‘If Trump is elected, I’m moving to Canada!’ But how easy is it to get residency?

Nov 6, 2020, 5:25 AM | Updated: 10:22 am
How easy is it to get residency in Canada? The answer is complicated. (Photo by Ali Tawfiq on Unsplash)
(Photo by Ali Tawfiq on Unsplash)

We’ve all heard the, “If Trump is elected, I’m moving to Canada!” threats, but how many people are really serious?

“I can say, anecdotally, that over the last several months we have been extraordinarily busy fielding calls and doing consultations with American citizens who are looking to assess their options,” said Meika Lalonde, a partner at McCrea Immigration Law in Vancouver, Canada. “This is kind of unprecedented. I’ve never actually seen anything quite like it in terms of interest of Americans moving to Canada, and I’ve been doing this for about 16 years now.”

Not even four years ago, when President Trump was first elected?

“Not at all, not at all.”

Lalonde says liberal Americans are enticed by Canada’s health care system and eager to escape the extreme political division that currently exists in the United States. But what are the chances of an American gaining citizenship right now?

Lalonde says Americans who have a Canadian spouse, or can prove they have a parent with Canadian citizenship, should have an easy time gaining citizenship. While the border is closed to tourists due to the pandemic, once the process is complete, these people would be welcomed into Canada. If you don’t have any familial connections, you can apply for Economic Class immigration.

“In Canada we’ve just announced that we’re going to be increasing the number of immigrants that the government will let into Canada over the course of the next two years.”

They’re looking for highly educated, highly skilled workers and entrepreneurs who could bolster the Canadian economy.

“This is if you’re relatively young and you speak English fluently, you may be able to come to Canada if you score enough points under what’s called our ‘Express Entry System,'” Lalonde said. “Most people do not score high enough to get that invitation to apply for permanent residence because really what the government wants is for individuals to already be connected somehow to the labor market here. Individuals who have studied in Canada, or have worked in Canada, and are currently working in Canada, they get significantly more points than somebody who has never worked here. Their chances of being invited to apply for permanent residency are much greater.”

Another option is to study at a Canadian university, which grants you access to work after graduation, therefore increasing your chances of getting permanent residency. If you’re retired and looking to move to Canada, it doesn’t look good.

But Lalonde also anticipates seeing more seasonal residents who split their time between Canada and the United States. Seasonal residents are allowed to stay for six month stretches, but cannot currently cross the border because of pandemic restrictions.

With the whole world watching our tumultuous election, do Canadians want to welcome Americans to their country?

“I would say the answer to that from most people would be yes,” Lalonde said. “A lot of Canadians who are highly skilled end up leaving to the United States. So it sort of seems like, and this almost sounds a bit crass, but it might be a bit of an opportunity for Canada to potentially attract some of the best and the brightest from the United States to come up to Canada and really contribute up here, economically, to businesses.”

Lalonde says about 60% of the Americans she’s consulted with have a good chance of gaining citizenship, it’s just a matter of how serious they are. With the border closed to tourists, there isn’t the option of visiting first to make sure you like it.

Listen to Rachel Belle’s James Beard Award nominated podcast, “Your Last Meal,” featuring celebrities like Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, Rainn Wilson, and Greta Gerwig. Follow @yourlastmealpodcast on Instagram!

  • listen to rachel belleTune in to KIRO Radio on weekdays to hear Rachel Belle.
Who is Rachel Belle?

Your Last Meal

Rachel Belle

certified wildlife habitat...
Rachel Belle

Turn your backyard into a Certified Wildlife Habitat

The National Wildlife Federation will help you make your yard a habitable home for bees, birds, bugs and critters. And they'll give you an official sign!
11 days ago
Emily Cherkin and Ben Gitenstein, pictured months after 9/11. (Photo courtesy of Emily Cherkin)...
Rachel Belle

‘You either got married or broke up’: 20 years later, a Seattle couple on falling in love in NYC in the wake of 9/11

On Sept. 11, 2001, Seattle's Emily Cherkin and Ben Gitenstein were 22 years old and separately taking the subway into Manhattan when two planes crashed into the Twin Towers. This is their story.
17 days ago
dirty work...
Rachel Belle

New book ‘Dirty Work’ reveals psychological toll of working unsavory jobs nobody wants

A new book by Eyal Press called "Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America" takes a deeper look at jobs no one wants to do.
1 month ago
Rachel Belle

Research says talking to strangers is good for your health

We know how important friendships are to our mental health and happiness, but new research suggests striking up conversations with strangers is just as beneficial.
2 months ago
flight attendant...
Rachel Belle

New bestseller ‘Falling’ was written on napkins by a flight attendant while passengers slept

The idea for former flight attendant TJ Newman's first book, "Falling," was born out of a worst case scenario she presented to a pilot on a red eye flight. 
2 months ago
Pro gravel cyclist, Laura King, rode 4,600 miles during her pregnancy, up until the day before givi...
Rachel Belle

Tokyo Olympics disregard for breastfeeding athletes highlights inequality in women’s sports

The Tokyo Olympics initially told athletes they couldn't bring their babies to Japan. Now babies are allowed, but they can't stay with their mothers.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
By Alaska Airlines

Calling all football fans: follow Russell on the road

Take your Northwest spirit that we’re known for on the road this season with Alaska Airlines.
By Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
‘If Trump is elected, I’m moving to Canada!’ But how easy is it to get residency?