How “DACA Dreamers” May Be Able to Seek Immigration to Canada

Canadian Immigration Entry Graphic

People affected by the Trump administration’s announcement regarding termination of the “DACA” program may be able seek immigration to Canada.

President Trump’s administration recently announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be terminated, with a 6 month transition period. The DACA program was introduced by President Obama in June 2012. The goal of the program was to protect children who entered the United States illegally as minors and not of their own accord.

The DACA program has strict requirements in that the applicants must not have a serious criminal record and they must have attained a certain level of education or military service. The program only provides for temporary work permits and a deferral of deportation.

It is estimated that there are approximately 800,000 people that are currently benefiting from this program. Current Dreamers who are now thinking about their options and their future, may be able to look to immigrate to Canada.

There are a number of channels through which highly qualified and skilled Dreamers may be eligible to obtain permanent resident status in Canada. Options may include:

The Global Skills Program

This program seeks to permit quicker access to highly skilled foreign nationals by Canadian companies, in order to help the Canadian companies grow and succeed. This is a two- year pilot program. It allows foreign workers coming to Canada for a temporary period to have their applications processed in only two weeks.

Work Permit Applications under NAFTA

A large number of the people who are currently benefiting from the DACA program in the United States are Mexican nationals. Mexican nationals may be able to benefit from NAFTA’s immigration provisions. If you are a professional and your occupation is one of the ones specifically designated under NAFTA, and you have a job offer in Canada to work in that profession, then you may qualify to work in Canada.

Study Permits

Students who have an acceptance from a designated educational institution in Canada, may be able to obtain a study permit in Canada. Students are permitted to legally work up to 20 hours a week, and full time during their summer breaks. After graduating from their program, they may be eligible to apply for a post-graduate work permit. After studying in Canada and gaining work experience, they may qualify to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

Express Entry

The Express Entry program is Canada’s points based system for applicants interested in immigrating to Canada. Interested candidates will create an online profile and enter the pool of applicants, who will receive points based on age, level of education, English or French language ability, work experience, having relatives in Canada, having a valid job offer in Canada, etc.
1) Federal Skilled Worker Program
If you have a high level of education and/ or significant work experience that can be transferred to the Canadian labour market, then you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence in Canada. You must meet specified criteria in order to apply under this category. This program utilizes a point system to evaluate candidates based on education, language ability, work experience, and age. Other factors that may be considered include arranged employment in Canada and adaptability.
2) Federal Skilled Trades Program
If you are a skilled tradesperson, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence in Canada. You must possess at least two years of work experience in a skilled trade in the last five years and meet minimum language requirements.
Provinces and territories can also recruit applicants from the Express Entry pool through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) to meet their labour market needs.
There are many ways in which the highly skilled/ qualified individuals affected by the Trump Administration’s termination of the DACA program may be able to seek immigration to Canada. Contact us for a consultation regarding your unique circumstances.

*This article does not constitute legal advice. If you are a DACA recipient and you leave the United States, you will face a denial of re-entry without a special waiver. If you are seeking more information regarding possible ways of immigrating to Canada, please contact our office for a full consultation appointment regarding your unique situation.