Your Essential Guide to Living and Working in Canada

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Written by Seun Oyediran

The Essential Guide to Living and Working in Canada

“My Nigerian dream is to become a Canadian citizen.”


When the Nigerian dream doesn’t come near the mark of what was hoped for, North America – Canada, to be precise – becomes the dream of many young Nigerians. The Canadian Dream of Nigerians is to get a good-paying job in Canada and still have enough free time to enjoy life. And if it doesn’t come off as asking too much, finally become a homeowner.

There are many reasons why there is such a thing as the Canadian dream, and Nigeria remains one of the top source countries for immigration to Canada. This is understandably so because of the many similarities between the economic and legal systems of Nigeria and Canada. In short, Nigerian citizens stand a good chance of qualifying under many Canadian economic immigration programs.

In this article, we are going to answer all the most important questions that you need to know about living and working in Canada as an immigrant.

Why Canada?

Where America once stood alone as the land of opportunity, there are now tens of other countries that have surpassed the United States. Chief among these is the unassuming northern neighbor, Canada. By every measure, Canada is the right place to find life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Canada is attractive to Nigerians for many reasons. One of the primary reasons is that it is a liberal country that encourages ethnic diversity in its population. Canada’s national policy goes as far as offering Nigerians not just residency permits but also citizenship. 

As of March 2020, Canada revealed plans to welcome over a million foreign nationals into its workforce within the next three years to address critical labor market shortages. Well, if you have the Canadian dream, this news should be music to your ears. 

With the aging population and low birth rate in Canada, there are indeed plenty of opportunities to get professional jobs in world-class cities ready for settlement. So, what is the Canadian dream, and how does it feel to live and work in Canada?

Pros and Cons of Leaving Nigeria to Live and Work in Canada

As earlier mentioned, many Nigerians will not find Canada so “foreign” except perhaps for the bone-chilling cold and the enforcement of laws they once only knew on paper. There are so many benefits that come with living and working in Canada. Let’s consider a few and leave the rest for you to experience when you get there. 


  1. Economy

If you migrate to Canada, you will be 8.2 times more likely to make more money than you currently do. With a GDP per capita of $5,900, Nigeria falls far behind Canada, a country with a GDP per capita of $48,300. Also, if you’re in Canada, the likelihood of you being unemployed decreases by a whopping 51.5%. This is good news, especially for those who already have some qualifications. 

In Nigeria, about 70% of people live below the poverty line. On the other hand, only 9.4% of people live below the poverty line in Canada. Therefore, the likelihood of you living below the poverty line in Canada decreases by almost 90%.   

Even if you don’t have a high level of post-secondary education, you don’t need to worry so much. There are many unskilled occupations for you in Canada, and you may still be eligible for immigration. The average yearly salary in Canada is $50, 000 while experienced professionals can earn as much as $300 000 in certain provinces.

However, the economy is not all good news for Nigerians. This is because you will have to spend about 37.5% more on taxes than you would in Nigeria. Also, you may need to spend about 2.8 times more on healthcare. 

Notwithstanding, you should have enough to spare after paying for taxes and healthcare in Canada. 

  1. Quality of Life

Ranging from the crazy Lagos traffic to not knowing when to expect electricity, there are many uncertainties in Nigeria. However, in Canada, you will be 2.2 times more likely to have access to a constant electricity supply. Whereas only 45% of the Nigerian population has access to electricity, all Canadians do! Therefore, you and your children will be 100% less likely to shout “Up NEPA” because you will become used to having a constant electricity supply. 

With a relatively high salary, there is a lot more room to save and build a high standard of living in Canada. You also have a constant supply to the Internet, which is about 3.5 times more than you would in Nigeria. Need to drink some water? Well, you have 100% access to safe and improved drinking water from the facets of your home!

  1. Education

Of course, one of the most common reasons why people migrate to Canada is to get a better or advanced education, whether for themselves or their children. So, whatever the method of immigration, pursuing the chance to seek a better life—particularly education for children—remains a common theme. Permanent residents have access to quality public education for free if they are under 18. 

