Can I Immigrate to Canada Without a Job Offer?

August 30, 2023


  • Shireen Fisher

With so many opportunities up for grabs in the Great White North, we do not blame you for wanting to get here as soon as possible. But can you immigrate to Canada without a job offer? Now, that's the big question. The answer, in a nutshell, is yes! This land of maple leaves has several Canadian immigration programs that allow this. This article will teach you about the best programs you can apply for without a job offer, from the Federal Economic Immigration Programs to several Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) categories. Together, we will find the perfect route to Canada for you.

Do I Really Not Need a Job Offer to Immigrate to Canada?

If you are ready to take the leap to a new chapter in Canada but have yet to secure employment, you are in luck. The Canadian immigration system allows for relocation without a job offer. With many options available to make your Canadian dream come true, all you need to do is ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for the pathway you apply to.

Canadian immigration program options range from the country's Express Entry System programs to several Provincial Nominee Streams.

Express Entry

The Express Entry System is Canada's most popular option for Canadian permanent residency. This is mainly due to its fast processing time of six months. This online system, which was set up by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), allows skilled foreign workers to submit their Canadian Immigration applications to three Federal Economic Immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class Program, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program. We look at the programs that allow you to immigrate to Canada without a job offer.

The Federal Skilled Worker Program

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is for professionals seeking Canadian permanent residency. To qualify for this program, you must meet the minimum requirements for skilled work experience, proficiency in one or both Canadian official languages, education, and other factors. Points are allocated according to these factors, and you must then score at least 67 out of 100 on its assessment grid.

You must create a separate online Express Entry profile to be considered for an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence. The profile is also assessed on a points scale, but this time, it is measured according to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which considers similar factors to the Skilled Worker Program. The big difference is that your CRS score is out of a maximum of 1,200. Once assigned your CRS score, your profile will be entered into a pool of candidates and ranked according to its score. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada hold regular Express Draws (typically every two weeks) that issue Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for Canadian permanent residence (PR) to profiles with the highest ranking scores. If you are issued an ITA, you will have 60 days to complete and submit your application for Canadian PR.

Do not worry if you are not selected in a draw. Your profile will remain in the Express Entry pool for a year. This gives you plenty of time to maximize your CRS to secure an ITA in the next draw.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Program

The Express Entry's Canadian Experience Class is for skilled workers with valuable Canadian work experience who wish to gain Canadian permanent residency. You will not need a job offer to apply for this program. To be eligible for CEC, you must:

  • Have a minimum of one year's skilled work experience in Canada in the three years prior to your application
  • Have gained your Canadian work experience by being employed under temporary resident status

You cannot apply for the Canadian Experience Class if you:

  • Are a refugee claimant in Canada
  • Do not have permission to work in Canada
  • Gained work experience without temporary resident status
  • Are self-employed
  • Only have student work experience

The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

The Express Entry's Federal Skilled Trades Program is for skilled professionals seeking Canadian permanent residency. According to the IRCC, you must have a job offer or a certificate of qualification. You must also be proficient in one or both Canadian official languages and have experience in your skilled trade. Your job offer must be for a full-time position valid for at least one year. A Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority must have granted your certificate of qualification in the trade you are skilled in.

Note that while the IRCC website specifies that a job offer is required for this program, it also states that you will need this for the FSTP and FSWP if you are eligible and do not have the funds to support yourself and your dependents.

Also note that while you may not need a job offer for some of these Express Entry programs, you will stand a better chance of getting an Invitation to Apply if you have one.

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Each province and territory of Canada has its own PNP, allowing them to invite foreign nationals to the country if they have the skills and experience needed within their borders. This often provides foreign nationals with a fast-track option to immigration if they can commit to permanently settling in the province that invited them to apply for a nomination. Several categories of PNPs do not require you to have a job offer to apply. Below, we will discuss the best options you can take and how to apply for them.

Alberta Express Entry Stream

The Alberta Express Entry stream is designed for candidates who can meet and address the provinces' labor market shortages but qualify for the Skilled Worker Program. As part of the Express Entry system, applications under this stream enjoy faster processing times, but that isn't even the best part! You only need a CRS score of as little as 300 to be considered for this stream. While you don't need a job offer for this stream, you can increase your CRS score if you secure one.

Ontario Human Capital Priorities Stream

Applications under this stream only take two to three months to process. It is designed for candidates in the Express Entry pool with skilled work experience in one of the province's prioritized occupations. When creating your online Express Entry profile, you must also indicate your interest in settling in Ontario. If you apply to the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), you must score at least 67 points from the Express Entry's key selection factors.

Saskatchewan International Skilled Worker Category

Both the Occupation In-Demand and Express Entry subcategories of the Saskatchewan International Skilled Worker Category do not require you to have a job offer. Instead, you must have experience in an in-demand occupation for the In-demand subcategory. For the Express Entry subcategory, you must complete an Express Entry profile, notify your interest in settling in the province, and score a minimum of 60 out of a possible 100 on the Saskatchewan points assessment grid.

Nova Scotia Demand - Express Entry Stream

This is a very popular stream with some stiff competition. You must create an online Express Entry profile with a Canadian Language Benchmark score of at least 7. You must also score 67 out of a possible 100 on the Nova Scotia point assessment grid.


How Many Points Will a Job Offer Give Me in the CRS?

If you are applying to one of Canada's Express Entry programs, a valid offer of employment from a Canadian employer will get you around 50 or 200 points in the CRS. This will depend on the job you are offered. Remember, more points mean a better chance of being invited to apply in the next round of Express Entry invitations.

What Makes a Job Offer Valid in Canada?

According to the IRCC, a valid offer is:

  • Full-time
  • Non-seasonal
  • Valid for a minimum period of one year
  • A skilled job listed as TEER category 0, 1, 2, or 3 in the 2021 National Occupational Classification
  • In writing, containing details of the job being offered