I Want to Move to Canada - Where Do I Start?

I Want to Move to Canada – Where Do I Start?

Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by II Editor

So you’ve decided you want to move to Canada. Congratulations on picking one of the most beautiful and welcoming countries in the world! However, moving internationally is a big decision that requires planning and preparation. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll outline the major steps and considerations for Africans, Indians, Americans and others looking to relocate to Canada. By the end, you’ll have a clear roadmap and be well on your way to starting your new life north of the border.


Do Your Research

Before taking any action, it’s important to do thorough research on Canada and potential places to live. Spend time learning about the different provinces and major cities to get a sense of the various lifestyle and economic opportunities. Some key factors to research include:

  • Climate and geography – Canada is a massive country with diverse climates ranging from temperate coastal areas to northern extremes. Ensure the climate suits your preferences.
  • Cost of living – Housing, food, transportation and other costs vary significantly between cities. Compare costs to your current location.
  • Job market – Research in-demand industries and check job boards to get a feel for opportunities in your field.
  • Culture and amenities – Different regions have distinct cultural identities. Ensure the values and way of life align with your priorities.
  • Immigration processes – Familiarize yourself with Canada’s immigration programs and requirements to know your options upfront.

Thorough early research will help narrow your focus and set realistic expectations for the move. Don’t forget to also read testimonials from expats about their experiences settling in different parts of the country.

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Qualify for an Immigration Program

Moving to Canada permanently requires obtaining resident or work visas through one of the country’s immigration programs. The main pathways are:

Express Entry

Canada’s primary economic immigration program uses an Express Entry pool and ranking system to select skilled workers. Eligibility criteria includes having a job offer, being a skilled trades professional, or having advanced education and work experience.

Provincial Nominee Programs

These allow provinces to directly nominate applicants to fill local labor needs. Criteria and application processes vary by province but may have an easier path to permanent residency compared to Express Entry.

Study or Work Permits

Temporary residence allows living and gaining Canadian work experience to potentially qualify for permanent residency later on. Options include completing post-secondary studies, working for a sponsoring employer, or participating in an internship program.


Family Class Sponsorship

Citizens or permanent residents can sponsor certain family members like spouses, partners, parents or children. Successful sponsorship leads to permanent residency.

Determine your eligibility and ideal program based on credentials, work experience, language abilities and relationships. Take care of any prerequisites like language tests or credential assessments well in advance.

Prepare Required Documents

Once you identify an immigration program, thoroughly research its specific documentary requirements. Key documents usually include:

  • Police clearances from countries of past residence
  • Educational transcripts and credential evaluations
  • Language test results like IELTS or TOEFL
  • Résumé, references and project samples
  • Birth certificates, marriage certificates, proof of relationship
  • Photo and digital ID like passport
  • Medical examination results

Ensure all documentation is properly notarized or apostilled. Give yourself months of lead time to organize records, undergo tests and process evaluations or certifications before formally applying. Missing or insufficient documents could lead to delays or rejections.

Research Job Prospects

Even with permanent residency, finding stable employment will be crucial for establishing roots in Canada. Consider factors impacting your job search like:

  • Industry trends, in-demand skills and openings in your field
  • Transferability of credentials and experience to Canadian standards
  • Necessity of additional licensing, certifications or retraining
  • Resources to tap professional networks, employment agencies or immigrant settlement organizations
  • Common salary ranges and working standards compared to current country
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Have backup plans like launching your own business, freelancing or an internship program if finding suitable work proves challenging initially. Language fluency in English and/or French expands your options significantly.

Secure Housing

A roof over your head is fundamental to relocating abroad. Research housing costs and options in areas you’re considering to find an affordable long-term solution:

  • Rental apartments, houses, condos – Check listings platforms like PadMapper,
  • Extended stay or temporary furnished housing – Useful for short term arrival
  • Roommate matching sites – Social network for sharing living space costs
  • Real estate options – Consider purchasing down the line with permanent residency
  • Remote work arrangements – Expands location options beyond major centers

Line up housing arrangements in advance if possible, or have short-term accommodations secured upon arrival as finding a place can take time in competitive rental markets.

Plan Your Finance and Healthcare

While Canada offers many public services, budgeting for transition costs is wise:

  • Healthcare coverage plans if not eligible immediately for provincial insurance
  • Temporary living expenses like meals, transportation until employment begins
  • One-time fees like immigration application costs, credential assessments
  • Moving and relocation allowance for flights, shipping costs, storage, etc.
  • Emergency fund for unexpected needs in the adjustment period

Research tax implications, compare investment/pension options and shop around for banking services that suit cross-border needs. Canadians pay tax at all three levels of government based on income levels.

Learn French or Enhance English

Proficiency in at least one of Canada’s official languages unlocks significant advantages:

  • Education and job prospects are richer with bilingual abilities
  • Government services are easier to access in French Quebec
  • Immersion aids cultural assimilation and social connections
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Consider additional language training as needed through public school programs, apps, tutoring or immersion schools. Becoming functionally bilingual demonstrates dedication to integrate fully.

Apply for Immigration

With all preparatory tasks complete, submit a polished, comprehensive immigration application highlighting your roadmap:

  • Organized documentation corroborating eligibility claims
  • Motivation statement showing commitment to contributing as permanent resident
  • Sub-letters, sample work demonstrating intended career pursuit
  • Proof of finances, housing and job prospects to ensure self-sufficiency

Take time reviewing submissions for mistakes prior to paying fees. Track and respond promptly if contacted for additional information. Be patient during processing, which currently averages 6-12 months for many programs.

Settle In Successfully

Upon receiving approval, focus on three settlement phases:


With temporary housing sorted, use the initial weeks exploring your new home, joining social networks and enhancing language skills. Tour neighborhood amenities.

Early Employment

Redouble job search efforts leveraging all connections. Consider short-term work to build local experience. Volunteer if needed until securing stable career.

Long-Term Goals

Work towards permanent housing, healthcare coverage, citizenship and putting roots down through community involvement. Evaluate credentials for possible upgrades. Sponsor family if desired.

Proactively seek guidance from immigrant centers. Maintain an open mind transitioning between cultural norms. With hard work and perseverance, you’ll find yourself feeling at home in Canada before long.

In conclusion, moving to Canada requires considerable planning but pays off with access to the country’s renowned quality of life. By following this step-by-step guide, you’ll maximize your chances of success in relocating abroad. The journey ahead is exciting – best of luck with pursuing your dreams in Canada!


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