To immigrate to Canada, it is not necessary to have dozens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. In this article, you will find the four main ways to relocate to this country with the minimum savings enough to pay for the basic immigration process and plane tickets.
To make it clear: it is impossible to immigrate to Canada without any money at all. You will need funds to buy a plane ticket, rent a house, and bear other costs before you start working. Therefore, it is recommended to have at least minimal savings before moving to Canada.
A family of two with one child needs to spend at least C$6,500 on the immigration process. This amount includes:
- IELTS test: 600
- Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA): 220
- Translations of documents: 200–500
- Medical exam: 600
- Immigration visa: 2,230
- Plane ticket: about 2,600
Most immigration programs also require the applicant to demonstrate sufficient funds to support themselves and dependent family members in the first months of living in Canada. The amount may exceed C$10 thousand per person (plus an additional several thousand for a spouse and children).
If you do not have extra C$10–15 thousand, take a look at programs that set zero or minimum requirements for settlement funds.
Atlantic Immigration Pilot
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot operates in the Atlantic provinces of Canada, which include Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island.
This pilot includes three programs: Atlantic International Graduate Program, Atlantic High-Skilled Program, and Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program for international graduates, high-skilled and intermediate-skilled workers, respectively.
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot is hugely popular as it imposes low requirements for settlement funds. Depending on the size of the family, the amount varies from C$3,167 per person to C$8,381 for a family of seven or more people:
|Family size||Amount (CAD)|
The Atlantic immigration pilot also imposes the minimum requirements for proficiency in English: it is enough to have the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 4, which corresponds to the following IELTS scores: Reading 3.5; Writing 4.0; Listening 4.5; Speaking 4.0. You also do not need to register in the Express Entry system and score points, like under the federal immigration programs. However, you need to get a job offer from an employer in one of the Atlantic provinces.
Self-Employed Persons Program
The Self-Employed Persons Program offers permanent residency in Canada to people working in creative occupations (actors, journalists, designers, musicians, photographers, directors, dancers), as well as professional athletes and coaches.
The main requirements are to have experience in cultural or sporting activities and be ready and able to make a significant contribution to the cultural or sporting life of Canada. Not any self-employed person is entitled to immigrate. The eligible candidates include, for instance, athletes who participated in world-class competitions.
Candidates are assessed against selection criteria, which include work experience, education, age, language proficiency, and adaptability. You need to score only 35 points out of a possible 100.
Here are the maximum points you can score:
- Education: 25
- Work experience: 35
- Age: 10
- English or French proficiency: 24
- Adaptability: 6
It is easy to score a minimum number of points. It is not necessary to have higher education — high school is enough, for which you can get 5 points. The minimum work experience is 2 years, and you will get another 20 points for this. The maximum number of points for age (10 points) can be scored if you are 21 to 49 years old. At this point, the total is already 35 points. If you have proficiency in English, you will get extra points. The language requirements for this program are minimal (CLB 4).
Home Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot have been created for caregivers providing care and support to children, patients, or people with disabilities in Canada. It is required to have work experience as a nurse in Canada for 2 years or less if the applicant is working as a nurse at the time of application. Family members of the applicant may also immigrate.
If the candidate applies for permanent residence and work or study permit for themselves and their family members, they need to have proficiency in English at CLB level 5 and have a higher education (or to complete an academic program lasting at least 1 year).
An employee who is going to work in Canada as a caregiver gets an occupation-based open work permit, so the employer does not have to get a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to hire a foreigner. This greatly simplifies the immigration process.
Provincial Programs’ Streams for Applicants with job Offers
If you are already working in Canada or have a job offer, you may not be required to show settlement funds.
Many Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) have streams for skilled workers who have a job offer from a Canadian employer. It suggests that the employee will get a salary almost immediately after arriving in Canada and be able to support themselves and their family, therefore, it is not necessary to additionally have proof of settlement funds.
Here are examples of Provincial Nominee Programs’ streams for applicants with a job offer:
- Alberta: Alberta Opportunity Stream
- British Columbia: BC PNP Tech Pilot
- New Brunswick: Skilled Worker Applicants With Employer Support
- Northwest Territories: Skilled Workers
- Nova Scotia: Nova Scotia Physician
- Saskatchewan: International Skilled Workers with an Employment Offer, Saskatchewan Experience
- Yukon: Skilled Worker, Critical Impact Worker
The best option to immigrate to Canada without having a lot of money is to first get a job offer in this country. This way, immigration officers will be convinced that while working in Canada you will be able to provide for yourself and will not apply for state social benefits.