Canada continues to pull out the stops, making it easier for immigrants to obtain permanent residency. According to the Government of Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2022-2024, Canada aims to welcome more than 430,000 new permanent residents in 2022, 447,055 in 2023 and 451,000 in 2024. These immigration opportunities will be available even for those not lucky enough or able to obtain a job offer before moving.

The Canadian government is open to allowing immigrants to earn a permanent residency without a job offer. If your skills are appropriate for the Canadian labour market, then Canada’s federal government or provincial governments will extend their welcome to you. You only need at least one year of continuous full-time paid work experience. That is; you need to have worked full time for at least one year in Canada in a skilled occupation.

Immigrating to Canada Without a Job Offer

Canada has numerous programs that make one eligible for immigration based on study or work experience. Currently, the Canadian government offers more than 100 immigration pathways, excluding the common economic refuge-class immigration programs.
Two common options to immigrate to Canada without a job offer include the Express Entry Programs and the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).

The Express Entry Program

If you want to immigrate to Canada but don’t have an active job offer, the best option is to apply for one of the Express Entry Programs. These programs are offered under a point-based system that manages applications for those seeking Canadian permanent residency. Express Entry programs are primarily designed to attract those who can fill jobs in industries with insufficient skilled Canadian workers.

Each of the Express Entry Programs has a work experience requirement but does not require any job offer. You only have to demonstrate your eligibility for one of the programs to gain entry into the country. The IRCC will use a Comprehensive Ranking System to award you points based on education, relevant work experience, age, and language. Programs under the Canada Express Entry pool include:

1. Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

The program is one of Canada’s best immigration streams for anybody wishing to earn Canadian permanent residency based on their skills, education, and work experience. You don’t need any job offer to apply for a Federal Skilled Worker Program. Instead, you have to meet the following requirements;

  • At least one year of continuous full-time paid work experience.
  • Attain a minimum score in an approved language test.
  • A high School Diploma equivalent or higher.
  • Admissibility into Canada.

2. Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTC)

The Federal Skilled Trade Program targets skilled workers who want to move to Canada permanently based on their skills and experiences in certain trade occupations. Even though it’s an Express Entry program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program is more restrictive in who qualifies. Foreigners in Canada or outside of Canada are free to apply, but they must possess;

  • A Canadian Trades Certificate
  • At least two years of continuous full-time paid work experience in a skilled trade. (If possible, five years before the date of your application).
  • Fulfill the requirements of the trade you are applying under as outlined in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) code.
  • A minimum of CLB 5 in an approved language test’s speaking and listening sections.
  • A minimum of CLB 4 in an approved language test.
  • You don’t intend to live in Quebec.

3. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

The Canadian Experience Class is the only Express Entry program that allows those who have worked or studied in Canada to become permanent residents. You need one year of minimum Canadian work experience to qualify for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Express Entry Program.

However, the program has a few provisions regarding the obtained work experience. For instance, any experience obtained while in self-employment in Canada will not count. Similarly, work experience gained as an international student while on a study permit in Canada doesn’t count.

Requirements for this program include;

  • A valid Canadian work experience while physically in Canada
  • A minimum of a CLB/NCLC 7 in an approved language test. This applies to work experience under NOC Skill Level 0 or A.
  • A minimum of a CLB/NCLC 5 in all four abilities on an approved language test for work experience under NOC Skill Level B
  • You plan to live outside of Quebec.

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) currently accepts more than 100,000 skilled workers annually through the Express Entry programs. The application process is simple and will require documents indicating valid language test results, an educational credential assessment report and a passport or travel document.

The IRCC will require you to submit relevant documents to back up your application after providing you with an invitation to apply. These include;

  • Reference letters,
  • Valid identity documents showing your nationality,
  • Police clearance certificates,
  • A medical examination report.

Express Entry applications take approximately six months to process. This covers the entire process, from submitting the Express Entry profile to issuing a permanent resident visa. The overall cost of immigrating to Canada through Express Entry ranges from 2,300 – 2,800 CAD for a single applicant.

