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October 2, 2023

How to immigrate to Canada as a transport worker

This past week, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) conducted its first-ever Express Entry category-based draw for transport occupations.

This comes as Canada takes another step towards addressing areas of the national labour market with some of this country’s most notable employment gaps and shortages.

Why Transport occupations were chosen as an Express Entry category

The six categories chosen for Express Entry category-based selection are made up of occupations chosen based on the employment industries where there are significant shortages in the Canadian labour market.

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Part of this decision process also involved IRCC consultations with government partners, provincial and territorial governments and other national stakeholders.

Throughout these consultations, “trades, transport and equipment operations and related occupations were viewed as the sector experiencing the greatest needs by around 16% of respondents.”

Occupations eligible for category-based selection in the Transport category

The following 10 occupations are eligible for the transport occupation category under Express Entry:

  • Aircraft assemblers and aircraft assembly inspectors
  • Transport truck drivers
  • Railway traffic controllers and marine traffic regulators
  • Engineer officers, water transport
  • Deck officers, water transport
  • Air traffic controllers and related occupations
  • Air pilots, flight engineers and flying instructors
  • Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors
  • Railway car men/women
  • Managers in transportation

Options to immigrate to Canada as a transport worker

Beyond Express Entry category-based selection, the following will outline several other ways that transport workers can explore immigration to Canada.

Standard Express Entry Draw

While category-based draws are a specific way for those with work experience in transport occupations to come to Canada, these individuals are also eligible for immigration to this country via standard Express Entry draws.

These draws, which prioritize a candidate’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score rather than their specific employment experience, consider immigration applications from three economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).

To apply for Canadian immigration via Express Entry, a potential candidate must self-evaluate if they are eligible for one of the three programs indicated above.

At this time, eligible candidates can upload a profile onto the IRCC website and wait for a decision.

So-called “standard” Express Entry draws use a points-based system to rank candidate profiles against one another. Your profile will be assigned a score and ranked alongside all other candidates in the pool.

Candidates with a CRS score above the draw cut-off will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) during a standard Express Entry draw, which will allow ITA recipients to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

Note: ITA recipients will have 60 days from the date they receive their invitation to submit a finalized application to IRCC

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and more

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are operated by the local governments in 11 of Canada’s 13 total provinces and territories (excluding Quebec and Nunavut). Other ways that transport workers can immigrate to Canada include the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP). More on the AIP and RNIP to follow.

The above programs allow any province or territory that operates these initiatives to select skilled workers that the local government feels would best help address local job market gaps. These individuals will then receive an invitation to immigrate to that province/territory from the local government.

Accordingly, in the case of transport occupations, immigration candidates who apply to a program operated in a region with a particularly large labour gap in the transport occupations industry would put themselves in a good position to be selected for immigration to Canada.

Other federal and provincial options

The AIP is a program that encourages immigration to the four provinces that make up “Atlantic Canada” – Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, or Prince Edward Island. In short, the AIP helps local employers find foreign talent that they can hire to help fill their labour market gaps and simultaneously helps newcomers to the region with their transition to life in this country by giving them a formulated settlement plan for when they arrive in Canada.

Click here to learn more about the AIP, including eligibility and proof of funds requirements.

The RNIP is a “community-driven” immigration initiative that currently has 11 participating communities across Canada. Through this immigration program, “participating communities take the lead in attracting new immigrants and matching them with local job vacancies, promoting a welcoming community, and connecting newcomers to established members of the community and local settlement services.”

This page provides more information about the RNIP.


In addition to the above programs, Quebec also has several popular immigration pathways that transport workers can explore to immigrate to Canada’s only majority French-speaking region.

These include Quebec’s Regular Skilled Workers Program (QSWP) and the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ).

Briefly, the QSWP is a program that invites immigration candidates interested in settling across this province to submit an expression of interest (EOI) form through an online portal. Like the Canadian federal government’s FSWP, the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) regularly selects people from the QSWP’s candidate pool and invites them to apply for permanent residence in Quebec.

Meanwhile, the PEQ is a program that provides a fast-track way for foreign graduates (of a post-secondary institution in Quebec) and individuals with work experience in Quebec to obtain a Quebec selection certificate. This selection certificate is mandatory for permanent residence in this province.

To learn more about these programs, please visit the appropriate page hyperlink above.

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