About federal immigration programs

Learn about Canada’s immigration programs. Find out how you can access and hire foreign workers to meet your labour needs when you are not able to find Canadians or permanent residents to fill job vacancies.

Several federal programs help foreign workers with job offers, and who have certain skills and credentials, to gain permanent residence or immigrate to Canada. The Express Entry system manages applications for permanent residence under most of these federal economic immigration programs.

How Express Entry Works

In the Express Entry system, Canada chooses skilled immigrants to receive Invitations to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence based on their ability to settle in Canada and take part in our economy. Applicants who apply to become permanent residents receive permits to work in Canada. Express Entry has two steps:

  1. Applicants complete an online Express Entry profile to provide information about their skills, work experience, language ability, education and other details. Those who meet the criteria of one of the federal immigration programs listed above will be accepted into a pool of candidates. Applicants can use the Come to Canada online tool to see if they meet the criteria to get into the Express Entry pool.
  2. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada uses the information in the profiles to rank applicants, based on points awarded in different categories. Candidates are awarded points for having a job offer, certain skills and experience or a provincial nomination. Applicants with the highest scores receive an ITA for permanent residence.

When you want to hire workers who are not Canadian residents, you may be able to help them enter Canada by making job offers ahead of time. A job offer that is supported by a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), a determination that there are no qualified Canadians to fill a job opening, receive extra points.

Employers can use their existing recruiting and hiring practices to find a candidate. Employers can reach newcomers already in Canada, including refugees, through Canada’s Job Bank, as well as private sector job boards and, in some cases, through Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).

The Employer Liaison Network (ELN) helps employers to use the Express Entry system efficiently.

Learn more about the Express Entry system.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program allows employers to hire foreign workers to fill temporary labour and skill shortages. It is not part of the Express Entry system, but it can be a step toward permanent residence in Canada.