Sunday, June 9, 2019

Moving to Canada from Barbados


I moved from Barbados to Canada on a work permit early in 2018 and subsequently became a permanent resident this year. I've had the conversation a few times with friends about the process, specifically with respect to coming from Barbados, and I wanted to share what I knew more definitively.

The primary way to immigrate for many professionals is through Express Entry. This is a program that seeks to bring productive members of society into Canada and works on a points system, there are a few different express entry classes but 'Federal Skilled Worker' is the route for most people. For Canadian Experience class you need to have worked in Canada and for Skilled Trades it would be jobs like butchers, farmers etc.

This page walked through the basic steps of Express Entry and here is the Federal Skilled Workers Requirements page.

There are a few requirements:

  • Age - Being mid 20s is the prime time, you lose points from around 29 and by 40 you get 0.
  • Education - You have to validate this if your highest degree is not from the US/Canada. If your Bachelors was in Barbados and Masters in Canada then you're golden. If, however, it is the other way around then you need to validate the Masters. That's done through an ECA, it costs around $400BBD and takes 3-4 months start to finish. My wife and I used BCIT.
    • [Update: 25-Jun-2019] Several people have had a faster turn around using some of the other services. They are listed here.
  • Work experience - This offsets the age points 'loss' somewhat, but you have to get a fairly detailed job letter. 'Relieving Certificates' are also needed if you've held multiple jobs, these are confirmation of previous employment letters that confirm details such as job title, start/end date and your responsibilities.
  • Whether you have a valid job offer in Canada.
  • English and/or French language skills - You can do IELTS in Trinidad or the US (I did mine in Miami), or CELPIP in Canada. No prep is really necessary but doing a sample listening test would be good and if you don't write with a pen frequently practicing would help if you're doing IELTS as that has a written component (my hand got very tired during the exam).
  • Adaptability - If you don't have a job offer (and sometimes even then) you have to produce a proof of funds (For a family of 2, it's $15,772 CAD in a bank account for 3 months or longer, essentially you need to be able to show the money is really yours.)
Overall I'd say the process is:
  1. Go through the requirements and use this tool to calculate, a score of 440+ is probably good enough by 450/460 is safer (they basically take the first 'insert a number here' most qualified people per draw so the cut off varies)
  2. If you're good on points then Apply for the ECA (if needed) and book a language test.
  3. Once you've received both those back you can apply for express entry and with a good score you'll get an Invitation to Apply (ITA)
The ITA process is much more complicated.This site does a good summary but overall:
  • Need a Police Certificate of Character for anywhere you've lived 6 months+ cumulatively.
  • A medical test (only one doctor does it in Barbados and it's $1,000 BBD/person), it can be done in other countries but that would need to be researched on a case by case basis. 
  • A complete travel history going back at least ten years.
  • The actual Permanent Residence application costs about $1,040 CAD for one Adult, $2,080 CAD for one adult and their spouse and $2,230 CAD for a couple and a child.
    • It breaks down to $1,040 per adult and $150 per child. Details on Permanent Residence Fees (and more) are listed here.
  • There are a few online forms to fill out on the IRCC site as well.
  • A job offer is very helpful and once you have an ITA you're eligible to apply for jobs in Canada from a pool that will take foreign applicants.
Probably a few things I missed but I think that mostly covers it and I'll update this post as needed.







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