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The Four Pillars of Canadian Immigration

Canada, renowned for its diversity and inclusivity, continually welcomes individuals from across the globe. Its robust immigration system, designed to cater to various needs and aspirations, plays a pivotal role in shaping the nation. This guide offers a concise overview of the four essential pathways to Canadian immigration: Economic Immigrants, Family-Sponsored Immigrants, Refugees, and Other Immigrants. 


Each pillar not only contributes to the country’s demographic and economic growth but also reinforces Canada’s humanitarian values. Join us as we navigate the foundational pillars of Canadian immigration, a blend of opportunity and hope for many.

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Economic Immigration

Economic Immigrants form a significant portion of newcomers to Canada, chosen for their potential to contribute positively to the country’s economy. Their selection is based on skills, experience, education, and other attributes that Canada values in its workforce.

Pathways to Economic Immigration

Express Entry

The Express Entry system is a streamlined pathway to Canadian permanent residency. Created to simplify the entry of skilled workers beneficial to Canada’s economy, this method greatly reduces application wait times. Many applicants may find themselves invited to secure permanent residency within a year, and sometimes even just a few months post-application. While Express Entry isn’t an independent immigration program, it functions as the digital platform used by the Canadian government to oversee applications from qualified professionals.

Three specific programs within the Express Entry system could be particularly relevant:


Canada Experience Class: Tailored for individuals who have already acquired professional work experience within Canada.


Federal Skilled Worker: This program is ideal for skilled workers who possess work experience in professions that are in demand in Canada, allowing them to secure permanent residency. 


Federal Skilled Trades: This program is for those with experience in specialized trades, this program offers a pathway to becoming a permanent resident in Canada. 


Eligibility for the Express Entry programs is determined through a points-based ranking system that evaluates various criteria, including age, educational background, language proficiency, and professional experience. Periodically, the Canadian government conducts draws to invite the highest-ranking candidates from this pool to apply for permanent residency.


Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)



The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) stands as a prominent pathway for economic immigration to Canada. For individuals already in the Express Entry pool, numerous PNPs offer an opportunity to enhance their candidacy. By securing a nomination from a specific province’s PNP, candidates can significantly boost their Express Entry points, increasing their chances of receiving an invitation for permanent residency. Leveraging both PNP and Express Entry, many find their path to permanent residency expedited, often taking less than a year. However, candidates should recognize that not all PNPs operate within the Express Entry system. Applications to these independent PNPs might experience longer processing times for permanent residency. A crucial aspect of PNP nominations is the commitment to the nominating province. Once settled in Canada, immigrants are generally expected to live in that specific province for an initial period, typically two years, before considering relocation elsewhere in the country.


Start-Up Visa



For individuals with the financial resources and a vision to invest in Canada, Business Immigration offers an enticing avenue. Programs are available at both the Federal and Provincial levels (through PNPs) for entrepreneurs eager to establish their presence in Canada.


If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or looking to launch a startup in Canada, the Start-Up Visa program could be your ticket. Eligibility hinges on obtaining a letter of endorsement from a designated angel investor group, venture capital fund, or business incubator. There are also specific ownership conditions for a qualifying business. Proficiency in English or French is crucial, with a required score (CLB) of 5 in all categories. Beyond these prerequisites, candidates must ensure they have adequate funds for both the business and personal living expenses until the venture becomes sustainable.

Alternatively, if you have a preference for a particular province, various Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) cater to international entrepreneurs wishing to set up businesses in those regions. Numerous PNPs offer regional entrepreneur programs, which often have the advantage of a lower required investment amount.

Quebec Investor

Immigrant Sponsored by Family

Canada, with its enduring commitment to family reunification, has established pathways for its residents to bring close family members from abroad. The Family Sponsorship Program ensures that families don’t have to remain separated due to international borders.


Having family in Canada can significantly streamline the immigration process for many. If you have a relative who is either a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen and is 18 or older, sponsorship could be your most direct pathway.


You can be sponsored through various familial ties, such as Spouses, Common-law partners, Conjugal partners, Dependent children, and also Parents and Grandparents. With a successful sponsorship, the sponsored individual acquires the chance to live, work, and study in Canada upon achieving permanent residency. Moreover, while waiting for their permanent residency approval, they can apply for a work permit, allowing them to work in Canada during this transitional period.

Canadian Spousal Sponsorship


Canada has long stood as a sanctuary for those escaping persecution, conflict, and disasters. Upholding a humanitarian tradition, the nation offers protection to displaced individuals who fear returning to their home countries. These are the refugees, and Canada’s commitment to them is grounded in compassion, international treaties, and national responsibility.


How to Make a Refugee Claim


Upon arrival in Canada, whether at an airport, seaport, or a Canada-US border crossing, you can inform the immigration officer of your intention to seek refugee status. The officer will then assess your eligibility. If you’re already within Canadian borders and wish to make a claim, you can approach an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) office. Should you be deemed ineligible there, you still have the option to file your claim at an official port of entry.

Other Immigration


Canada’s Other Immigrants category encompasses individuals who don’t precisely fit the primary classifications of economic immigrants, family-sponsored immigrants, or refugees. This diverse category ensures that Canada’s immigration approach remains holistic, capturing a wide range of unique situations. Some examples include:


Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations (H&C): These applications cater to individuals with significant ties to Canada or those facing exceptional hardships if they were to leave.


Temporary Resident Permit Holders: Individuals who might initially be inadmissible to Canada but are granted permission for a specified period.

Caregivers: Some caregivers, especially long-term ones, transition to permanent residency outside of the standard economic programs.

Entry Waiver

Canada’s commitment to welcoming individuals from all walks of life, be it for economic growth, family unification, refuge, or special circumstances, stands testament to its rich tapestry of diversity and its role as a beacon of hope on the global stage. The pathways to Canadian immigration are varied, yet each is rooted in the values of inclusivity, opportunity, and humanity that define the nation.


Whether you’re a skilled worker eyeing new opportunities, a family member looking for reunification, someone seeking asylum, or an individual with a unique case, there’s a place for you in Canada. The process, while comprehensive, can be navigated with clarity and confidence.


For those feeling overwhelmed by the choices and processes, the guiding hand of an experienced immigration consultancy can make all the difference. Canada By Choice is more than just a firm; it’s a partner in your journey to Canada. With a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of Canadian immigration, we stand ready to help you realize your Canadian dream. 

Express Entry
The information in this blog is not to be interpreted or construed as legal advice. Everyone’s immigration goals, objectives and situations are different. Please contact us to speak to a consultant for advice.

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