“I want to come to Canada, how do I start?”, you ask.
My answer to this is, “you’ve got to know first which pathways are there for you to take.”
As I’ve discussed in the guidebook, “So You Want to Come to Canada… Now What” (download it here for free), Canada has various immigration programs. And without an immigration expert or a helpful friend to guide you, it can be overwhelming at first.
But based on your job title, you can actually find out which programs you can go for.
Do you want to find out how? Then stay put because I’m going to show that to you in this post.
Just an important note.
Canada’s immigration programs have other requirements aside from work experience. So even if your job title is fit to take a particular pathway, you still need to satisfy other qualifying factors like education, and so on.
But for now, let’s get to business and discover the immigration pathway for you based on your job title.
Disclaimer: This post is not meant as professional advice, and the author is not an immigration expert. The information here is mainly taken from IRCC’s website and has been presented to you to serve as a friendly guide. They are subject to change, too, as per IRCC’s discretion.
Disclosure: This post also contains an affiliate link by Grammarly. That means when you sign-up for a free account or when you upgrade to Premium using my link, I get a small commission but without extra cost to you.
First things first: NOC
The first thing that you need to do is to know what your NOC is.
“What’s NOC?”, you might ask.
NOC stands for National Occupation Classification. This is a system used by IRCC (or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) to sort jobs based on skill levels.
There are five main job groups (or skill levels), and each occupation belongs to one group.
To quote from the Government of Canada’s website:
“For immigration purposes, the main job groups are:
Skill Type 0 (zero): management jobs, such as:
- restaurant managers
- mine managers
- shore captains (fishing)
Skill Level A: professional jobs that usually call for a degree from a university, such as:
Skill Level B: technical jobs and skilled trades that usually call for a college diploma or training as an apprentice, such as:
Skill Level C: intermediate labor that usually calls for high school and/or job-specific training, such as:
- industrial butchers
- long-haul truck drivers
- food and beverage servers
Skill Level D: labor jobs that usually give on-the-job training, such as:
- fruit pickers
- cleaning staff
- oil field workers”
Now, what’s your job title?
Go here at IRCC’s website and follow the instructions to find out your NOC (or skill level).
To give you an actual example, when my husband and I applied through Express Entry, I was a Marketing Manager, and he was a Statistician. IRCC’s website shows that my job title is under Skill Level 0.
My husband’s job title, on the other hand, is under Skill Level A.
So, did you find your NOC using IRCC’s website? Is it NOC 0, A, B, C, or D?
Let’s then check out the immigration pathways IRCC is suggesting based on your NOC.
Which immigration pathway is for me?
If your job title (both present and past) is under either NOC 0, A, or B, then you can explore the Express Entry route. You can read more here about Express Entry, or download my free guidebook here for an overview. Also, here’s my family’s Express Entry journey where you can find details on the actual process.
You can also try the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP), the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP – a five-year pilot program that began in 2019), or the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP).
If your job is in skill level C or D, IRCC suggests for you to explore these options:
- you may be able to come to Canada as a provincial nominee (all skill types/levels).
- you may be able to come to Canada through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (skill type/level 0, A, B, or C).
- you may be able to work in Canada for up to two years.
You might also consider taking the Student Pathway instead. This is not an official immigration program, but lots of other aspiring immigrants take this route.
I’ve discussed an overview of each of these pathways in the second edition of my guidebook, “So You Want to Come to Canada… Now What“.
Summary and next steps
If you want to find out the immigration pathways you can take, determine first what your NOC skill level is based on your job title. Once you know what that is, check the possible immigration programs which accept your NOC. Below is a graphic summary of the suggested immigration programs based on your skill level.
In the example I’ve given based on my job title, my skill level is under NOC 0. So, I qualify under Express Entry, PNP, AIP, or RNIP. Which one of these should I consider?
Obviously, we chose the Express Entry pathway. And that’s because in AIP, RNIP, and in some provinces offering PNP, you need a valid job offer before you can apply for permanent residency. In Express Entry, you can skip that part. So that makes Express Entry the best option if your skill level is in NOC 0, A, or B.
Now that you know the possible immigration programs that you can take, here are your next steps:
- Find out if you qualify to apply through these programs. Start with your first choice: if your skill level is in NOC 0, A, or B, start with Express Entry.
- To find out if you qualify for Express Entry, you can either use the Come to Canada tool or get a free assessment from a licensed immigration consultant (my aunt is one, so send an email here if you want to get assessed). You can also check our step-by-step self-assessment guide.
- To know more about the other programs, you can read an overview in my free guidebook which you can download here. Or you can visit IRCC’s website.
I’ve launched an email series sharing a step-by-step guide on Express Entry’s process focusing on the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Sign-up below to receive the first two parts. You’ll also get insider tips on preparing for IELTS, improving your CRS score, and more, plus an exclusive access to our Roadmap to Express Entry Guidebook coming soon.
About the author:
JK Legaspi is a permanent resident of Canada since 2018. She and her family lives in the beautiful Niagara Region. As the founder of Detour To Canada, she aims to help aspiring and future immigrants reach their Canadian dreams by sharing her family’s own immigration and newcomer story.
Do you have some questions about PR application to Canada? Join our Facebook group, “Explore Your Ways to Canada” to ask your questions and meet other immigrants.
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