Where to Settle in Canada—Go Beyond Top-3 Lists with this Useful 4-Point Strategy

Where to Settle in Canada—Go Beyond Top-3 Lists with this Useful 4-Point Strategy


Life would be so easy if it were all about top-3 lists, right? Unfortunately, that’s not how immigration works. More than half of Canada’s recent immigrants live in three cities—Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver.

This statistic may make you feel that you too should focus on these cities for your immigration plans. But here is another interesting data point.

A study ranking regions offering best opportunities to immigrants to maximize their incomes within the first year of settling in Canada ranks Toronto at 20th rank out of 52 regions in Canada. This means there are 19 cities/regions where immigrants stand a better chance of maximizing their incomes after settling in Canada.

So, don’t blindly focus on top 2-3 provinces, cities, or occupations and focus on factors and aspects relevant to your profile when trying to work in Canada.

Jobs Jobs Jobs—for You and Your Spouse

A tech worker or film technician may find great job opportunities in the Greater Toronto Area. But a Petroleum Engineer may find good positions in Alberta. A healthcare worker may find great positions all over the country.

Somebody qualified in aquaculture may do well to explore the Atlantic Pilot program covering the four Atlantic provinces.

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Of course, you have to consider your spouse and his/her education and job experience as well. Where you choose to settle after moving to Canada can have a huge impact on your career trajectory. Get it right and you can rise quickly in your professional career. Get it wrong and you may end up spending years undoing the damage.

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Cost of Living

What’s the point of voluntarily choosing overcrowded cities with super-high cost of living? Affordable housing is a very big problem in Vancouver. Crowded cities like Toronto and Montreal may offer very little affordable choices for housing, schools for your kids, access to transport, health, and other social amenities.

It’s great if you can get a really high-paying job that helps you afford a healthy and comfortable standard of living. But if you are moving to Canada on a low-wage position or a mid-level job, then you ought to choose a city or province with relatively low cost of living.

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Future Growth Prospects

Toronto has been the fastest-growing tech hub in North America for quite some time now. But will it continue to do so over the next ten years? Similarly, will the top-3 cities continue to attract immigrant talent in the future as well?

Further, are there better growth prospects elsewhere? Canada’s demographic situation is such that the entire country needs young skilled workers. So, look for the next big thing in technology, manufacturing, healthcare, life sciences, or even agriculture.

Which province is likely to grow the fastest over the next decade? That’s where you are likely to find the best-paying jobs offering good professional opportunities. Again, it all boils down to what’s the best destination for you and your family, irrespective of what other immigrants are doing.

Immigration Policy Direction

Canada desperately wants more skilled immigrants and is doing its best to come up with policies to attract immigrants where they are most needed. And these policies can give you a good idea about how you should finalize your immigration strategy.

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Work permit or direct permanent residence? Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program? Express Entry or Provincial Nomination Programs or both? And how seriously should you explore Pilot programs?

Answers to these questions can easily be found by analyzing Mandate Letters and the annual immigration targets set by the government.

The latest mandate letter focused on points like

  • Converting international graduates into permanent residents
  • Decentralizing immigration decisions through community and rural pilots
  • Deploying innovative changes through Pilots (and this process has already started)
  • Encouraging Francophone immigration outside Quebec.

So, keep in mind that the top-3 list of today may change beyond recognition in the coming years. To understand how the immigration landscape is changing and how you can benefit from it requires professional immigration assistance. This is why working with an immigration attorney is a good idea irrespective of whether you are a skilled worker searching for a job in Canada or a student planning on a degree from a Canadian institution.

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