Immigrate To Canada As A Lawyer

September 8, 2023


  • Sinethemba Phongolo

If you are a lawyer looking to broaden your horizons and explore new opportunities, Canada might be the perfect destination. With its thriving legal industry, abundant employment prospects, competitive salaries, and welcoming immigration policies, Canada has become an attractive option for immigrant lawyers seeking a successful overseas career.

Want to explore options of immigrating to Canada as a lawyer? If you are, here is a compilation of the best immigration visa pathways you can use to immigrate to Canada as a lawyer!

Best Immigration Pathways for Lawyers to Canada

Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP)

Administered under Canada’s Express Entry System, the Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP) is the foremost immigration pathway designed to attract and retain skilled workers and professionals to Canada. Skilled workers are highly sought after in Canada. As a lawyer, your expertise and skills are highly valued in Canada, making you an ideal candidate for this program.

Learn more about Canada’s Federal Skilled Workers Program.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

If you have at least a year prior experience working in Canada through a temporary visa like the Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) or a Canadian work permit, then you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency via the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

Learn more about how to qualify for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

Provincial Nominee Programs for Lawyers

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are specific immigration pathways offered by individual provinces in Canada. PNPs allow provinces to nominate foreign workers with the skills, education, and work experience required in their domestic labor market.

Certain PNPs have specific streams and categories tailored specifically for legal professionals and help expedite their immigration to Canada. Here are the PNP streams lawyers can use to immigrate to Canada:

List of Canada PNPs for Lawyers
British Columbia Skilled Worker Category
Skilled Worker Overseas Stream
New Brunswick Skilled Workers Stream
Nova Scotia Skilled Worker Stream
Norhtwest Territories Skilled Worker Program
Newfoundland and Labrador Skilled Worker Category
Ontario Foreign Worker stream
Prince Edward Island Skilled Workers Outside Canada Stream
Quebec Skilled Worker Program
Quebec Experience Class
Saskatchewan International Skilled Worker Category
Yukon Skilled Worker Program

Find out more about the 11 provincial nominee pathways to Canadian permanent residency.

Atlantic High-Skilled Program

The Atlantic High-Skilled Program for foreign skilled workers with management, professional or technical/skilled job experience and intend to permanently live and work in one of the following four Atlantic provinces:

Find out more about the Atlantic High-Skilled Program.

Work Permits

If you are not yet eligible for permanent residency in Canada but still want to work in Canada as a lawyer, you can explore work permit options. A work permit allows you to work in Canada for a specified period and is usually tied to a specific job offer. There are primarily two types of work permits in Canada.

  • Employer-specific work permit
    • Enables the prospective immigrant holder to work for a sole Canadian employer for a certain period at a single location.
  • Open work permit
    • Allows the recipient to work for any employer in Canada for a specific period and change jobs anytime.

Work permits enable you to obtain the work experience needed to apply for permanent residency in Canada through programs like the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

Learn more about work permits and how you can work in Canada.

Which Provinces in Canada Are Lawyers Most in Demand?

If you want to fast-track your search for employment as a lawyer in Canada and provide you with the best career prospects, we recommend researching the following provinces where lawyers are most in demand. All information is obtained from Canada’s Job Bank.


Manitoba is a province in central Canada that offers a promising legal landscape for lawyers. With its growing economy and diverse industries, including finance, manufacturing, and technology, Manitoba has a high demand for legal professionals. The province also has a strong legal community and offers excellent lawyer career development opportunities.

Provincial average annual salary: 148,764.58 CAD.


Quebec can be an attractive destination due to its unique legal system. Quebec operates under a French heritage civil law system, distinct from the common law system used in other provinces.

This presents exciting opportunities for lawyers specializing in civil law. Quebec also has a vibrant legal community, with numerous law firms and organizations catering to local and international clients.

Provincial average annual salary: 122,143.47 CAD.


Saskatchewan is another province offering promising prospects for lawyers. With its growing economy, particularly in agriculture, mining, and energy, there is a demand for legal professionals to support these growing industries. Saskatchewan also has a relatively low population density, which means less competition among lawyers compared to more densely populated provinces like Ontario and British Columbia.

Provincial average annual salary: 162,923.53 CAD.

Why Move to Canada as a Lawyer?

Abundant Employment

One of the top reasons to move to Canada as a lawyer is the abundant employment opportunities available. Canada has a thriving legal industry, with a diverse range of practice areas and sectors. Major areas of legal specialization you can carve a thriving legal career for yourself in Canada include:

  • Corporate law
  • Litigation
  • Immigration law
  • Criminal defense
  • Tax law
  • Family law

Highly Competitive Salaries

In addition to abundant employment, lawyers in Canada also enjoy highly competitive salaries. According to Canada’s Job Bank, the average annual salary for lawyers in Canada is around 159 431,90 CAD. Major cities that often offer higher salaries to attract top legal talent include:

  • Toronto
  • Vancouver
  • Montreal
  • Calgary

Career Development Opportunities

Canada offers excellent career development opportunities for lawyers. With its strong legal community, you can network with other professionals, participate in continuing education programs, and engage in professional organizations and associations. The Canadian legal system is well-regarded internationally, which can open doors to exciting opportunities both within Canada and abroad.

Employment Benefits for Lawyers

In addition to competitive salaries and career growth prospects, lawyers in Canada also enjoy comprehensive employment benefits. Prominent employment benefit programs for permanent resident or citizen employees in Canada include Employment Insurance (EI) and the Canada Pension Plan. These programs provide employee benefits that include:

  • Health insurance
  • Retirement plans
  • Paid vacation
  • Sick leave
  • Professional development allowances

Please note that specific employment benefits may vary depending on the employer and the province.

Opportunities to Contribute to Your Canadian Community

Moving to Canada as a lawyer not only offers professional advantages but also provides opportunities to contribute to your Canadian community. As an immigrant, you can bring your unique perspective and expertise to the Canadian legal system. You can participate in:

Pro Bono Work

You can do pro bono work for clients who can’t afford but need legal representation.

Mentorship Programs

Volunteer in mentorship programs that educate the next generation of Canadian lawyers who will advance the nation's legal system.

Community Outreach Initiatives

Participate in community outreach initiatives that can help inform vulnerable Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada’s legal codes and the perils of breaking them, allowing you to make a positive impact on Canadian society.


Which Canadian Province Offers the Highest Annual Average Salary for Lawyers?

The highest annual average salary for lawyers in Canada can vary depending on factors such as location, specialization, and experience. However, provinces like Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia tend to offer higher salaries compared to other provinces.

What is the Fastest Way to Immigrate to Canada as a Lawyer?

The fastest way to immigrate to Canada would be the Express Entry system’s Federal Skilled Worker Program, which has application processing times as fast as six months.