Immigration to Canada: how much does it cost and where to get the money?
How much money do you need to move to Canada and, most importantly, where do you get it? We answer both questions and share a lifehack for you.
For many people, the money needed for immigration is a major obstacle to coming to Canada. In many countries, wages, as well as living expenses, are much lower than in Canada, and some people live paycheck to paycheck.
How do you immigrate if your bank account is zero? Unfortunately, is no way. You need at least some savings. Now I’m going to tell you how much money you need, and then give you some options on where to get it. It’s impossible to state the exact amount because each family is of a different size, has a different package of documents, is eligible for different ways of immigration, and so on.
I suggest taking a family of three as an example: two adults and one child. For convenience, I will name the amounts in American dollars, the rates are constantly changing, so please convert the money into your currency yourself.
You’ll spend about $ 6,500 USD on the immigration process itself. This includes:
- about $300 USD for language tests;
- about $600 USD for educational credentials assessment;
- $200-400 USD for documents translation because each family will have its package;
- $600 USD for a medical exam;
- $1,500 USD for your immigration application processing;
- $1,000 USD for the immigrant visa;
- $250 USD for biometrics required for the visa;
- flight prices change all the time, but let’s count $2,000 USD per family as an example.
It came to $6,310 USD. The amount is approximate, it may vary because each family will have different documents.
For example, some may have few documents and the translation will be cheaper, others may have more documents and it will be more expensive. Some people have only the principal applicant's diploma assessed to save money, others have diplomas of both spouses assessed, and so on.
Anyway, it is already clear that you need a lot of money, and note that this does not include the cost of immigration services. At our company, a primary consultation starts at $115 USD, and full support starts at $4,000 USD. If you need help with choosing an immigration program and execution of documents, take this amount into account.
Money in your bank account
You cannot move to Canada with an empty wallet. The government has certain requirements on the amounts you must have in your bank accounts. A family of three needs about $16,000 USD to immigrate through federal programs. That means a total of about $22,000 USD will be needed.
If this is too much for you, consider provincial programs which have lower requirements. Provinces may require you to have as little as $4,000 USD per family instead of $16,000 USD, and then you’ll need $10,000 USD in total. If you need the help of an immigration consultant, add another $4,000 USD.
So where do you get $10,000 to $20,000 USD? The most obvious thing is saving. Start saving for immigration as early as possible, for example, today. Use this rule: put money to your "immigration fund" first, and then pay the bills and spend on your daily needs. It is better to save in Canadian or U.S. dollars so you don’t lose on currency fluctuations. You can buy small amounts of currency at any exchange rate because guessing the best time to buy is difficult anyway.
The second option is selling your real estate. By selling even the most ordinary small apartment, you can already accumulate enough money to immigrate. If the cost of living in your country is much lower than in Canada, you are unlikely to buy a house or apartment with the money from selling the property in your home country. You will either have to rent or save up for a mortgage. If the apartment in your home country was bought with a mortgage, you can sell it too. You will take back the amount you have already paid to the bank, and you can convert it into dollars.
Selling your real estate may seem a very drastic step, but even if you have enough money, this option is worth considering before you move. If you live in Canada for more than 6 months a year, you become a Canadian tax resident, and in your home country, you will pay higher taxes as a non-resident.
The third option is not as extensive, but still effective — selling the car. You’re unlikely to take it with you to Canada because it is very difficult. But when you sell it, you'll get money and save on gas and maintenance. It probably won’t bring you $20,000 USD, but will certainly be a significant contribution to your "immigration fund". And after relocation, you will probably earn more than in your home country, so after a while, you will buy a new car.
Let’s move on to the next way to save for immigration — look for other ways to make money. If you are currently employed in your country, try to change your occupation to make more money. For example, you can:
- start working as a freelancer for international companies;
- go to Europe to work;
- start your own business;
- come to Canada on a work visa and start working on a temporary work permit, then apply for permanent residency a year later.
The last option is especially recommended to consider because immigration through employment will cost you less. Also, it has been one of the major trends in immigration lately. Canada increasingly grants permanent residency to those who have already worked in the country or at least received a job offer.
Another option is investing in short-term high-yield instruments. I should say this way is only for those who have such experience. The point is that you can invest money at high interest in securities of verified companies for a short period and try to earn on the growth of these securities. You can earn good money, or you can get nothing or lose. As the way is risky, I can't recommend it, and it's not worth investing your last money.
Lifehack for those who don’t have enough money
And the last one is not really a method, but rather a lifehack that some immigrants use. Let's say you start saving money. Quite a lot of time will pass till you save the needed amount. Every year you will get older and lose points for age in immigration programs. Also, over time, the amounts you need to immigrate increase and prices go up.
Immigration programs require money in bank accounts, but you do not have to show it immediately when you apply, but only when you are invited. Some people take advantage of this and apply before they have saved money. The application will be considered for at least six months, but most probably even longer, during this time you can save.
I can't advise you to use this tip because you’re risking being invited before you have enough money. But if you're sure that you'll save enough in a few months, then everything is at your own risk.