How to Immigrate to Canada as an Unskilled Worker

July 7, 2023


  • Sinethemba Phongolo

Massive labor shortages have become a recurring problem for Canada's labor market. Open job posts for Unskilled labor jobs in Canada have also experienced a recent spike.

As a solution, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has introduced several immigration visa pathways that unskilled migrants can use to obtain a Canada unskilled work visa. The Canada unskilled work visa allows foreign immigrant workers who fulfill the Canada unskilled worker visa requirements to immigrate to and work in Canada.

Therefore, if you work as a driver, office support staff worker, farmhand worker, grocery clerk, assembly line factory worker, etc., you may be eligible to apply for an unskilled worker visa in Canada immigration pathways.

Discover how to immigrate to Canada as an Unskilled Worker by applying for Canada’s accessible and easy-to-understand immigration visa pathways!

Immigrate to Canada as an Unskilled Worker

Canada has long been a popular destination for immigrants seeking better opportunities and high quality of life. While many think only skilled workers can secure a Canadian work visa, there are several options available for unskilled workers. This article will guide you on how unskilled workers can immigrate to Canada and secure a work visa.

Provincial Nominee Programs for Unskilled Workers

One of the pathways available for unskilled workers to immigrate to Canada is through the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). These programs are designed to address each Canadian province or territory's specific labor market needs. Some provinces have specific streams or categories dedicated to unskilled workers, allowing them to apply for a work visa and eventually become permanent residents (PR). Some of these streams include:

  • Prince Edward Island (PEI) Critical Worker Stream
  • Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) For Agriculture and Hospitality Workers, Truck Drivers, and Trade Workers
  • British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) for workers in the Food, Hospitality, Tourism or Food Processing industries
  • Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) Rural Renewal Stream

These programs provide a great opportunity for unskilled workers to secure a Canadian work visa and start a new life in Canada.

Pilot Programs for Unskilled Workers

In addition to the PNPs, several pilot programs in Canada specifically target unskilled workers. These programs are designed to test new approaches to immigration and provide opportunities for unskilled workers to contribute to the Canadian economy.

Home Care and Child Provider Pilots (HCCPP)

The Home Care and Child Provider Pilots (HCCPP). This program allows certain unskilled workers with experience in home care or childcare to apply for a work visa. The program aims to address the shortage of caregivers in Canada. Eventually, this paves a path toward obtaining permanent residency status.

The eligible unskilled jobs for the HCCPP are outlined in the table below.

Home Child Care Providers Home Support Worker Providers
Babysitter Attendant for persons with disabilities - home care
Au pair Family caregiver
Child care live-in-caregiver Home support worker
Child care provider - private home Housekeeper
Nanny Live-in caregiver - seniors
Parent's helper Personal aide - home support
Foster parent Personal care attendant - home care
Babysitter - fitness center Respite worker - home support
Babysitter - shopping center Doula
  Home visitor - infant care

Work Permits for Unskilled Workers

If you are an unskilled worker who does not qualify for the PNPs or pilot programs, options are still available for you to fulfill the Canada unskilled worker visa requirements and achieve your unskilled labor working goals in Canada.

The following immigration pathways provide opportunities to obtain a Canada work visa as an unskilled worker by allowing you to work in Canada temporarily.

Temporary Foreign Work Permit (TFWP)

The Temporary Foreign Work Permit (TFWP) allows employers in Canada to hire unskilled workers from abroad to fill temporary labor shortages. To be eligible for a TFWP, you will need a job offer from a Canadian employer and a positive Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

The LMIA is a document that shows a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that there are no qualified Canadians available to do the job. Once you have obtained a TFWP, you can work in Canada for the specified period.

Find out more about how you can work in Canada.

IEC Working Holiday Program

The International Experience Canada (IEC) Working Holiday Program is another option for unskilled workers. This program allows young adults from designated countries to work and travel in Canada for up to two years.

While the IEC program does not specifically target unskilled workers, it provides a great opportunity to gain work experience in Canada and potentially secure a job offer for a longer-term work visa. The IEC Working Holiday program doesn’t require any educational qualifications.

