Canada needs workers: Skilled Professionals, Managers, Health Care workers, Tradespeople, IT workers and many others. Besides high skilled workers however, Canada also needs Entry Level workers, in the Fast Food, Agricultural, Manufacturing and other industries.
Skilled Workers may qualify to work in Canada either on a Temporary period, with a Work Permit or Work Authorization, or as Permanent Residents through Express Entry or a Provincial Nominee Program like the BC PNP Skilled Worker Program. Work Permits and Authorizations are much faster to process, as they can often be processed in 1 to 3 months (longer with COVID restrictions), while Permanent Residence may take 1 to 2 years to process once you qualify.
Work Permits and Work Authorizations
There are over 40 different ways for foreign nationals to work legally in Canada, depending on background (nationality, education, age, credentials) and the job offer in Canada. Each route is different, and we can help our clients find and navigate the best options for their unique situation.
Do I Need a Job Offer?
Generally, to qualify to work in Canada, a foreign national must first have a job offer from a Canadian employer. There are a few exceptions which include but are not limited to: being able to work full-time during post-secondary study in Canada; being eligible for a Working Holiday work permit; obtaining a spousal/common-law partner work permit as the accompanying spouse of a Skilled Worker or full-time post-secondary student; and investing into a business in Canada and creating their own job to apply for a work permit.
Do I Need a Work Permit? If So, How Can I Get One?
If a foreign national qualifies to work in Canada for any of the above reasons, or if they have a job offer from a Canadian employer, there are a few considerations they must take into account in order to work in Canada.
- Is the Activity “Work”?
The Canadian government defines “Work” as an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned; or an activity that directly competes with activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market. Even unpaid activities, such as helping out a friend in their restaurant, could be considered “Work” and would therefore require a work permit.
- Is the Activity Exempt from a Work Permit?
Many activities considered “work” may be exempt from a work permit. Some examples include but are not limited to: students working on campus; foreign news reporters; business visitors representing a foreign company for certain activities in Canada; certain religious workers; and others.
- If I Need a Work Permit, Do I Need an LMIA?
There are 2 general kinds of work permits:
At Lowe & Company, we assess our clients’ backgrounds and what they plan to do once they arrive in Canada. We’ll review their options and help them solidify a roadmap that takes into account all of the necessary steps to reach their goal to either work or immigrate to Canada.
Lowe & Company has assisted clients from all over the world to come to Canada to work and immigrate. We will often use creative strategies to help our clients achieve their business or personal objectives. Contact us to arrange a consultation to review your situation and advise you of options to work in Canada!
What is an LMIA?
A Labour Market Impact Assessment is an opinion given by the Canadian government that the
offering of a job to a foreign national:
- Is genuine; and
- Would have a neutral or positive effect on the Canadian labour market.
There are a number of LMIA categories, each with its own requirements, including the Global Talent Stream; Agricultural Workers; High-Wage positions; Low-Wage positions; and many others. You can find out more in our webpage on the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
International Mobility Program
If a foreign national and their job offer can qualify for an LMIA-exempt work permit under the International Mobility Program, they can obtain a work permit much faster and with less paperwork. There are over 30 different LMIA-exempt work permit categories, including:
- Working Holiday Permits;
- Professional Occupations under Free Trade Agreements like the Canada-US-Mexico agreement (formerly NAFTA), CETA (for EU Citizens) and others;
- Intra-Company Transferees, if an overseas employer wants to transfer someone to their Canadian affiliate;
- Investor work permits, where a foreign national invests into a business in Canada and applies for a work permit to manage that business;
- Spousal work permits, if a foreign national’s spouse or common-law partner has a work permit or study permit; or
- Many other categories.
At Lowe & Company, we have helped foreign nationals to obtain Work Permits, and then apply for Permanent Residence. Request a consultation to find out whether this route may be viable for you!
Express Entry and Permanent Residence
Express Entry is an intake management system used by the Canadian government to process permanent residence applications for candidates that qualify under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, or the Federal Skilled Trades Program. Since the launch of Express Entry in 2015, we have been helping foreign nationals navigate the system to become permanent residents in Canada.
Let’s talk about how the Express Entry system works.
Step 1: Determining Your Program
Anyone interested in applying for permanent residence via Express Entry must first qualify under one of the three federal economic immigration programs.
