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Thinking of moving to Canada? Good luck with that

Travelers use the NEXUS lane heading north to Canada at the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Blaine, Wash., on Sept. 15, 2015.
Travelers use the NEXUS lane heading north to Canada at the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Blaine, Wash., on Sept. 15, 2015. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

Thinking of moving to Canada in the wake of Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election? It’s not as easy as you might think.

Several celebrities – from actress Miley Cyrus to comedian Amy Shumer – threatened to move to Canada if Donald Trump was elected. Comedian Jon Stewart apparently is going even farther, saying he’s “getting in a rocket and going to another planet, because clearly this planet’s gone bonkers.”

Launching a rocket might require less paperwork than applying for residency in Canada.

“Some Americans are a little surprised at how defined the border is and that they actually have to go through an application process,” said Rudi Kischer, a Canadian immigration lawyer, in an interview with CTV Vancouver. “It’s actually fairly difficult to move to Canada.”

Basically, there are four ways to get it done — study at a Canadian university, get a job there, marry a Canadian (there’s a website, MapleMatch.com, to help you hook up), or wait.

And wait.

Immigration officials in Canada will accept only 300,000 new permanent residents in 2017. An estimated 40,000 will be refugees and another 80,000 likely will be family members of Canadians. The remaining 180,000 mostly will be skilled workers who already have applied to enter and are awaiting a years-long paperwork process, according to the CTV report

Canada also has an Express Entry program, but that process can be challenging if you don’t already have a job offer waiting up north.

Best job in Canada right now? Immigration attorney.

One of those, Raj Sharma, told CTV Calgary he’s been inundated with calls from Americans, especially Mexican Americans, who are interested in moving north. He said marrying a Canadian would help you jump some of the legal hoops, but, “It’s got to be clear that this is not a scam. This is not a backdoor way into Canada, and we do investigate marriages.”

Still, packing your bags for the Great White North became a thing on Twitter this week, as #movetoCanada was a popular hashtag.

Canadian Immigration officials, whose website crashed Tuesday night from all the American traffic coming its way following Donald Trump’s victory, got in on the act.

On the other side of the border, Canadians reacted to Trump’s election win with concerns of their own, even anxiety, but also a whiff of pride.

“Canada’s going to be in a higher position to take on global issues that America’s going to put to the side,” said Cordell Jacks, 36, an international development worker in Vancouver, British Columbia, in an interview with The New York Times.

Jim Donaldson: 360-715-2288

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