It's presidential election time again in the United States and with it comes the election-year tradition of hundreds of thousands of Americans threatening to leave the country if the opposition candidate is elected. This year is no exception as evidenced by the explosion on social media of people threatening to cross the border into Canada if Donald Trump is elected. But, immigration to Canada might not be as simple as people expect it to be.
Making the move north
Canada might appear to be the perfect landing place for disgruntled U.S. citizens who are intent on fleeing their country after the November election, but immigration to Canada is tightly controlled and regulated. The welcome mat is out for Americans who want to spend a few months up north to come to terms with the election results or to simply take in the Canadian scenery. Temporary visitor visas allow U.S. citizens to remain in Canada for up to six months.
For those individuals who want to make a more permanent move across the border, there are categories under which a person may become a permanent resident of Canada, including:
Being unhappy with the results of an election is not one of the criteria for obtaining permanent residency. Qualifying under the categories requires compliance with the application process and guidelines for each one.
Skilled worker class immigration to Canada
Applicants for permanent residency as skilled workers undergo an evaluation process in which they are scored based upon their level of education, work experience, language skills, age, adaptability and whether they have made arrangements for employment in Canada. The combined scores can range from 0 to 100, but a 67 is the minimum score required for consideration for permanent resident status.
Immigration to Canada under the business class category
Investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals starting a business in Canada might qualify for business class permanent residency. Each group must demonstrate a significant financial contribution to Canada or, in the case of self-employed individuals, a significant contribution to Canada's cultural or athletic activities.
Provincial nomination process
Each of the provinces can nominate a person for immigration to Canada. A person wishing to use this category to achieve permanent resident status must contact the local immigration office within the particular province in which he or she desires to settle and submit an application. If the person is nominated by the province, an application must then be filed with Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Family class immigration to Canada
Individuals who are citizens or permanent residents of Canada can sponsor their family members for permanent residency. Sponsorship may be required for anywhere from three years to 10 years depending upon what the government determines is necessary to assist the family member to become settled.
Individuals intending to settle in Quebec province might qualify under a program that allows the province to select those it deems best able to make a contribution to it. The evaluation process is conducted at the province level under a special arrangement with the government of Canada.
Heading north after casting your vote
Will 2016 be the year in which crowds of Americans crossing the border to become permanent residents of Canada? It's doubtful, considering that immigration to Canada in 2014 included only 8,500 U.S. citizens. If you are committed to renouncing dual citizenship and leaving the U.S, you should make certain you qualify for residency before the November elections roll around.