Patrick Arsenault, Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) works with foreign nationals and permanent residents to address immigration-related legal issues and concerns.
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There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to relocate to Canada or not. Immigrating to a new country is a big commitment and it required a significant monetary investment from purchasing flights, buying new furniture, paying the legal fees, possibly retaining a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, etc.
Most prospective immigrants are curious to know how much they can expect to earn once in Canada. Although it is impossible to know for sure, there is some data that can be useful in making predictions.
The minimum wage and average salaries
In Canada, each province or territory has a legal minimum wage. That is the hourly wage under which it is illegal for employers to pay you. This means that you can count on being paid at least the following wages for any job in Canada.
It can also be useful to look at the annual average salaries for each province. As a whole, the average salary in Canada is around $51,000 and the GDP per capita is USD $48,300, which is essentially the amount of money generated in Canada divided by the number of inhabitants. Canada currently ranks in the world's top 35, well before many other developed countries such as Belgium, United Kingdom, Japan, France, Finland, the European Union as a whole, South Korea, Italy, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, and many more.
* Minimum wage is set to increase to this amount later in 2019
- Data Unavailable
Income and sales taxes
Canadians are generally heavily taxed in order to fund world-class universally available services such as health care and education. On average, Canadians spend more on taxes than they do on basic necessities such as housing. In fact, a typical Canadian family will pay 42.5% of their income to the government. This may be something you are not used to and that you must account for when budgeting. Unlike many other countries, Canada does not include the sales tax to prices displayed in stores. As such, shoppers have to add between 5% and 15% to the cost of most items they purchase, depending on where they live. You can estimate your after-tax income online. It's impossible to truly know how much one individual will pay in taxes without more information. There are a long list of tax deductible expenses and tax credits available to help you reduce the amount of tax you will owe at the end of the year. Fortunately, most employers will automatically take money off your pay-check so you only need to make minor adjustments at the end of the year to either pay a little more or claim a refund if you overpaid.
Cost of living
The cost of living in Canada is very reasonable. Only one Canadian city made it to the top 30 of the world's most expensive city and only another city made the top 100.
Occupation specific salary data
In Canada, professional occupations are attribued NOCs (National Occupational Classification). Once you know what your NOC is, you can look at job prospects and salary expectations by towns, cities, regions, and provinces.
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The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) is an immigration pathway that is run as a pilot program until November 2019. Currently, it is one of Canada's most popular immigration pathway.
Accelerated Permanent Residency
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program is one of the quickest ways to get permanent residency. In fact, foreign nationals can become Canadian permanent residents in about six months. Immigrants value being able to get permanent residency quickly, because they want to avoid uncertainty as much as possible by not having their immigration status tied to one specific employer.
Temporary Worker Work Permit Option
Another facet of the AIPP program that makes it that popular is the fact that workers can obtain a temporary work permit, so they can start working while the permanent residency is being processed. Not every employer will be able to wait six months or more for candidates to move to Canada. Having the option to come work in Canada while the process takes place is certainly appealing.
Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Exemption
One of the mechanisms in place to protect the Canadian labour market are Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA). When an employer is not able to hire a Canadian worker, they have to go through a complex process where they have to determine what the impact of hiring a foreigner would be on the Canadian workforce. Essentially, the process aims to verify that the position cannot be filled by a Canadian. If the LMIA is positive, the employer will be issued a confirmation that he is allowed to recruit internationally. Many employers prefer not to go through this complex process. This is waived in the AIPP program. In that program, employers become designated by an Atlantic province: New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, or Newfoundland and Labrador. Once they are designated, they only have to advertise for positions for six weeks. If they could not find a Canadian worker, they are then allowed to hire a foreign national without getting a LMIA.
Approved Settlement Plan
When employers use the AIPP program, they have to work with an approved third party organization to create a settlement plan for the newcomer and their families. Immigrants are fond of this, because it requires employers to be fully committed to them. They have to help in the resettlement program. This makes the relocation and integration processes a little easier.
Lower Language Skill Requirements (IELTS scores)
When immigrants apply for Express Entry, they sometimes retake their language test several times to try to score more points for language abilities. The way that AIPP is setup, candidates only need to reach CLB 4, which is lower than with most immigration pathways.
Limited Time Opportunity
AIPP is particularly popular right now, because the pilot program is only confirm until November 2019. There is no guarantee that this opportunity will still exist after that time. Hence, many immigrants are trying to file their application as soon as possible. Working with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant could be helpful in order to ensure a prompt processing.
