Complete Guide on Ways to Get Direct PR to Canada

Canada is an attractive choice for immigrants seeking a high quality of life, cultural diversity, and a robust economy. The country annually welcomes skilled workers, students, entrepreneurs, investors, as well as family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents (PRs). If you fall into one of these categories, you may be wondering about the pathways to obtain permanent residency (PR) directly in Canada.

PR status grants individuals the right to live, work, and study in Canada indefinitely, along with access to social benefits and healthcare. It also makes them eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship after meeting specific requirements.

Top Options for Obtaining Direct PR in Canada:

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Photo by Andre Furtado on

1. Express Entry Program

The Express Entry program is the most popular and expedient route for skilled workers to acquire PR in Canada. It is an online system managing applications for three federal immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.

To apply through Express Entry, applicants need to create an online profile and provide information about their age, education, language proficiency, work experience, and other relevant factors. The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) assigns a score to each candidate, ranking them against other applicants in the pool.

Periodically, the Canadian government issues invitations to apply (ITAs) for PR to the highest-ranking candidates in the pool. The minimum CRS score required to receive an ITA varies based on the number of candidates and available invitations. This year, the expected CRS cut-off is around 470 points.

Upon receiving an ITA, candidates have 60 days to submit a complete PR application, including all required documents and fees. The processing time for Express Entry applications is typically six months or less.

2. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP):

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) offers another avenue for skilled workers to obtain PR in Canada through connections to specific provinces or territories. Each province and territory has its own PNP streams tailored to different occupations, skills, and needs.

To apply through the PNP, candidates must first obtain a nomination from a province or territory that aligns with their profile and interests. This can be done by applying directly to the desired province or territory or by creating an Express Entry profile and expressing interest in a specific region.

Once nominated, candidates can apply for PR through either the paper-based or Express Entry-linked process. The paper-based process takes longer than the Express Entry process, but it may have lower CRS requirements or no CRS requirements at all.

3. Business Investor Program:

The Business Investor Program provides a pathway to PR in Canada for entrepreneurs and investors seeking to establish or invest in businesses within the country. This program consists of two main streams: the Start-up Visa Program and the Self-Employed Persons Program.

The Start-up Visa Program targets entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas accepted by designated organizations in Canada, such as angel investor groups, venture capital funds, or business incubators. Candidates must also meet language and education requirements and demonstrate sufficient funds to settle in Canada.

The Self-Employed Persons Program caters to individuals with relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics who can make significant contributions to the Canadian economy or culture through their work. Applicants must also meet specific selection criteria based on knowledge, education, age, language abilities, and adaptability.

Both streams require candidates to apply for PR with all necessary documents and fees. Processing times vary based on case complexity and application volume.

4. Work Permit:

While not a direct path to PR, obtaining a work permit can enhance your chances of acquiring PR through other programs by allowing you to gain valuable Canadian work experience. A work permit enables you to work in Canada temporarily for a specific employer or occupation.

To obtain a work permit, you need a valid job offer from a Canadian employer who has obtained a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from the government. An LMIA is a document that demonstrates the need for a foreign worker when no Canadian worker is available for the job.

Additionally, you must meet eligibility requirements based on your country of origin, occupation, education, language skills, as well as health and security status. You must apply for a work permit before entering Canada or at a port of entry if eligible.

A work permit is typically valid for the duration of your job offer or contract, up to four years. You can extend or change your work permit under certain conditions. If eligible, you can also apply for an open work permit, allowing you to work for any employer in Canada.

5. Study Visa:

A study visa offers an indirect path to PR in Canada for students desiring to pursue their education in the country. A study visa enables individuals to study at designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Canada for up to six months per course or program.

To obtain a study visa, you must possess an acceptance letter from a DLI in Canada that offers an eligible program of study. Additionally, you need to demonstrate sufficient funds to cover tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation. Meeting specific health and security requirements, as well as demonstrating an intention to leave Canada upon completing studies, is also necessary.

A study visa allows for part-time on-campus or off-campus work during studies and full-time work during scheduled breaks. If certain criteria are met, you can apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) upon completing your studies. A PGWP grants the ability to work in Canada for up to three years, depending on the program’s length.

Having Canadian education and work experience can enhance eligibility for PR through programs like Express Entry or PNP.

6. Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP):

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) is designed for skilled workers and international graduates aiming to live and work in one of the four Atlantic provinces: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

To apply through the AIPP, candidates require a job offer from a designated employer in one of the Atlantic provinces. Additionally, specific requirements related to education, language proficiency, and work experience must be met, depending on the chosen stream. The AIPP encompasses three streams: the Atlantic High-Skilled Program, the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program, and the Atlantic International Graduate Program.

A settlement plan outlining how you will adapt to life in Canada and access support services is also necessary. Sufficient funds to support yourself and your family in Canada must be demonstrated.

After receiving an endorsement letter from the province confirming eligibility, you can apply for PR online or by mail. The processing time for AIPP applications is typically 12 months or less.


As evident, numerous avenues exist to obtain direct PR in Canada. The optimal option for you will depend on your skills, qualifications, goals, and personal preferences. Online tools such as the Come to Canada tool or the CRS calculator can assist you in assessing your eligibility and score for different programs.

It is also advisable to consult with a professional immigration consultant or lawyer who can guide you through the process and help avoid mistakes or delays. Acquiring PR in Canada offers life-changing opportunities and numerous benefits for you and your family.

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