How to Immigrate to Canada as a Social Worker

June 8, 2023


  • Shireen Fisher

With close to a million vacancies across sectors within the Canadian job market, social work is particularly under pressure due to skills shortages. As healthcare workers, social workers play an essential role in society, as these professionals offer a range of services that assist with helping individuals function appropriately within their communities and households. If you're a qualified social worker searching for new opportunities, now might just be the perfect time to immigrate to Canada. This article shows you how to make your Canadian dream a reality.

Does Canada Really Need Social Workers?

Reports over the last year have revealed that social workers in Canada have been under great pressure, with professionals having to double up on shifts and work overtime to cover the huge workload. This is especially being felt by social workers in the Department of Children, Seniors, and Social Development (CSSD). Identified as the area with the most social worker vacancies from around 2020, the conditions in Newfoundland and Labrador were so bad that social workers had to be flown in, to ensure service delivery is met. Other provinces in dire need include:

According to Canada's Job Bank, opportunities for Social workers and related occupations for the next ten years are expected to add up to around 22,600. Projections for the next three years show that prospects look good for social workers in:

  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Yukon

Social Worker Salaries in Canada

Social workers in Canada earn decent salaries. According to, you can earn around 67,808 CAD per year, on average. Note that an entry-level position will bring in around 44,106 CAD per year, while senior social workers can earn up to over 82,000 CAD annually. So what are you waiting for? Find your social worker job in Canada!

Options for Immigrating to Canada as a Social Worker

Canada has over 100 immigration pathways that will allow you to immigrate to Canada as a social worker. Long with these, other ways will almost also guarantee immigration success.

An Offer Of Employment

Having a valid offer of employment makes it easier to immigrate to Canada because a job will improve your CRS score. In fact, you will need one if you immigrate via the Express Entry's Federal Skilled Worker Program or its Federal Skilled Trades Program.

The factors that make an offer of Employment Valid Under Express Entry

  • The job must be full-time and non-seasonal
  • The position would have to be valid for a minimum period of one year
  • The position must be on a skilled level, according to the National Occupations Classification (NOC)

The offer of employment will have to be in writing. It should document all job specifics, as well as the package they plan on offering you. It should also include:

  • What your gross and net salary will be
  • Exactly what will be deducted
  • Details regarding your duties
  • The company's conditions of employment

More often than not, a valid offer of employment should be accompanied by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Your employer must apply for this from Employment and Social Development Canada/Service Canada. If the application is successful and they are granted a positive LMIA, they'll have to provide you with a copy and your valid offer of employment.

It is important to note that there are cases in which your employer will not need an LMIA to support your offer of employment. Also, remember that a work permit on its own is not considered to be an offer of employment. When you create your Express Entry profile, include the LMIA number to show that you have a valid job offer.

An In-demand Job

If you are in a position to help fill the gap in the area of social work in Canada, you will be happy to find that social workers are included on the NOC list under NOC Code 41300. This means that you are an in-demand individual up North!

The demand for social workers has been quite high over the last few years. This has been especially evident since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since there is such a shortage of social workers in various Canadian provinces, you'll be able to find the areas in need and apply to be able to help bridge the gap. So there is no time like now to let that job in Canada.

Additional Occupations for Social Workers in Canada

  • NOC Code 40030: Managers in social, community, and correctional services
  • NOC Code 41320: Educational counselors
  • NOC Code 41301: Family, marriage, and other related counselors
  • NOC Code 42201 : Social and community service workers

Express Entry System

The Express Entry system is one of the best and quickest pathways to immigrate to Canada as a social worker. The system consists of three federal economic immigration programs, namely, the Federal Skilled Workers Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.

How The Express Entry System Works

If you choose the Express Entry System as your pathway to Canada, you can come to Canada as a permanent resident, should your application succeed. As a social worker, you can apply to the Federal Skilled Workers Program. With Express Entry, you'll be put into a draw pool with other candidates that meet the criteria. In the pool, you'll accumulate a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, which will eventually determine your success or failure in getting permanent residency. The goal is to meet or score higher than the CRS cut-off score.

Benefits of the Express Entry system:

  • Immigration to Canada with or without a job offer
  • Being a qualified social worker will help you get to a high CRS Score
  • An opportunity to apply again should your first application be unsuccessful. you'll stay in the Express Entry pool and will be able to improve your CRS score
  • Applications are usually processed quite fast. It could take as little as six months

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) allows Canadian provinces to nominate eligible economic immigrants wanting to live and work in a particular province. To stand the best chance of being nominated, you should apply to a region where your skills are most in demand. Remember, the more in demand your skills are, the greater your chance of a nomination. You'll also need a valid job offer for at least one year in Canada. 11 of Canada's provinces and territories each have their PNPs, with specific labor requirements.

As mentioned before, look at what the province is looking for in terms of skills. If this corresponds with your offer, you could be granted a provincial nomination. This will earn you a whopping 600 extra PR points, guaranteeing your Canadian permanent residency.

Note that If you don't plan on applying to a PNP via the Express Entry system, the process may take longer, according to the province you apply to.

How to Immigrate to Canada as a Social Worker

If you are ready to work in Canada as a social worker, take note of the following breakdown of how you should apply to immigrate to the country.

Step 1: Make Sure that You are Eligible to Immigrate to Canada as a Social Worker

First and foremost, always check that you qualify for Canadian immigration and are not deemed inadmissible by the Canadian government. Starting with this step will avoid disappointment should you, for some reason, not be eligible.

Step 2: Choose the Immigration Pathway that Best Matches Your Profile

Choosing the right immigration pathway will play a huge role in your Canadian immigration success. It will also determine how fast you get to Canada. If you want to get to the Great White North as soon as possible, apply via Express Entry, which takes around six months to process. The PNP is great if you are set on a particular province. You may also consider the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot and Atlantic Immigration Program.

Step 3: Apply Online

In most cases, applications have to be submitted online. This ensures that processing and the gathering of documents run smoothly. If your application is sent back, you can quickly resubmit once you add what was missing.

Get Ready to Take Your Social Work Skills to Canada

Now that you know the need for your skills up North and the options available to live and work there, it's time to weigh the options and immigrate to Canada. Find a region where you will make the biggest difference and help close the major skills gap in the Great White North.


Where do Social Workers Work in Canada?

As a social worker, you'll find jobs in hospitals, healthcare centers, mental health institutions, schools, child welfare centers, social welfare and housing departments, prisons, government departments, family courts, etc.

How Can I Find a Social Work Job in Canada?

You can have a look at job sites like: