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How To Immigrate To Canada As a Social Worker

How To Immigrate To Canada As a Social Worker

Did you know that social workers are one of the top 20 most in-demand jobs in Canada in 2020? Social workers are in high demand in 6 of Canada’s provinces and territories, and as a highly-skilled professional, you could stand to earn between $75,065 and $95,843 per year!

There are not only various immigration options for you to choose from but plenty of job opportunities too. According to Job Bank, in 2018, 73,600 social workers found employment, with new job openings estimated to increase by 28,400 available positions to be filled by 2028!

Jobs in Canada for Social Workers

One of the biggest concerns when moving to Canada is whether or not you will be able to find work. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about jobs in Canada for social workers.

Is There Really a Demand for Social Workers in Canada?

Yes! As mentioned previously, you can immigrate to Canada as an experienced social worker with a high chance of finding employment in 6 out of 11 Canadian provinces. These job opportunities are predominantly found in Canada’s Prairie and Atlantic provinces:

  • Alberta;
  • Manitoba;
  • New Brunswick;
  • Nova Scotia;
  • Ontario;
  • Prince Edward Island;
  • Saskatchewan

Over the next few years, it is estimated that there will be 27,100 new jobs created due to expansion and a need for replacement as well as 28,400 new positions for graduates and immigrants who want to live and work in Canada in the near future.

How Much Do Social Workers Earn in Canada?

Salaries in Canada are very competitive and, according to Neuvoo, as an experienced social worker, you could expect to earn anywhere between $75,065 to $95,843 per year. This, of course, depends on where you choose to settle down in Canada:


Average Annual Salaries for Social Workers in Canada
ProvinceAverage Salary per Year (CAD)
Northwest Territories$86,639
Nova Scotia$78,564
British Columbia$75,065
Newfoundland & Labrador$74,978
New Brunswick$65,747
Prince Edward Island$61,519


Where Do Social Workers Work in Canada?

As a foreign worker, you will be able to find jobs in Canada in hospitals, community health centres, mental health clinics, schools, child welfare, family service and social housing departments, correctional facilities, government department and family courts, employee assistance programs, school boards as well as private counselling and consultation agencies. The employment opportunities are boundless. Below is a list of employment opportunities in social work and services as well as the different National Occupation Classification (NOC) Codes which the Canadian government uses to classify your occupation:


Occupations for Social Workers in Canada
NOC CodeOccupation
0423Managers in social, community and correctional services
4033Educational counsellors
4152Social workers
4153Family, marriage and other related counsellors
4212Social and community service workers


Step 1: Choose Where You Want to Live and Work in Canada

By now you may have some idea of where you are planning to live and work in Canada. This is one of the most important steps to consider as it will help narrow down over 80 different visa or immigration program choices. Once you know where you want to settle down, you can also start looking for jobs in Canada. Having a job before you immigrate will also eliminate the stress of trying to find a job once you land, and will allow you to focus on more important things.

Step 2: Make Sure Your Qualifications Are Recognized

In order to live and work in Canada as a social worker, you will need to have your foreign qualifications accredited and ensure that it is recognised in Canada. An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) confirms that your degree, diploma or certificate is both valid and equal to Canadian standards. This is vital as it will allow you to claim those coveted PR points and may also be requested by your employer and the Canadian immigration services. Below is a list of designated organizations that are permitted to do your assessment:

  • Comparative Education Service – University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies;
  • International Credential Assessment Service of Canada;
  • World Education Services;
  • International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS); and
  • International Credential Evaluation Service.

When you move to Canada and want to start working as a licenced social worker you may need to complete a provincial written and oral examination and will also need to be registered with the relevant regulatory body in your province or territory. Below is a list of medical authorities in each province and territory.


Regulatory Authorities for Social Workers in Canada
Province/TerritoryRegulatory Authority
AlbertaAlberta College of Social Workers
British ColumbiaBritish Columbia College of Social Workers
ManitobaManitoba College of Social Workers
New BrunswickNew Brunswick Association of Social Workers
Newfoundland and LabradorNewfoundland & Labrador Association of Social Workers
Northwest TerritoriesRegistrar, Professional Licensing Government of the Northwest Territories Department of Health and Social Services
Nova ScotiaNova Scotia College of Social Workers
NunavutNunavut Department of Health and Social Services Medical Registration Committee
OntarioOntario College of Social Workers and Social Services
Prince Edward IslandPrince Edward Island Social Work Registration Board
QuébecOrdre des travailleurs sociaux et thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Québec
SaskatchewanSaskatchewan Association of Social Workers
YukonYukon Medical Council


Step 3: Apply for a Job in Canada

As a highly skilled worker, it is not imperative that you have a job to be able to immigrate to Canada but it will make it easier for you to settle in once you arrive as it could take quite some time to find your dream job. It will also help with the immigration process as you could earn between 50 and 200 PR points for a valid job offer.

Step 4: Start the immigration Process

There are many routes you can take to immigrate to Canada as a social worker but we’ve listed the top 4 ways that will give you the greatest chances of success in the application process:

  1. Express Entry system;
  2. Provincial Nominee Program;
  3. The Rural and Northern Immigration Program;
  4. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot.

1. Express Entry

The Express Entry (EE) system is our top choice for immigrating to Canada as a social worker. Not only is it the fastest but it is also one of the simplest ways to immigrate to Canada. With the right age, language skills in French and/or English, qualifications and other criteria you could be moving to Canada in as little as 6 months!

2. Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Program allows skilled and semi-skilled immigrants to live and work in Canada. You will need a valid job offer in Canada of at least 1 year for most immigration streams. 11 provinces and territories have their own PNPs, each with their own with specific labour needs. If you have what your chosen province or territory is looking for, you may receive a provincial nomination, which is worth 600 extra PR points which means that you’re practically a shoo-in for Canadian permanent residence.

3. The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

Seeing as social workers are in-demand in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan you may be eligible to immigrate to Canada through the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP). There are 11 participating communities currently participating in the pilot program, of which three are in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, namely Brandon, Altona/Rhineland and Moose Jaw. You will need a valid job offer in one of the participating communities to be considered eligible to apply for Canadian permanent residency through the RNIP.

4. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot allows intermediate to highly and semi-skilled foreign workers move to Canada’s Atlantic provinces and seeing as social workers are in high need in 3 out of the 4 Atlantic provinces, you may be eligible to apply if you have a valid job offer for at least 1 year.

One comment

  1. Interesting! Am proud to be a social worker, buh find it bit financially down to sponsor myself to Canada as to continue my profession and become a permanent resident. Any support to push forward?

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