In Canada, you get to experience a better well-funded educational system without strikes and with fulfilled lecturers. Besides, you or your children can even get scholarships and helpful international student bursaries. Study visas through different graduate visa programs are also available. Canada remains known for its heavily subsidized and high-quality education systems. One of the positives of being a permanent resident or citizen is the advantage one has over an international student when it comes to fees. You can save more than 50% of the tuition costs by being a permanent resident, hence, the reason why it’s advisable to immigrate under one of the schemes if you’re planning on living in Canada in the long-term and are qualified for immigration.

  1. Healthcare

One of the most important things you get to enjoy in Canada is the quality of their health care system. As a Canadian Permanent Resident/Citizen, you have access to Universal Health Care Insurance, therefore, most of your basic healthcare needs are free with some minor exceptions when it comes to specific drugs. With many standard hospitals, it is no wonder why you have an average life expectancy of 82 years as against the average life expectancy of 54 years in Nigeria.

Also, the probability of dying during childbirth is low. There is a 99.1% less chance of dying during childbirth. About 814 women will die per 100,000 births in Nigeria, while only about 7 women will die per 100,000 in Canada. Also, there is a 93.6% less chance of a child dying in infancy in Canada. 

There are a few cons, however. One of the most striking is that there is a greater likelihood of being obese (about 3.3 times more in Canada). This, of course, can be attributed to the change in the way of life, food, weather, and lots more. Also, you may not get as many children as you may wish to have, especially when you consider that the Canadians have and maintain a low birth rate, probably because they want to maintain a specific quality of life and it’s usually important for both of the couples to have paid employment in order to maximize their incomes. 

  1. Safety

Nigeria is a haven for criminals, both the budding ones and the professionals. We have an overwhelming presence of crime and terrorist threats. A case of rape here and bomb there. Road traffic accidents here today, and robbery tomorrow. 

Many Nigerians feel unsafe as they walk or drive through the streets both day and night. But crime is not a controlling factor in Canadian society, with only 16% of residents being affected by crime in some way.

This number continues to drop, and Canada is currently the 6th safest country in the world, according to the Global Peace Index. Some ranking sites set its safety as high as 2nd place. Immigrants also need not fear xenophobia as the country has also been found to be one of the top countries that accept foreign nationals globally. 

  1. Employment Insurance 

This is one major benefit that differentiates Canada from many developing countries. If you’ve worked for at least 600 hours (3-months approx.) full time continuously, you are entitled to earn a recurring income of up to 55% of your average weekly salary in the event that you lose the job for a period not exceeding 9 months. Due to the high unemployment rates, many developing countries including Nigeria don’t offer Employment Insurance to workers. 

  1. Parental Benefits

If you’re a young couple planning to immigrate to Canada in the near future, I have some good news to share. Maternity Leave is not 3-months or 6-months like you’ll find in so many other countries, but it is as much as 1 year if you’re working in a private firm and up to 18-months if you’re working at a government institution. During this period, you can claim employment insurance benefits, and depend on the type of work you do, you can have a special arrangement with the company to reduce your working hours instead of letting you go so that the income from both work and the insurance is similar to what you were earning prior to giving birth. Alternatively, because the insurance benefit can be shared by both parents, there can be an arrangement for maternity or paternity leave

Another important aspect of being a new parent is having access to childcare benefits, which is now CA$620 per month. This is quite dependent on the level of the parent’s income. Hence, this type of benefit is geared towards middle income and low-income earners. Once you exceed CA$250k a year, you’ll no longer be eligible for such parental benefits. 


  1. Weather 

The weather in Canada is simply the biggest concern for those coming from topical and warmer climates. Nothing truly prepares you for winter; the nights are long and the days are short. Transportation is terrible during these periods, so if you have a long commute between home and the office/school, you’ve got to be fully prepared by having all the necessary clothing and gear. Because Canada is one of the largest countries by geographical land size, the weather varies from one province to another. If you’re truly concerned about the cold, you may consider living in British Columbia, which is known to be the warmest city to live in Canada? A city like Vancouver averages 14 degrees Celsius during the year. On the flip side, it’s a city that has frequent rainfalls. Other cities such as Toronto, could have a varying degree in weather conditions during the year such as very hot summers and very cold winters. Nonetheless, Winnipeg takes the trophy for very cold winters, which can get as low as -18 degrees Celsius. 

