Can I Immigrate to Canada Without Work Experience?

Can I immigrate to Canada without work experience? The quick answer is yes, but it’s more complicated because the Canadian government puts a lot of emphasis on experienced immigrants, which makes finding jobs in Canada without prior experience difficult.  

However, to immigrate to Canada without work experience depends on whether you are already in Canada or have a Canadian education.

There are many jobs in Canada; in fact, thousands of jobs are currently listed on Job Bank, the official Canadian Government website, and popular websites such as Monster, Indeed, and Randstad, indicating plenty of opportunities for foreign workers in Canada.

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Fortunately, there are things you can do as someone without experience. This article will discuss how you can successfully immigrate to Canada with work experience. However, your success rides on several factors. Read on for more details. 

How to immigrate to Canada without work experience

Although having a job offer may improve your chances of success in the visa application process through immigration options such as the Express Entry System and make life much easier once you arrive in Canada. 

There are still few immigration programs that allow people without work experience to move to Canada legally. These enable you to establish roots in the country and seek employment and permanent residency;

  • Student Work Permits 
  • International Experience Canada (IEC) 
  • Family Sponsorships 

1. Student Work Permits 

Student work permits grant allows immigrants to work while studying at Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) in Canada. A Canadian DLI is a postsecondary educational institution designated by the government or a provincial authority to accept international students.

Working as a student permit allows you to build experience before graduation, which can lead to getting a job in the country as an experienced worker after graduation. 

There are different types of student work permits:  

  • On-campus student work permits 
  • Off-campus student work permits 
  • Co-op student or intern work permits
  • The Post Graduate Work Permit Program (PGWPP)  
  • Spousal sponsorship 

i. On-campus student work permits 

Both part-time and full-time students can work to build work experience on the school campus. 

Hence the job must be within the school premises. However, you can no longer work in the school if you change schools or your study programs end. 

ii. Off-campus student work permits 

One condition for off-campus work permits is that students can only work 20 hours a week. 

Students can work off campus if  they: 

  • Enrolled in a post-secondary academic, vocational, or professional training program,
  • Enrolled in a secondary-level vocational training program in Quebec 
  • Their study program lasts at least six months and results in a degree, diploma, or certificate.

iii. Co-op student or intern 

This only works if your study programs include work experience in their curriculum. 

However, you must have a letter from your school confirming all students in your program must complete work placements to get their degrees.

iv. The Post Graduate Work Permit Program (PGWPP) 

The PGWPP is for recent graduates. It allows them to remain in Canada and work until they have accumulated enough work experience to either extend their work permit or progress to permanent residence. 

The duration of your PGWP is the same as the duration of your qualification program. For example, eight months to two years programs can get up to a three-year work permit. 

Applicants for a PGWP must apply within 180 days of receiving written confirmation from their DLI, such as an official transcript, that they have completed their studies. 

v. Spousal sponsorship 

Your spouse or common-law partner can apply for an open work permit if you study in Canada. This permit does not require work experience, but applicants must pay a designated fee. 

Start your application for the different work permits

2. International Experience Canada (IEC) 

This visa program is specifically for youths who want to travel and work in the country for two years. 

You can later use your work experience to apply for the Express Entry program to immigrate to Canada.

There are three types of IEC programs

  • The Working Holiday Visa Program
  • The Program for Young Professionals
  • Internship in International Co-op

However, the IEC is limited to specific countries that are partners in this program. You can find out if your country is part of this country on the official Canadian website

But, if you are not a citizen of one of the partner countries, then you can apply to IEC through a recognized organization such as GO International, SWAP Working Holidays, or Stepwest.

The following are the requirements for the IEC program: 

  • You must have a current passport 
  • Must be aged 18-35 (the cut-off is 30 for certain countries) 
  • $2,500 to cover the initial costs
  • Health insurance 
  • Medical Exam 
  • Certificate of police clearance
  • A round-trip ticket or enough money to cover one
  • Must accept your Invitation to Apply (ITA) within ten days
  • $230 CAD employer compliance fee (if you are applying for Young Professional or International Co-op category

3. Family Sponsorship 

There is still a fantastic program if you don’t want to immigrate to Canada through studying.

The Canada Family Sponsorship program allows foreigners to immigrate to Canada without work experience if they have a family member, guardian, spouse, common-law or conjugal partner already living there.  

This program is specifically to keep immigrant families together. But, there are certain conditions, such as sponsors must be ;

  • Over the age of 18, 
  • Canadian citizen or Indian registered in Canada under the Canadian Indian Act
  • Canadian permanent resident

However, Quebec has slightly different laws than the rest of Canada, so make sure you understand the laws of the province you intend to immigrate to when you do so.

You don’t need work experience to qualify for family sponsorship as long as you can prove your connections with the sponsor. You can find more information on the Family Sponsorship on the IRCC website.


Even if you lack work experience, you can still immigrate to Canada because of several loopholes you can use, such as building experience through work-study programs or getting sponsored by a family member. 

Although, If you do not have work experience, finding a job in Canada can be difficult if you do not live in Canada. 

As a result, you may want to consider immigrating to Canada before beginning your job search. You can find work by networking with locals and taking advantage of opportunities to demonstrate your skills.

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