After the first US presidential debate on Tuesday, searches for “immigrating to Canada” spiked online, just as they had the night of the 2016 election results. Now that the US president has tested positive for Covid-19, the turbulence and uncertainty could lead to even more intense interest in migrating north.
In the last few weeks alone, Trump has refused to denounce white supremacy on national television, was revealed to have mocked the military, and—while fashioning himself as a working class hero—dodged his tax obligations (and perhaps laundered money.) He’s bungled a national response to the pandemic resulting in more than 200,000 deaths and 7 million cases. And as the election draws nearer, he has suggested several times that he might not accept the results of the November vote if his opponent, former vice president Joe Biden, wins.
Looking north, however, people see a nation whose leader’s political scandals are run of the mill. They see a universal, publicly-funded healthcare system, and a more coordinated strategy for dealing with Covid-19. They see political stability. And legal cannabis.
So, how does one actually get there?
One of the quickest routes to becoming a Canadian resident is to apply under what used to be the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was replaced by the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement—or, from the Canadian government’s perspective, the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)—earlier this year. Working in one of the CUSMA-covered roles allows someone to apply for a temporary, renewable visa at the border. You do need a job offer from a company located in Canada (or your current employer needs to transfer you to a Canadian office), but employers know that hiring an American under CUSMA is relatively straightforward: Canadian laws don’t require them to show that they first tried to hire a Canadian.
This route is safer than launching a start-up (another option) and arguably easier than finding a Canadian to fall in love with and marry. You have other roads available to you as a self-employed person with relevant experience in cultural or athletic activities, and you can prove you can support yourself in Canada as a writer, journalist, performer, athlete, artist, or librarian, to name a few examples. Or if you are wealthy enough to invest in property or business in the country.
Below is the complete list of job titles by CUSMA. See the Government of Canada’s website page about the International Mobility Program: Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) for additional details about alternative job titles, necessary educational requirements, and credentials.