To be eligible under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you must:
- Score at least 67/100 points on the Federal Skilled Worker Assessment Grid
- Attain an equivalent of at least CLB 7 in English or French language testing
- Have at least 1 year of continuous high-skilled work experience (NOC ‘0,’ ‘A,’ or ‘B’), either inside or outside of Canada, in the last 10 years
- Have secondary education
To be eligible under the Canadian Experience Class, you must:
- Attain an equivalent of at least CLB 7 in English or French language testing if your NOC is ‘0’ or ‘A’
- Attain an equivalent of at least CLB 5 in English or French language testing if your NOC is ‘B’
- Have at least 1 year of high-skilled work experience (NOC ‘0,’ ‘A,’ or ‘B’) in Canada in the last 3 years
To be eligible under the Federal Skilled Trades Program, you must:
- Have CLB 5 English or French skills for speaking and listening
- Have CLB 4 English or French skills for reading and writing
- Have Canadian or foreign work experience in a skilled trade under key groups of NOC ‘B’
- Have at least 2 years of work experience in an eligible trade in the last 5 years
- Have (a) a valid job offer of full-time employment for a total period of at least 1 year or (b) a certificate of qualification in that skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority
A number of Provinces have Provincial Nominee Programs for Skilled Workers under Express Entry. Applicants must first qualify under one of the three federal economic immigration programs, but if they subsequently obtain a PNP nomination, they can earn additional points for their Express Entry profile.
Step 2: Create Your Express Entry Profile
The second step is to create an Express Entry profile, in which the candidate will make statements about their background. The Express Entry profile will function as an Expression of Interest.
It is crucial that all statements made can be proven true with documents and evidence; otherwise, if the candidate receives an Invitation to Apply, their application will likely fail and they will end up wasting months—or even years! This is why we review and cross-reference our clients’ documents against their claims prior to the submission of their Express Entry profile to ensure their eligibility at every step.
Once they have submitted their Express Entry profile, eligible candidates will be assigned a score based on the Comprehensive Ranking System.
The Comprehensive Ranking System scores candidates based on:
- Core Factors
- Level of Education
- Official Languages Proficiency
- Canadian Work Experience
- Spouse or Common-Law Partner Factors
- Level of Education
- Official Languages Proficiency
- Canadian Work Experience
- Skill Transferability Factors
- Education + Language + Canadian Work Experience
- Foreign Work Experience + Language + Canadian Work Experience
- Additional Points
- Arranged Employment in Canada
- A Provincial Nomination
- Sibling in Canada (Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident)
- French Language (NCLC 7+)
- Canadian Education
After being scored, the candidate’s profile is then entered into the Express Entry pool with the other prospective applicants.
Step 3: Invitation to Apply
Periodically—historically about every two weeks—a certain number of candidates are selected from the Express Entry pool for an “Invitation to Apply.” If a candidate is selected for an Invitation to Apply, they will proceed to the final step, which is to apply for permanent residence under Express Entry.
Factors that may impact whether or not a candidate is selected for an Invitation to Apply include:
- How well the candidate scored on the Comprehensive Ranking System;
- The candidate’s federal economic immigration program: sometimes invitations are only given for 1 category (e.g. Canadian Experience Class, or Provincial Nominees);
- How many invitations the government plans to issue;
- Who else is in the Express Entry pool at the same time.
Express Entry profiles expire after a year, so if a candidate is not selected for an Invitation to Apply within one year, they must start over and create a new profile.
Step 4: Express Entry Application
If a candidate receives an Invitation to Apply, they have 60 days to submit their application and all supporting documents: language test results; education certificates and equivalency assessments; employment reference letters; and other documents.
If they do not submit their application within 60 days, they will lose their right to be assessed under Express Entry. Additionally, if the documents do not support the point assessments claimed in their Express Entry Profile, they will also be refused.
That’s why at Lowe & Company, we start collecting and reviewing our clients’ documents even before we submit their Express Entry Profile, so that once we get the Invitation to Apply, we can submit their Express Entry Application within 60 days, and know that it will be consistent with their Express Entry Profile.
Once a candidate has submitted their Express Entry application, the processing standard time is around 6 months.
Express Entry Strategy
Many candidates will not be selected under Express Entry the first time; or even before their Express Entry profile expires within a year! We often use a multi step strategy, to Assess, Adjust, and Apply.
Request a consultation and find out how we can help you!
BC Provincial Nominee – Skilled Workers
The BC PNP Program has 2 general classes of applicants: Skilled Workers and Entrepreneurs. Of the 6,251 BC PNP Nominees in 2020, about 99% of these were Skilled Workers.
The BC PNP Skilled Worker Program operates like Express Entry, in that candidates submit an online registration, are assessed a score out of 200, and the highest ranking candidates are invited to apply.
- Firstly, the candidate must have a qualifying job offer from a qualifying BC employer;
- Next, the candidate must submit a BCPNP Online registration with their personal background, job offer information, and other details. Their BCPNP Online registration will be scored with this scoring grid, and they will subsequently be entered into the pool of candidates.
- Periodically, the highest ranking candidates will be selected for an Invitation to Apply;
- If a candidate does not receive an Invitation to Apply within 12 months, their BCPNP Online registration will become void and they will need to reapply again.
