Immigrate to Canada Without a Degree

September 6, 2023


  • Shireen Fisher

Canada has over 800,000 job vacancies across sectors and provinces. The country's significant talent gap remains an ongoing issue due to the huge retiring population and dwindling birth rate. Suppose you would like to share the opportunities on offer in this land of milk and honey but are unsure whether your lack of a university degree will count against you. In that case, you can rest assured that this is a possibility. In this article, we go through how you can immigrate to Canada without a university degree.

Can I Immigrate to Canada Without a Degree?

Highly skilled professionals are in great demand in Canada. For this reason, programs like Express Entry provide quick immigration routes for skilled foreign workers to work here. As someone without a degree, you have no reason to feel left out of Canadian immigration options. Canada needs workers without degrees, too. Construction, hospitality, and retail industries need people to help alleviate labor shortages. This creates the perfect opportunity for semi-skilled and unskilled workers to take the plunge and apply for Canadian permanent residency.

Learn more about preparing to work in Canada.

Top Jobs in Canada For Foreigners Without a Degree or Experience

With more than 800,000 jobs in Canada, you will find one without post-secondary credentials. We take a look at some of the options below.

The Highest Paying Jobs Without a Degree

You may not have a degree, but that does not mean that you will be stuck with a low salary when you work in Canada. According to, these are some of the highest-paying jobs for people without a degree.

Job Title NOC cCode Salary
Mine Workers NOC 83100 42,334,50 CAD per year
Landscape Technician NOC 22114 41,496,00 CAD per year
Maintenance Manager NOC 70012 76,025,00 CAD per year
Receptionist NOC 14101 33,033,00 CAD per year
Warehouse worker NOC 14401 32,097,00 CAD per year
Executive chef NOC 62200 63,788,00 CAD per year
Dental assistants NOC 33100 46,644,00 CAD per year
Conductor NOC 73311 85,393,00 CAD per year

Other Jobs in Canada You Can Apply For Without a Degree

Because semi- and low-skilled workers play a significant role in keeping the wheels of the Canadian economy turning, you will find that jobs are abundant in Canada for these skill levels. These include positions for:

Job tTtle NOC Code
Au Pair NOC 44100
Home Care Provider NOC 44100
Retail Associate NOC 64100
Butcher NOC 94141
Truck driver NOC 73300
Call Centre Agent NOC 14404
General Laborer NOC 95109
Food and Beverage Server NOC 65200

Learn more about jobs in Canada that do not require a degree.

Which Canadian Provinces Need Semi- and Unskilled Workers?

With Canada's skills shortage stretched across provinces and territories, there is no corner without great prospects. Below is an idea of what some Canadian provinces offer.


The Provincial Nominee Program in Alberta is geared towards workers (both skilled and unskilled) who already work in the province on a temporary work permit. In addition, a high school diploma and a job offer from a company in Alberta are prerequisites to be eligible to apply through this stream. You will have to make sure that your occupation is suitable for this PNP before you apply, as some semi- and unskilled occupations have been listed as ineligible.

Note: You must get a copy of an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from an organization designated by IRCC for your highest level of education. If your ECA report indicates that your qualification is not equal to Canadian high school qualification, you will not meet the program's education criteria.


The Provincial Nominee Program in Saskatchewan allows for two industries aimed at unskilled workers, namely the Hospitality Sector Project and Long-haul Truck Driver Project.

The requirements for the Hospitality Sector Project are as follows:

  • A high school education
  • Employment in Saskatchewan on a (temporary) work permit for at least six months
  • Proficiency in English
  • A valid SINP job approval letter

The occupation vacancies in this category are aimed at:

  • Food and beverage servers
  • Food counter attendants or kitchen helpers
  • Housekeepers and other cleaning staff

The requirements for the Saskatchewan Long-Haul Truck Driver Program are as follows:

  • Plans to live in the province when you obtain Canadian residency
  • A Class 1A driver's license
  • An offer of full-time employment from an approved trucking firm
  • Employment in Saskatchewan for a minimum period of six months

British Columbia

British Columbia (BC) is one of the prominent regions in Canada that urgently needs unskilled workers. If you are already employed in BC in one of the eligible occupations, you can apply to the province's PNP for Canadian permanent residency. The list of eligible industries and their respective occupations includes food processing, travel, accommodation, tourism, long-haul truck drivers, food and beverage services, cleaners, and elemental services.

Which Pathways to Canadian Permanent Residency Will Allow Me to Immigrate to Canada Without a Degree?

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

The Provincial Nominee Program was established by the Canadian government to grant each province the authority to develop its system to deal with immigration, according to its labor demands. Through this program, they can target candidates with the skills, education, or work experience needed to satisfy the workforce's needs. These candidates have their applications for permanent residence fast-tracked by receiving a Provincial Nomination, adding 600 points to their Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS) and almost guaranteeing that they will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence in the next Express Entry Draw.

For unskilled workers, this program is beneficial as it allows you to make up for other basic eligibility criteria which you may be lacking. This criterion includes your level of skills and education. Not meeting these criteria results in a lower CRS score and significantly reduces your chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply.

However, as stated before, a provincial nomination adds 600 points to your CRS score. For context, the candidates who receive ITA's in Express Entry Draws usually have an average of 430-490 CRS scores. The candidates with the highest CRS scores receive ITA's, and with a provincial nomination, you are placed in the top pool of candidates.

Express Entry

Canada's Express Entry system makes it possible for highly-skilled foreign workers to immigrate to Canada as quickly as six months. This online system consists of three programs:

As someone without a degree, you cannot apply to the Federal Skilled Worker Program. You will, however, be able to apply to the Federal Skilled Trades Program and Canadian Experience Class. To qualify, you must meet the following Express Entry requirements:

  • Your Age
  • Your Education
  • Language Proficiency
  • Work experience
  • Marital Status
  • Any Links to Canada

Remember that without a degree, you will have to increase your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) in the other areas.

Home Care and Child Provider Pilots

The Home Child-Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot are economic pilot programs that target foreign national caregivers. To qualify for this pathway to Canadian permanent residency, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have secured a Canadian offer of employment or have Canadian work experience in a qualifying caregiver occupation.
  • You must meet minimum education and language proficiency requirements.

Note: Applications to these pilots take around 12 months to process.

The Agri-Food Pilot

Canada's Agri-Food Pilot was established to plug the labor holes in the country's Canadian agri-food sector. It is the ideal pathway to Canadian permanent residence for experienced, non-seasonal workers within the specific industries and occupations in the Great White North's Agricultural sector.

To qualify for permanent residency via this pilot, you must:

  • Have Canadian work experience in the relevant industries and occupations
  • Have a permanent, non-seasonal job offer from a Canadian employer
  • Be proficient in one or both official Canadian languages
  • Meet the educational or training requirements
  • Have sufficient funds to immigrate to Canada


Is Quebec Part of Canada's Provincial Nominee Program?

No. Quebec has its immigration pathways.

I Have no Qualifications But Want to Obtain a Canadian Qualification. Will I be Able to Work in Canada While I Study?

Yes. International students in Canada can work up to 20 hours a week during term and 40 hours a week during vacation. Learn more about student jobs in Canada.