When you initially start thinking about emigrating to Canada and begin exploring the different options, it can be completely overwhelming. I regularly see questions on the forums about where to start, so I’ve put together a list of useful sites that’ll help you find your way around the process.
Where to begin…
First and foremost, the most important website and the place you absolutely need to start is at the Immigration Citizenship and Refugees Canada (IRCC) website. This is the official Canadian government source of anything and everything you need to know about the process of immigrating to Canada.
Google is also generally your friend through this process, but there are so many scams out there and lots of false information doing the rounds, so it’s always good to refer back to the official government sources where possible. Don’t just believe everything you read online.
The most popular means of immigrating to Canada as a skilled worker is via the Express Entry System.
Express Entry is a points-based system whereby you’ll need to score enough points according to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) which is based on factors including your education, work experience, age and English language ability – you can work out whether you’re eligible and how many CRS points you potentially score on the CRS tool.
In order to qualify for Express Entry you’ll need to have relevant work experience under the National Occupation Classification System (NOC) – you can find your NOC here.
Education credential assessments
If you need to have your qualifications assessed for their Canadian equivalence, there are a handful of official organisations that are able to do this. The two most popular seem to be World Education Services (WES) and International Qualification Assessment Services (IQAS), but you can find a full list of approved organisations here.
English language tests
There are two options for the English language tests:
IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)
If applying for a work permit or permanent visa for Canada you’ll need to undergo a medical exam. This can only be done by a panel physician listed on the IRCC website.
Police clearance (South Africa)
If you’re needing a police clearance certificate, you’ll need to apply directly via the South African Police Services and you can find out how to go about it here.
Using a representative
If you’ve decided to use an agent/representative to assist you through the process, you’ll need to ensure that they are registered with The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council as a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). They should have a registration number and this should appear on the official list of regulated immigration professionals.
Useful forums and Facebook groups
There are some great online communities for those considering a move to or already in the process of immigrating to Canada. Here are some of the forums that I found most helpful and supportive through our journey:
SACanada – a great platform for South Africans planning a move to Canada to ask for advice and share experiences.
Canada Visa – definitely one of the best communities for aspirant immigrants to Canada to ask questions and share timelines and experiences.
Immitracker – a good place to track the progress of applications and to get a general overview of processing times.
Express Entry with Legal Falcon – a good Facebook group for those already in the process to ask questions and advice.
Ask Kubeir/Express Entry/Canada PR – another helpful Facebook group where you can ask questions and share experiences.
Ex-pat South Africans Living in Canada – a helpful Facebook community for South Africans in the process or already living in Canada.
General info about living in Canada
Moving2Canada – this is a great website with tons of useful info about moving to and living in Canada.
Expat Arrivals – a useful site with loads of general information about moving abroad and expat life, including in Canada.
See this list of great blogs about expat life in Canada.
Cost of living
Both the sites below give a list of items and activities in Canada with prices – most of these are average prices, so things will obviously vary across the country, but it at least gives a general idea of the cost of living.
See Cost of living in Calgary for a breakdown of costs in the city.
The above is still a work in progress and if you know of any other useful links to add here, please contact me or drop a comment below.
For more general info about the process, have a look at Info and Documents Needed for Express Entry.