Every year around 250,000 people migrate to Canada. The UAE seems to be a popular place of departure to the Far West [and Far North] for the expatriate population in this country. For many, life here is a stopover, and Canada has turned out time and again the number one final destination.
However, the window of opportunity may be closing fast for hopefuls as rules are becoming more limiting and open categories are getting filled up speedily.
“At the moment applying for the skilled work permit is not advisory for most people,” says Kim Krisko, a Canadian lawyer and immigration consultant at Krisko & Associates. “The Canadian government has seriously limited these options. If a person qualifies, the only option might be to apply for a business visa.”
But the ‘Land of Snow’ is still a big draw – and with reason. According to Kim, Canada is a country that people generally do not want to leave. “With the exception of people with a wanderlust, the inhabitants of Canada generally never think about migration, because they are happy where they are.”
It therefore more makes sense that a large migration flow comes from the UAE, Kim believes. “People come to the UAE for work and the duration of their stay here totally depends on this their career path. People normally do not consider it as their final destination.
“Once they have experienced the modern lifestyle that the UAE offers, they find it difficult to move back to their country of origin because such way of life does not exist there. They want to permanently live in a society with the modern infrastructure and Canada becomes a very suitable option.”
Throughout the UAE there are dozens of migration consultants and companies that assist the process from application to settlement. A real necessity, believes Felix Roy Tom, migration consultant at Vision for Canada. “The process is a very complicated one. Often people make minor mistakes in their paper-work, which eventually leads to denial of a visa. We advise and monitor, in order to guarantee that people have the best chance to make it there.”
Many consultants would say that Canada offers plenty of opportunity for immigration. The total area consists of 9.9 million square kilometers and it is thereby the second-largest country in the world. However, it only inhabits 33 million people and the indigenous population is on decline due to a negative birthrate. “Canada basically need immigrants to sustain the population and for the economy to keep on running,”says Kim.
However, Canadian visa regulations are very changeable, says Kim. Although Canada is generally considered to adopt a more lenient immigration policy than any other country, this policy is subject to heavy fluctuation. At the moment there are a few challenges.
“According to most recent changes, skilled work visa are limited by the number of labour categories open for selection, and each category has a limited number of available applications. Last year, this limit was reached in some categories within weeks after opening,” tells Kim.
At the moment there are 29 eligible occupations for which skilled worker permits can be obtained, of which 12 have already reached the limit of 500 applications. Plenty of applications are available for less popular jobs, such as plumber, machine operators and jobs in the oil, gas and mining field. However, job categories in the field of science, catering, business, healthcare or architecture were quickly filled. Categories will be reopened on June 1st.
According to Felix, it is important applicants are aware of their chances of obtaining a visa before they decide to go through the whole process of applying.
Education & Work Experience
Important factors for migration to Canada are education and work experience. “These weigh very heavily in the assessment, because these are criteria that determine a successful application,” says Felix.
One year of work experience in any field is required, and more than four years preferable. For the education standard chances decrease when a university diploma cannot be presented, and a doctorate is highly preferable. A successful IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score is required in any case.
Beside these challenges there are quite a lot of advantages in choosing for Canada as a country to settle down. “After 3 years and one week of uninterrupted residence in Canada any migrant is eligible for Canadian citizenship,” explains Felix. And obtaining citizenship has many advantages. “Up to the university level education is free, which many migrants find a relief when starting a family in Canada,” he adds.
“Canada has a high per capita GPD, a politically stable environment, a lot of space, fresh air and is a relatively safe country to live in,” adds Kim, who came to Dubai to reach out to potential customers. “Accommodation may be a little expensive in the big cities in Canada, but is very affordable in the smaller cities and villages. You could easily trade in your two-bedroom road-facing apartment in the Springs for a three-bedroom villa and a couple of cars in Canada. Your dollar goes a long way there.”
Because the application for a visa to Canada could easily take about one-and-a-half years, people are advised to anticipate on migrating to Canada and take all challenges and restrictions in consideration. “We never ask people to start their application before we know they have a chance. It is people’s future we are dealing with, and it takes a lot of efforts to prepare for such a move,” says Felix.
According to Kim, people should not be tempted to apply for a work permit at the moment regardless of the promises and advertising of immigration agencies. “The chance of getting a work permit is just very small at the moment, and a person needs to do their due diligence on a consultant promising such work permit,” he says.