How to Work in Canada With or Without Work Experience

It’s no secret that there are a wide variety of jobs in Canada as well as a great need for skilled and experienced foreign workers. This is due to the country's ever-growing economy and declining population. Many of the recent local graduates are also gravitating towards bigger city centers, whether in Canada or abroad, leaving many vacancies that need to be filled.

Now, if you’ve heard of the Express Entry system, you may have also heard that it's a points-based system based on the information provided in your Express Entry profile. If you have enough points and are deemed successful, you could receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency in Canada. One of these factors is your work experience, and in short, the more work experience you have the more points you will receive and the greater your chances of getting that ITA will be.

But this is not the only way.

Although, this is the most popular route to get to Canada it certainly isn't the only option. Canada has over 100 immigration and visa options to choose from. So let's take a look at the top options to work in Canada in 2021, with or without work experience.

How to Work in Canada With Work Experience

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1. Express Entry

As mentioned earlier, Canada's Express Entry system is one of the most popular ways that most foreign workers make their way to Canada. This is for two main reasons. Firstly, it allows you to work for any employer anywhere in Canada. Secondly, you will get permanent residency status if successful in your application through one of three programs:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • The Federal Skilled Trades Program
  • The Canada Experience Class

Now although all of these programs do require work experience, they each have minimum requirements in terms of the minimum amount of years of experience required. 

While the Canada Experience Class (CEC) and the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) both require at least one year of full-time work experience, the CEC is only for applicants who have acquired experience working in Canada in the last three years before applying. 

The Federal Skilled Trades Program, however, requires having at least two years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade within the last five years.

How does your work experience affect getting a job in Canada?

As mentioned before, when it comes to applying to immigrate to Canada, the more work experience you have the better as it will allow you to claim more Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, which could give you a better chance at getting an ITA for permanent residency.

When it comes to applying for a job, Canadian employers are looking for the best of the best. Canadian standards are high and employers want to know that you are not only capable of completing your duties but that you can do it well and with ease. This usually comes with experience and practice, which is what a lot of Canadian recruiters are looking for, especially if you have Canadian work experience.

2. Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is another great way to work in Canada if you have the right experience and a full-time job offer of at least a year in a particular province or territory. When choosing a PNP it is crucial that you choose a province where your job is in demand. This will not only increase your chances of getting a Provincial Nomination (PN), which is worth an incredible 600 CRS points, but also your chances of getting a job in Canada.

As mentioned before, employers are not only looking at your skills but whether you have had the chance to use your skills in real-life situations on the job. They want to feel assured that when you arrive in Canada and start your new job, that you will be able to take on your duties with confidence and complete your tasks without too much of a challenge.

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How to Work in Canada Without Work Experience

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1. The Post Graduation Work Permit Program

The Post Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) is dedicated to helping foreigners who have studied at and graduated from a Canadian learning institution, work in Canada. The PGWPP allows graduates to work in Canada for the same length of time as their study program. The minimum length of study to qualify for this program is eight months but your Canada work permit could be as long, if not longer than, three years.

2. The Working Holiday Visa Program

The Working Holiday Visa Program or the International Experience Canada (IEC) Program is not only a great way to travel and take in the many amazing places to explore and sights to see in Canada, but it is also a great way to get work experience in Canada. There are three categories under the Working Holiday Visa Program:

  • The Working Holiday Visa category;
  • The Young Professionals category; and
  • The International Co-op Internship category.

The Working Holiday Visa category

The Working Holiday Visa (WHV) allows you to work in Canada on an open work permit. This means that you can work absolutely anywhere in Canada in any job you can imagine. This means that whether you want to work in a travel lodge as a snowboarding instructor on the powdery slopes of Whistler’s Blackcomb or serve drinks at a local pub in Vancouver, you can do this and more through Canada’s WHV.

Please note that due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, a valid job offer is currently required.

The Young Professionals category

The Young Professionals category allows post-secondary graduates the opportunity to find work in Canada that is related to their qualifications. To qualify, you will need a signed letter from your employer in Canada, which means that you will need a job offer in Canada in a highly skilled profession (NOC 0, A, or B) to qualify. NOC C jobs may qualify if you have a post-secondary diploma, certificate, or degree.

What is an NOC?

The National Occupational Classification or NOC is how Canada determines the skill level of your occupation. NOC 0, A, and B generally refer to highly skilled professionals, working in jobs that usually require a university degree or diploma.

This also means that you will only be able to work for a specific employer for a specific period of time and that you will need an employer-specific work permit.

The International Co-op (Internship) category

The International Co-op (Internship) category is another fantastic way to gain overseas work experience in your chosen field of study. To qualify you must:

  • be a student registered at a post-secondary institution;
  • have a job offer for a work placement or internship in Canada;
  • need this work placement or internship to complete your studies; and
  • work for the same employer in the same location during your stay in Canada.

As with the Young Professionals category, you will need an employer-specific work permit, which means that you can only work for one employer on that specific Canada work permit.

To start your application process, you may want to first check your eligibility for various programs by chatting to one of our experienced and highly qualified professionals.

What are the First Steps to Take to Start Working in Canada?

The answer to this question is simple, and it’s not applying for a job in Canada. Because you may or may not require a Canada work permit but will need some form of visa for Canada to work in Canada, the first step is to check your eligibility. Why? Because you may land the job of your dreams in Canada, only to have those dreams dashed simply because you do not meet all the requirements of any of the immigration or visa programs you intend to apply through or you could simply not be considered admissible to Canada.

Your best options are to first find out which visas or immigration programs you qualify for as well as where your job is in demand in Canada. Once you know what the best options are for you, you can then confidently move on to looking for jobs in Canada.

Need help determining which of +100 immigration programs and Canada work visas you qualify for?

Our team of professionals works closely with Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) who are both experienced and highly qualified. Chat to a visa expert today to see which immigration pathways could set you on your way to working in Canada in 2021 and beyond.