Before the pandemic, the number of Canadian immigrants who came from Cameroon was growing every year.
Between 2015 and 2019 the number of Cameroonian immigrants grew 45 per cent up to 2,950 new permanent residents. Coronavirus has affected these numbers significantly, as only 780 immigrants came to Canada from Cameroon by the end of the second quarter of 2020.
Statistics Canada reports that in 2016 there were at least 10,265 Cameroonians in Canada. Cameroon was also one of the top birth countries of Black newcomers through economic-class immigration between 2011 and 2016.
With over 100 economic-class immigration programs to choose from it can be daunting to know where to start. Here are just some of the pathways to Canadian permanent residence that Cameroonians can take.
Express Entry: The most common route
Most economic-class immigrants get permanent residence through Express Entry.
Express Entry is the system that manages the applications of the following three federal immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.
Eligible candidates are then given a score based on their work experience, education, age, and language proficiency in English or French. These points are commonly referred to as “Express Entry points” but they are officially called Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points. The maximum number of CRS points that a person can get is 1,200 but most people fall somewhere under 500 without a provincial nomination, which will be explained later.
Canada then issues invitations called Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to the highest-scoring Express Entry candidates. Once they receive their ITA, candidates can apply for permanent residence.
Provincial Nominee Programs: Tailored to immigrants who match regional labour market needs
Though the federal government has the final say in who gets to immigrate to Canada, the provinces are able to vouch for certain candidates through their Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).
With the exception of Nunavut and Quebec, which has its own immigration program, all other Canadian provinces have a PNP. They may be “enhanced programs” where candidates need an Express Entry profile to qualify, or they may be “base programs” and deal directly with the provincial government.
Enhanced PNPs can be an option for Express Entry candidates who have lower CRS scores. Express Entry candidates who get a provincial nomination automatically receive 600 extra CRS points and are effectively guaranteed to receive an ITA.
Some PNPs, like Ontario’s Human Capital Category, do not necessarily require candidates to be in Canada in order to receive the nomination but will ask that candidates have work experience in certain occupations that fill gaps in the labour market.
Having French-language skills opens up doors to Canada
The province of Quebec is primarily French-speaking and offers its own immigration program that is tailored for francophones and bilingual candidates with high French-language proficiency.
Some PNPs also target French-speaking applicants, Ontario’s French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream, for example. Nova Scotia has also invited French-speaking candidates through its Labour Market Priorities Stream.
Express Entry candidates can get up to 30 bonus points for speaking both English and French, even if French is your second language.
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