  1. Difficulty in getting accommodation

The cost of accommodation like most other developed countries is dependent on the location, square footage, type of accommodation, and its fixtures and fittings. Besides the high cost of living, if you’re a new immigrant without a credit report or an employment letter from a credible company, you’ll find a hard time getting decent accommodation in a short period of time. Due to the increasing number of immigrants coming into major provinces in Canada, the cost of accommodation is not just going up, but landlords have a reasonable selection of tenants to choose from. 

There are a few activities you’ll need to do, to make getting accommodation easier. If you’ve ever taken a bank loan in Nigeria, you would likely have a credit report from CRC Credit Bureau. The company recently went into a partnership with Nova Credit, an international cross-border credit reporting agency that allows individuals in emerging markets to convert their local credit report to one that is used internationally, mostly for those traveling to the U.S. Nonetheless, the Canadian credit system is quite similar to that of the U.S. When Landlords ask for your credit report, you may be able to show them the Nova Credit report. Not all Landlords may accept this report and would likely ask for you to provide a local guarantor that is a permanent resident/citizen of Canada to co-sign the lease with you. This is a likely scenario that you should be prepared for before leaving your home country. Anyone that would likely guarantee to pay for your lease surely has to know you and be rest assured that the event of you not paying your monthly rent is very unlikely. If you don’t find a guarantor, then you’re likely going to be forced to pay at least 6-months’ rent in advance. For most Nigerians, paying several months of rent in advance is a usual occurrence. This just means that you’ll need to focus more on getting a good job as soon as possible.

If you are looking not to spend a lot on renting a property, there are options such as co-sharing apartments or living in someone’s basement, which is usually much cheaper but also has its downsides. Regardless of which option you choose, one of the most important tips to consider is to ensure that on the day of inspecting the property with the landlord or his representative, ensure that you take along a camera for the inspection so that you don’t bear damages that was never your fault when you decide to vacate the property. 

  1. The Jobs Market is more Fluid and Competitive

Yes, there are likely more job opportunities in Canada but be careful, because getting a job and keeping it are two different things. There many reasons to get sacked from your job besides an economic downturn. The company may decide strategically to cut down labor costs or close an entire department for numerous reasons. Once you’re in a company, start to build strong ties with influential managers within the company as well as keep on networking for other opportunities. It’s also important to understand where the company is going and be prepared to learn new skills in order to stay relevant. A lot of talent is immigrating to Canada, which means there is a lot of skilled labor for the employer to choose from. As you settle with your new immigration status, start thinking of getting consulting or side jobs that could aid the payment of your monthly bills.

  1. Wages are lower on average for new immigrants

The term “average” could be very deceiving. Not everyone has the same skillset, experience level, and background even if you’re all immigrating from the same city. An employer is likely to value an operations manager with 7 years of Canadian experience more than another from a different region like Africa and the Middle East with a similar level of experience on paper. Both may be able to do the same job equally well, but the employer still has to take a bet on which of the two he should go with and the decision is likely clear even if it cost the employer a little bit more. The longer you work in Canada, the more job opportunities you have and the likelihood for you to close the wage gap. This is something that most people already know and since most immigrants are looking to play the long game, they are typically satisfied over time. However, one of the biggest shockers for most Africans with a high level of education is that employers in Canada value real work experience over additional degrees. This shouldn’t really be a shocker as workers are hired to get the job done and not for their fancy degrees, so don’t be surprised when your manager at your office only graduated with a high school diploma and you have a Ph.D.

  1. Different Social life 

One of the major obstacles of moving to a new country is the transitory phase of making new friends and socializing. Even if you’re someone that likes their own company, having a network to rely on is very vital to your mental well-being and career. A lot of people who immigrated realized very quickly how lonely it can be not knowing anyone. You’re likely going to spend a lot more money and make many mistakes trying to figure out things on your own. To prevent this from happening, ensure you start networking from your home country. Join WhatsApp groups for immigrants and some other social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Quora and Nairaland to seek guidance and meet new people. If you’re a bubbly person, you would quickly realize that people in Canada usually stick to a small circle of friends and there are not going to be many weekend social events for you to attend in the earlier years of you getting there. It would surely take several months before you start to acclimatize to a new way of life from a social angle.

