Want to Move to Canada, Australia, or New Zealand? Here's How

Can’t help fantasizing about greener pastures? Here’s how to become a permanent resident of some of the happiest, most peaceful countries in the world.
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We all know that the ideal thing to do is stay in your country of birth and work towards making it a better place. But sometimes, when you're stuck in traffic, or the headlines are inundated with news of politicians' latest shenanigans and minors getting murdered, it's nice to imagine living in a country where things just work: where your taxes actually go towards free education and healthcare, where the rule of law is followed and you can commute with dignity and not worry about your kids being illegally searched by the police. 

In case you'd like to further indulge your fantasies, here's how you can immigrate to some of the happiest, most peaceful countries in the world. Assuming you aren't willing to learn Icelandic, Norwegian, Danish or Dutch, we've limited this guide to English-speaking nations. Generally speaking, the most feasible way to become a permanent resident is to first get a work visa. While studying in your desired destination does increase your chances, either way you'd still have to get a job to become eligible for permanent residency. The visa application processes of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand are pretty similar: you have to be invited by immigration to apply for a work visa.

To be considered for an invitation, you need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form through the immigration website, and whether you'll be accepted into the pool of candidates depends on whether you reach the minimum required score on their points test. The number of points you're awarded will depend on factors like your age, occupation, educational attainment, and marital status. Getting into the pool doesn't necessarily mean you'll be invited to apply, and being invited to apply doesn't guarantee that that you'll get a visa. 


That said, if your line of work is relevant to what they're looking for and you can afford the application fees, it's definitely worth a shot. 


2017 World Happiness Report Ranking: #8

2016 United Nations Human Development Index Ranking: #13

2017 Global Peace Index: #2

The land of Middle Earth, where even the sheep look perfectly content. No wonder the Kiwis are so happy—with its soaring mountains, tranquil fjords, and picturesque rolling hills, the country is an absolutely beautiful place to live. We kid you not, we have seen Kiwis frolicking—frolicking—in the streets of Queenstown. We'd also like to give them a special mention for having the most user-friendly immigration site we've seen—all you have to do is input your home country and reason for visiting, and the website will pull up all the different visa options available to you. The website also has its own points calculator. 

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Skilled Migrant Category Visa

- Application fee: 3,085 NZD

The Process

1) Submit an EOI

- You must be under 55 years old, with a score of at least 160 points.

- You need to provide proof of identity, good health, and good character

Your job title should be on the Long-Term Skill Shortage List and fall under skill level 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 on the Australian and New Zealand Classification of Occupations

- If your skill level is 1, 2, or 3, your salary should be equivalent to at least 23.49 NZD/hour

- If your skill level is 4 or 5, your salary must be equivalent to at least 35.24 NZD/hour

- If your line of work is on this list, you'll need to register with the New Zealand authority for that field. For example, architects will need to get registered with the New Zealand Registered Architects Board

- You'll need to get your qualifications or educational attainment recognized to see how they align with the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, which ranks educational attainment levels from one to ten.

- First check if your university is on the list of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment. If it is, you can skip this step. 

- Submitting an EOI will cost you 530 NZD

2) Apply for a Visa

- If you're given an invitation to apply, you need to submit and pay for your application within four months.

- Visa processing can take up to six months


2017 World Happiness Report Ranking: #9

2016 United Nations Human Development Index Ranking: #2

2017 Global Peace Index Ranking: #12

We'd love to move to Australia for the flat whites and food scene alone. However, since the Land Down Under is looking to attract skilled immigrants to their less populated areas, living and working in major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane is off the table. 


Permanent Visa

- Application fee: 375 AUD

- Processing time: about 9 months

- Prerequisites:

- Live in a Specified Regional Area for two years

- Work (including self-employment) in that same area for one year. 

Work Visa: Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 489)

- Application fee: 3,670 AUD

- Validity: 4 years

The Process

1) Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form through the Australian immigration website's SkillSelect.

- To be accepted into the pool of candidates, you'll need a score of at least 60 on their points test

- At this stage it's advisable to prepare documents supporting the claims you've made in your EOI. 

- Your job should be on the list of skilled occupations

- You'll need to get a skills assessment, unless:

a) You're a doctor, in which case you'll need to register as a general practitioner or specialist

b) You're a barrister or solicitor, which means you'll have to obtain proof of admission to practice in the state you want to move to.


- You need to be under 45 years old and competent in English

2) Receive an invitation to apply for a visa within two years

- Once you receive the invitation, you must submit your application within 60 days.

The requirements and options for where you can live will vary slightly depending on whether you've been sponsored by an eligible relative, or nominated by a state or territory government agency.

A) Sponsored by Family

- You may apply to live in a designated area

- Your job must be in the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List, and it must match the job descriptions on that list.

- It generally includes occupations like accountants, engineers, auditors, surveyors, agricultural consultants and scientists, teachers (for nursery school, special needs, hearing or sight-impaired students), doctors and nurses, programmers, psychologists, social workers, chefs, technicians, mechanics, and construction workers.

B) Nonimated by State or Government Agency

- You can apply to live in a regional or low-population-growth metropolitan area.

- Your job must be in the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List or the Short-term Skilled Occupations List. Surprisingly, the short-term list includes just about every job under the sun. 


2017 World Happiness Report Ranking: #7

2016 United Nations Human Development Index Ranking: #2

2017 Global Peace Index Ranking: #12

Oh Canada, the land of Justin Trudeau, maple syrup, and the nicest people in the world. If you'd like to live in one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world, you can do so by either applying for an Express Entry visa or joining the Atlantic Immigration Pilot. 


A) Atlantic Immigration Pilot

- Application Fee: 1,040 CAD

- This program was created to help attract skilled workers to Atlantic provinces like New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island (yes, where Anne of Green Gables comes from).

