Canadian laws restrict who may immigrate to the country. To qualify for an immigration visa, you must prove that you are skilled or educated in a field that is in demand in Canada (Skilled Worker Class Immigration), prove that you have the money and the know-how to start a new business or buy an existing one in Canada (Business Class Immigration), immediately contribute as a Provincial Nominee who has the education and skills to make an immediate impact to the province or territory or you may be sponsored by a relative who is already a Canadian citizen (Family Class Immigration). Canada, one of the richest nations in the world, does not allow people who are potential drains on its welfare system to enter the country.
How to Live & Work in Canada
Hire an immigration lawyer to help you fill out immigration application papers, or read the Canadian government website information, such as that found on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website (see Resources).
Determine whether you qualify to enter as a skilled worker. To do this, you must have at least one year of continuous full time work experience in the past ten years, and that work experience must be in a managerial, professional or technical occupation or skilled trade on the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Determine whether you qualify to enter as an investor, entrepreneur or self-employed person. Canada expects business immigrants to make at least a $400,000 investment or to own and manage a business in Canada. Canada recognizes three classes of business immigrants: investors (who invest at least $400,000), entrepreneurs (who have a net worth of $300,000 and business experience) and self-employed persons (who have "relevant experience that will make a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada or experience in farm management and the intention and ability to purchase and manage a farm in Canada"--Citizenship and Immigration Canada website).
Determine whether you qualify to enter as a Provincial Nominee (one who has the "skills, education, and work experience to make an immediate economic contribution to the province or territory that nominates them. They are ready to establish themselves successfully as permanent residents in Canada"--Citizenship and Immigration Canada website).
Determine whether you qualify to enter as a sponsored individual. Canada recognizes it is important to help families from other countries reunite in Canada. "If you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, you can sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, dependent child (including adopted child) or other eligible relative (such as a parent or grandparent) to become a permanent resident"--Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.
Pass a medical exam and background check after you have qualified as an immigrant or been granted a work visa. Then you must apply for a Social Insurance Card, similar to the U.S.'s Social Security Card. You will be expected to pay both Canadian and U.S. employment taxes as long as you remain a U.S. citizen.
If you move to Canada, remember that you may not take firearms across the border.
If you plan to move to Canada to work, plan ahead and begin the application process a year in advance.