  1. Higher Taxes

Canada needs a young and skilled immigrant population in order to sustain many of the social benefit programs especially healthcare, housing, and pension plans. Just like many other developed countries, taxes are a major determinant of government revenues. For most highly skilled professionals, you’ll be paying a minimum of 20.5% in Federal Income Tax and provincial tax. Also, expect to pay up to an additional 15% tax when buying goods and services. This is known as the Harmonized Sales Tax. The tax rate in Canada is quite comparable to many other developed countries especially after considering that it is less of a capital state than the U.S. There are a lot of social and healthcare benefits that an immigrant can have access to overtime, therefore, your disposable income is usually not depressed because of taxes paid.

Living and Working in A Foreign Land

Just like we stated above, moving to a foreign land has its pros and cons and everyone’s journey is not the same. You would be doing yourself a disservice if you compare yours to others especially if the results you had planned for takes longer than expected. 

In this section, I’m going to give some guidance on living costs and the job market in Canada.

Personal Savings and Expected Monthly Expenses

Monthly expenses depend on the city you live in and can vary significantly with your standard of living and family size. However, here is an idea of how much you will have to spend on necessities. 

  • Food & Entertainment

The average cost of grocery shopping per person is about CA$ 600 per month if you include minor household items. If you’re able to cook at home, about CA$ 300-350 can be enough for food and drinks alone. In the first several months as you build your network, you may realize that you’re going out more often than usual and you’ll need to consider a budget for entertainment, which can be as much as CA$300 per month for restaurants, gyms, social gatherings, and other networking events.

  • Transport

If you take public transportation within your city, the monthly transport pass can cost up to CA$ 150 per person. It’s great to have a vehicle to move around, but auto insurance is relatively high, at CA$ 150-220 per month for the first two to three years.

  • Rent

For a one to a two-bedroom apartment, you can spend CA$ 1100-2000 (although there’s no upper limit) per month in less popular provinces. The larger and more well-known provinces such as Alberta, Ontario, and British Columbia would be surely more expensive 

  • Other Recurring Expenses

This all depends on your service provider but you should plan to budget for:

  • Mobile bills: CA$ 50–70 pm. 
  • WiFi Internet: CA$ 60 – 110 pm
  • Electricity: CA$ 50 pm
  • Heating: CA$ 60pm
  • Miscellaneous Expense: CAD 200 pm

Living Costs in the Most Popular Canadian Cities

A standard rule of thumb for most people immigrating to a new country is to target the cities where job opportunities are in abundance as well as where they could find familiar faces. This has been the exact strategy for Nigerians, who now predominantly live in provinces that have more economic power but at the same time are costlier to live. Typically, the top 5 provinces for Nigerians are Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. 

Based on the cost of housing and the cost of living in general, we can divide the country into four different economic regions so that you can budget appropriately based on your target destination.

  1. Very High Living Costs

Toronto, which is in the Ontario province, and Vancouver, which is in the British Columbia Province have one of the highest costs of living in Canada. The minimum to get by in these cities is CA$30K net per annum. The average house prices in these cities is at CA$921,000 (Toronto, Ontario) and CA$872,000 (Vancouver, British Columbia). The expected rent for a regular one-room apartment is CA$1200 (outskirt) – CA$2200 (city center). 

The price of other goods can be higher than the rest of Canada by a 10% margin. The upside is that the public transportation system is excellent, so you might not need a car in these cities.

  1. High Living Costs

Montreal, Calgary, Saskatoon, Ottawa, Edmonton are big cities with a population of over one million. The minimum budget to get by in these cities is CA$25k. The average rent for a one-room apartment is CA$600 (outskirt) – CA$1500 (city center). These are great places to live if you have the skill and/or education to earn a decent wage. These cities are the best bet for highly specialized professionals who can’t be hired in smaller towns. If you make minimum wage in these cities, be ready to struggle.

