Can I qualify for Express Entry if I am a low wage / low skill worker in Canada?


Here is one of the most common questions I get related to Express Entry:

I am a foreign worker in Canada since 2013 and am currently working in Canada on a low-skill / low wage work permit. Can I qualify for the Express Entry program?

Well, the short answer is likely no…at least if the only work experience you have is at a low skill level. The express entry program has been reserved for foreign workers with skilled work experience.

Although the labor market impact assessment process now uses a high wage, low wage classification system for determining how work permits are going to be issued, when it comes to permanent residence, they still go by the old high skill low skill classification. So if your work permit is issued as say a food service supervisor, or some type of a supervisor within construction, or other industry, those occupations are still considered skilled. So in the case of this individual who has been in Canada since 2013, it is possible that maybe their employer might be able to promote them to a skilled position within the company and then after acquiring the minimum one year of skilled work experience, Express Entry may be possible.

However, it is important to note that just because your wage may be classified as a lower wage for the purposes of the LMIA process, you could still find yourself reaching the threshold to quality under express entry if your position is classified as skilled within the 2011 NOC.

Stay tuned for future blogs on Express Entry and a wide variety of other Canadian immigration topics.

And don’t forget to sign up for our “Canadian Immigration Podcast” also available for download on iTunes.

Mark Holthe
Immigration Lawyer
Stringam LLP

Mark is an x-immigration officer with Citizenship and Immigration Canada having worked on the Canada/US border. He is a past Executive Member of the National Immigration Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association and Immediate Past-Chair of the Alberta South Immigration Section of the CBA. He is a frequent speaker and educator on Canadian Immigration Law and Policy and regularly offers seminars and workshops to lawyers, consultants, and human resource personal related to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the transitioning of foreign workers to permanent resident status in Canada.

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