By Aarushi Gupta
Immigration is a defining feature of Canada and its history. Canada has become the most popular destination where Indians immigrate due to its friendly ecosystem and policies designed to attract students, skilled workers, and entrepreneurs.
How Does Canada Select Immigrants?
Canada has a two-tier system to manage intake of immigrants. At the Federal level, Canada’s Express Entry Program is a selection process based on a ranking system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). CRS is a unique points system based on factors including age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French. An Express Entry candidate can obtain up to 1,200 points under the CRS, which is distributed across several factors.
At the provincial level, Provinces offer a wide range of avenues to nominate eligible candidates in the skill-based and entrepreneur investment-based categories. Once approved, the provinces issue a Nomination Certificate which will give an additional 600 points towards CRS score and effectively guarantee an Invitation to Apply (ITA) in a future Express Entry draw.
Latest Express Entry Draw Cut Off
As per the most recent CRS draw held on April 26, 2023, candidates required a minimum CRS cut-off score of 483 to make it to the Express Entry Program.
At present the CRS system is skewed heavily in favor of temporary residents in Canada including recent international graduates and workers with experience in defined essential occupations. Over the last year, ITAs have been focused on candidates nominated by a province or territory, as well as candidates who were eligible for the Canadian Experience Class.
Thus, the CRS score has been hovering around 480 points now for the last year, making it quite challenging for anyone who is applying from outside Canada to make it to the Express Entry Program. Canada’s business immigration programs like the Start-Up Visa (“SUV”) Program, International Mobility Program, Intra-Company Transfer Program as well as the Entrepreneur Provincial Nominee Programs, offer a great alternative to consider for someone who is struggling with the CRS points.
Advantages of Federal Business Immigration Programs
Canada’s immigration system grants 200 CRS points boost based on occupations that are senior management or executive positions if you apply for International Mobility or the Intra-Company Transfer Program as an essential worker.
Similarly, the SUV Program, focuses on entrepreneurs seeking to start innovative businesses and offers a direct path to Permanent Residency without having to go through the Express Entry points system. A central feature of the Start-Up Visa is that entrepreneurs must present an innovative business idea that must be formally supported by Canadian private companies known as a Designated Organization.
These programs are attractive as they allow entrepreneurs to start their business in Canada and plan immigration for themselves, spouse, and kids below the age of 22 years. Whilst the pendency of the permanent residency, spouse is eligible for an Open Spousal Work Permit and unmarried children under the age of 18 are eligible for study permits.
Further, the Federal business immigration programs have the advantage of allowing the entrepreneur to set up business Canada wide and stay at any location of their choice.
Canada to Invite over 1.2 million Immigrants in the next 3 Years
This is an exciting time for people interested in immigrating to Canada. As per the 2023–25 Immigration Levels Plan, Canada aims to welcome 465,000 permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 in 2024, and 500,000 in 2025.
For young immigrants who are relocating to Canada to pursue studies, there are several pathways available at both the Federal and the Provincial level. For others, who are unable to make it to the Express Entry Program, the Federal Business Immigration Programs offer an excellent opportunity to plan migration for the family.
(Author is Managing Director India of Donoso & Partners, a leading immigration law firm based in Washington, D.C., with offices in Toronto)