  1. Moderate Living Costs

Trois-Rivière QC, St-John NFL, Sudbury are smaller cities with a population between a hundred to four hundred thousand. Here, the average house pricing is between CA$160k-300k. To rent a one-bedroom apartment, you could spend as high as CA$400 (low end) to CA$800 (high end). The minimum annual budget to get by is CA$20k. 

This is where a low skilled, but hardworking man can earn a very decent living. However, if you are a highly skilled worker, you won’t find the same opportunities you can see in the first and second categories. It is a perfect location for physicians since these regions always don’t have enough of them.

  1. Low Living Costs

These are the rural areas (places where the biggest local town in a 150km radius has a population of less than 25k). The average home pricing in these regions cost CA$100–150k. The average rental cost for a one-bedroom apartment is CA$200–450 per month. The minimum to get by here is around $15K.

You will need a car to live in these regions. This is the best place to live if you can find a job and don’t want financial stress. Even at minimum wage, you can live quite comfortably. The best bet is to find what jobs are in demand in the region you are interested in and get the qualification required. Usually, these regions will center either around forestry, farming, industry, or fishing.

Top 5 tips for first-time renters in Canada 

  1. Read and understand the terms and conditions for the house/apartment: Some landlords require several months’ deposit upfront while some don’t. The usual scenario is to pay 2 months’ rent of which one is a deposit that would be refunded when you leave the house in the condition you met it.
  2. Always inspect the apartment together with the Landlord: This point references the aforementioned. If you plan on getting a full refund of your deposit, you better insist on inspecting your new apartment with the Landlord or a representative before moving in. This way, both of you would be on the same page in terms of the state of the house at the time of payment.
  3. Understand the costs of living in your new home: It’s important I separate this point from the first. Sometimes, apartments could seem cheaper because it does not include utilities, so I suggest you ask the landlord for the last 3-month utility bills to know what the average cost per month comes to. This provides you with a basis for a fair comparison.
  4. Renting with strangers: This is quite the norm in many developed countries especially for career professionals working in big cities where rents can be quite pricey. I always advise you not to pay your rent before meeting one or two of your housemates. You’ll quickly learn a lot about them from a 10mins conversation and you might gather additional information about the house.
  5. Basement renting can have its negatives: Not only do you have to contend with living under the same roof as your landlord, which is not always a bad thing especially if you have one that is nice and polite but you have to take extra precautions as you’ll be closely monitored. The other important note to consider about basement renting is the specific location of the house. You wouldn’t want to take a house that is downhill as it can be affected by bad climate as well as flooding issues. Other important things to note when choosing basement apartments are related to ventilation and street noise. 

Getting a Job in Canada

If you’re wondering how to get a job in Canada, I can show you how. To find the right job in Canada, you must not only remain focused and motivated but also plan thoroughly. I have compiled these tips based on my experience and feedback from contributors. It would do you a whole lot of good if you read, understand, and apply them. Get ready to get your desired job and succeed in Canada!

One way many immigrants build their financial foundation is by using their savings to buy real estate in foreign lands. The majority of jobs in Canada are centered around urban areas.  Almost everyone works and lives near one of the five metropolitan areas: Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto-Burlington corridor, or Montreal. Other regions are relatively small, with even smaller numbers of job opportunities.

So how can you get a job in Canada? 

  1. It Starts with Your Resume

Before sending your resume to employers in Canada, you should ensure that your resume is formatted to the Canadian style. A poorly written resume can stop you from getting a job in Canada. Once you’ve done an assessment of the type of jobs you’re interested in, you should immediately go through the listed skills in each job description to ensure that you have those qualities and then showcase the skills on your resume through demonstrated work experience on current/previous jobs.  It is more important to list your achievements (personal and team achievements) than day-to-day responsibilities. Also use recognizable keywords such as when you indicate your University grading system, you convert it to a grade point average (GPA) as against using class of degree, which is more of a British system.

If you tailor your resume to each job, then you’ll most likely be called for an interview. When that time comes, you can read our article guide on “The 4-Step Interview Methodology every Job Seeker Should Follow.”

