An Ontario immigration lawyer says he’s been flooded with calls from inquiring Americans thinking about packing up and moving to Canada due to Donald Trump’s ongoing success in the Republican presidential primaries.
Trump and Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton both won seven states during last week’s Super Tuesday prompting Google searches for “how can I move to Canada?” to spike nearly 1,150 per cent. Trump grabbed Kentucky and Louisiana over the weekend as well.
Windsor, Ont. Based immigration lawyer Eddie Kadri said his offices have been overwhelmed by calls from disgruntled Americans since the Republican primaries began.
“The calls actually started before Super Tuesday, but there was a huge spike after,” Kadri told Global News. “It’s been steady.”
Kadri said this isn’t the first time he’s seen a wave of calls during a U.S. election cycle.
“This has happened before, when George W. Bush was re-elected we had a high spike in calls,” he said. “Americans were angry and frustrated, but that subsided over time. There was a very small number that I experienced that actually applied for immigration and followed through.”
In 2014, more than 260,000 people immigrated to Canada according to the latest numbers from the federal government. Of those, 8,496 happened to be from the U.S.
For U.S. citizens looking for a temporary escape to Canada, Americans can visit as tourists for six months without having to renew their visas, according to the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration website.
But for those disgruntled Americans looking to flee their country for greener pastures in the Great White North, here is a look at four ways to become a permanent resident or work in Canada.
The Express Entry Immigration Program works on a points-based system that evaluates age, marital status, adaptability, language proficiency, education and work experience.
There are a possible 1,200 points you can get based on the different criteria and a score of roughly 500 points is needed to qualify.
“We have a lot of similar cultural issues and [U.S. citizens] would likely be able to adapt fairly well to Canadian society and would score rather highly in that respect,” said Jeffrey Goldman, an immigration lawyer in Toronto.
“Their skill sets also might be rather high because they do high-tech stuff in the States and they are probably well educated,” he said. “Americans would be excellent candidates to swing over into Canada”
Kadri said the total fees, including legal fees, could cost upwards of CAD$6,000 and take six months.
Immigrant investor programs
For wealthier Americans looking to invest in Canada, Kadri says each province has its own investor programs with different criteria created by the provincial governments to promote the immigration of business people and their families.
WATCH: Americans planning to ‘move to Canada’ in the wake of Trump primary wins
The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program, for example, requires a candidate to have a minimum net worth of CDN$1.6 million and sign an agreement to invest CDN$800, 000.
“We have the Canadian investor program as well. We have the start-up Visa program, so there are different options that are available depending again on what the time frame the person is seeking to accomplish this under,” said Kadri.
Go back to school
U.S. citizens who get accepted to an accredited Canadian private school, public university, community college or technical institute, can apply for a student visa as a foreign student.
According to Citizenship and Immigration, if you’re studying for one year, you can get a one year work permit, while studying for two years will get you a two year work permit. If you are eligible to work off-campus, you may work up to 20 hours per week during the regular academic year and full-time during scheduled breaks (e.g., winter/summer holidays, spring break).
And of course marriage is always an option for Americans looking to move north.
If you’ve married to or live with a Canadian citizen for a minimum of one year they can sponsor you to become a permanent resident begin the citizenship process.
“If a [U.S. citizen] were in a relationship with a Canadian and that’s were that relationship was progressing towards marriage. That would open up a potential family class application,” said Kadri.
“This is actually a very common way that Americans immigrate to Canada because there is such cross-border connectivity.”
There is no minimum income requirement but you can’t be on welfare and you need to pass the criminal, security and medical exams.
However, the CIC warns against setting up a “marriage of convenience,” where the sole purpose is to let the sponsored spouse or partner immigrate to Canada.
The CIC website warns that officers know how to detect false marriages, and can use document checks, visits to people’s homes and interview both sponsors and applicants to weed out fraudulent claims.
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