Canada vs USA Immigration

Published on: September 20th, 2018
Last updated: October 3rd, 2023

Are you thinking of moving to North America? Many people who are considering a move to the continent consider the United States and Canada as their primary options. Before you choose a country, you should compare your options. We’ve prepared a small guide to help you get started in this comparison.

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Immigrating to the United States

An American green card is one of the most valuable immigration documents in the world. Unfortunately, this value makes a green card incredibly difficult to get.

There are very few pathways to permanent resident, or green card, status in the United States. One of the most common ways is through family connections. US citizens and permanent residents can petition for their spouses and immediate family members to receive green cards.

Another option is through employment. This option would require you to have an employer in the United States sponsor you for immigration. Those already living and working legally in the US have the best shot of being selected for this stream. However, even workers on temporary visas in the US might find it difficult to transition from their visa to permanent resident status. Last year, the USA only issued about 60,000 employment-based green cards. In contrast, Canada admitted over 230,000 economic immigrants in 2021.

There are several different visas that allow for employment based sponsorship. They are ranked in order of preference, with those able to contribute the most to the American economy ranked highest.

Without sponsorship from a family member or employer, receiving a green card can be very difficult. There are of course special categories through which immigrants can apply, but these are often only applicable in very specific circumstances. One of these special categories is refugee or asylum status.

Another factor to take into consideration is the state of American politics. Under the current presidential administration, it is possible that more restrictive immigration policies could be put into place in the coming years.

Canadian immigration

Compared to the United States, the Canadian immigration system is relatively open. The Express Entry System, introduced in 2015 provides a pathway to Canada’s equivalent of a green card, known as permanent residence.

This system includes three different immigration programs designed to attract the best foreign workers. The Federal Skilled WorkerFederal Skilled Trades, and Canadian Experience Class programs are all points based systems that select immigrants for permanent residence based on experience, education, language abilities, and other qualifications.

In addition to the Express Entry programs, each Canadian province offers immigration streams known as Provincial Nominee Programs. Most of these streams are based on the economic and demographic needs of each province and can serve as a fast track through the Express Entry pool of applicants.

Canada also offers great opportunities to international students studying at its universities and colleges. Once foreign students have completed their post-secondary education in Canada, they become eligible for post-graduation work permits. These permits allow foreign students to stay and work in Canada for up to three years after they finish their studies. This allows for a great opportunity to gain Canadian work experience in preparation for applying for permanent residence!

Canadian permanent residents and citizens can sponsor their family members to become permanent residents. Sponsorship applications for spouses are normally processed in about a year, and sponsorship for dependent children can take even less time.

Safety in Canada vs USA

Canada typically ranks higher for quality of life and safety than the USA. U.S. News’s 2021 Best Countries Report gave Canada a score of 96.7 out of 100 for safety; on the same scale, the United States scored just 10.8. When comparing homicide rates per 100,000 people, the USA is about 400% higher than Canada. Canada also offers free universal healthcare for permanent residents and citizens, regardless of your employment status. Canada’s safety provides a peace of mind to prospective newcomers that is not necessarily offered in the USA.


Both the United States and Canada are great places to start a life in North America. However, Canada offers more immigration options, and quality of life to foreign nationals than the USA.


Still unsure? Get in touch with a representative from the Canadim team for more information on your options to immigrate to Canada. Our lawyers and case managers can give you full information on options available to you. Take our free assessment below to get started today.

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