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How to go to Canada without PR 

I was speaking to an Indian lawyer who had more than 10 years of experience – she was very sad because her Canadian PR application was rejected. 

She was very eager to move to Canada, but this rejection dealt a heavy blow to her dreams. 

She was not sure what to do next. 

Can she still somehow fulfil her dream of moving there? 

I shared with her 3 alternatives, based on our experience of working with hundreds of Indian lawyers who want to move to Canada. We helped 28 Indian lawyers to move to Canada in the last 1 year: 

  1. Getting a work permit 

If you have a job offer from a Canadian employer, whether it is a Canadian lawyer, law firm, company or a startup, it is possible for you to apply for a work permit. Work permits are typically issued for 1-2 years, and are renewable. You can also re-apply for an inland PR from Canada itself, if you want. 

  1. Business visa 

A business visa enables you to travel to Canada and live there for up to 6 months at a time. It is possible to visit Canada multiple times during the validity period of a business visa. 

You can go to Canada for business meetings with potential clients on a business visa. If you have been able to get some clients in Canada remotely as a legal assistant, legal researcher, legal content creator or paralegal, it is a very good idea to go in person to Canada on a business visa and meet more potential clients.

It is not difficult to obtain a business visa if you have been working remotely for Canadian clients and your financial statements show earnings from those Canadian clients. 

Once you have been pursuing remote work with Canadian clients, you can obtain an invitation from one of your Canadian clients to visit them for in-person meetings and provide it in your visa application. 

Another advantage of a business visa is that there is no age limit or points system as is the case for work permits or PR, where your application is compared against other applicants.

This increases your chances of securing a business visa, as long as you have the necessary invite from a Canadian client for an in-person meeting and your financial statements show a healthy influx of earnings.

Of course, an NCA qualification is a very big advantage when it comes to securing such remote work with Canadian clients.

Obtaining a business visa is clearly the best strategy if you want to visit Canada from time to time while maintaining a base back in India, which is the case of many people. 

  1. Is it a good idea to go to Canada on a student visa? 

We do not consider this route to be effective from a financial standpoint. 

Most people think of going to Canada on a student visa and lawyers usually pursue a Canadian LLM. However, that LLM costs around 25 lakhs plus living costs. Note that it is possible to find cheaper offline diploma courses that cost around 10 lakhs, which enables you to live there. 

However, you cannot work for more than 20 hrs once you are on a student visa, so managing finances can be somewhat challenging unless you have savings or financial support from parents.

As someone with just 20 hours legal permit to work, you are barely employable.   

So what did the lawyer whose PR got rejected do at the end?

Things really became clear for her after our conversation. She decided to prepare for NCA to improve her grip on Canadian law and started to find work on the side with Canadian clients remotely for about 2-3 hrs per day.

I didn’t hear from her for several months. 

1 year later, she called me out of the blue. She had secured a work permit and an-in office job from a Canadian employer and was packing her bags to move there!

I asked her how she did it. 

She started reaching out to solo practitioners in Canada and startup founders.

She found her first Canadian client in the 2nd month. She worked for two more Canadian clients in the next 3 months. She was basically blogging for Canadian lawyers and helping them with their social media presence.

She also started studying for the NCA Exam. 

8 months after that, she had visited Canada for the first time on a business visa and loved the experience there. 

It was there that one of her Canadian clients had discussed the possibility of making an offer for an in-person job to her, if she was willing to move and take up a business development role for a small law firm. 

She had loved her short stay in Canada, and happily agreed, given that living in Canada had been her dream for so long. 

It took her employer 3 months to complete the paperwork, and finally she had the work permit and the job offer in her hands!

I felt very satisfied.

She is also applying for a PR again, and I am pretty confident given her Canadian work experience and job offer in hand, she would soon land it.

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