By Ian Goldman, Canadian Immigration Lawyer with 21 years of experience.

You may qualify for a way to get permanent residence in Canada that you don’t know about. Think about Canada as a big house with many doors. Most people know about the big front door: the express entry system to get permanent residence through the federal government. However, there are many more options and many of them may be easier to get approved depending on your situation.

Did you know there are at least 40 doors to permanent residence in Canada?

Yes, I am saying that there are at least 40 other programs to get permanent residence in Canada! Many are added and taken away each year. So it is difficult to be exact over time.

In this article, I will explain the big picture and later I will go into detail about most of them, including the huge issue of work permits.

The first thing to understand is that the federal government offers some permanent residence programs but the provinces have even more. That is because there are 10 provinces and 3 territories and each of them have many programs.  So for the purposes of immigration, you may look at Canada as 14 different countries: the Federal government and each provincial and territorial government.

5 main categories of immigration for permanent residence Canada

  1. Skilled Worker programs are based on your work experience. This work experience could be inside of Canada (usually requiring a work permit) or outside of Canada. Many provinces have their own programs with their own point systems.
  2. Student Programs are based on having studied in Canada. So you may start your immigration plan based on coming to Canada to study first.
  3. Business Programs are based on you managing or investing in Canada. Some programs allow you to simply buy your visa without investing in a business or managing a business.
  4. Family or friend programs are based on you having close families or friends in Canada. These people will need to offer support to you.
  5. Refugee and Humanitarian programs are for people who have unusual hardship.

Even though I am an immigration lawyer with almost 22 years of experience, this article is public education and is not legal advice. There are many exceptions and details to the information provided that may not apply to your situation.

Learn more about immigration to Canada, tips to applying for a Canada work permit or learn about working in Canada.

Contact an Canada immigration lawyer or visit our office.