So you wanna move to Canada?

I’ve recently moved to Canada and applied for permanent residency through the Express Entry system. If your situation is similar to me (you have a higher education degree, a few years of part time — yes TA and RA count — or full time experience, you can speak English fair enough) then you might be eligible to enter Canada the same way. To do so, you don’t need to be present in Canada, and you don’t have to remain in Canada the entire time if you don’t think that’s something you’ll want to keep.

There are several ways for moving to Canada, but I know of only one, and I only know a few things about it which is obviously about my case! The way that I applied for immigration to Canada was through the Express Entry process, a somewhat new method which started some time in 2014 I guess. The idea is based on your education, language skills, work experience, age, marital status etc you get a score and enter a pool. Roughly every two weeks the government draws the top people from the pool and invites them to apply for the Express Entry program. That basically means if you have claimed everything correctly, and if you provide all the required documents, and if you have a clean background, then almost surely you’ll get to become a Canadian permanent resident (a five year non-bounding status to live in Canada).

What are your chances to be eligible for Express Entry?

First get a rough estimate of your rating here:

Then head over here to see the minimum ratings drawn from the pool in the last draw and how others are doing in the pool!

For example, as of my writing, if your score is above 451, andif  in the next round they draw 800 people, you’ll be selected.

What do you need to enter the pool?

Here are the first things you need to do:

  • Take a general IELTS exam at your earliest time. When you are signing up, it asks you what do you need it for, choose for immigration purposes.
  • Evaluate your degrees (all degrees which are not from a Canadian institute). There are a few companies that the Canadian government work with, out of which I only remember WES. Create an account there and fill the forms to tell them what degrees you want to evaluate. Then it will tell you how much you need to pay. After paying it, it will give you a code that you need to keep, and then it will tell you what documents shall you send to them and in what condition. Make sure that the code is mentioned on all the documents.

These are all you need to get into the pool. Do these first and enter the pool as soon as possible. Basically, you claim all the rest and when you get drawn you provide documents to support your claims. So, then start working on the rest of the documents:

  • Work experience. Gather letters from your bosses (preferably your direct supervisors for all the previous jobs, but HR also works) to show your work history. For some countries like Iran you might need to provide your insurance history too. Here is what you need to be in the letter:
    • written on company letterhead,
    • signed by the responsible supervisor,
    • have the printed name and title of the responsible supervisor beneath the signature,
    • show the company’s full address, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail and website addresses,
    • stamped with the company’s official seal (if applicable).
    • the specific period of your employment with the company,
    • the positions you have held during the period of employment and the time spent in each position, and the status of the current positoin
    • main responsibilities and duties in each position,
    • total annual salary plus benefits,
    • the number of hours worked per week

      Your TA and RA also count.  For TA your department head probably is the supervisor. For RA your advisor. Ask them to be very specific about dates, and number of hours, etc. As specific as they can be! Nonetheless all this information is in your contracts.

  • Police records: If you live in US you need one from FBI. At the minimum you want police reports for the countries that you lived in in the past 10 years for at least 6 months. If you need additional reports, they will let you know when you are drawn from the pool.
  • Proof of financial assets: you need about 13000 CND per person in the application. Though per application it might be a different situation. But if that’s the case you need to provide an official letter indicating your financial profile, including
    • list of all your bank (chequing and savings) accounts
    • the account numbers
    • dates each account was opened, and
    • the balance of each account over the past six months,
    • list all outstanding debts, i.e. loans, credit cards, etc,
    • be printed on the letterhead of the financial institution, and include your name and the contact information of the financial institution (address, telephone number and e-mail address).
    • proof of assets, like cars, houses, etc.


That’s all for now. I’ll keep adding details here.

Good luck.



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