Australia vs Canada Immigration System

Immigrating to a new country is a very big step to take, whether it’s by yourself or with your family. There are many questions that arise when thinking of a country to move to. The two popular contenders that many people consider are Canada and Australia.

Decisions are generally made on the basis of which country is safer and which offers better work opportunities. Also included are the education and healthcare systems - but the biggest deciding factor is the immigration system of the country. This is because it will have a direct impact on how many immigrants are welcomed annually and how easy it is to earn permanent residency. While immigration processes may vary in difficulty, this will ultimately also depend on whether you meet all the requirements or not. 

In this article, we discuss Australian vs Canadian Immigration Systems.

Canadian VS Australian Immigration Systems

The best way to understand the main differences when it comes to immigration between the two countries is to compare the more popular immigration programs they have to offer.

The first two programs we’ll compare are Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker Program and Australia’s Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) as both these programs aim to invite foreign skilled workers as permanent residents. Then we'll look at the Provincial Nominee Program in Canada and the Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) in Australia, as well.

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (Canada) vs Skilled Independent visa (Australia)

Federal Skilled Worker Program

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) falls under the Express Entry system  and is made for individuals who have qualifications, skills or work experience to contribute to Canada’s economy. When applying for permanent residency through the FSWP, having a job offer isn’t a requirement but it can increase your chance of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

As Canadians continue to retire each year, the demand for skilled workers increases. The Canadian government has a goal of issuing 82,880 ITAs through the Express Entry system for 2023 alone.

Requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker Program:

  • Skilled work experience - have a minimum of 1 year (part-time or full-time) experience in a NOC TEER ( 0, 1 or 2);
  • Proof of funds - have enough money for you and your family to settle in Canada, unless you are able to legally work in Canada or have a valid job offer;
  • Language ability - get a minimum score of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in all 4 abilities for English and French;
  • Have a successful security background and medical examination check;
  • Score a minimum of 67 out of 100 points under the skilled worker point grid comprising of 6 selection factors; and
  • Education - have at least a certificate from a secondary institution (high school).

Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189): Points Tested Stream

The Skilled Independent visa allows individuals to permanently stay in Australia. It also has a travel component that expires five years after the date of issue. Applicants become permanent citizens as soon as the visa is granted to them.

Requirements for the Skilled Independent Visa

  • Be invited to apply;
  • Have a suitable skills assessment;
  • You must be aged under 45;
  • Be able to score 65 points or more;
  • Pass the English competency test;
  • Your occupation must be on the relevant list of eligible skilled occupations;
  • Be in good health;
  • Meet the country’s character requirement;
  • Have paid back your debt to the Australian government (if applicable);
  • Sign the Australian values statement; and
  • Not have had a visa cancelled or a previous application refused.
Canada Federal Skilled Worker Program Australia Skilled Independent vVsa
Processing time can be within 6 months Processing time can take up to 3 months
Cost is $1,365 per person Cost is from $4,240 for main applicant
Score a minimum of 67 points Score a minimum of 65 points

Provincial Nominee Program (Canada) vs Skilled Nominated visa (Australia)

Other popular programs that allow foreign skilled workers to immigrate to Canada and Australia are the Provincial Nominee Program in Canada and the Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) in Australia. Both of these programs offer permanent resident status.

Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is an agreement that has been put in place for Canadian provinces to nominate eligible economic immigrants who want to work and stay in a particular province. An applicant can either express their interest in a certain province directly or through the Express Entry system.

There are 11 Provincial Nominee Programs in Canada, they are:

  1. Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)
  2. British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)
  3. Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP)
  4. New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NW PNP)
  5. Nova Scotia Provincial Nominee Program (NS PNP)
  6. Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (OINP)
  7. Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP)
  8. Saskatchewan Provincial Nominee Program (SINP)
  9. Yukon Nominee Program (YNP)

Each province and territory has its own streams and requirements which target different groups, this includes students, business people, skilled workers and semi-skilled workers. Requirements for some PNP streams may include:

  • A job offer from an employer in a particular province
  • Work experience in the province/territory you apply to
  • Adaptability and ties to someone living in the province you apply to

Skilled Nominated visa

The Skilled Nominated Work Visa (subclass 190) requires you to be nominated by a state or territory government. Once you submit your Expression of Interest (EOI), it will be viewable by government authorities looking for prospective foreign workers with your skillset. If a government nominates you, then you will receive a letter of invitation to apply.

This visa is only applicable to those who can fill a position on the Skilled Occupation Lists of Australia. Requirements for this program include the following:

  • You must be under the age of 45
  • Score a minimum of 65 points
  • Be proficient in English
  • Meet the set skills requirement
  • Meet health requirements
  • Meet Australia's character requirements
Canada Provincial Nominee Program Australia Skilled Nominated Visa
Processing time can be within 6 months via Express Entry Processing time can take up to 36 months
Cost is $1,365 CAD per person (if nominated) Cost is from $4,240 for main applicant
Older candidates can still earn CRS points in other categories to score a nomination Must be under the age of 45 years-old

When it comes to Australian vs Canadian immigration systems, with regards to foreign skilled workers, there are several similarities and only a few differences. One of the major differences is that Canada’s list of in-demand skills is much longer than that of Australia’s, and for this reason, increasing the chances of you being eligible for one of Canada’s immigration programs.

Pros and Cons of Immigration in Canada and Australia

Pros of Immigration in Canada

  • The application process is easier
  • The immigration process is generally faster
  • Canada is reliant on skilled immigrants to keep many of its sectors going
  • You'll enter a booming economy
  • You'll join a society welcoming of immigrants
  • There are over 100 immigration programs and visas to choose from in Canada

Cons of Immigration in Canada

  • You may have to learn French if you plan to settle in certain areas
  • The country is known for its icy winters

Pros of Immigration in Australia

  • Great weather throughout the year
  • A stable economy

Cons of Immigration in Australia

  • May be less immigrant-friendly
  • Some immigration programs may take longer

Why Foreigners Choose to Move to Canada

Australia vs Canadian immigration system: Canada’s goal is to welcome 465,000 newcomers in 2023 and 485,000 newcomers by 2024, bringing new hopes to immigrants and Canadian employers alike. Overall Canada could be the easier option as there are over 100 different immigration pathways, which increases your chance of being successful for one of them. works with Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) who can make your journey simple and hassle-free as you won’t miss a deadline because they can submit documents on your behalf.


How Long do Non-Express Entry Provincial Nominee Programs Take to be Processed?

Non-Express Entry linked applications or paper-based applications can take 1-2 years to complete.

Is Canada Expensive to Live in?

You may find some areas in Canada to be quite expensive. But, generally, the cost of living is low.

Which Places are the Most Popular to Immigrate to in Canada?

Ottawa and Toronto are quite popular.

What is the salary in Canada vs Australia?

The national minimum wage in Australia for 2023 is AUS $21.38 per hour or $812.60 per week. Average Wages in Canada increased to 29.44 CAD hourly in February 2023. Find out the full information in our Working in Canada vs Australia article.