Many foreign nationals over the age of forty are very interested in immigrating to Canada. They’re looking for a better quality of life for themselves and their children, even though most of these people are already established in their home countries. If you are older than 40, it is not impossible for you to immigrate to Canada, although it will be more difficult. You need to be prepared for that.
There are several ways to immigrate, even though the age factor can reduce your points for certain immigration programs. There is no specific age limit for any of Canada’s immigration programs. However, in most categories of economic immigration, applicants 25-35 will receive the maximum points.
The IRCC (Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada) employs a point-based selection mechanism that is used by provincial governments. What matters is how strong your point score is right now, based on your advanced education, substantial work experience, connections to Canada, high language proficiency, and other factors, and what opportunities are available for improving that score.
Family sponsorship and humanitarian immigration to Canada do not use a ranking system and therefore do not have any penalties for age. Those are covered near the end of the article.
Age and Canada’s Express Entry System Points Criteria
Canada’s Express Entry immigration system is based on a two-stage point system. You begin by filing an EOI (Expression of Interest) under the Federal Skilled Worker Category (FSW), and later you’re evaluated using the CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System). When you meet FSW’s 67-point requirements you move to stage two, where you’ll be placed in the Express Entry (EE) pool and be given a point score based on the CRS. For CRS point calculation, the same considerations apply.
There are six selection factors:
- Language skills
- Work experience
- Arranged employment in Canada
Under the point-based selection mechanism, all candidates who have applied for Canadian permanent residence (PR) or a provincial nominee program (PNP) receive points based on variables such as age, education, work experience, language proficiency, adaptability, and other factors. If you have the minimum necessary points, you’ll obtain an ITA or NOI in future invitation rounds.
The Express Entry points score begins rapidly falling after the age of 30, with applicants losing 5 points for each birthday until the age of 40. When they reach age 40, they begin losing 10 points each year. By age 45 the remaining Express Entry Points have been reduced to zero.
Age does not eliminate you, and all you must do is achieve the minimum score needed across the selection factors to obtain an ITA to apply for a Canadian PR visa, even if you are over 40 years old. IRCC’s current cut-off point, or CRS score, is around 470 points.
3 Ways to Increase Express Entry Points
Language proficiency in French and English carries significant weight in the Express Entry process. If you get CLB 7 in French, with CLB 5 in English it can add 50 additional points to your Express profile. If you are over 40 and already speak one official language, consider learning the other.
The Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) test results are used as proof of your language skills. The Language Portal of Canada offers a variety of tools and resources to improve your language skills. The CLB-OSA is an online self-assessment tool for people who are interested in assessing their current language skills.
Your English and French skills are very important for becoming an integral part of Canadian society and the workforce, and that’s reflected in the points you can earn. Most regulated jobs and trades require you to be fluent in English or French, to have a strong knowledge of work-related jargon and understand common Canadian phrases and expressions.
English language tests and certificates are available at:
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
- Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
French language tests and certificates are available at:
Previous Study and Work Experience
Another way to increase your points is the have post-secondary education or qualified work experience in Canada. With a post-secondary education received in Canada, you can qualify for up to 30 points. And with 1 year of highly skilled work experience in Canada (NOC 0, A or B) you can receive up to 80 points in your Express profile.
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP)
Canada offers over 100 immigration pathways in 2022 and some of those are Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). Most of the provincial nominee programs don’t consider age at all as a factor in determining points. Provincial nomination is one of the best ways for people that are older to immigrate to Canada.
After receiving your provincial nomination, you’ll automatically receive 600 points in your Express profile. With 600 points you’ll most likely receive an ITA. An Invitation to Apply (ITA) is an auto-generated correspondence issued to Express Entry candidates through their online account.
If you have family members who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, age 18 or over, they can sponsor certain family members to become Canadian permanent residents. Sponsorship is available for spouses, common-law or conjugal partners, dependent children, parents and grandparents. If they sponsor you, you will be able to live, study and work in Canada.
The Spousal Sponsorship Open Work Permit Pilot Program allows spouses and common-law partners who are in Canada to work while their immigration applications are being finalized. Eligible candidates must apply under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class. They will need to maintain a valid temporary status as a visitor, student or worker.
Sponsorship is a serious commitment. Sponsors are required to sign an undertaking to provide the sponsored person with the basic needs from the day they enter Canada until the term of the undertaking terminates. An undertaking is a contract between the sponsor(s) and Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that the sponsor will repay the government for any social assistance payments made to the sponsored person. Sponsors remain obligated to the undertaking agreement for the entire period of the contract, even if there’s a change of circumstances such as a change in financial circumstances, marital breakdown, separation, or divorce.
Humanitarian & Compassionate Application
An H&C Consideration is an application for permanent residence from inside Canada. A person who is a foreign national living in Canada, with no valid immigration status, can apply. The standard rule under Canadian immigration law is that foreign nationals apply for permanent residence from outside of Canada. With a Humanitarian & Compassionate Application, you are asking the government to make an exception to this rule and allow you to apply from within Canada.
Immigration officers will look at all the factors in your application before making a decision. There are three main factors that they will be focusing on.
Hardship The immigration officer will consider if you will face hardship if you are forced to leave Canada. The officer will be looking at circumstances that may cause unusual, undeserved or disproportionate hardship. The onus will be on you to provide good reasons for granting you permanent residence. Some examples of hardship include:
- returning to an abusive relationship
- risk of family violence
- a lack of adequate health care
- risk of violence in your home country
- poverty, due to economic conditions or inability to find work
- discrimination based on religion, gender, sexual preference, or something else
- laws, practices or customs in a woman’s home country that might put her at risk of abuse or social stigma
- impact on family and close friends in Canada
Establishment in Canada The immigration officer will determine whether you have strong connections in Canada. Some examples of establishment might be:
- volunteering in Canada
- the length of time you’ve lived in Canada
- family and friends in Canada
- the education and training you obtained in Canada
- your employment history
- membership and activities with a religious organization
- taking classes to learn English or French
- upgrading your education by going back to school
Best Interests of a Child The immigration officer will take into consideration the impact your removal from Canada would have on either your children, grandchildren, or other children in your family you are close to. Some examples affecting the best interests of a child may be:
- the child’s age
- the closeness of the relationship between you and the child
- the child’s establishment in Canada
- a weak link between the child and his/her country of origin
- conditions in the country of origin that could have an impact on the child
Your age will not make your dream of immigration to Canada impossible. If you are over 40 and want to immigrate to Canada, it’s very important to analyze your profile carefully and then come up with the best strategy for offsetting the age factor. At Pax Law we can help you evaluate your options, advise and assist you with your strategy. It is important to note that there are no guarantees with any immigration program at any age.