Americans love to say they're moving to Canada - at least around election time.

Just a quick check on Twitter brings up a myriad of responses.

"If Romney wins, I guess I will be moving to Canada. However, I have FAITH that Obama WILL PREVAIL!!" Robyn Paige posted Wednesday. And not just on one side of things.

"My mom is really considering moving to Canada if Obama gets re-elected so @MittRomney better win," Hannah Spence, tweeted Wednesday.

If you're one of the hardy few who think the fruits of democracy stink like a durian, it may be time to consider what steps you'll have to take before you make your move to the Great White North.

People are granted permanent residency in Canada by qualifying in one of the following categories, according to the official Citizenship and Immigration Canada website, www.cic.gc.ca:

If you have a work skill that's in short supply in Canada.

If you have recently worked or studied there as a non-resident.

If you have some serious cash you want to invest in creating a business.

If someone with political connections lobbies to have you nominated to settle and work there.

If you are joining a family member who is already a permanent resident.

If you're a live-in caregiver, such as a nanny or nurse.

And, of course, if you are a refugee.

The CIC website defines refugees as "people who are outside their home country or the country where they normally live, and who are unwilling to return because of a well-founded fear of persecution based on race; religion; political opinion; nationality; or membership in a particular social group, such as women or people of a particular sexual orientation.


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Persecution includes: a danger of torture; a risk to their life; or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

If you decide to apply for permanent residency in Canada as a refugee based on your fears that your political opinion might make you the subject of any of the above, your case will be reviewed by an independent board, which will weigh your case and then make a recommendation.

If the likelihood of your being counted as a refugee sounds a little far-fetched, you may want to try one of the other routes.

Paul Northcutt of CIC recommends that people go to the agency's website and use a tool there that helps people figure out if they're eligible for permanent residency and under what category. Below is a small sampling of the questions:

- Do you have a written job offer from an employer in Canada?

- Where do you plan to live in Canada?

- What is your estimated net worth (in Canadian dollars)?

- Do you plan to own or operate a farm in Canada?

- Do you plan to be self-employed in sports or cultural activities?

But do people actually make the move to Canada just because their candidate lost a presidential election? There's no way to be 100 percent sure, Northcott said.

"People decide they want to immigrate to Canada for many reasons," he said.

Matthew Locatelli of upstate New York can certainly attest to that.

"If the Bengals beat the Broncos this weekend, I'm moving to Canada," he tweeted Wednesday.