  1. Be Specific in Your Job Search

For many professions, trying to reply to many online job ads is not the best move to get a job in Canada. It is not a very effective method because you tend to lose specificity. So, do not send out the same resume and cover letter to 40 companies or as the case may be. It is a more competitive environment and the pool of talent is quite vast. Like the sub-title states, be specific in your job search but be open to a wide variety of opportunities. This may sound contradictory but understand that a Canadian job experience is much more worth it than your university education. Therefore, you may need to accept a slight demotion in terms of job title than you would ordinarily have liked. Ensure that whichever company you accept a job in, there’s potential for upward mobility once you start to prove your worth.

  1. Show Enthusiasm

Who doesn’t like enthusiastic people? Well, hiring managers in Canada love them. So do ensure to have the company’s contact and follow up on your application within a week of submitting it. This shows your interest in their company. Sending a simple email thanking your prospective employer after an interview can set you apart from others! And these marginal gains do add up and could land you your desired job!

  1. Get Strong References

Canadian employers will reach out to your referees, so they better be strong ones with profiles on LinkedIn that is easily accessible. Make sure to inform your referee that he or she may be contacted in the future so at least there are not caught unaware.

  1. Form Strong Networks

With effective networking, you can gain useful insight and important contacts. This covers both social and professional spheres. Attend networking events and meet people in your field. There are many networks you can affiliate yourself with starting with several WhatsApp groups for Canadian Immigrants, Quora and Linkedin, which are both helpful for answering various questions in regard to the Canadian job market as well as other important topics and start going for social gatherings once you arrive in Canada. Some global social groups such as InterNations can really be helpful in building up your social network in person. Canadians do not publicly advertise most of the available jobs on job boards so you may need to get referred to recruiters and HR Managers, and this can only happen when you have developed a network and people trust your capability. In this “hidden job market,” networking is crucial to finding jobs in Canada because when a job comes up, you may be called in! 

  1. Become Accredited

To work in Canada, you need to accredit your foreign qualifications. If you’re in a profession such as physiotherapy, teaching, social work, etc., you would need some additional accreditation. The accreditation process may take a while, so you have to be prepared. Make sure you do proper research. Check LinkedIn profiles of Canadian workers in the same field as you. A lot of people are likely going to include their professional certifications, which gives you more clarity on which qualifications you may need to pursue in order to become more competitive. 

Expected Job Salaries for Some Job Roles in 2020

Here are the expected job salaries (per year) for some popular professions based on whether you have Canadian working experience or you’re a new immigrant. Wages vary depending on the regions where you live, technical expertise, communication skills, educational background, cultural fit and the company in which you get a job. The wage gap between a citizen born and raised in Canada and a new immigrant can vary between 17% to 48% in favour of the Canadian born citizen. The more the role is dependent on engaging with numerous people and teamwork, the higher the variance. A big concern when it comes to recruitment from an HR perspective is the ability of the employee to quickly integrate into the culture and add value as quickly as possible. A simple example is an assumption that an experienced Canadian Sales personnel is more likely to close leads faster than an immigrant.

I have collected data from numerous sites and used a blended rate in order to have a more realistic figure. Some of the sites I collated information from are Neuvoo, Indeed, Payscale, LinkedIn, Glassdoor and a few others.

Job TitleCanadian ExperienceNew Immigrant (Non-European/American)
Sales AssociateCA$50,255CA$40,500
Business Development ManagerCA$85,000CA$65,000
Project ManagerCA$85,000CA$60,000
Certified Public AccountantCA$78,000CA$66,000
Marketing ManagerCA$58,000CA$52,000
HR ManagerCA$78,000CA$58,500
Financial AdvisorCA$55,000CA$48,000
Software EngineerCA$80,000CA$74,000
Product ManagerCA$77,000CA$69,500
Operations ManagerCA$74,000CA$51,800

NB: For most of the above-listed jobs, you have to consider that your income tax rate would be anywhere between 20.5% – 29%. Other deductions could be pension plans and employment insurance. Your main concern should be your take-home pay after creating a budget for your monthly expenses and savings. Here’s a direct link to calculate your net pay. 

