There are several ways to immigrate to Canada as a lawyer. Canada is currently experiencing a crucial shortage in its labour market, which has resulted in businesses extending employment offers to foreign applicants to help curb the need for skilled workers. The Canadian immigration department has also implemented several systems and programs to streamline and fast track the application process, making it more accessible and easier for prospective immigrants to seek permanent residency in Canada.
Relocating to Canada as a lawyer is slightly more involved than other professions due to its high levels of qualifications and that certain Canadian legal criteria may be different from that of the country that you are currently practising in.
Lawyers intending to immigrate to Canada will need to have their current qualifications evaluated, as well as apply for conversion through the appropriate authority. In this case, the National Committee on Accreditation works in cohesion with the National Lawyers Association. Applicants will also need to write the Canadian bar exam and successful candidates will only be permitted to practice in provinces and territories (excluding Quebec).
Benefits of Practicing Law in Canada
One of the perks of practising law in Canada is that the average salary is extremely competitive compared to other countries. Lawyers can expect to earn approximately $137,500 per annum. Canada also offers standard benefits to all citizens and permanent residents, such as free basic education and public healthcare, and is also known for its diversity and high quality of living.
Converting Your Qualifications
It is required that all lawyers who intend to practice in Canada have their credentials converted. All applicants must pass the Canadian bar exam as well as complete an assessment to indicate that you are eligible for employment. Applicants can apply at any given time as this is regarded as a separate immigration process.
All candidates are required to submit the following documents online:
- Academic transcripts;
- Certificates of membership from local authorities;
- Transcripts from local regulatory authorities with results from exams or other courses;
- IELTS score of 7 if the experience was in a language other than French or English.
There are various ways to immigrate to Canada as a lawyer, such as receiving sponsorship from a spouse or relative who has permanent residency in Canada or a Canadian citizen. The most direct way is to apply for permanent residence is via the Provincial Nominee Program or the Express Entry System.
Provincial Nominee Program
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) are geared towards addressing the labour market shortage. Currently, 11 out of 13 Canadian provinces and territories have PNPs, each with their own requirements and streams.
Provincial Nominee Streams
Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland & Labrador
Express Entry System
The Express Entry system was implemented in 2015 to expedite the immigration process of the 3 Federal Programs, namely the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program and the Canadian Experience Class. Candidates are required to create an online Express Entry profile and select the program they would like to apply through. Profiles are then measured according to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) which is a points-based set of criteria. Profiles are then entered into a draw pool and ranked against each other. The highest-scoring profiles are then issued with Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for permanent residency in Canada.
CRS Criteria Awards Points For:
- CLB Language proficiency (English and French)
- Level of Education (In and outside Canada)
- Work Experience (In and outside Canada)
- Arranged employment
- Provincial Nomination achieved
- Siblings living in Canada as permanent residents/citizens
- Your spouse’s profile (if married)
Our 3 Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) are all experts in the field of Canadian immigration policy. These professionals will assist you through an eligibility assessment for over 70 different programs and visa options offered by the government to determine which you should choose to apply for. Thereafter, a personalized immigration strategy will be designed for you, to make sure all administration is taken care of (collecting and submitting of documents) and that you are on track for permanent residency in Canada. Sign up for our service to initiate your evaluation and you’ll be one step closer to practising law in Canada.