Learn more about the best destinations to spend your Working Holiday in Canada.

Canadian Provinces Where Unskilled Workers Are Most In-demand

If you are an unskilled worker looking to immigrate to Canada, knowing which provinces have the highest demand for unskilled workers may be helpful. While opportunities are available throughout Canada, some provinces have a greater need for unskilled labor than others.


One province where unskilled workers are in high demand is Alberta. Due to its booming oil and gas industry, Alberta requires a large workforce to support its economic growth. Unskilled construction, hospitality, and agriculture workers have a good chance of finding job opportunities in Alberta. The unskilled jobs on Alberta’s in-demand occupations list include:

  • Retail sales Associates
  • Retail shelf stockers
  • Store clerks
  • Retail order fillers
  • Call center agent
  • Home childcare providers
  • Seasonal farm workers (fruit pickers, packers, planters etc.)
  • Housekeepers

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is another province where unskilled workers are in demand. With its aging population and declining birth rate, Nova Scotia faces labor shortages in various sectors. Unskilled workers who have experience in industries such as healthcare, construction, and manufacturing may find good job prospects in Nova Scotia. For Nova Scotia, the unskilled in-demand occupations list includes:

  • Light-duty cleaners
  • Food counter attendants
  • kitchen helpers
  • Food and beverage servers
  • General laborers

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island offers plenty of opportunities for unskilled workers with its growing tourism industry and agricultural sector. The province has various programs and initiatives to attract foreign workers, making it an attractive destination for those seeking employment in Canada. The unskilled occupations outlined as in-demand by the provincial PEC government include:

  • Construction trades helpers and laborers
  • Light duty cleaners
  • Laborers in processing, manufacturing and utilities
  • General laborers
  • Cleaning Staff
  • Fruit Pickers
  • Poulty Preparers and meat cutters

New Brunswick

New Brunswick has industries such as fishing, manufacturing, and construction that require a steady supply of unskilled labor. Focusing on Canada’s smaller provinces like New Brunswick allows you to tap into the job market where your unskilled worker experience is most in-demand. The unskilled occupations in -demand in New Brunswick includes:

  • Warehouse general laborers (packers, assembly line workers)
  • Helpers
  • Coffee Roaster
  • Cleaners
  • General laborers

Newfoundland and Labrador

This province is known for its rich natural resources and thriving industries such as oil and gas, mining, and fishing. Newfoundland and Labrador have various programs and initiatives to attract unskilled workers to fill job vacancies in these industries. The unskilled in-demand occupations for Newfoundland and Labrador include:

  • Home Support Workers
  • Fishmongers
  • Retail salespersons
  • Contact center agents
  • Livestock workers
  • Food and beverage servers
  • Fish and seafood plant workers
  • General Farm Workers

Why Immigrate to Canada as an Unskilled Worker?

Now that we have discussed the pathways available for unskilled workers to immigrate to Canada, let's explore why pursuing this opportunity is a good idea.

Ample Job Opportunities

Canada is known for its strong economy and diverse job market. Unskilled workers can find job opportunities in various sectors, including:

With the right skills and experience, you can secure a stable job and build a successful career in Canada.

Opportunities for Skills Development

Working in Canada as an unskilled worker does not mean staying in that position forever. Canada offers numerous opportunities for skills development and career advancement. You can take advantage of:

All of these programs will provide you with the opportunity to enhance your skills and advance your career.

High, Competitive Wage/Salary

One of the main attractions of working in Canada as an unskilled worker is the high, competitive wage/salary. The minimum wage in Canada varies by province, but it is generally higher than in many other countries. This means that even as an unskilled worker, you can earn a decent income and provide for yourself and your family.

According to Canada Job Bank, Unskilled Workers can earn a base average monthly salary between 400,25 CAD to 8 005,05 CAD depending on their experience levels, unskilled occupation, employer and location.

