Few months ago I was participating in the IEC (International Experience Canada) contest in the category of WH (Working Holiday). I got the opportunity to visit Canada at the end. However, the contest is about my job permit and 1-year visa only.

The question is:
Can I work as a web developer in Canada?
I care about two cases:

  1. Working as a freelancer while being in Canada;
  2. A company hires me for a full-time job in Canada.

I am about to search for my job in Canada, but I am not so sure if there is a point of doing that. My education level (my university degree isn`t finished, I dropped out) and the job I would like to do (I am web developer: PHP, MySQL, sometimes HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.) seems to mismatch in requirements of Government of Canada ( http://www.cic.gc.ca ).

There are usually no problems with job entry papers if I show my Zend PHP Engineer certificate or Microsoft Professional in Europe. However, Canada seems to be different because of my findings...

My findings:

  1. I find out that "Web developer" falls under the category of "Skill Level A". This is what I found about "Skill level A" education requirements:

These occupations require a university degree (bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate). For example, such occupations would include physicians, nurses, pharmacists, engineers, etc.
Source: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?q=661&t=6

  1. Another place states this:

Skill Level A — professional jobs. People usually need a degree from a university for these jobs. examples: doctors, dentists, architects
Source: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/noc.asp

  1. And after all:

Employment requirements:
A bachelor's degree, usually in computer science, communications or business
or Completion of a college program in computer science, graphic arts, Web design or business is required.
Experience as a computer programmer or graphic designer is usually required.
Source: http://www5.hrsdc.gc.ca/NOC/English/NOC/2011/ProfileQuickSearch.aspx?val=2&val1=2175&val65=*

  • 1
    I think first you need to check immigration laws. Just because you want to work in Canada, it doesn't mean Canada will let you.
    – Scott
    Jan 19, 2016 at 18:41
  • I don't think programmer is Skill Type A. It classifies more as B or even C. It only takes a college/technical kind of degree to be programmer in Canada in most provinces but there's engineering programs also offered in universities. Depends where you go. Probably less "severe" than Europe regarding degrees in some areas actually. Also, very different to ask for visa or to become resident; check your eligibility. Even without degrees you can still be accepted and then you can get hired or do freelance, it's up to you: cic.gc.ca/ctc-vac/getting-started.asp
    – go-junta
    Jan 20, 2016 at 13:21
  • @SOIA Maybe I was not clear enough. I already got the letter from Citizenship and Immigration Canada saying: "Your application to study or work in Canada has been approved. Your study or work permit will be issued to you upon arrival in Canada, subject to your compliance with the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its Regulations. It will allow you to study or work in Canada for a temporary period only."
    – Paulius
    Jan 27, 2016 at 12:56
  • @go-junta Programmer is Skill Type A according to cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/noc.asp
    – Paulius
    Jan 27, 2016 at 12:58
  • 1
    I understand you've been accepted through immigration. My point is that you're asking a bunch of freelancers what immigration allows when you should be asking immigration what is allowed. It is somewhat haphazard to ask users here to interpret immigration policies. Why not ask the source directly?
    – Scott
    Jan 27, 2016 at 19:09

1 Answer 1


Based on my experience (from 2003 or 2004)...

  1. Working as a freelancer while being in Canada;

This is the point system that you refer to. The languages you speak, your skills being from a recognised educational establishment, your age, your health, and any infractions with the law you might have had in any country you have lived all add up.

  1. A company hires me for a full-time job in Canada.

A Canadian employer only need prove they have advertised for and failed to find a Canadian candidate. They must offer market wage. (As reference: I left school at 18 without any third level education and they approved my work permit - they approved my permit based on application/paperwork, without an interview too).

Lastly... What @Scott says in the comments section of your OP is very valid - Go ask the source - Canadian Immigration are very approachable. They are not out to "trap you". If you screw up and work for someone illegally, saying you asked on an online forum, or that you talked to your employer or even that you talked to a lawyer is NOT an acceptable excuse. The only valid answer is one from Immigration.

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