Immigration

How to Immigrate to Canada as a Social Worker

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Did you know that Social Workers are one of the top 20 most in-demand occupations in Canada in 2020? Social workers are in high demand in 6 provinces and territories in Canada, and as a highly skilled professional you can earn between $75,065 and $95,843 per year! Not only are there several immigration options, but there are also plenty of job opportunities for you.

According to Job Bank, 73,600 social workers found employment in 2018, and it is estimated that the number of new positions to be filled will increase by 28,400 by 2028!

Jobs in Canada for Social Workers

One of the biggest concerns when moving to Canada is whether or not you will find a job. 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 earlier, you can immigrate to Canada as an experienced social worker and have a good chance of finding employment in 6 of Canada’s 11 provinces. These employment opportunities are mainly found in the Prairie and Atlantic provinces of Canada:

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

Over the next few years, an estimated 27,100 new jobs will be created due to expansion and replacement needs, and 28,400 new jobs will be created for graduates and immigrants who plan to live and work in Canada in the near future.

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How Much Do Social Workers Earn in Canada?

Salaries in Canada are very competitive, and according to Neuvoo, you can expect to earn between $75,065 and $95,843 per year as an experienced social worker. Of course, this depends on where you settle in Canada:

Average Annual Salaries for Social Workers in Canada
Province Average Salary per Year (CAD)
Alberta $95,843
Northwest Territories $86,639
Yukon $86,540
Ontario $79,911
Nova Scotia $78,564
Nunavut $76,437
British Columbia $75,065
Newfoundland & Labrador $74,978
Saskatchewan $71,911
Quebec $67,543
New Brunswick $65,747
Prince Edward Island $61,519
Manitoba $54,832

Where do Social Workers Work in Canada?

As a foreign worker, you can find work in Canada in hospitals, community health centers, mental health clinics, schools, child welfare, family service and social housing agencies, correctional facilities, government agencies and family courts, employee assistance programs, school boards, and private counseling agencies. The employment opportunities are limitless. Below is a list of social work and social service employment opportunities and the various National Occupation Classification (NOC) codes that the Canadian government uses to classify your occupation:

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

How Do I Become a Social Worker in Canada?

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

By now, you may already have an idea of where you want to live and work in Canada. This is one of the most important steps to consider, as it will help you narrow down your choices from over 80 different visas or immigration programs. Once you know where you want to settle, you can also start looking for a job in Canada. If you already have a job before you immigrate, it also eliminates the stress associated with finding a job after you arrive and allows you to focus on more important things.

Step 2: Make Sure Your Qualifications Are Recognized

To live and work in Canada as a social worker, you must have your foreign qualifications accredited and ensure that they are recognized in Canada. An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) confirms that your degree, diploma or certificate is valid and meets Canadian standards. This is critical as it allows you to apply for the coveted PR points and may also be required by your employer and Canadian Immigration. Below is a list of approved organizations that may administer your exam:

  • 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.

If you want to move to Canada and work as a licensed social worker, you may need to pass a written and oral examination and be registered with the appropriate regulatory body in your province or territory. Below is a list of the medical boards in each province and territory.

Regulatory Authorities for Social Workers in Canada
Province/Territory Regulatory Authority
Alberta Alberta College of Social Workers
British Columbia British Columbia College of Social Workers
Manitoba Manitoba College of Social Workers
New Brunswick New Brunswick Association of Social Workers
Newfoundland and Labrador Newfoundland & Labrador Association of Social Workers
Northwest Territories Registrar, Professional Licensing Government of the Northwest Territories Department of Health and Social Services
Nova Scotia Nova Scotia College of Social Workers
Nunavut Nunavut Department of Health and Social Services Medical Registration Committee
Ontario Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Services
Prince Edward Island Prince Edward Island Social Work Registration Board
Québec Ordre des travailleurs sociaux et thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Québec
Saskatchewan Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers
Yukon Yukon Medical Council

Step 3: Apply for a Job in Canada

As a highly skilled worker, you don’t necessarily have to have a job to immigrate to Canada, but it will make it easier for you to settle in once you arrive, as it may take some time to find your dream job. It will also make the immigration process easier, as you can receive between 50 and 200 PR points for a valid job offer.

Step 4: Start the immigration Process

There are many paths you can take to immigrate to Canada as a social worker, but we’ve listed the top 4 options that will give you the greatest chance 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 first choice for immigration to Canada as a social worker. It is not only the fastest, but also one of the easiest ways to immigrate to Canada. With the right age, language skills in French and/or English, qualifications and other criteria, you can move 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. Most immigration streams require a valid offer of employment in Canada of at least one year. 11 provinces and territories have their own PNP programs, each with specific labour requirements. If you meet the requirements that the province or territory of your choice is looking for, you can receive a provincial nomination worth 600 additional PR points, which means you are virtually a shoo-in for permanent residency in Canada.

3. The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

Since there is a great need for social workers in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan, you may be eligible for immigration to Canada under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP). There are currently 11 communities participating in this pilot program, three of which 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 in order to apply for permanent residence in Canada under the RNIP.

4. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program allows foreign workers with medium to high skills to move to Canada’s Atlantic provinces. Since there is a high demand for social workers in three of the four Atlantic provinces, you may be eligible to apply if you have a valid job offer for at least one year.

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