Affordable Cost of Living

Despite its high wages, Canada also offers an affordable cost of living compared to many other developed countries like the United States (US). Housing, healthcare, education, and other essential expenses are relatively affordable, allowing you to enjoy a good quality of life without breaking the bank.

Learn more about Canada’s affordable living costs with a comparative analysis of the living costs between Canada and the US.

Provides a Path to PR in Canada

One of the biggest advantages of immigrating to Canada as an unskilled worker is that it provides a path to permanent residency (PR). Once you have gained work experience and established yourself in Canada, you may be eligible to apply for PR through various immigration programs like the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). PR status provides numerous benefits, including access to social services, healthcare, and the opportunity to become a Canadian citizen.

Find out more about how to go from TR to PR.

How to Apply for Unskilled Labor Jobs in Canada With Visa Sponsorship?

Applying for unskilled jobs in Canada with visa sponsorship requires careful preparation and research. Firstly, it is essential to identify the industries and provinces where unskilled workers are in high demand. Research job boards, industry associations, find out about your National Occupational Classification (NOC) code and employment agencies to find suitable job opportunities. Please note that under the Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) system, most unskilled occupations are categorized in TEER 5.

Once you have identified potential employers, tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your relevant skills and experience. Networking is also crucial in finding unskilled jobs with visa sponsorship. Attend job fairs, join industry-specific groups, and connect with professionals in your desired field.

Learn more about how to apply for Unskilled Jobs in Canada with Visa Sponsorship.

How to Prove Work Experience as an Unskilled Worker?

When applying for a work visa or permanent residency in Canada as an unskilled worker, you must provide evidence of your work experience. Here are a few ways to prove your work experience.

Reference Letters

Obtain reference letters from previous employers that detail your job title, duties, and duration of employment. These letters should be on company letterhead and signed by the employer.

Pay Stubs

Provide copies of your pay stubs or bank statements showing your employer's regular income deposits. This will help establish a consistent work history and income.

Tax Documents

Submit copies of your tax documents, such as T4 slips or income tax returns, that show your employment history and income.

Employment Contracts

If you have signed employment contracts with your previous employers, include copies of these contracts as evidence of your work experience.

Co-worker References

If you cannot obtain reference letters from your previous employers, you can ask co-workers or colleagues who can vouch for your work experience and skills.

It is important to note that the specific requirements for proving work experience may vary depending on the immigration program you are applying for. Carefully review the application guidelines and consult with an immigration lawyer or Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) if needed. RCICs are also crucial in assisting you to verify all of your required supporting documentation.

Immigrating to Canada as an unskilled worker is possible and offers numerous opportunities for a better future. Whether through the Provincial Nominee Programs, pilot programs, or temporary work permits, unskilled workers can find pathways to work and eventually become permanent residents in Canada.


What are the In-demand Unskilled Labor Jobs in Canada?

While the demand for unskilled labor varies across industries and regions, several jobs consistently require unskilled workers in Canada. Some of the in-demand unskilled labor jobs include:

Construction laborers

Canada’s construction industry is booming with its majority immigration-fueled population boom. This has opened up a lot of opportunities in the construction industry, in particular within there is a constant need for unskilled laborers to assist in various construction projects.

Agriculture workers

Canada's agricultural sector relies heavily on unskilled workers for harvesting crops, planting, and general farm maintenance.

Retail sales associates

The retail industry always needs unskilled workers to assist customers, stock shelves, and maintain the cleanliness of the store.

Hospitality workers

Hotels, restaurants, and resorts often require unskilled workers for positions that include:

  • Housekeeping
  • Dishwashing
  • Food preparation

Manufacturing laborers

The manufacturing industry relies on unskilled workers for tasks such as:

  • Assembly line work
  • Packaging
  • Machine operation

What are the Minimum Requirements for Obtaining a Work Visa as an Unskilled Worker in Canada?

The requirements for obtaining a work visa as an unskilled worker may vary depending on the specific immigration or pilot program. Generally, you must demonstrate your ability to perform the job, possess the necessary skills or experience, and meet the criteria set by IRCC or the province you want to work in.