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MOVING TO CANADA AS A SKILLED WORKER
If you are a skilled worker, there are two main pathways to living and working in Canada, depending on whether the worker wishes to stay in the country on a temporary basis or permanently.
If you plan to work in Canada temporarily, it’s likely your employer will need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before hiring you. An LMIA is an assessment from Economic and Social Development Canada (ESDC) which shows whether Canadians are available to take up a job, or if there is a need for a foreign worker.
It is the responsibility of your potential employer to apply for an LMIA, and if approved, they can then pass it on to you. For more information on LMIA’s, see our section ‘What is an LMIA?’.
Skilled workers are chosen as permanent residents based on their ability to settle in Canada and contribute to the economy. They are assessed primarily on English and/or French language skills, education and work experience. There are four main visa types which allow skilled workers to stay in Canada permanently. These are the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and the Provincial Nominee Program.
Federal Skilled Worker Program
In order to be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you must fulfil certain criteria. For example:
- Your must have one year of paid skilled work experience within the last ten years
- Your work experience must be in the same National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill type
- You must show that you meet the language and educational requirements
These factors are part of a 100 point grid, used to determine a worker’s eligibility. You must earn 67 points to pass. For a full list of criteria and to find out if you are eligible, see the Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) website.
Federal Skilled Trades Program
The Federal Skilled Trades Program is similar to that of the Federal Skilled Worker, and is for people who wish to become permanent residents based on being qualified in a skilled trade. The minimum requirements to be eligible for this program are:
- You must meet the required level of English or French
- You must have at least two years of full time work experience in your skilled trade You must meet the job requirements for that trade as set out in the NOC
- You must have an offer of full time employment for a period of at least one year, or a certificate of qualification in your trade issued by a Canadian authority
For more details on the Federal Skilled Trades Program, see the CIC website.
Canadian Experience Class
This program gives permanent residency to skilled workers who already have Canadian work experience. To be eligible for the Canadian Experience Class, you must:
- Have at least 12 months full time skilled work experience in Canada within the three years before your application
- Meet the required language skill level needed for your job
To find out more about Canadian Experience Class, see the CIC website.
Provincial Nominee Program
Due to an agreement with the Government of Canada, most provinces and territories in Canada can nominate skilled workers who wish to settle there. You must apply to the province or territory you wish to move to. If your application is successful and you have been nominated, you must then apply to CIC for permanent residence. For more information on the Provincial Nominee Program, see our section on ‘What is the PNP?’ and the CIC website.
Canada’s new Express Entry system is the current method of selecting candidates for the above permanent residence programs. To find out more about this system, see our ‘What is Express Entry?’ section.
The province of Quebec selects its own skilled workers, and therefore does not use this system. If you plan to live in Quebec, please see the CIC website for information.