- The downside to this program is that it's employer-driven. That means you need to have a job offer from a business that is designated to participate in the pilot before you can apply. There's no list of approved employers hiring, so it's up to you to find one yourself.

- The pilot has two programs for workers and one for graduates: the Atlantic High-Skilled Program, the Atlantic Intermediate Skilled Program, and the Atlantic International Graduate Program

The Process

1) Receive a job offer. 

2) Make sure you meet the eligibility requirements, which vary depending on which program you're applying to. 


For workers:

- You should have at least a Canadian secondary degree (the equivalent of high school in other countries) OR


- A foreign degree, diploma, certificate, or apprenticeship. You'll need to get it evaluated and submit an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report that's less than five years old

For graduates:

- You must have a 2-year degree, diploma certificate, or trade or apprenticeship credential from a recognized publicly-funded institution in an Atlantic province

- You have to have been a full-time student for at least two years, and graduated in the last 12 months

- You should have lived for at least 16 months in one of the Atlantic provinces two years before you graduated

- You should have had the necessary visa or permit to work, study, or train

- The following cases are excluded from the Atlantic International Graduate Program:

- Courses with English as a Second Language or French as a Second Language units taking up more than half the program

- Courses in which distance learning takes up more than half the program

- Students with scholarships or fellowships that require them to return to their home country

Job Offers

While you do need a job offer, it doesn't need to be the same occupation as your past work experience. So if your dream life in Canada involves switching careers, it's totally possible.

For High-skilled workers:

Job offer should last at least one year and fall under National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level 0 (managerial), A (professional), or B (technical and skilled)

Intermediate-skilled workers:

Job offer must be permanent and fall under NOC skill level 0, A, B, or C (jobs that require a high school diploma)


International Graduates:

Job offer should last at least one year and fall under NOC skill level 0, A, B, or C 

Work Experience

- Workers should have a total of one year (1,500 hours or 30 hours per week) within the last three years

- International graduates don't need any work experience


- Your proficiency level should be at least Level 4 in Canadian Language in English or French

- Your approved language test results should be less than two years old

3) Get a needs assessment and settlement plan from an immigration officer, which you will then give to your employer

4) Your employer will pass your needs assessment and settlement plan to their respective Atlantic province for endorsement

5) Once you get endorsed, you can apply for permanent residence. 

 B) Express Entry

- Application Fee: 1,040 CAD

- The procedure for getting an express entry visa in Canada is pretty similar to New Zealand and Australia's work visas, in that you're chosen from a pool of candidates based on a points system. You can get additional points for having at least one sibling who is a citizen or permanent resident, and for strong French language skills

The Process

1) Submit your Express Entry profile

- If you're eligible, you will be inclued in the pool of candidates for 12 months

- You can apply for the Federal Skilled Workers Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class. Your requirements will depend on which program you're applying to. 

For Federal Skilled Workers:

Skilled Work Experience


- You should have at least one year of experience within the last ten years

- Your previous job should have fallen under skill level 0, A, or B and match the job description in the NOC


- You need to take an approved test like the CELPIP or IELTS

- Your scores should be equivalent with Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 for all four abilities (reading, writing, speaking, listening). 


- You'll need to have a diploma from a Canadian secondary or post-secondary school, or

- an ECA report showing that your diploma from a foreign school is equivalent to a Canadian secondary or post-secondary diploma. 

Selection factors

After you've met the mininum requirements listed above, your application will be assessed based on your:

- age

- education

- work experience

- whether you have a valid job offer

- English and/or French language skills

- how likely you're willing to settle well in Canada

You'll need to get a score of at least 67 out of 100 points to be included in the pool of candidates. 

For Skilled Trades

Unlike federal workers, skilled tradesmen should already have a one-year full-time job offer or a certificate of qualification in their trade from a Canadian provincial or territorial authority.

Work Experience

- Your work should fall under these specific NOC type B subgroups:

 - Major Group 72: industrial, electrical and construction trades

- Major Group 73: maintenance and equipment operation trades

- Major Group 82: supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production


- Major Group 92: processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators

- Minor Group 632: chefs and cooks

- Minor Group 633: butchers and bakers.

- You should have two years of full-time experience (or equivalent part-time experience) within the last five years

- You should be able to meet the requirements listed for your line of work in the NOC except for needing a certification of qualification


While there's no educational requirement for this program, you can gain extra points if you have a diploma from a Canadian post-secondary school or a foreign diploma with an ECA report showing that it is equivalent to a Canadian post-secondary diploma. 


- You need to take an approved test like the CELPIP or IELTS

- Your scores should be equivalent with CLB 5 for speaking and listening, and CLB 4 for reading and writing

Additional Requirements

You will probably have to visit your desired province or territory to get assessed for your trade and get an employer in Canada to give you experience and training. Since the process differs depending on where you want to go, you should check the website of the state you want to live in. The list of links to each state website is at the bottom of this page

Canadian Experience Class

You can apply for this program if you've done 12 months of full-time (or the equivalent in part-time work) skilled work in Canada within the last three years. 

Work Experience

Your work should fall under NOC type 0, A, or B. As always, the work you've done should match the job description set out in the NOC as well. 



Just like the skilled trade program, Canadian Experience Class has no educational requirement, but you can gain extra points if you can present a Canadian secondary or post-secondary diploma, or an ECA report proving that your foreign qualifications are equivalent to a Canadian secondary or post-secondary degree. 


If your NOC level is 0 or A, your test scores should be equivalent to CLB 7. For NOC level B, your results should match CLB 5.  

2) Create a Job Match account with Job Bank (this step is optional)

3) Invitations to apply will be sent to candidates with the highest scores.

- If you're invited, you need to submit your requirements and settle your fees within 90 days. 

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