Living in Atlantic Canada
Canada is a huge country. Living in one region or area can be very different than living somewhere else. Atlantic Canada is home to breathtaking scenery, easy access to the ocean (in many cases great beaches), and lobster, fish and seafood are abundant and fresh. It's a popular vacation destination and it is known to be a little more laid back, filled with the friendliest people you can meet, and a safe place to raise a family. The cost of living also tends to be lower than in most major population centres, making owning a house easier. Finally, with aging population, there will be a need for more workers in the future.
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Immigrating to Canada can be a long and complex process. The reality is that there are over 60 different immigration pathways to Canada and it's easy to get lost. Most programs are province specific, so it can be helpful to identify provinces that you are willing to relocate to. It can also be useful to remain open to various possibilities.
All provinces and territories accept immigrants and they all have their own unique set of programs. A simple way to look at it is to consider how many immigrants were accepted in a certain province recently and to compare that figure to the total population of that province. The higher the ratio is, the less stringent and competitive the process could be as the province has been relying on immigrants in recent years to grow and fill jobs. Of course, each submission is unique and two different individuals could have a very different outlook in their immigration process regardless of all factors. It can be incredibly useful to hire a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant to demystify the process and identify the best ways forward.
That being said, it is interesting to look at the data from the last census to determine where immigrants are the most needed to meet local needs.
Where immigrants are the most used to meet local market demands
The Prairies stand out for foreign nationals with specialized skills
Overall, the Prairies (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta) have relied more on foreign nationals in recent years to fuel their economy and sustain their growth. Their unemployment is among the lowest in Canada and it went down in the past three years. It can be expected that these provinces will continue to put an emphasis on recruiting top candidates from around the world to help them prosper. It can also be expected that recent immigrants can find others with similar experiences more easily given that they have the highest RIR.
The Prairies should be top of mind for skilled immigrants that have a unique skill set that can contribute to the Canadian economy. There are mechanisms in place to facilitate your transitions and the provincial nominee programs allow for a relatively important number of immigrants to come in yearly.
Ontario and British Columbia remain top destinations for immigrants
Ontario remains a top destination for immigrants. With a relatively low unemployment rate and a higher than average RIR, it stands out as a safe value. It is also the most populous province of Canada and includes both the biggest city and the capital of the country. There are countless opportunities to grow professionally, strongly established support services and communities, and a rich and multicultural setting.
With a decreasing unemployment rate and a strong legacy of immigration pioneering, we can expect to see the RIR increase in British Columbia and to notice more flexibility around provincial programs, including the BC PNP Tech Pilot. British Columbia remains a steady option for new immigrants with its strong and diverse economy, enjoyable weather and proximity to the American market and Asia.
Atlantic Canada eager to join the movement
Although the RIR is lower in Atlantic Canada, it does not seem that the region should be disregarded. In part, it means that immigration remains somewhat underutilized. The region has a weaker economy, which can make it harder to attract foreign nationals. That being said, there is a real need for population growth to counterbalance a significant exodus of young people and population ageing. This is one of the reason why the region launched the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, which facilitates immigration and accelerates the permanent residence process. There is also a recent focus on entrepreneurship and international student retention , particularly in Newfoundland and Labrador.
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Canada is the most educated country in the world with an average of 55% of working adults having attained some level of post-secondary education, while most other developed countries are closer to 35%.
Canada has one of the best education systems in the world along with countries like Finland and South Korea. What is very interesting is that, for Canada, having more migrant students does not decrease overall performance like in other countries. It increases it.
Canada is also different from most countries that perform well, because it does not have a centralized education system. Instead, each province is responsible for developing its own education system. Individually, they also perform extremely well on the global scale.
If Canadian provinces entered Pisa tests as separate countries, three of them, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec, would be in the top five places for science in the world, alongside Singapore and Japan and above the likes of Finland and Hong Kong.
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The obvious interview strategies
What most people forget about
What most don’t know about (the not so obvious interview strategies)
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Hiring a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant is an important decision to make and there are several factors to consider; cost is certainly one of them. Of course, the cost professionals charge depends on several things, including years of experience, credentials, areas of expertise, size of the practice, location and operation costs, types of services offered, etc.
Years of Experience
In 2018, Canadian Lawyer Magazine conducted a survey of immigration lawyers in Canada and found that on average, they charged the following hourly rates. These rates are for lawyers, so expect the fees of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants to be around 20% to 25% less. That is mostly, because RCICs are specialists and not generalists. They solely focus on immigration, which means that they may not be able to assist in very complex immigration cases that involve other areas of the law such as criminal law.
