fultz Immigration

    Led by Anthony Doherty (RCIC #510956) and Cassandra Fultz (#514356), the Doherty Fultz team uses their 40+ years of experience to empower you towards settling in Canada.

  • Perez McKenzie Immigration

    Led by Jenny Perez (RCIC #423103), Perez McKenzie Immigration is a Canadian immigration consultancy based in British Columbia, with offices in Vancouver and Whistler.

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