Even with a job offer, getting an immigrant visa and a work permit so you can legally move to Canada is a lengthy and exhausting process. Given that scenario, many people wonder if it is even possible to immigrate to The Great White North without a formal job offer.
Surprisingly there are ways you can move to Canada without an employment offer. The Canadian government recognizes the benefits of immigration and wants to make it the opportunity to move and settle in Canada more accessible to skilled professionals from abroad.
With an aging population, Canada faces a shortage of skilled manpower. To plug the skills gap, Canada has a goal to welcome 1.4 million immigrants between 2021 and 2024. The bulk of these immigrants will be people who can immediately contribute to the Canadian economy.
The question then is, can you move to Canada without a job?
Ways To Move to Canada Without a Job
The most accessible way to immigrate to Canada is via the Express Entry system. This system vets permanent residence applications through the Comprehensive Ranking System, where prospective immigrants accumulate points based on human capital factors. These human capital factors are:
- Level of education
- Language proficiency
- Canadian work experience
Applicants must complete their Express Entry profiles from which they will be scored on each of the human capital factors. Those that score high points will be officially invited to apply for permanent residence. The goal of the Comprehensive Ranking System is to identify people with the skills and ability to contribute to Canada’s economy.
Technically, the Express Entry system does not require you to have a job offer in Canada to qualify for permanent residence. What makes this avenue less accessible is that applicants with job offers in Canada get extra points.
People that do not have arranged employment are, therefore, at a disadvantage. Because there will be applicants with job offers, chances of qualifying for a permanent residence system through the Express Entry system without a job offer are slim.
But there is a sub-stream under the Express Entry system that is a lot more promising for people who do not have arranged employment in Canada:
The Provincial Nominee Program
The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is an attempt by the federal government to ensure all Canadian provinces enjoy the benefits of immigration.
Each province runs its own PNP and decides its own streams, which are the specific groups of people it is looking for. These streams are based on the provinces’ unique labour demands. For example, the province of Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program is currently inviting applicants via the following streams:
- French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream
- Human Capital Priorities stream
- Skilled Trades stream
- Entrepreneur stream
There are two ways you can apply for the opportunity to immigrate to Canada without arranged employment via the PNP. You can apply directly to the province you want to move to through the paper-based system.
If you are successful and the province agrees to nominate you, you will then have to complete your Express Entry profile and indicate that you have been nominated.
The other way to apply is through your Express Entry profile. You either contact your preferred provinces from your profile and express your interest, or you indicate the provinces you want to settle in. If a province expresses an interest, you apply to their PNP. After they nominate you, a notification will show in your account.
A provincial nomination will add 600 points to your Express Entry score, which is almost enough to guarantee an invitation to apply for permanent residence. In fact, provincial nomination offers far brighter prospects than applying via the federal streams.
Every province has its own eligibility requirements, which do not include a formal job offer. The province of Ontario is by far the most popular destination for immigrants under the PNP. Consequently, Ontario invites the most candidates, which amounted to 1,406 candidates in 2021.
As you can see, it is not required that you must have arranged employment to immigrate to Canada, but having it improves your chances. We also learned that the PNP is your best bet for gaining an invitation to apply for permanent residence and moving to Canada without a job offer. In all these instances, though, you must prove that you have the skills and experience that Canada needs most at the moment.
Do I Need a Lawyer To Apply For Canadian Express Entry?
You are not required to have an immigration lawyer to apply for permanent residence through the Express Entry system. You can complete the process on your own. That said, an experienced immigration lawyer can save you a lot of time and help you avoid mistakes that could hurt your chances.
An immigration lawyer will have the experience of having helped others through the process and will, thus, know where the potential pitfalls are. Importantly, they can open your eyes to other options you may not have known. If you have the resources, it will certainly benefit you to have a lawyer with the right expertise guide you through your immigrant visa application process.
De Sa immigration lawyers are experts on Canadian immigration law, with special expertise on how to move and settle in Ontario. We have helped many people realize their dream of moving to Canada. Contact us here to get started.