What Qualifications Do You Need to Immigrate to Canada?

When you immigrate to Canada you may or may not be aware that almost every Canadian immigration program has various qualification requirements that need to be met. 

Of course, having the appropriate qualifications are not only important when it comes to scoring Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points for programs run under the Express Entry system but is also a requirement for programs such as the Provincial Nominee Programs, The Atlantic Immigration Pilot, The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, Home Provider Pilot as well as for certain Business immigration programs, to name just a few.

Having the right qualification is not only important to Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada (IRCC) when deciding whether or not you are eligible to move to Canada will also be important to your future employer as it will indicate whether or not you are qualified to perform the duties for the job in Canada that you are applying for.

So let's take a closer look at what level of qualifications you will need for some of the main immigration pathways to Canada.

Qualification Requirements for Top Canadian Immigration Programs

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Express Entry Programs

There are three Canadian immigration programs that fall under the Express Entry System, a fast-tracked visa program to help skilled international workers find a way to relocate to Canada and find a job in Canada.

1. The Federal Skilled Worker Program

Minimum Qualifications: secondary or post-secondary qualification

Examples of Qualifying Occupations: restaurant managers, mine managers, doctors, dentists etc.

The Federal Skilled Worker Program is designed to help foreign workers who are highly skilled immigrate to Canada in as little as six months. Besides having to meet the minimum FSTP score of 67 out of a possible 100 points you will need to have a secondary or post-secondary qualification that matches a highly skilled occupation based on the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This program is generally for those who have a skill type 0, A or B.

2. The Federal Skilled Trade Program

Minimum Qualifications: secondary or post-secondary qualification; certificate of qualification

Examples of Qualifying Occupations: plumber, electricians, butchers, bakers. chefs etc.

The Federal Skilled Trade Program is an immigration pathway for those who are qualified and have experience in trade jobs. To qualify for this program you will not only need a secondary or post-secondary qualification but you may be required to have a Red Seal certificate in certain provinces or have a valid full-time job offer as well as two years of full-time work experience in your respective trade.

3. The Canada Experience Class

Minimum Qualifications: secondary or post-secondary qualification

Examples of Qualifying Occupations: managers, architects, shore captains, tech professionals etc.

The Canada Experience Class was created to help highly skilled workers in professions classified at NOC type 0 or level A or B find an efficient way to move to Canada. If you have Canadian experience (at least one year) and have a relevant secondary or post-secondary qualification this could be the best option for you.

4. The Provincial Nominee Program

Minimum Qualifications: dependant on stream and province/territory

Examples of Qualifying Occupations: long haul truck driver, food and beverage server, fruit picker, oil field worker etc.

Eleven out of Canada’s provinces and territories each have their own Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), each with their own set of requirements as well as their own set of job opportunities in Canada. Besides meeting the specific qualifications of your chosen category or stream the key to a successful PNP application is to find in-demand jobs in your chosen province and express interest if you choose to apply through an online Express Entry-linked program or you could apply directly to the province, which is generally a much longer process as you will have to submit a paper application. The one exception is the British Columbia PNP (BCPNP) which has an online portal and promises to process applications in as little as 2 to 3 months!

5. The Atlantic Immigration Program

Minimum Qualifications: dependant on stream

Examples of Qualifying Occupations: shore captain, industrial butcher, long-haul truck driver, food and beverage server etc.

If you enjoy coastal small-town living, then Atlantic Canada may be just the place for you and your family to settle down. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot is a community-driven immigration program which aims to help fill the current labour gap in the four maritime provinces: namely Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island as well as Newfoundland and Labrador. To qualify for this pilot, you will need to have the following qualifications based on the stream you apply through:

  • Atlantic International Graduate Program - 2-year degree, diploma certificate or trade apprentice credential from a recognized publicly-funded institution in Atlantic Canada;
  • Atlantic High Skilled Program - secondary or post-secondary qualification; or
  • Atlantic High Skilled Program - secondary or post-secondary qualification.


6. The Rural and Northern Immigration Program

Minimum Qualifications: secondary or post-secondary qualification

Examples of Qualifying Occupations: any job in demand in the community you intend to move to eg. IT professions, forestry jobs, medical professions, construction jobs etc.

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is a Community driven pilot aimed at drawing newcomers to live in smaller communities in Canada. There are currently 11 participating communities located in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan each with its own specific job opportunities for foreign workers. If you have at least one year of work experience and a slower pace of life in a safe, welcoming, supportive community is exactly what you're looking for in Canada then this might be the immigration solution for you and your family.

7. The Agri-Food Pilot

Minimum Qualifications: secondary qualification

Examples of Qualifying Occupations: meat processing industry jobs, greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production, animal production (excluding aquaculture)

The Agri-food Pilotis for skilled workers that have specialised skills in the meat processing, animal production and agricultural sectors and want to immigrate to Canada. So if you have a secondary or high school qualification, a valid full-time job offer, for at least one year, in one of the above-mentioned sectors and meet the other program requirements, then this is a great immigration option for you.

8. Home Care Provider Pilots

Minimum Qualifications: Post-secondary qualification

Examples of Qualifying Occupations: Childcare providers and Home Support Workers eg. au pairs, babysitters, foster parents, live-in child care provider, personal aide, family caregiver, respite worker, housekeeper etc.

Since the Live-in Caregiver Program stopped accepting international applications to live and work in Canada on June 18, 2019, Canada has implemented two new home care provider programs in its place: The Home Support Worker Pilot and the Home Childcare Provider Pilot. All you need to qualify is a relevant post-secondary qualification, valid job offer and relevant work experience you could be making your way to Canada to care for Canada’s citizens sooner than you think.

Find Out if You Qualify for a Canadian Visa

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Applying for a visa on your own can be time-consuming and difficult to understand. With strict deadlines, procedures and requirements, it can be easy to make a mistake that could cost you your chance to immigrate to Canada. But with the guidance and assistance of one of our knowledgeable Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC’s), who are accredited by the ICCRC the process will be stress-free.

When you choose to use our expert and government trusted service you will get:

  • An in-depth eligibility assessment
  • Guidance on which of 100+ immigration programs and visas to choose from;
  • An immigration plan tailored to your individual needs;
  • A review and submission of all application forms and documentation; as well as
  • Support through every step of the application process.

All you have to do is fill out our application form to receive your eligibility assessment and let us take care of the rest. It’s just that simple! Your Canadian journey starts here.

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