This content was not originally written by me, however, I have updated it with the most recent information and resources as at the time this was published.
There are many routes to immigrate to Canada, however, I will be considering the Federal Skilled Worker route under Express Entry (EE).
Before embarking on this journey, you must have the 3Ps (Prepare, Patience & Perseverance) and the greatest of all is God’s direction. Like I always say, I’m an ardent believer in the God factor.
Step 1 Get informed: Get as many information as your brain can accommodate on Canada immigration. However, beware of the source(s) of your information. Unfortunately, there are lots of misleading information out there about Canada immigration. Many of which are propagated by fraudulent “immigration consultants” to swindle unsuspecting people. Fortunately, you can get all Canada immigration information on their website in both English and French language. You can also follow IRCC on Twitter if you are social media savvy and feel free to confirm any information from them on Twitter. Whatever is not on their website is most likely not true. If you decide to use a consultant, ensure you use registered immigration consultants with good reviews.
Step 2 Assess your credential: You must have your education credential assessed by authorized Canadian body. The designated organizations for Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) are International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS), World Education Services (WES), International Qualification Assessment Service (IQAS), International Credential Evaluation Services (ICES) (These handle all professions except medicine & Pharmacy).
For doctors, Medical Council of Canada (MCC) is recommended and The Pharmacy Examination Body of Canada (PEBC) for Pharmacists.
Note 1: For Education Credential Assessment (ECA), It is encouraged that the Principal Applicant (PA) and spouse evaluate their educational credentials.
Note 2: You don’t have to evaluate all your academic credentials but your highest credential. WES now requests for WAEC certificate (for those in Nigeria) to process evaluation. Be sure to check their most recent requirement for your country if you plan to use them.
How to get your WAEC certificate sent to WES (for those in Nigeria) The instruction to do this is at the entrance of the receptionist's office at WAEC office in Yaba, Lagos. Opposite WAEC office, you'll have to swear an affidavit for a fee with your passport photo. You have to pay N10,000 to the WAEC finance office and buy two envelops that will be addressed to WES with your Reference number printed on them (Very important). Afterwards, you'll pay about N9,500 for courier to Canada. Once you submit this to the WAEC office. They will sort your certificate and send to WES. If you have a copy of your certificate, it is recommended you take it along to WAEC office to hasten the search process. Once WAEC does its part, UPS will pick up and you will get a message with a tracking number to know when it will arrive Canada. Then you can log on to your WES account to check for updates. Note that WES will send a letter to WAEC to verify. Once they receive WAEC response, WES will proceed with the evaluation of your credential.
Note 3: Do your transcript runs with your Nigerian institutions yourself or use smart and trusted person to avoid needless delays
Note 4: ECA reports can take several weeks or even months to be ready, so do your part to be proactive in avoiding further delays.
Note 5: Due to the wait time for ECA reports to be ready and the fact that the report is valid for five years, it is recommended that you begin this process before writing your IELTS examination since the result of IELTS exams is only valid for two years and is usually ready between two to four weeks after writing it.
Step 3 Prepare for and write the IELTS general examination for immigration purposes: Google IELTS exam dates in locations near you and pick an exam date that allows you enough time to PRACTICE. For those in Nigeria, you can either take the exam with British Council or with MOD Education Nigeria. I’ll share IELTS preparation resources in another post. I’ve seen many people refusing to take the preparation phase seriously because they think since English is their first language, it won’t be a problem for them to pass the exam and I have seen many of those people fail the exam woefully. I had to write the exam three times to get the desired score as I mentioned in The Journey Begins.
Note 1: If you speak French, it is recommended that you also write the French Language Test (TEF) at Alliance Francais to improve your CRS score in the pool (more on this below).
Note 2: If you are married,it is strongly encouraged that both spouse write the language test.
Note 3: The minimum score set by IRCC is Listening 6, Writing 6, Reading 6 & Speaking 6. While this score allows you to enter the pool, it won’t give you a good CRS to help you get Invitation to Apply (ITA), especially given the current competition in the pool. I recommend the target score for the Principal Applicant (PA) should be L8, W7, R7 & S7 but greater score will be more beneficial (L9, W9, R9 & S9). This score is achievable with PRACTICE.
Note 4: You must prepare well for the language assessment. Don’t stop pushing till you get the desire score. I have heard of someone who got her desired result on the 15th attempt.
How many times are you willing to write IELTS to get your desired result?
Steps 1-3 are the directional compass to start your journey. Without these steps you can’t start the process.
Step 4 Get into the express entry pool: After you get your ECA report and IELTS report, you need to create an account via MYCIC and provide all relevant information. Note that if any of your scores in IELTS is lower than 6, you won’t be able to create an account as the portal will immediately let you know that you do not qualify for the program. To see if you qualify or simulate your CRS score, use the CRS tool. After entering the pool, you are given a score known as you CRS that shows you how you compare to the many other candidates in the pool based on your age, academic qualification, IELTS result, work experience, etc. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) periodically selects candidates in the pool based on CRS to apply for Canadian permanent residency. So if your CRS is not high enough, you may never get an invitation. There are three subclasses for express entry:
- Direct route based on high CRS. With direct route, you can live anywhere in Canada. However, to qualify through direct route, you need to have good scores in many of the factors considered by IRCC
- Provincial Nomination Program (PNP). With this route you have to live and work in the province that nominates you at least until you get your citizenship (if that’s a goal). You can also leave the province if you can prove that you are unable to find employment in the province. However, it is not advisable to leave the province indiscriminately as the province has the right to revoke your nomination if you leave because it violates the agreement you have with the province. This route has helped many achieve their immigration goal irrespective of age or IELTS score. Find out how PNP works.
- Job offer. Although this route is not common as very few people get job offer from Canada without a work permit because of the stringent rule in place to put employers in check. You also have to be very careful with this, as many fraudsters use this route to defraud desperate people by offering them fake job offers for a fee and disappearing into thin air before they realize its a hoax. Learn more about immigrating through job offers.
Step 5. Begin to gather all your documents and those of accompanying family members. Once you enter the pool and have a good score (based on IRCC recent ITA), you need to begin to gather electronic copies (preferably in PDF format) of all relevant documents like IELTS test result, ECA report, employer reference letter, proof of funds, birth Certificate, police clearance certificate(s), etc. You may also need these documents if you decide to try the PNP route. IRCC provides the full list of documents you need to provide after ITA, some of which may not be applicable to you.
Step 6. Get Invitation to Apply (ITA). If your CRS is good enough, you’ll get invitation to apply for PR from IRCC. You must either accept or decline the ITA within 60 days of receiving the ITA.
Step 7. If you accept the ITA, go for upfront medicals at any of the designated medical centres close to you and be ready to upload all your supporting documents online via your MYCIC account.
Step 8. Expect your Confirmation of Permanent Residence(COPR) within 1-6 months if all background, security & criminality checks are certified okay by IRCC. Within this period, IRCC can request additional document to support your application.
Step 9. Land in Canada to become a Permanent Resident(PR) and begin your settlement procedures.
Let me know in the comment section if you need further clarification or resources on any of the steps or if I missed a vital step.