The night of the US election, before the results were fully in, I tweeted this:
I was kidding of course. (Well actually, not the part about Hawaii. Canada has always needed a tropical province where we can drink Caesars. And, yes, we know we’d be terrible colonizers and if it came right down to it, Hawaii would throw us out and become sovereign before anyone could say humuhumunukunukuapua`a)
But now that the dust is settling and the calls and inquiries from Americans have increased, it is time to plot the steps to this last-resort plan. Not that we think Americans should cut and run to Canada. It is not our place to tell anyone what they should do, and we have a lot of respect for Americans and their country. And not that Canada is a utopian dream – if we were, cultural treasures like The Rock and Anna Paquin wouldn’t live in the United States.
So with all those qualifications, caveats and apologies that only a Canadian can make, here are some options if you are thinking about immigrating here:
- Do you have an adult child that is a Canadian citizen/PR? On January 1 of each year, Canada opens up the parent/grandparent sponsorship category which allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their parents or grandparents for permanent residence. The program fills up within a week or 2, so it is important to get the paperwork ready to submit on the first business day in January. Practically speaking, this means November is the time to gather and prepare the documents or wait until this time next year.
- Are you a rockstar/superstar/artist/athlete or farmer? If so, you may qualify for the “self employed” category. This is only for people with exceptional talents to apply for permanent residence. Note that the farmers don’t need to be exceptional talents, but they should have recent farm operation and management experience. Being able to raise prized chickens or blue-ribbon hogs is a bonus.
- Was one of your parents a Canadian citizen at the time of your birth? If so, you may already be a Canadian citizen and need to apply for a confirmation of citizenship. Once confirmed, you can move here and start watching hockey and drinking double doubles. Bonus: as a Canadian, you can sponsor your spouse and dependent children’s application for permanent residence and bring them with you.
- Do you have a job offer in one of the NAFTA Professions? As long as NAFTA remains in force, Americans and Mexicans who are in one of the professions listed can enter Canada on the strength of their qualifications and job offer with a Canadian company. This means you do not need to go though the usual hoops for a work permit, which include advertising to show there are no available Canadians, wage restrictions, etc. (Note, I have hyperlinked to a USCIS website because the Canadian immigration website keeps crashing. See? Canada is not perfect: our government can’t maintain a website that gets more than a few thousand hits a day. Sigh.)
- Has a Canadian offered to marry you to help you immigrate to Canada? Don’t.
These are just a few options for people considering a move north; there are many other categories of temporary residence and permanent residence in Canada. As always, we are happy to hear from anyone interested in knowing the options.
Although it is probably no consolation, we feel like we are in this together. And Canada is just as freaked out as you are right now.