You do not need a job offer to immigrate to Canada. There are a number of immigration programs that you can be eligible for based on your work or study experience.
There are more than 100 economic-class immigration pathways to Canada. That does not include family and refugee-class immigration programs, which do not take job offers or other human capital factors into consideration.
The following is a list of some of the Canadian immigration programs that are open to newcomers who do not already have a job lined up in Canada.
Express Entry is an application management system for the following immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program. Each of these programs has work experience requirements, but it is not required to have a Canadian job offer to be eligible.
Candidates who are eligible for at least one of these programs get a score based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which awards points for factors such as work experience, education, age, and official language ability among others.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) invites the highest-scoring Express Entry candidates to apply for Canadian immigration about every two weeks. In July, 2022, IRCC will once again invite FSWP and CEC candidates to apply, after pausing draws to catch up on a pandemic-caused backlog.
Before 2022, Express Entry was the main immigration program. Another major pathway is the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). The PNP allows Canadian provinces and territories to create their own immigration programs. Some of these programs do not require job offers.
The following is an overview of PNP options, listed from most to least populous provinces.
Ontario Human Capital Priorities Stream
Every year, about one-third of all newcomers to Canada go to the province of Ontario. People choose to settle in Ontario because of its employment opportunities, high wages, and diverse population. About 8,000 prospective immigrants receive nominations from Ontario every year.
If you wish to settle in Ontario and do not have a job offer, you may submit an application under the Ontario Express Entry: Human Capital Priorities Stream. This stream allows the province to nominate eligible Express Entry candidates who meet the language, work experience, and other requirements.
A job offer is therefore not required, but you must have an active Express Entry profile and meet requirements set by Ontario such as having work experience in targeted occupations or sectors to be considered and invited to apply in this stream.
BC Skills Immigration International Post-Graduate
If you have a graduate degree in science from an eligible British Columbia institution, you can get Canadian permanent residence without a job offer.
BC science grads may be eligible to apply the Skills Immigration-International Post-Graduate category.
Under this category, the BC government invites immigration candidates who have completed a master’s or PhD degree in the following natural, applied, or health sciences programs:
- biological and biomedical sciences
- computer and information sciences and support services
- engineering technology
- health professions and related clinical sciences
- mathematics and statistics
- natural resources conservation and research
- physical sciences
To meet the eligibility for this category, you will need to submit your application to the BC PNP within three years of the date shown on your official transcript.
To be eligible under this stream, you must also be able to demonstrate that you have the intention and ability to live and work in BC. This may be done, for example, by submitting evidence of your previous or current period of residence in the province. You can also send proof of your work, study or family ties to BC. Another way is to submit a description of any steps you have taken to settle permanently, such as finding a job or a place to live, or community involvement.
Candidates applying under this stream do not need to have a profile in the federal Express Entry system to be eligible.
Alberta Express Entry
The Alberta Express Entry Stream does not require applicants to have a job offer.
In order to receive a notification of interest from Alberta under this stream, candidates must create an Express Entry profile and indicate their interest in settling permanently in Alberta.
Here are some of the general eligibility criteria for the Alberta Express Entry Stream.
- have a valid Express Entry profile in the IRCC Express Entry system
- have stated an interest to immigrate to Alberta
- work in an occupation that supports Alberta’s economic development
- have a minimum CRS score of 300
Your chances of receiving a Notice of Interest from Alberta may be greater if:
- you have a job offer in Alberta or work experience in the province
- you are a graduate of a Canadian post-secondary institution
- you have a parent, child, or sibling who is a permanent resident or Canadian citizen living in Alberta
Saskatchewan Express Entry and Occupations In-demand
Among Saskatchewan‘s various immigration streams, there are two provincial nomination streams that do not require job offers.
The first is the Saskatchewan Express Entry-linked stream, which requires you to have an active profile in the federal Express Entry system in order to apply.
The second is the Saskatchewan Occupation In-Demand stream. This stream is designed to bring skilled workers to fill labour market needs. To be eligible, an applicant must have at least one year of work experience in one of the positions included on Saskatchewan’s Occupations In-Demand list.
Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities
Nova Scotia has a wide range of immigration pathways that cater to a variety of candidate profiles. One of these pathways, Nova Scotia Labour Market Priorities stream, is an option for those who would like to move to the province but do not yet have a job offer.
To be eligible for a nomination under this stream you will need to:
- have a valid Express Entry profile number;
- have stated in your Express Entry profile that you intend to move to Nova Scotia;
- have received a Letter of Interest from Nova Scotia;
- meet the criteria in effect when you receive the Nova Scotia Letter of Interest (these criteria differ from one invitation round to another);
- meet the work experience requirements for the Express Entry stream for which you have qualified (Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class, or Federal Skilled Trades Program);
- have the required supporting documents to demonstrate your work experience;
- have proof of your immigration status in the country where you currently live; and
- be able to show that you have the means to support yourself and your family.
Programs that do not require a job offer allow you to get permanent residency status before you begin your job search, which could make it easier for Canadian employers to hire you.
The above are just a few Canadian immigration programs for workers and graduates that do not require a job offer.