After a little hiatus to clear the pandemic-driven backlog, the IRCC will again open applications for FWSP and CEC Express Entry programs in July 2022. Depending on your qualifications, you’re eligible for more than one program under Express Entry.

Provincial Nominee Programs

The Canadian government allows provinces and territories to create their immigration programs under the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). Like the Express Entry Programs, the Provincial Nominee Programs don’t require any job offer.

Canada’s PNPs were mainly introduced to create a more balanced distribution of immigration benefits. Under the program, participating provinces and territories nominate economic immigrants for permanent residence annually. Each Canadian province determines its own set of nomination requirements. Common PNPs in Canada include;

1. Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (OINP)

The province of Ontario has one of the biggest opportunities and offers the best wages in the country. Almost one-third of new immigrants in Canada move to Ontario every year to take advantage of the available opportunities. These immigrants benefit from the 8000 nominations offered under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).

This Provincial Nominee program is one of the most active in the country. Immigrants who wish to settle in Ontario under Canadian permanent residency can do so by applying for the Ontario Express Entry: Human Capital Priorities Stream. This stream suits any skilled immigrant worker wishing to work and permanently settle in Ontario but has no job offer.

The Human Capital Priorities Stream allows the province to nominate eligible Express Entry candidates who meet the requirements for the local labour market. Applicants must also meet the language and work experience requirements.

Other requirements for the OINP Express Entry-Human Capital Priority Stream include:

  • An active Express Entry profile
  • Meet qualifications for one of the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) or Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • A Canadian degree (Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D.) or equivalent foreign education credentials
  • A higher language proficiency level of 7 and more
  • Intend to live in Ontario
  • Demonstrate you can cover settlement costs in Ontario

Candidates who apply and qualify for the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program will receive acknowledgement messages through their Express Entry account. They can then proceed to submit an online application to the OINP.

2. Saskatchewan Provincial Nominee Program (SINP)

Saskatchewan is a popular destination for new Canadians due to its booming economy, friendly communities, plenty of jobs and affordable cost of living. The easiest way to immigrate to Saskatchewan without a job offer is through the Saskatchewan provincial nomination (SINP).

Under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP), the province can nominate people to be admitted to Canada by the Federal Government. The candidates must possess the desired skills and experiences in the local economy.

You can easily immigrate to Saskatchewan through the SINP in two different ways. The first way involves applying directly to the Saskatchewan Provincial Nominee Program. You’ll be allowed to create a new Express Entry profile and import relevant credentials into the system if nominated.

The other option is the Saskatchewan Occupation In-demand stream. Here, you’ll create a new Express Entry profile and formally indicate an interest in the province. Immigration Saskatchewan will invite you to apply to the SINP upon meeting the Saskatchewan Occupation in-demand list requirements.

Your Express Entry profile will be credited with a Saskatchewan nomination certificate if nominated. This method also awards you additional 600 points under the Comprehensive Ranking System.

Does IRCC Allow Concurrent Applications for Express Entry and PNPs?

Yes, the IRCC allows you to apply in Federal Express Entry System and any Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) simultaneously. You’ll be rated among other candidates if you meet the minimum requirements for the Express Entry program. The system will pick the candidates with the highest CRS score and send them an application invite. You can decide to opt-in for a PNP if you don’t get an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for the Express Entry Program. If any PNP considers your express entry profile appealing, they will issue you an invitation to apply.

Final Thoughts

Getting a permanent Canadian residence without a job offer is no longer a problem in modern times. Canada now has various immigration streams that require no job offers as long as you meet the minimum requirements and can support yourself and your family. Try the Express Entry Programs and PNPs for a Permanent Canadian residence in 2022.

If you have questions about how to apply for permanent residency in Canada, reach out to Pax Law’s experienced immigration team.


Work in Canada
Documents for Express Entry
International Skilled Worker: Saskatchewan Express Entry

Categories: Immigration


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