Canadian Immigration for Lawyers – Your Complete Guide for 2021

Wonder if immigrating to Canada as a lawyer would be a good idea? Hesitate no more! Canada has a lot to offer for lawyers and, what's more, Canada wants more lawyers. Keep reading to find out why and how to immigrate to Canada as a lawyer.

17 Aug 2021, 1:54 pm

7

min read

Canadian Immigration for Lawyers

Are you a foreign national who studied law and you’re interested in practicing law in Canada?  You couldn’t make a better decision! Lawyers are one of the many in demand jobs that Canada needs right now to fill the shortages in the labor market, it falls under the NOC 4112 category.

How to Immigrate to Canada as a Laywer?

Since Canada wants to welcome lawyers, immigration for these professionals is relatively easy. Let’s have a closer look at how it works.

Immigration Programs for Lawyers

There are several immigration pathways to Canada open to lawyers:

Express Entry

The Express Entry system was created to fast-track applications from Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program and the Canadian Experience Class.

Express Entry is a very simple and efficient process.

Interested applicants who meet the qualifications need to create a profile online and select their program of choice. The profiles are ranked and scored based on:

  • Age
  • Education (In and outside Canada)
  • Work Experience (In and outside Canada)
  • Arranged employment
  • Language proficiency (English and French)
  • Provincial Nomination achieved
  • Siblings living in Canada as permanent residents/citizens
  • Spouse’s profile (if married)

The highest ranked candidates are selected to apply for permanent residency. With work experience, lawyers are very likely to rank high.

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

This is a great program if you there is a specific province you wish to settle in. It is also one of the quickest and most efficient ways of coming into Canada.

Each province has its own PNP requirements and streams so if this pathway is of interest to you, you need to first determine where in Canada you wish to live.

Once you’ve decided look at the different streams and see what you’re best suited for. For example, B.C. has Skills Immigration and Express Entry B.C. streams; Ontario has Human Capital and Employer Job Offer streams.

If you score well when applying, you will likely receive a provincial nomination followed eventually by an Invitation to Apply (ITA) from IRCC.

Atlantic Immigration Pilot

This program is very similar in theory to the PNP and targets labour shortages in the Atlantic provinces; Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.

Canadian Experience Class

For any lawyers already living and working in Canada, the CEC is the perfect program.

Chances are high they will get selected this year, if they haven’t already. Because of the pandemic, IRCC has been focusing on issuing invitations to individuals already living in Canada.

Immigration from Other English-Speaking Countries

Language can be a huge barrier to how easily you assimilate and find success in your career. It is therefore no surprise that candidates from other English-speaking countries often choose to immigrate to Canada.

Are you a lawyer in the United States, United Kingdom or Australia and considering a move to Canada?

Thankfully, your law degree will not go to waste and you a little bit of work you will easily be able to pick up right where you left off.

When coming to Canada from the US, UK or Australia, the process to practice law is a little simpler since the educational system is similar across the four countries. However, even the most trained lawyers are required to complete an application with the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA).

The NCA will establish your baseline qualifications and you will be told whether you can write equivalency exams or start from scratch.

There are five specific NCA exams that all foreign lawyers who wish to practice in Canada must write and pass:

  • Principles of Canadian Administrative Law
  • Canadian Constitutional Law
  • Canadian Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Foundations of Canadian Law
  • Canadian Professional Responsibility

Once the Certificate of Qualification from the NCA is received, you have to go through at least one year of articling and then pass the Canadian Bar.

The process is not complicated but it will take a few years before you are established as Canadian lawyer.

There are some exceptions to these requirements, for instance if you are working for a global law firm that have offices in Canada and they are open to waiving some of the requirements. However, because laws are different in every country, studying and passing the appropriate Canadian exams are important as they will help you be more successful.

Work as a Lawyer in Canada

So we look at how immigration to Canada works for lawyers. But why would a lawyer choose Canada? Let’s see.

Why Would Lawyers Enjoy Life in Canada?

Canada is a top immigration destinations with plans to welcome over 1.2 million newcomers into the country over the next three years.

 A lawyer in Canada is a very prestigious career and depending on the type of law they practice; a lawyer can easily make over $300,000 a year. The average salary of a lawyer is around $135,000 annually.

The requirements for practicing law in Canada do vary province by province but the first step is to have your foreign education credentials recognized in Canada. Your academic transcripts will be required and your language proficiency will also be tested. A minimum IELTS score of 7 is required in English or French. Once you get through these steps, you will have to pass the Canadian bar exam.

How to Find a Job in Canada

With technology where it’s at today, it has become extremely easy to search for a job, whether you’re living in Canada or somewhere else.

Legal jobs in Canada for foreign workers is not difficult to find. The process can be time consuming however. As a lawyer, networking is very important. Check out LinkedIn for common connections, introductions and career opportunities.

If you do a good job during your articling, your law firm will likely have opportunities or contacts for you as well.

The CBA Legal Career Centre is a great place to look for legal positions. Recruitment firms like ZSA are also a fantastic option. They will be able to find positions suited to your qualifications and skills.

Immigration for Lawyers to Canada

Whichever option you choose, make sure your CV and resume are always up to date, formatted in the Canadian way and that all your paperwork is in order. If you feel stuck, get professional help. First impression is a lasting impression! So make sure it’s a good one.

For specific questions regarding your situation, we suggest contacting an immigration agency or an RCIC and letting them guide you through your journey to Canada.

Where to Find Help with Immigration?

Immigrating to Canada is simple in theory but navigating the myriad of forms can be challenging and complex. The simplest thing you can do is talk to a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC).

You may have a look at the list of  top Recommended Canadian Immigration Consultants . Canada2036 has put this list together based on extensive research, customer testimonials, and other vetting methods.

RCICs may help you figure out the best program and pathway so you can come to Canada as quickly as possible and help you find a job at the same time.

If living and working in one of the best countries in the world sounds like a dream you want to pursue, don’t hesitate to start the process.

Canada needs more lawyers and you could be one of them!

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The child of immigrant parents, I came to Canada when I was just five years old. I used to volunteer at an immigration resource centre and now work for the Canadian Federal Government. Writing is my passion and I hope my words can provide some help to a new immigrant or someone considering a move to Canada.

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