Canadian versus American immigration: The United States has long been regarded as the country of opportunity and is a very popular place for immigrants to live, work, study, and eventually settle down permanently. Approximately 14% of the US population, or 45 million people, were born outside the country.
Additionally, Canada has grown to be a very well-liked immigration destination. More than 8.3 million foreign-born residents made up nearly a quarter (23%) of the population of Canada in 2021.
This article will examine the various alternatives available to immigrants who are still debating between the two countries and compare the immigration policies of the two nations.
Canada’s Approach to Immigration
Canada publishes an Immigration Levels Plan yearly as a roadmap for how many immigrants will be accepted there. It includes a breakdown of immigrants participating in economic, family, and humanitarian class programs for the next three years.
Canada declared it would expand its immigration targets and expects to welcome 460,000 immigrants in 2023, 485,000 in 2024, and 500,000 in 2025 in its Immigration Levels Plan 2023–2025. The plan emphasises family reunions as crucial, attracting qualified people to alleviate labour shortages and assisting disadvantaged communities worldwide through refugee resettlement programs.
More than 437,000 immigrants were received by the IRCC in 2022. Family-class immigrants made up 24% of admissions, while 56% of new immigrants arrived via economic routes, including Express Entry and Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP).
India, China, Afghanistan, Nigeria, the Philippines, and France are the most frequently immigrated nations to Canada as permanent residents (in descending order).
The United States’s approach to immigration
Over 1,100,000 lawful permanent residents (LPRs) were allowed entry into the US in 2016. The COVID-19 pandemic, processing backlogs, and government restrictions have all contributed to the considerable reduction in the number of LPRs admitted to the US recently, which fell to a little over 700,000 in 2020 and 740,000 in 2021.
As a result, relative to the United States, Canada accepts three times more immigrants per resident.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is the body of law that oversees US immigration policy. According to the INA, the US may issue up to 675,000 different types of permanent immigrant visas each year. The INA places no restrictions on the annual entrance of a US citizen’s spouse, parents, or children under the age of 21 in addition to those 675,000. A fixed number of refugees are allowed entry into the nation each year through the US Refugee Admissions Program.
The US offers several options for skilled immigrants to enter the nation permanently or temporarily. For temporary non-immigrant employees, there are more than 20 different categories of visas. The US cap for immigrants under permanent employment-based programs is 140,000 per year.
If they meet the requirements, unlimited visas are available yearly for US residents’ close family members. The family preference system, which typically includes adult children, brothers and sisters of US citizens, spouses, and unmarried offspring of permanent residents, only makes a small number of visas accessible each year.
Mexico, China, India, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba (in descending order) are the top countries of origin for US immigrants seeking permanent residency.
How to obtain U.S. citizenship permanently
LPRs have been granted permission to live permanently in the US. They can accept job offers without restrictions, own property, receive financial aid, and enlist in the military.
The following are some methods for obtaining permanent residency in the US:
- an application for a green card sponsored by an employer based on a specific, full-time job offer. There are five categories of preference, denoted by the letters EB-1, EB-2, etc.
- an employment-based green card application that is self-sponsored and does not require a specific work offer. This is often submitted under the EB-1A or EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) categories.
- the union of a US citizen
- sponsorship from a close relative who resides in the US permanently or is a citizen
- The US Department of State’s lottery for diversity
How to obtain a Canadian permanent residence
A permanent resident enjoys the same rights to most social benefits as Canadian citizens, including access to health care and the ability to seek for citizenship. They are also permitted to live, work, and study in Canada.
There are various ways to become eligible for permanent residence in Canada. The most common routes for skilled immigrants to enter Canada are as follows:
- Express Entry
- Provincial Nominee Programs
To grant permanent residency to skilled employees under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), the Canadian government primarily uses the application management system known as Express Entry. Candidates who meet the requirements are added to the Express Entry pool and graded using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) based on various criteria. The highest-scoring applicants in the pool get Invitations to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence from the Canadian government.
Except for Quebec and Nunavut, practically all provinces and territories run Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). Provinces and territories can nominate people who want to immigrate to Canada and are interested in settling in a certain province through the PNP.
Additionally, Canada has immigration policies permitting nationals and permanent residents to bring their families. A permanent resident or citizen’s spouse, kids, and grandkids may be eligible for family sponsorship.
The US government’s actions and judicial decisions have resulted in continuing revisions to numerous important immigration laws. To guarantee safe and orderly migration, many of these measures are focused on border enforcement and illegal immigration and involve expanding the present legal paths.
The availability of family-sponsored and employment-based immigration visas varies since unused visas from one year may be transferred to the following year. As an example, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website states that the Department of State’s most recent estimate for the employment-based annual limit for 2023 is that it will be around 197,000. This is because the employment-based annual limit for 2023 will also include roughly 57,000 unused family-sponsored visa numbers from 2022.
By 2025, Canada hopes to welcome 500,000 immigrants, increasing its immigration goals over the next years. Additionally, because PNP targets will continue to rise, the provinces will have more power when recommending immigrants.
Canada’s immigration ministers just approved a multi-year PNP allocation strategy. In the future, the PNP allocation targets will be established over three years, just like the targets for permanent residence.
- Canada’s high immigration targets.
- Decline in US immigrants.
- Canada’s focus on family and skills.
- US visa categories for employment.
- Canada’s Express Entry and PNP.