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While having a job offer is not required to immigrate to Canada, having Canadian experience—such as work or study experience—can open the doors to numerous economic-class immigration programs.

If you are looking for a job in Canada that could help you on your pathway to permanent residency, it’s important to remember that your occupation matters when it comes time to decide on a program.

The Canadian government uses the National Occupation Classification (NOC) system in order to classify occupations. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) updated its systems to the latest version, NOC 2021, in November 2022.

The current NOC is broken up into six Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibilities (TEER) categories. For some of the most popular economic-class immigration programs to Canada, you need to be working in a “skilled” occupation which falls under TEER categories 0, 1, 2, or 3.

This article contains IRCC 2022 immigration data, which provide—among other stats—the occupations where most immigrants intended to work last year.

It also contains info from the 2022 Express Entry report. If you don’t already know, Express Entry is one of the main pathways to Canadian immigration.

Using these two official IRCC data sources, we came up with some of the most common occupations of new immigrants, and those who were invited to apply for immigration through Express Entry.

Attention job-seekers: Check out the listings on the Moving2Canada Job Board.

Note: The data, derived from IRCC’s website, uses a former version of the NOC. For this reason, job titles in this report may be inconsistent with the current NOC 2021.

What jobs are in-demand in Canada for immigrants?

In 2023, these were the five most popular occupations of new immigrants to Canada:

  1. Food service supervisors
  2. Software engineers
  3. Administrative assistants
  4. Computer programmers and interactive media developers
  5. Information systems analysts and consultants
  6. Health care workers

The results seem to be more-or-less consistent with Express Entry candidates.

The 2022 Express Entry annual report goes into details on what characteristics invited candidates shared that year—including what the most common primary occupations were.

The following table shows the five most common primary occupations of Express Entry candidates who were invited to apply in 2020-2022.

Table of most common jobs of Express Entry candidates who received ITAs in 2022

Express Entry: Popular jobs by gender

Data disaggregated by gender are important because they help shed light on the complex realities of gender in the work force.

At the time of receiving an ITA, both men and women most commonly reported their primary occupation was food service supervisor. Beyond that, men and women’s other top occupations differed somewhat.

The four top occupations amongst women that are not in the top 15 for men include:

  1. Early childhood educators and assistants;
  2. Accounting technicians and bookkeepers;
  3. Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations;
  4. Financial sales representatives.

Four of the top occupations among men that do not rank in the top 15 for women include:

  1. Supervisors, supply chain, tracking and scheduling co-ordination occupations;
  2. Machinists and machine tooling inspectors;
  3. Computers, and information systems managers;
  4. Other service supervisors.

With points for arranged employment

Certain Express Entry candidates may be eligible to get additional Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points based on arranged employment.

The following table just focuses on the occupations of those who got these extra points for having a valid job offer.

Much like Express Entry candidates overall, most of these occupations are in jobs that were formerly referred to as “skill type B” but would now be considered TEER 2 or 3.

Arranged employment points by gender

Overall, men in the Express Entry pool more often got points for arranged employment. Two thirds of candidates who received ITAs with eligible job offers were men.

The most common occupations among invited women with arranged employment points included more “skill type B occupations” (as they were called in 2021) in comparison to their male counterparts. These include food service supervisors, cooks, administrative assistants, early childhood educators, and administrative officers.

Whereas men also saw more skill type B occupations with arranged employment in 2021, skill type A jobs (now comparable to TEER 1), were more common among top occupations. These types of jobs include software engineers, computer programmers and interactive media developers, and information systems analysts and consultants.

All that being said…

We don’t want you to leave here thinking the only people who get permanent residence have so-called “skilled” jobs.

You do need to have at least a certain amount of “skilled work experience” in order to get into the Express Entry pool, but your options certainly don’t stop there.

Canadian economic immigration programs are built on the idea that there is a gap in the labour market somewhere, and that there are people all over the world who are able and willing to fill that gap.

And of course, if you are eligible for family sponsorship or refugee immigration then your job is not a selection factor (although, let’s not discount the Economic Mobility Pathway Pilot for refugees).

If you are thinking of taking the economic immigration route to Canada, you could also become eligible under programs that are tailored for certain types of workers.

Check out the following programs for more immigration options:

If you’re interested in moving to Canada but not sure which program you may be eligible for, check your eligibility for more than 20 different Canadian immigration programs by taking Moving2Canada’s free Canada Immigration Quiz.

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