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Moving to Canada If Trump Wins?--- It's Not That Easy

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October 9, 2016

By SUSAN CALLAHAN, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist



I'm old enough to have been through several cycles of politics.  In 2000, in the thick of the battle between Al Gore and George W. Bush, all my Democrat friends swore that if Bush won, it would be so unbearable that they would have to do leave the country. Most of them swore that they would move to Canada.  Many of those same friends are saying the same thing now that Donald Trump is within weeks of perhaps getting the keys to the Oval Office. "If that guy wins, I'm giving up on America. I mean it, I'll move to Canada!" 

And that got me thinking, how does that work exactly?

How do you immigrate to Canada from the United States?


Oh the Times, They Are a Changin' -- Canada's Door Is Not As Open as It Used to Be

















During the Vietnam War, thousands of Americans escaped to Canada rather than fight for a war they opposed in principle as "conscientious objectors". Since the late eighteenth century, the Military Service Act of Canada exempted from military service men whose religion of faith made them unable to fight as a matter of conscience. 

Canada became, and in some respects still is, a beacon of evolved thought and enlightenment or, maybe more pragmatically, a good escape plan.

Today, some 316,000 former Americans live in Canada as Canadian citizens and another 900,000  to 2 million Americans live there part-time or as permanent residents.

And the grass seems greener in America to some Canadians. There are 1,062,000 Canadians living legally in the US and another estimated 70,000 to 99,000 Canadians live in America illegally, according to the Urban Institute, a research organization based in.

But while the image of Canada as a welcoming, liberal, evolved nation remain fixed in the imagination of Americans, on the ground, in real life, Canada was changing. 

Over the decades, Canada, in grappling with waves of immigration from China, Jamaica, and other countries, has had to shrink that welcome mat.

For example, there is no right to retire to Canada, no matter how much money you have. Canada used to have an investor visa, like many other countries.  However, the Investor Program which many Chinese used to immigrate to Canada has been closed and, as the Canada government website ominously advised, Canada "is no longer accepting applications."

How You Immigrate Depends on Your Circumstances


Like most countries, Canada wants to make sure that they are admitting people who won't become a burden on their purse.  Canada has a single payer, national health system, for example, so it has to provide free medical care for any immigrant who is admitted. Canada also would not want to admit immigrants who would have to rely on State welfare.

For these reasons, you have to either have a job waiting for you in Canada from a Canadian employer or have the ability to create a paying job before you emigrate or qualify as a skilled worker in one of the categories that Canada had decided it needs workers. There are, of course, loopholes, for people who are joining family and other exceptions and we'll get into these in more detail.

Here is the basic scheme Canada follows. You are allowed in to live and work in Canada if:

- you are self-employed as a artist or athlete and you can prove that you were successful at it on a world-class level

- you are a farmer and have had two years of managing a farm

- you are a professional caregiver for children or the elderly or those with chronic diseases in a facility

- you are joining family

- you have been accepted by a Canadian college or university. After completion of the degree, you generally will receive a 3-year work permit.

Do You Have Special Skills and a College Degree?

Canada's immigration scheme allows in people who fit into certain skilled professions.  The process you would apply through is online at the "Express Entry" portal.

The types of skills Canada is looking for generally correspond to categories recognized in Appendix 1603.D.1 to the NAFTA statute.  In the US, we call this the Trade NAFTA Visa and it allows those who qualify the right to work for a year and to renew after that.

Here are the 60 original categories:

--    Accountant--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or C.P.A., C.A., C.G.A., or C.M.A.
--     Architect--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license .
--     Computer Systems Analyst--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post Secondary Certificate and three years' experience.
--     Disaster relief insurance claims adjuster (claims adjuster     employed by an insurance company located in the territory of a Party, or an independent claims adjuster)--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree and successful completion of training in     the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims; or three years experience in claims adjustment and successful completion of training in the appropriate areas of insurance adjustment pertaining to disaster relief claims.
--     Economist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Engineer--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license
--     Forester--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license
--     Graphic Designer--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate and three years experience.
--     Hotel Manager--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree in hotel/restaurant management; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate in hotel/restaurant management and three years experience in hotel/restaurant management.
--     Industrial Designer--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree;or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate, and three years experience.
--     Interior Designer--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate, and three years experience.
--     Land Surveyor--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree or state/provincial/federal license.
--     Landscape Architect--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Lawyer (including Notary in the province of Quebec)-L.L.B., J.D., L.L.L., B.C.L., or Licenciatura degree (five years); or membership in a state/provincial bar.
--     Librarian--M.L.S., or B.L.S. (for which another Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree was a prerequisite).
--     Management Consultant--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or equivalent professional experience as established by statement or professional credential attesting to five years experience as a management consultant, or five years experience in a field of specialty related to the consulting agreement.
--Mathematician (including Statistician)--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Range Manager/Range Conservationist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Research Assistant (working in a post-secondary educational institution)--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Scientific Technician/Technologist --Possession of (a) theoretical knowledge of any of the following disciplines: agricultural sciences, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology, or physics; and (b) the ability to solve practical problems in any of those disciplines, or the ability to apply principles of any of those disciplines to basic or applied research.
--     Social Worker--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.-Sylviculturist (including Forestry Specialist)--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Technical Publications Writer--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree, or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate, and three years experience.
--     Urban Planner (including Geographer)--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Vocational Counselor--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.


--     Dentist--D.D.S., D.M.D., Doctor en Odontologia or Doctor en Cirugia Dental or state/provincial license.
--     Dietitian--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.
--     Medical Laboratory Technologist (Canada)/Medical Technologist

Nutritionist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Occupational Therapist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.
--     Pharmacist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.
--     Physician (teaching or research only)--M.D. Doctor en Medicina; or state/provincial license.
--     Physiotherapist/Physical Therapist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree; or state/provincial license.
--     Psychologist--state/provincial license; or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Recreational Therapist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Registered nurse--state/provincial license or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Veterinarian--D.V.M., D.M.V., or Doctor en Veterinaria; or state/provincial license.


--     Agriculturist (including Agronomist)--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Animal Breeder--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Animal Scientist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Apiculturist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Astronomer--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Biochemist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Biologist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

--     Chemist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Dairy Scientist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Entomologist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Epidemiologist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Geneticist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

--     Geochemist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Geologist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Geophysicist (including Oceanographer in Mexico and the United States)--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Horticulturist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Meteorologist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Pharmacologist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Physicist (including Oceanographer in Canada)-Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Plant Breeder--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Poultry Scientist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Soil Scientist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Zoologist--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.


--     College--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     Seminary--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.
--     University--Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree








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