How to Get a Canada Work Visa With a High School Diploma

Canada is one of the top destinations to move to in 2023. According to HSBC’s global Expat Explorer report, Canada was rated the third-best country in the world to live in among expats, and also second for being one of the most welcoming countries globally.

Although many people who have moved abroad to work in Canada have some form of post-secondary education or qualification, it is not a must. In fact, Canada’s immigration system has various visa options for those who have a secondary qualification of high school diploma!

Want to work in Canada but don’t have a degree? Find out how to get a Canada work visa with just a high school diploma!

How to Apply for a Canada Work Visa

How to apply

Applying for an immigration visa is a long and complicated task regardless of the country that your application is submitted to. Canada, with its added emphasis on securing the safety and property of its citizens, has an even more rigorous immigration visa application process than other prime immigration destinations

The Canada Work Visa allows individuals who were for various reasons unable to obtain permanent residency in Canada be able to move and work in Canada for a specified period of time.

The work eligibility requirements for the Canada Work Visa are generally far more lax than those stipulated for permanent residency immigration visa programs such as Express Entry and Provincial Nominee programs.

This affords an opportunity for inexperienced individuals to immigrate to Canada using a work-based immigration visa program. This includes people whose sole major educational qualification is a High School Diploma.

If you possess a high school diploma but have no idea how to proceed in applying for a Canada Work Visa, the following is a thorough presentation of the steps you need to follow.

Step 1: Find a Job in Canada

Finding a job in Canada is made easier than most other countries due to the high number of employment opportunities available in Canada. Furthermore, Canada’s perennial labor shortages are a boon to prospective immigrants to Canada who seek to secure employment since there are in-demand occupation lists in each province that cover almost every level of work experience.

Once you have found a job in Canada you must ensure that you secure a job offer which aligns with the kind of work permit that you want to possess. Let’s take a look at the two types of work permits on offer.

Step 2: Choose Your Work Visa - Open or Employer-specific

Choose the correct visa

The main key factors when applying for the visa is choosing between the open work visa or the employer-specific work visa.

The differences are:

  • Open work permit - you can work for any employer within Canada and you are exempt from needing a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
  • Employer-specific work permit - Allows you as a foreign national to work under certain conditions, which will be stated on the permit.

Step 3: Check Your Eligibility

There are general requirements that you will need to meet regardless of the type of Canadian visa you are applying for. They are:

  • Prove to an officer that you’ll leave Canada when your work permit expires
  • Show that you have enough money to take care of yourself and any family members during your stay in Canada and to return home
  • Obey the law and have no record of criminal activity (IRCC) may ask applicants to give a police clearance certificate)
  • Not be a danger to Canada’s security
  • Be in good health and have a medical exam, if needed
  • Not plan to work for an employer listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions
  • Not plan to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages; and
  • Give the officer any other documents they ask for to prove the applicant can enter the country

Step 4: Follow Your Country-Specific Instruction Guide

The application process for your work permit not only depends on the visa program or which visa you need but also where you are applying. Although most countries’ requirements don’t differ too much, there may be some additional documents required either by your local immigration department or the Canadian government.

Be sure to check the requirements carefully to make sure that you have everything that you need. Any missing documents may result in prolonged application processing times or worse, your visa being denied.

Step 5: Gather Supporting Documents

gather the supporting documents

Ensure that you have all the supporting documents outlined in your instruction guide. Some documents may take longer than others to receive. The following is a list and description of the required supporting documentation needed to complement your application.

