How to Move to Canada as a Graphic Designer

September 28, 2023


  • Shireen Fisher

Canada has many things: a good quality of life, sweeping landscapes that stretch on forever, more lakes than the rest of the world combined, and something to see and do around every turn. However, the one thing this land of maple leaves needs more of is skilled workers. A creative’s dream, the country’s wealth of natural beauty and sectors abundant with opportunities make it the ideal immigration destination for graphic designers. So, if you are hoping to move to Canada and want to know more about what you can expect regarding job prospects, earning potential, and placements, look no further! Learn more about the prospects and pathways available to immigrate to Canada.

The Best Pathways to Canadian Permanent Residency For Graphic Designers

Express Entry

The Express Entry System is Canada’s most popular immigration pathway to Canadian Permanent Residency for skilled workers. This is largely due to its speedy processing time which can be as little as just six months. Express Entry is a point-based system that checks your eligibility according to your education, work experience, language proficiency, and age. As an engineer with the proper credentials, you should qualify for Express Entry’s Federal Skilled Worker Program.

Atlantic Immigration Program

If your Canadian dream includes living by the sea, you should consider a move to one of the country’s Atlantic provinces - New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, or Prince Edward Island. Your ideal pathway to Canadian permanent residency would be the Atlantic Immigration Program. This federal immigration program helps employers in the region recruit skilled foreign workers and international graduates to help stabilize the workforce. Your occupation could make you eligible for two options within this program. You could apply to:

  • Atlantic High-Skilled Program - This is a pathway for skilled workers who have a job offer from a Canadian employer in Canada’s Atlantic region.
  • The Atlantic International Graduate Program - This is ideal for international students who wish to settle in Canada. You must be a recent graduate from a designated academic institution in Atlantic Canada to apply.

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

The Government of Canada has made it possible for 11 of Canada’s provinces and territories to nominate skilled workers who can help bridge their labor gaps via its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Every Canadian participating province and territory has its own requirements. So, if you would like to work in Canada as a graphic designer, it is wise to research which provinces have the biggest need for your skills.

Canadian Work Permits

If you are not ready to move to Canada permanently, you can still work here on a Canadian Work Permit. You will have the option of applying for one of two Canadian work permits.

Canada’s Employer-specific Work Permit

With an employer-specific work permit, you can work in Canada according to conditions set on your work permit. These include:

  • The person who employs you
  • The length of your period of employment
  • The location of your workplace

Your employer must provide you with the following before you apply for your Employer-specific Work Permit:

Canada’s Open Work Permit

A Canadian open work permit allows you to work for any employer in the Great White North - except:

  • An employer deemed ineligible on Canada’s database of non-compliant employers
  • Employers who offer adult services

Note: Some jobs require you to take a medical exam. If you prefer medical conditions not to be listed on your open work permit, you are allowed to have your medical exam with a panel physician.

Securing a Job as a Graphic Designer in Canada

Keep Your Skill Set Updated

Make sure to stay up-to-date with the latest technology and trends in graphic design. Doing some extra courses to show Canadian employers that you are serious about your craft is a good idea.

Put Together a Solid Portfolio

Employers want to see your body of work showcasing your capabilities. As a graphic designer. Make sure you include examples of projects you have worked on.

Conduct Some Research on Canada’s Job Market

Make sure you research the hiring trends for graphic designers in Canada. Check which regions have the highest demand for your occupation and where the best companies for your skill set are based.

Network up a Storm

Building a solid network is important, especially when starting a career in a new country. You can start by following online communities relevant to your occupation before entering Canada. This may help you land your job in Canada.

Register For Job Alerts

You will find job postings on many websites, so it is a good idea to set alerts for positions you are interested in. The top job websites to check out include:

Prepare Yourself For Canadian-style Interviews

You may find that Canadians do things differently from what you are used to regarding recruitment and interviews. It is better to learn about hiring processes and interview questions that may be asked.

Does Canada Need Graphic Designers?

Since most sectors need imagery for their websites and branding, you’ll find that as a graphic designer, you are bound to find plenty of opportunities in Canada. According to Job Bank, Graphic Designers and Illustrators (NOC 51120) can expect around 27,300 job openings over the next ten years. While you may find opportunities all over the country, the site shows that prospects for this profession are currently good in Alberta and Quebec.

Working as a Graphic Designer in Canada

As a graphic designer hoping to work in Canada, you will find plenty of opportunities for conceptualizing and producing graphic art and other visual content. You will find jobs with publications, advertising agencies, film companies, packaging companies, signage companies, communication companies and departments, and, of course, graphic design agencies. You can also be self-employed. Learn more about Canada’s Self-employed program.

What Salary Can I Expect to Earn in Canada?

One of the most important things to know for graphic designers who want to move to Canada is how much they can expect to earn in the Great White North. Earning potential is one of the key driving factors for thousands of people to make the move to Canada each month. According to, you your salary in Canada ranges between 50,654 and 76,044 CAD per year.


Do I Have to be Able to Speak Both Canadian Official Languages to Immigrate to Canada?

To be eligible for Canadian immigration, you must speak at least one Canadian official language - English, French, or both. You must prove you have the right language skills when applying to your program. You must take either the CELPIP General Test (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program), or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training for English, or the Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) for French.

What Happens Once My Canadian Work Permit is Approved?

You will receive a letter of approval which states that you are allowed to be employed in Canada. You must carry this letter on your person when traveling to Canada and show it to an immigration officer at the port of entry. Note that this is not your work permit. You will receive a work permit at the port of entry upon arrival in Canada.