Many Nigerians seem to be moving to Canada these days. The reason for this immigration is no other than the better life they want for their family. However, moving to Canada seems to be very difficult. Recently, we wrote a post on having your baby in Canada and we got quite a lot of impressions on the topic. Of all the questions we got from the post, “how can one immigrate to Canada?” got our attention and we felt we should share something on that. We asked one of our friends, Sonia, who recently moved to Canada and she was ready to share the process of immigrating to Canada with our nomad community.
There are different legal ways to immigrate to Canada. The few I know of are immigrating as skilled worker, by investment, starting a business and creating jobs. I went with the skilled workers express entry immigration. You can find out more ways to immigrate legally this link or here.
WHY I MOVED
Like I said earlier I chose to immigrate as a skilled worker. Since I have lots of work experience and also qualifications, I figured it’d be the easiest way to immigrate. I applied for my son and I, and thankfully it all went through. Being a single mom and the only one actually taking care/responsible for my son’s upbringing, I knew it won’t be an easy thing to do in Nigeria alone, so I decided to try to immigrate to Canada. It’s just a better environment for my son and with all the help the Canadian government provides parents (especially me a single parent), it was just the best thing to do.
PROCESS OF IMMIGRATING
First off, applying as a skilled worker is based on a point system. The more points you get the more likely you’ll receive an “Invitation to Apply”, popularly known as an ITA. Things that help push you above the mark are enough job experience, qualifications (it’s usually not enough to just have one degree, you’ll need to have a masters or another degree, or some certification/diploma), age (the older you are from 30, the less points you get), if you have a relative that’s a Permanent Residence (it adds point), If you’re applying with your spouse (you get spousal points) and finally your IELTS scores (the English exam you’ll take to prove your proficiency in English).
- IELTS: I took the IELTS first, I actually took this twice. Because I didn’t like my first scores, they were good but not as great as I wanted them to be. So I took it again and got much much better scores. Your overall scores for IELTS should be at least an 8.0. I should add that, the reading and listening exams are very important to do well in. Not to say that writing and speaking are not important, but you can get away with getting average scores.
- Qualification/Education assessment: This is an educational credential assessment (ECA) report, basically your foreign degree (non-Canadian). They will assess it to know what exactly you have in equivalence to a Canadian degree. There are a few that do it, the most popular being WES (World education services). I hear the process for Nigerian degrees is now more stressful, so you may want to research other alternatives.
These are the first two things, including a passport, you need to start your application. If you have a provincial nomination (a nomination to apply from a specific province in Canada) or a job offer in Canada, you can also add them to your profile, else just the Passport, ECA and IELTS scores are what you need to get started.
If after you’ve created your profile and are now in the express entry pool, and you get the appropriate points, you will be sent an ITA (invitation to apply).
Congratulations you are one step closer to immigrating to Canada!!!
After getting the ITA, they will require a number of documents from you, you’ll need to scan and upload them. Some of such are, medical reports, police reports, proof of funds, passport details, travel history, job references/letters etc. After which you will need to pay the fees. Depending on the category you applied in, you will be charged different fees:
- In the skilled worker category: $550 for principal applicant, $550 for spouse, and $150 per child under 22 years old.
- In the sponsorship category, the sponsor application is $75, the person sponsored is charged $475.
COMING IN TO CANADA
Moving to Canada is great, but it’s not heaven and it largely depends on your outlook and perspective of things. Coming as a skilled worker, you are expected to prove/have money to take care of yourself, but not everyone is as fortunate, but indeed you cannot come empty handed, unless you have a lot of people to help you here with accommodation and the likes.
As a newcomer, if you don’t have anyone here to help you secure accommodation, or anyone to stay with when you first land, the process can be very daunting. Most landlords require you have a job and credit score before they can rent to you. So you may have to pay for hotels, Airbnb or short term rentals before you qualify to rent a place. Alternatively you can offer the Landlord a few months’ rent upfront (at least three months). I had to pay three months upfront, plus one last month, making it four months’ rent upfront.
When it comes to jobs, there are many people looking for jobs. So you really need to stand out, and most companies require you have some Canadian experience before they hire, so you may not get your ideal job as soon as you may have hoped. Most people start with “survival jobs” (minimum wage jobs) to get Canadian experience. If they have the money they go to school or do a course or even volunteer. All these help with getting the required work experience to get your ideal job that you have experience in or are qualified for.
I share more details about the reality of moving to Canada as a single mother on my blog under the category “Canada Diaries”.
I will advise all intending immigrants to get as many professional certifications as possible before coming (it will help in securing a good job faster), save up as much money as you can and generally just prepare to let go of pride, stay positive and be open minded and adaptable.
APPLYING FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCY
Applying for permanent residency could seem fair, cheap or expensive depending on who you are, but for me it was a small price to pay for the kind of life I wanted for my son. Apart from the application fee, (read more details here) you’ll need to have funds to be able to survive in Canada for the first couple of months with no job, this amount varies depending on the family size (read more information here).
Other cost implications include flight ticket, medical reports, police reports, visa processing, IELTS, ECA, documents translation (if not in English) etc. They all vary depending on who you use and how many you have to get. You’ll find that out as you go along in your application. Also considering that you may have to pay a few months’ rent upfront, I feel you’ll need more than what they require/advise on their site. Also if you have to pay for day care.
If you need someone to guide you through the whole process, you can contact me. However, I charge a small fee for this service. It is something you can do by yourself. But I get how it can seem stressful, so I am here to guide you.
Questions about immigrating to Canada? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to get a response!