1 year of experience or less: $201.67 per hour
2 to 5 years of experience: $238.33 per hour
6 to 10 years of experience: $303.33 per hour
11 to 20 years of experience: $347.50 per hour
There are only 13 higher education institutions in the world that grant the credentials required to register as a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant. On the other hand, there are 21 law schools in Canada and thousands more around the world. In addition, many top Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants hold additional degrees and credentials. They also are involved in various professional organizations where they contribute to regional, national, and international high-level conversations about immigration laws, regulations, and procedures. When assessing how much you are willing to pay for a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, consider what kind and level of expertise you are looking for.
Areas of Expertise
Immigration projects are complex and they often require consultants that are well-versed in many areas. I have found that most foreign nationals interested in relocating to Canada are most interested in assistance with education or career projects. Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants must be knowledgeable and competent in areas that they practice in. Often time, clients need more than help getting immigration documents, such as:
Size of the Practice
In the vast majority of cases, clients will opt to enter in a retainer agreement where they agree to pay a set amount for their immigration issue to be resolved or for their complete work permit application. In the long run, this is almost always cheaper than paying the going hourly rate. The all-inclusive prices can vary greatly. Two factors that have an impact on these prices are the type of services and the size of the immigration consulting practice. The 2018 Canadian Lawyer Magazine survey revealed the following.
Work permits: $1,500 to $3,500
Family Class Sponsorship: $4,801 to $5,200
Express Entry Application: $4,501 to $4,900
Refugee Protection Claim: $4,901 to $6,100
One important thing to keep in mind is that smaller offices, particularly independent consultants, sometimes have more latitude to adjust prices for services based on the individual needs of a specific client.
Location and Operation Costs
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant are all authorized to practice everywhere in Canada except the province of Quebec, which requires an additional professional designation. That means that you can hire a Consultant based anywhere in Canada. It does not matter where you intend on settling. Based on the following table taken from the 2018 Canadian Lawyer Magazine survey, foreign nationals are often better off at looking for Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants in either Ontario or Atlantic Canada (East). Beyond that, it is useful to consider where consultants are based. For example, a consultant in rural Ontario would be able to deliver more value for less than a consultant based downtown Toronto, because of operation costs.
West: $3,001 to $4,500
Ontario: $1,500 to $2,000
East: $1,500 to $3,500
Family Class Sponsorship
West: $6,001 to over $6,400
Ontario: $4,801 to $5,200
East: $3,600 to $4,000
Express Entry Applications
West: $5,901 to over $7,300
Ontario: $4,501 to $4,900
East: $4,101 to $7,300
Refugee Claim Application
West: No data available
Ontario: $4,901 to $6,100
East: $3,100 to $3,400
Types of Services Being Offered
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants are all regulated by the same body and must respect the same code of conduct and meet the same requirements to be authorized to legally provide immigration advice and represent clients in immigration cases. However, the services offered can vary quite a bit. You may find a firm that charges $200 less than another, but the firm in question is actually only offering to review your documents or even only providing access to a "Do it Yourself" (DIY) Course. Foreign nationals have to understand what level of service to expect for the price they are paying. If the price you get quoted is not aligned with national minimums and averages as presented in this article, there is probably a good reason!
The Bottom Line...
There are many great reasons to hire a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant. Individuals interested in hiring an RCIC can find it difficult to determine how much they should be willing to pay for these services. I truly hope that this article containing real current data about the going rate of immigration professionals in Canada will help you determine what your budget should be, how to reduce the cost of an RCIC, and what questions to ask before making a final decision. Finally, many RCICs will provide prospective clients with an affordable short consultation. These consultations can allow you to ask questions about the nature of services available, get to know the RCIC better, and learn about additional areas of practice that could be useful, such as educational counseling or career strategy. Also, please keep in mind that this article was published with 2018 data. Prices increased every year.
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Canada is HUGE. It is actually the second largest country in the world after Russia. That means that there are many different places where you could choose to relocate in any of the 10 provinces or 3 territories.
Money Sense recently ranked over 400 different cities and towns in terms of quality of life.
here is the top 10:
See the full ranking online.
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While it is impossible to know the future with certainty, it appears that the popular TN status that allows professionals from certain categories to work either in Canada or the United States fairly easily will remain intact.
Throughout the NAFTA negotiations, Canada had been advocating to expand the list of eligible professions, while the United States aimed to reduce it. In the end both countries agreed to leave things as they were (Dale & Maccharles, 2018).
receive updates on NAFTA developments via BDO Canada.