- If a candidate receives an Invitation to Apply within 12 months, they must subsequently submit a complete application with supporting documentation.
- The BC PNP will then process the candidate’s application. Assuming their application is successful, they will then apply for permanent residence through Canada Immigration. They may also apply for a work permit to work in BC, if they are not already working in BC.
There are 2 processing routes: the “Regular” one, and the Express Entry one. The Express Entry route is more steps but is processed much faster.
BC PNP Skilled Worker
- BC PNP Registration
- PNP Application
- PNP Nomination
- 2 year Work Permit
- PR Application
- Permanent Residence
Express Entry BC PNP
From Start to PNP Nomination:
- EE Registration
- BC PNP Registration
- PNP Application
- PNP Nomination
- 2 year Work Permit
From PNP Nomination to Permanent Residence:
BC PNP Sub-Categories
- Skilled Worker:
For those with at least 2 years of work experience in a high-skilled occupation, and a permanent full-time job offer in that occupation from an eligible BC employer.
- BC PNP Tech:
If the applicant has a job offer for at least 1 year in one of 29 eligible tech occupations in BC, they may qualify under this program. The BC PNP performs draws about every 2 weeks, resulting in faster processing.
- International Graduate:
Graduates with a degree, diploma, or certificate from a recognized Canadian university/college obtained within the previous 3 years may be eligible to apply. Applicants must have a permanent full-time job offer from an eligible BC employer, but are not required to have 2 years of work experience in that occupation.
- Entry Level and Semi-Skilled:
For those with a valid permanent full-time job offer from an eligible BC employer, and who have been working full-time for their employer for at least 9 consecutive months prior to applying. There are 3 eligible industries—Tourism & Hospitality, Long Haul Trucking, and the Food Processing Industry—and 21 eligible occupations. Applicants must also have proven official language skills and a minimum 12 years of education.
- Health Care Professional:
This program is partnered with a government organization called Health Match BC. The eligible occupations are Physicians, Nurses, and Allied Health Professionals.
- International Post-Graduate:
For graduates with a Master’s or Doctoral degree from a recognized BC post-secondary institution and in the natural, applied and health science programs within the past 3 years. This category is unique in that it does not require the applicant to have a job offer.
- Northeast Pilot Project:
For those with a valid permanent full-time job offer in a NOC Level ‘C’ or ‘D’ occupation (excluding live-in caregivers) with an eligible BC employer in the designated Northeast Development Region of BC. Applicants must also have proven official language skills, a minimum of 12 years of education, and a minimum of 9 consecutive months of work experience with that employer.
The BC PNP has numerous advantages, including a work permit support letter to facilitate work permits for successful nominees working with their BC employers. However, the program has its own unique policies, officers, mandate and processing style. At Lowe & Company, we are well acquainted with both the BC PNP and the federal immigration system; we can offer insight into our clients’ applications from both perspectives so their applications are optimized at every step of the process. Request a consultation to find out more.
Federal Skilled Worker Assessment Chart
|Age||12||12 Points if between ages 18-35.
Lose 1 point for each year over or under that range
|Education||25||High school or 1 year educational credential||5|
|High school + 1 year post secondary program||15|
|High school + 2 year post secondary program||19|
|High school + 3 year or more post secondary program||21|
|High school + 2 post secondary educational credentials, at least one of which is 3 years or more||22|
|Masters degree or equivalent||23|
|PhD or equivalent||25|
|English or French Language||1st - 24|
2nd - 4
|Speaking, Listening, Reading, Writing
1st official language:
High proficiency: 6 points each
Moderate proficiency: 5 points each
Basic proficiency: 4 points each
2nd official language: 4 points if you obtain CLB or NCLC 5 in all 4 areas.
|Skilled Work Experience|
(in the past 10 years)
|6 + years||15|
|Arranged Employment||10||People with qualifying Job Offers in Canada|
|Adaptability||10||Arranged Employment factor bonus||5|
|1 year previous work in Canada by self||10|
|2 years previous study in Canada by self||5|
|1 year previous work in Canada by spouse||5|
|2 years previous study or in Canada by spouse||5|
|Spouse's language abilities (CLB or NCLC 4)||5|
|Relative in Canada 18 years or older (parent, grandparent, child, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew)||5|
|TOTAL||100||PASS MARK: 67|
BCPNP Online Registration Scoring Grid
|Scoring Sections||Maximum Points|
|Economic Factors (120)||Skill Level of the B.C. Job Offer||60|
|Wage of the B.C. Job Offer||50|
|Regional District of Employment||10|
|Human Capital Factors (80)||Directly Related Work Experience||25|
|Highest Level of Education||25|
|Total Points Available||200|