Immigrate To Canada As An Architect: All You Need To Know

Immigrate To Canada As An Architect: All You Need To Know
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Canada has a major demand for architects – and that means many Canada jobs for foreign nationals to gain their permanent residence under occupation-targeted Express Entry draws.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced earlier this year that Canada’s Express Entry system will begin targeting 82 jobs in healthcare, technology, trades, transport and agriculture this summer – including architects.

Foreign nationals educated as architects will now be able to immigrate to Canada under these occupation-targeted draws. The flagship Express Entry selection system has previously only conducted draws based on immigration programs, not by targeting specific occupations.

Former Immigration Minister Sean Fraser is hoping this new approach will help Canadian employers resolve labour shortages.

“Everywhere I go, I’ve heard loud and clear from employers across the country who are experiencing chronic labour shortages,” said Fraser.

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“These changes to the Express Entry system will ensure that they have the skilled workers they need to grow and succeed. We can also grow our economy and help businesses with labour shortages while also increasing the number of French-proficient candidates to help ensure the vitality of French-speaking communities.”

Job Bank, the federal job-hunting and career-planning website, is forecasting the existing shortage of architects in Canada will persist over the coming nine years despite there being more newcomers to the field than there will be jobs created during that period.

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“For architects, over the period 2022 – 2031, new job openings arising from expansion demand and replacement demand are expected to total 5,400, while 5,700 new job seekers arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility are expected to be available to fill them.

“The labour shortage conditions seen in recent years is expected to persist into the 2022 – 2031 period.”

Demand For Architectural Services Only Grew During The Covid-19 Pandemic

Demand for architects is certainly high – and rising. Canadian Architect reported last year that architectural services actually rose during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Revenue for architectural services has risen 15.4 per cent, surpassing pre-pandemic levels … Much of this growth can be accounted for by residential construction (which hit an all-time high in 2021), as well as business and public investment in non-residential buildings,” reported the magazine for architects and related professionals.

Last year, Regulatory Organizations of Architecture in Canada (ROAC) released poll results which showed Canadians are increasingly turning to architects to help resolve outstanding issues affecting city-dwellers.

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“Canada’s communities are facing unprecedented challenges,” noted Lisa Landrum, a member of the Rise for Architecture committee, “And we now have confirmation that Canadians want architects to help solve issues like housing affordability, equity and inclusion, and the climate crisis.”

Job Bank is forecasting the job prospects for architects to be very good, its highest rating, in Saskatchewan, Quebec and Ontario during the next three years. The career-planning website ranks architects’ job prospects as good in British Columbia and Manitoba and as moderate in Alberta and Nova Scotia during that same time period.

There were 198 job listings for architects, categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system with the code 21200, posted on Job Bank in July, some of them from employers hoping to hire more than one employee .


Most of the jobs for architects listed in July were in Ontario and Quebec.

In Canada, the median hourly wage for architects is $36.06 but that varies from a low of $24 right up to $60, reveals Job Bank.

Based on a standard, 37.5-hour work week, that means architects could expect to earn a top median annual income of $117,000.

Under the changes announced at the end of May, the Express Entry streams, including the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, Federal Skilled Trades (FST) program and Canadian Experience Class (CEC), as well as parts of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) will now be more responsive to labour market needs.

Occupation-Targeted Draw Candidates Will Need Six Months Of Work Experience

Candidates will need at least six months of continuous work experience in Canada or abroad within the past three years in one of these occupations to be eligible, experience that can have been gained while working in Canada as temporary foreign workers with a work permits or as an international student with a student visa.

Canada first signalled its intention to start occupation-specific draws through Express Entry in June last year, when changes were made to the Immigration, Refugee and Protection Act to allow invitations based on occupations and other attributes, such as language ability.

The majority of Canada’s provinces have been issuing occupation-specific invitations for several years.

Under the changes to the act, the immigration minister is required to consult provinces and territories, members of industry, unions, employers, workers, worker advocacy groups, settlement provider organizations, and immigration researchers and practitioners, before announcing new categories.

IRCC must also report to parliament each year on the categories that were chosen and the reason for the choices.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) says the number of occupations facing shortages doubled between 2019 and 2021. From 2018 to 2022, federal high skilled admissions accounted for between 34 and 40 per cent of overall French-speaking admissions outside Quebec, which manages its own immigration intake.

Are you ready to live and work in Canada? Fill out our free evaluation form to find out if you are eligible.

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.