Canada Abroad

Immigrate to Canada from South Africa

Immigrate to Canada from South Africa

Have you ever wanted to immigrate to Canada from South Africa?

For some, immigrating or moving to Canada from South Africa can be easier than they think. With so many different temporary and permanent options available, it is easy to see why so many people are choosing to immigrate to Canada from South Africa.

Depending on your age, marital status, or whether or not you have children, you may only be looking for a temporary move to Canada to gain some life experience abroad. For those who want to move to Canada temporarily there are several options available.

The first is a Visit Visa. You would be allowed to visit Canada for up to six months to explore the country and get a feel for it, to see if you would want to move to Canada. South African Citizens require a Visit Visa in order to enter Canada.

Next, citizens of a certain age from certain countries can take part in the one of International Experience Canada Programs which are designed for younger individuals looking to gain international work experience in Canada. These include Working Holiday Programs, Young Professionals programs and International Co-Op Internships. Unfortunately, citizens of South Africa would not be able to take part in any of these programs. Those who have other Citizenships in addition to their South African Citizenships may be able to explore these options.

Those looking to expand their education can apply to study in Canada. If the program you wish to study is less than six months in duration you may not require a study permit. If the program you wish to study is longer than six months in duration, then you will need to apply for a study permit to study in Canada. Depending on the length of your program, you may then be eligible for a Post-Graduate Work Permit to work in Canada after you graduate. These work permits are “open” work permits and you can work for any employer you choose.


For those who want to work in Canada, you will first need a job offer from a Canadian employer before you can apply for a Work Permit. In most cases, the employer will also be required to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment. These are issued if the employer can show that they could not find a suitable Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident to fill the position. Certain jobs are exempt from Labour Market Impact Assessments such as clergy, religious or charitable workers or intra company transferees.


Some South Africans are looking for a more permanent option and wish to immigrate to Canada permanently. For those looking to move to Canada permanently there may be several different options available.


Many people who have researched immigrating to Canada from South Africa have heard about Express Entry. Express Entry is a file management system used by anyone who applying to immigrate to Canada under one of the following four immigration programs:

  • At least one year of continuous full-time (30 hours per week) or an equal amount in part-time, paid work experience within the last ten years in an O, A or B occupation
  • Pass an approved language test
  • Achieve a minimum of 67 points based on the Federal Skilled Worker Points System
  • Obtain a valid educational credential assessment which shows a High School Diploma or higher
  • Have the required settlement funds for your family size
  • Obtain the required CLB levels in all sections of an approved language test
  • Have at least two years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience) in a skilled trade within the five years before you make an application
  • Meet the job requirements for the skilled trade you are applying under
  • Have an offer of full-time employment for a total period of at least one year from a Canadian Employer ORa certificate of qualification in that skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial or territorial authority (foreign trade qualifications do not count)
  • Have the required settlement funds for your family size
  • Have at least 12 months of full-time (or an equal amount in part-time) skilled work experience in Canada in the three years before you apply in an O, A or B level occupation
  • You gained your experience in Canada on a valid Work Permit
  • You meet the required language levels needed for your occupational level in each language ability as shown by an approved language test
  • You have received a Nomination Certificate from a Canadian Province or Territory
  • You continue to meet all of the criteria for the Provincial Program you were selected under
  • You can Submit your permanent residency application within the specified timeframes

Each Province has their own requirement as to what they are looking for in an applicant and it is at their discretion to issue Nomination Certificates to applicants. Some people may qualify for several Provincial Programs and others may qualify for none. Each would need to be evaluated separately. Provincial Programs can also apply to those looking to open a business or purchase a farm in Canada.


For those applying under any of the above programs through the Express Entry system, once you have been entered into theExpress Entry Pool of Applicants you will be assigned a Comprehensive Ranking System Score. This score is out of 1200 points. The first 600 points are based on your age, education, language abilities in French and English, qualifying work experience, Canadian work experience, your spouse’s education, your spouse’s language abilities in French or English and your spouse’s Canadian work experience as applicable. The remaining 600 points can be obtained by either obtaining a Provincial Nomination or a qualifying job offer from a Canadian employer with a Valid Labour Market Impact Assessment. Only those whose scores are selected are then able to proceed to submit a Permanent Residency Application. For those who enter the Express Entry Pool and their score is not selected, you will not be able to submit the full Permanent Residency application.


In some cases, there may be other options available such as the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program which requires a personal net worth of $10,000,000 Canadian Dollars, or the Start-Up Visa for those who have backing from a designated venture capital fund / designated angel investor group / designated business incubator.


Lastly, for those South Africans who are married to a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident, your spouse can look at sponsoring you as a spouse to Canada as a member of the Family Class. These applications are less intensive than the above options. Many companies are trying to talk people who are married to a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident into going through the Express Entry route. The Spousal Application via the Family Class route is much easier and requires less documentation than than any application under the Express Entry System. In some cases your Canadian Spouse may be able to remain in South Africa while the application in processing.

“The ICCRC is the national regulatory authority designated by the Government of Canada to safeguard consumers who seek Canadian immigration advice and representation from immigration consultants. Federal law requires that immigration consultants in Canada or abroad, who provide Canadian immigration services for a fee, must be registered with ICCRC and accredited as Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs).”

To find out more you can visit:

Canada Abroad offers a variety of services including initial assessments, complete consultations, file reviews and full representation with your Canadian visa/permit application.