Direct Immigration to Canada, a Dream?

Direct Immigration to CanadaSorina is a citizen of Romania. As a professional party planner, she has built a successful career in her home country. However, Sorina wishes to move to Canada, where many of her friends and family live. Therefore, she explores different options. In fact, she visits many websites and contacts many immigration agencies. Regardless, they all suggest she either study or work in Canada first. Consequently, Sorina wonders if direct immigration to Canada is only a dream.

When I started my profession as an immigration consultant, the majority of my clients were Federal Skilled Workers. The process was relatively easy at the time. All you needed to do was to fill out a few forms and collect a few documents. Thus, you submitted the package to the immigration office and wait. It usually took them several months to process the application. However, the success rate was high, and the whole process was easy to handle. Are the good old days gone?

What is direct immigration to Canada?

Direct immigration to Canada means you have no prior association with Canada. However, you may apply to the immigration authorities. Therefore, they review your application. Upon approval, you become a permanent resident of Canada. Of course, in this context, we have to exclude those who have already worked or studied in Canada.

What are the existing direct immigration options to Canada?

The following list shows some of the potential direct immigration options to Canada at this moment:

One could include Family Reunification options as a direct immigration option. However, this is a bit of a stretch.  Needless to say, in Family Reunification, a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada sponsors you to Canada. In other words, in spousal, parental or siblings sponsorship, you have an association with Canada via a close family member.

Direct immigration to Canada via FSWC

FSWC is an economic immigration option. IRCC designed it for people to immigrate to Canada based on their education, work experience, knowledge of English or French languages, and other criteria. However, since the introduction of the Express Entry, this group needs to compete with those who have Canadian work experience. Consequently, less than 10% of all successful immigration cases fall under this group.

Direct immigration to Canada via FSTC

FSTC targets skilled trades such as plumbing, welding and millwright. Many of the FSTC applicants are already inside Canada with valid work permits. To apply under this program, you either need to: (1) get a job offer from a Canadian employer; (2) receive a certificate of qualifications from a province. However, none of these options are quite available to those who have no associations with Canada. Regardless, the total number of FSTC cases is less than 1% of the immigrants. Therefore, we could assume FSTC is not a significant source of direct immigration to Canada.

Direct immigration to Canada via Start-up visa and Federal Self-employed Class

The Start-up visa program targets innovative people. Federal Self-employed Class covers artists and athletes. These two options are open to direct immigration. However, due to complexities, the total number of immigrants under these groups is less than 1% of all immigrants.

Direct immigration to Canada via Quebec and provincial options

Canadian provinces may choose their immigrants based on mutual agreements with the federal government of Canada. In fact, about 25 to 30 percent of all immigrants are provincial applicants. Of course, a limited number of these applications are direct immigration. Roughly speaking, less than one-fifth of them could be direct immigrants. However, the majority of them could immigrate because they have already worked or studied in the target province or elsewhere in Canada.

How many direct immigration then?

Considering the above arguments, less than 15% of all immigrants have no previous associations with Canada. Of course, I deliberately excluded resettled refugees as they do not necessarily request immigrating to Canada.

Why is direct immigration so tricky?

Many skilled immigrants landed in Canada at the dawn of the twenty-first century. However, they faced difficulties in finding jobs, receiving fair salaries or even settling in Canada. As a result, the government of Canada tried to focus on those people who will likely encounter fewer issues. Consequently, they created programs such as the Canadian Experience Class. They also decided to expand provincial options, which mostly offer indirect immigration. Of course, the combination of new policies makes direct immigration to Canada significantly tricky.

What are your solutions then?

In this day and age, your best bet is to work or study in Canada first. Then you may potentially find provincial or federal options for immigration at a later time. Here are some potential options:

Studying in Canada

If you complete a post-secondary program in Canada, you could immigrate because of the following reasons:

  • You enhance your knowledge of English or French languages
  • The governments assign extra points to you under many immigration programs
  • You usually receive an open work permit called PGPW which allows you to gain Canadian work experience
  • Some provincial programs offer immigration to international students

Read the following articles for more information:

Working in Canada as an entrepreneur

If you are an entrepreneur, you could receive a work permit under certain circumstances. Of course, this option could eventually lead to immigration. Read the following articles for more information:

Working as a skilled person

If a Canadian employer offers you a position in Canada, you may gain work experience in our country. Of course, you could later immigrate under some provincial or federal options. However, receiving a job offer in Canada is not easy. Beware of those agencies or people who lure you into paying them money. Unfortunately,  many of the claims they make are not valid. In fact, nobody should charge you money for job finding.

Consider reading the following articles:

Conclusion: Direct immigration is possible but rare

While direct immigration is still available to some people, the majority of applicants have no choice but seek alternative options. I have seen this throughout my career. I hardly have any clients that may immigrate to Canada directly. Almost all of my immigration clients are indirect immigrants.

If you wish to visit or move to Canada, please fill out our free assessment form. We will review the form for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal advice from a licenced practitioner.

Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada


This article provides information of a general nature only. It may no longer be current. It does not give legal advice. Do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. We cannot be held responsible for the content of these articles. If you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. If you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment. All the characters in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Any resemblance in names, dates, and places (whether individuals, organizations, regions, or countries) is coincidental.

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Al Parsai

This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.