Federal Skilled Worker VS PNP

Hello! I'm very eager to relocate to Canada however, I'm not sure how to go about applying for immigration.
I'm hoping you could help me to have a better understanding of what my options are.

I recently took a free online assessment on Canadavisa.com and my results showed that the best way for me to become eligible for immigration to Canada would be either to: 1.) apply as a Federal Skilled Worker or 2.) under a Provincial Nomination Program.
Unfortunately, my current job does not fall under any of the qualifying occupations of the Federal Skilled Worker category.
On the other hand, PNP seems to offer mostly blue collar jobs such as cleaners, waiters, housekeeping staff etc.

I currently work for an airline under the Supervisory Department. My main functions are to act as the Secretary to the General Manager and perform personnel and general administrative duties for the company.

My questions are as follows:
1. Since I fall neither under the "skilled" nor "unskilled" category, to what class do I belong? Is it best for me to apply for PNP since the Federal Skilled Program is for people with doctorates?
2. I just turned 21 this year. Since I graduated quite recently, I only have one year and three months of (continuous) paid work experience. I know experience is a must in applying for immigration. Most jobs I viewed online that are similar to my current position require at least 3-5 years experience. My question is, considering my limited experience, how probable is it for me to land a job in Canada?
3. I was told in my online assessment that it is best for me to get a full-time job offer in Canada in order for me to apply for immigration. My concern is that most, if not all employers in Canada prioritize their citizens or people with work permits. So what would you suggest is the best way to find a job offer?
What should be done first? Move to Canada AND THEN find a job? Or find a job AND THEN move?

I'd like to reiterate that I am VERY eager to move and am hoping you could help shed some light on how to do it.

Thank you in advance for your time.

All the best,

Riley Haas

Staff member
Hi Alex,
I'm sorry for the delay in replying to you.

To respond to your questions:
1. Actually, if you fall under 'office assistant' (NOC 1411), then you are a skilled worker. You may have been looking at the occupations that allow people to immigrate through the Federal Skilled Worker program (FSW) without a job offer. In terms of whether the FSW is better or a PNP, that depends on lots of factors, including where you want to live, where you can find your job offer, whether or not your employer can get a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) for that community, etc.
2. Everybody in Canada wants experience these days. But you should understand that the required experience listed in the job ad is almost always significantly higher than what the company is willing to settle for. Your bigger problem is the LMO. Unfortunately there are many, many Canadians looking for and willing to do office admin. Your best bet is to look for communities where there are shortages and target employers there.
3. You should find a job before moving to Canada, however that is very difficult, obviously. One option is to visit here and try to network (you absolutely cannot work on your visitor visa, FYI) but that is expensive. Unfortunately you are not eligible for the working holiday program, otherwise I would recommend that to you. Do you know anyone in Canada you could use to network for you?

I hope this information is helpful.

Hello Mr. Haas.

Thank you for the prompt response.

FYI, I'm really not picky about choosing where in Canada to live. I'd be happy anywhere.

I heard about the news regarding the "Express Entry" program set to take effect in 2015. New jobs have been added to the list of FSW occupations being accepted. Two items that caught my eye were "HR Manager" and "Purchasing Manager."
As I've said before, I perform personnel and general administrative duties. I'm in charge of timekeeping, payroll computation and all personnel concerns. I'm also in charge of purchasing supplies/equipment, coordinating with external vendors, budgeting, inventory of fixed assets etc. The person formerly in charge of all these duties retired recently. The company decided to give me her functions but I don't have her title. So I don't exactly have a "managerial" position even though I pretty much have the functions thereof. Please, I have absolutely no intention of sounding sullen or whine-y about this. I'm really just curious-- In your opinion, do I stand a chance in applying for the Express Entry even though they specified "Human Resources MANAGER" and "Purchasing MANAGER?"
And how difficult would it be to get an LMO for the said positions?

Also, regarding your suggestions in your earlier message, how do you suppose I find communities with shortages in my position? Is there a certain site you could recommend for such?

Actually one perk of working for an airline is the cheap tickets. I intend to visit Canada later this year on a tourist visa. While on vacation, how would you suggest I start networking? Are there certain companies/placement offices that could help me out?
Someone told me it might be helpful if I applied for a US visa. She said it could make applying for a job in Canada easier. I honestly don't understand how it could help. But maybe you would have an idea of what she meant?

Thank you again, Sir, for your time.

Appreciate it,

Riley Haas

Staff member
Hi Alex,
The 'Express Entry' program is brand new, as you said, and because of that, nobody will be really sure how it works until it starts. (This is the way of CIC, unfortunately. There are the stated rules and regulations, and then there is how the program works in practice and the two are not always identical.)
Again, the occupation list you are referring to for FSW is for occupations that do not require a job offer (and therefore, no LMO). People who qualify can just immigrate to Canada and get their job later. I don't think you would qualify as a "manager" specifically because you would have to have direct reports. However, that does not mean that you do not qualify for the FSW or the Express Entry part of it. You can still apply, you will just need a job offer first (supported by an LMO).
So, as you said, traveling here to network would be the best way of going about doing this. Unfortunately I do not know of the demands throughout the country. This is something an expert in hiring or employment trends would have to answer. But you can take a look at workingincanada.gc.ca which will give you some idea of what salaries are like where, for your potential occupations (and that helps figure out where there is demand - the higher the salary the greater the demand in that area).
As for finding a job:
  • www.jobbank.gc.ca/ is the government's site and is handy as it lists many, many jobs;
  • http://www.indeed.ca is a job site aggregator, meaning that it has job ads from Monster, Workopolis and many other less-famous job ad sites all in one place;
  • a headhunter / employment agency would give you expert assistance - unfortunately I cannot recommend one in particular, but I would try googling 'Canadian headhunter' and contact a few of them (if they are legitimate) either before you visit or while you are here.
My vote would be for the headhunter / placement agency route, and if you can, stopping by in person. However, you'd have to pick where you'd want to go first, and that is difficult. As a non-expert, I would say that there are more jobs in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan than there are anywhere else, but this is just general.
Finally, as to the US visa question, I have no idea what that person was talking about. If you were in the US on a visitor visa, I don't see how that would make you more qualified, the only thing it might affect is the processing time of your application (and it might affect that positively or negatively). And there surely is no point in going through the long process of getting US permanent residence if your goal is to get Canadian permanent residence.
I hope this helps. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful with the job offer problem.