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What Immigrants Need to Know about Moving from One Province to Another in Canada

October 10, 2021BY Immigrationincanada

Taking advantage of provincial nominee programs is one of the quickest, easiest ways to get legal permanent resident status in Canada. But what happens when you find a new job in another province, or need to move for some other reason? Can you leave the sponsoring province?

Canada’s constitution grants everyone the freedom to move about the country, but that doesn’t mean moving can’t be a little complicated when your immigration status is contingent upon making certain promises to a province.  

In this article, I’ll explain what you need to know about moving from one province to another in Canada.

Mobility Rights for PNP Immigrants

First thing’s first: are you a permanent resident yet?

When you first arrive at your Port of Entry you’re going to be a nominee. You’ll be asked where you intend to live and the expectation is you’re going to go live in the province that nominated you. After all, they did so because they have specific needs they’re trying to fill. 

After getting permanent residence status you’re protected by the constitution, but the province can revoke your permanent residence status if you move out. They’ll say you misrepresented your intent to stay in the province. You can be deported, and then prevented from entering Canada at all for the next five years.

730 days (2 years) is a good rule of thumb, as this will tend to prove you did not misrepresent your intent to settle. In addition, a copy of your job offer will prove that you have a legitimate reason to move. Moving because you are getting married is another legitimate reason.

Having a legitimate reason for the move is often key. It’s often better not to try to move just because you feel like you don’t like the nominating province, or because the grass looks greener on the other side. 

What if you can’t find a job in the nominating province?

This is an even stickier situation. They nominated you because there were presumed shortages in certain fields. The expectation is that a skilled immigrant should be able to get hired.

We recommend documenting your job search efforts from the moment you arrive in your new province. Keep track of every application you put in, every interview you do, and every email you get which says you weren’t accepted. Make sure all of these job applications are made in your nominating province at first. You might need this evidence later.

The job search can take a long time, which is why we also recommend having several months of savings ready to go, or a job offer in place, before you arrive. Some provinces will require you to show you have six months of money in the bank before they will allow you to immigrate in the first place. 

Other Ways to Prove Your Intent

Did you apply for the provincial health plan from the moment you arrived? Did you sign a long-term lease? Did you apply for a driver’s license? If you were in BC did you sign up for ICBC? 

All of these steps could show that you absolutely intended to reside in the nominating province and that circumstances have merely forced your hand.

Your immigration attorney can help you gather your list of evidence and handle your desired move in a way that doesn’t cause problems for your status. 

What to Do When Moving Provinces: A Checklist

Once you are a legal permanent residence and have fulfilled the requirements of the provincial nominee program, or have made your case for a legitimate move, you’ll be able to move to the province of your choice. 

Once you do there are steps you’ll have to take in the new province.

  • If you drive, you’ll need to apply for a new driver’s license and secure new auto insurance. 
  • Apply for a new health card. Each province administers its own health system. In most cases you can keep your old health coverage until new health coverage kicks in. 
  • Set up new utilities with local providers. They will rarely be the same companies or providers. For example, the British Columbia telecom companies are Telus and Shaw, but in Manitoba you’ll be dealing with Bell and MTS. 
  • Forward your mail with Canada Post
  • You’ll also need to get set up with new services such as enrolling your child in school, finding a new health care provider, and 

How much does it cost to move to another province?

It depends on many factors.

Are you going to DIY your move or hire movers? Are you breaking a lease to move or have you finished out your lease free and clear? Are you selling a house and have you been in that house long enough to generate any equity? 

If you’re moving to a province with a lower cost of living you might come out a little ahead after you sell your house. 

Moving is never particularly cheap. It often really is wiser to stay put if you can. 

When is the best time to move to another province?

If you’re talking about the best legal time then the best time for PNP immigrants is going to be at least 2 years after moving to the sponsoring province; longer if you can help it. If that’s not possible, then you should not move unless you have a legitimate change in circumstances that necessitates it, like a marriage proposal or a written job offer in hand. 

If you’re talking about the best logistical time, then the fall is often the best time to move. The weather is still mild enough to avoid creating problems with your move. Prices are also a little lower, as people tend to prefer the spring and summer for moves. 

Immigrating to Canada? Get legal help today, and make the process smoother!

If you want more mobility right from the get-go a PNP program may not be your best choice. There are federal express entry programs for certain skilled workers that let you live wherever you want. Family sponsorship programs don’t place any restrictions on where you live. There’s even a temporary resident to permanent residence pathway that you might be able to take advantage of.

Our attorneys have decades of experience helping immigrants like you choose the right program. We also speak both fluent Punjabi and fluent Mandarin, which means you can get help in a language you’re comfortable with. 

Set your first appointment with our offices by calling (604) 394-2777 today. 

We are experienced in immigration issues and proudly serving people globally. We aim to make the immigration process as easy as water.

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