  • Police certificates: You’ll need to get police certificates for countries or territories where you’ve spent 6 or more months in a row since the age of 18.
  • Medical Exams: Before you submit your work permit application, you should get a medical exam by a doctor that has been approved by IRCC (called a panel physician)
  • CV/résumé: You’ll need to provide a copy of your CV or résumé. A curriculum vitae or résumé is a brief description of your education, qualifications and work experience.
  • Passport: You must provide a clear, readable copy of your passport
  • Proof of financial support: You must bring proof of financial support (that is, a bank account statement) with you when you come to Canada. Border services officers may ask you for it when you arrive.
  • Health insurance: You don’t need to have health insurance when you apply. You do need to have it before you arrive in Canada. Your health insurance must cover the entire time you’re here.
  • Submit biometrics: you now need to give your fingerprints and photo (biometrics) after you apply

Step 6: Create an Account & Complete Your Application Online or Use the Guidance of an RCIC

Now that you have all your information at hand, you can confidently go ahead with completing your Canada work application. But first, you need to register an account and create a profile via the IRCC.

There are two options: register with a GCKey by creating a username and password or register with a sign-in partner, using your online Canadian banking information. Once you’ve submitted your profile, the IRCC will determine your eligibility to apply. You will need the following documents to complete your profile.

These are the documents you need to create an account.

  • A passport or travel document
  • Language test results
  • Proof of funds to settle in Canada
  • Written job offer from an employer in Canada if applicable; and
  • Provincial Nomination (PN) if applicable
  • Proof of Canadian education or an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)

In the meantime, you can also apply for your police certificates, as these could take quite a while to get. If there are opportunities to improve your Comprehensive Rankling Score (CRS), do it. You can do this by improving your language test results, completing a higher-level education or gaining more work experience.

You can calculate your CRS score by utilizing our CRS score calculator here at

Step 7: Pay fees & Submit Your Application

Pay fees

You can submit your application with the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and it can be done online. Your country of origin will determine which forms and how many forms will need to be filled in.

There are many variables to having a successful Canadian journey when it comes to work visas. works alongside Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) who are experts when it comes to Canadian immigration and the process that goes along with it.

Even when you know how to apply for a Canada work visa, an RCIC can tell you exactly which forms you need to fill in, which documents are required from you as well as which visa you are eligible for. This will simplify your visa process and increase your chances of success significantly.

What Canada Offers Foreign Workers

Canada has steadily risen in the ranks as one of the most valued immigration destinations in the world. Respected organizations such as the United Nations, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and CIA World Factbook consistently rank it highly in metrics that contribute to general life satisfaction such as efficient healthcare provision, abundant employment opportunities, affordable housing, free and quality education and well-developed socio-economic infrastructure.

Working in Canada as a foreign worker will afford you the opportunity to gain a pathway towards permanent residency since Canada highly values retaining workers who have experience in its workplaces. Once you have PR status you can then be afforded the same opportunities and benefits as the rest of the resident population of Canada.

Besides the aforementioned benefits and opportunities, Canada also has some of the most preferential working hours, working conditions and overall worker satisfaction rates in the world. If these reasons sound attractive to you or you simply just want to gain work experience and skills development as a prospective worker, then take this opportunity to apply for a Canada work Visa.

Begin Your Journey to Canada Now!

Begin your journey to Canada

Now that you have the know-how, you can start the exciting process of applying for your Canada work visa. Canada’s immigration system can be confusing, especially if you've never applied for a visa before.

All you have to do is make sure that you select the right program and visa and have all the necessary documents when it comes time to start the application process to avoid delays in the application processing times.

Although you can absolutely apply on your own, whether online or offline, it can be beneficial to enlist the services of professionals who not only have years of experience but have personally also gone through the immigration process themselves.


What is Best Place to Immigrate to With a High School Diploma in Canada?

Toronto, Ontario, Canada’s bustling metropolis with by far the largest population is the best place to be in Canada with a high school diploma due the variety of entry-level jobs available for high school graduates.

What is the Average Salary for Entry Level Workers in Canada?

The average salary for entry level workers in Canada is 41,808 CAD.

Which Place in Canada has the Highest Number of People With an Equivalent High School Diploma Certificate?

Due to the high number of available entry-level positions Toronto attracts the most number of people with a High School Diploma or equivalent certificate.