Recruitment Firms in Canada

If you’re deciding to immigrate to Canada or you’ve already made the jump but still in your first few weeks, you’ll need to consider a variety of work including temporary skilled jobs in order to gain Canadian work experience. Except you’ve studied a technical course and worked in a field that is in extremely high demand such as medicine or software engineering, you’ll find it difficult to get a job that pays above CA$50,000, the average for a middle-income class individual, in a relatively short period of time. I’ve put together some of the well-known recruitment firms that are popular amongst new immigrants.

  1. Agilus
  2. Hays
  3. Adecco
  4. Michael Page
  5. Petro Staff International
  6. Renard International
  7. Global Hire

Getting a Job in Canada: Behind the Scenes

Getting a job in Canada would require a sacrifice of your time and effort. So, you have to keep applying for different positions open to both international applicants as well as residents. Here are some sites that can help you in your job search. 

If you want to land your dream job in Canada, then you must have specific work experiences or possess a skill that can get the attention of employers. The official Canadian government website provides detailed information that has helped many candidates to get into Canada as well as direction on their desired jobs. This website provides the majority of the information in order to secure permanent residence under federal economic immigration programs like the Express Entry, Canadian Experience Class, The Federal Skilled Trades Programs, and the Federal Skilled Worker Program. 

Visiting the site is your first step towards becoming a Canadian citizen! You can assess your eligibility and you may be accepted if you meet the criteria of one of the federal immigration programs. Gaining entry into this pool doesn’t guarantee that you will be issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. There are still some criteria to meet under Canada’s immigration law (Immigration and Refugee Protection Act).

If you’re among the highest-ranking candidates in the Express Entry pool, you will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence.  Then you must submit an online application for permanent residence within 60 days. Your employer will take it up from here and do most of the other necessary processing for you.

Basic Steps and Cost of Immigrating to Canada

One of the biggest concerns for most people considering the Canadian dream is having a full understanding of the costs involved in immigrating. For those of you currently living in Nigeria, I’m going to help you label the cost step-by-step so that you can have a realistic budget:

  1. Cost of University Transcripts: N30k (CA$103) – N50k (CA$172) inclusive of courier services
  2. Educational Credential Assessment (ECA): Report that evaluates your foreign degree. (if you studied outside of Canada). You’ll need to send an original and copy of your degree certificate and transcripts. Cost is around CA$300, the Processing time is just under 3 months and validity is for 5years. Below are some of the companies that offer such services:
    1. International Credential Assessment Services of Canada
    2. International Qualifications Assessment Services
    3. International Credential Evaluation Services
    4. World Education Services (WES)
  3. Language Proficiency Test: IELTS cost N75k ($250) if you take it at the British Council. The test takes on average 2 weeks for the official result to be released and the validity is 2years from the time you get your test result.
  4. Express Entry Profile Creation: Pre-requisite is ECA and Language proficiency test. Create the profile online and you’ll get a Competitive Ranking System (CRS) score. Subsequently, you’ll get an invitation to apply (ITA) once you make the cut-off.
  5. Arranging Documents: The time allowed to submit documents is 60days.
    1. Reference letter for each work experience declared (specified format)
    2. medical certificates
    3. police certificates
    4. proof of funds on bank letterhead & bank statement (minimum of CA$13k for an individual and CA$16k for a couple) cost is graduated as you have more children.
    5. Passport
    6. Photographs (in the specified format)
    7. Language test report
    8. ECA report
    9. Job Offer (if any)
  6. Submit Application: Travel History & past residences of the last 10years. Processing time is within 2 – 6 months.
    1. Right of permanent residence fee ($490 per person)
    2. Processing fee ($550 per person)
  7. Visa Stamping: After receiving a confirmation email that your permanent residency has been approved, you have to go TO the VFS center with your passport & photographs for a single entry visa stamp. Once you’re in Canada you can process a PR card.
  8. Flight ticket: Depending on the time of the year, be prepared to pay between CA$1800 – CA$2500

The minimum total cost of you immigrating from Nigeria to Canada is circa N5m (CAD 17k) 


Canada is a great place to live but remember that moving into a new country and getting a profitable job there could be a challenge. It may take you at least 6 months to get a job close to your experience level and therefore it’s important to have a reasonable budget of circa CA$2,500 per month to live off when you arrive.

However, this is something that can be made significantly easier with the right guide. Get ready to live your Canadian dream!

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