Filipino Immigration To Canada

Canada’s issues with an ageing population have opened many opportunities for various immigrants. This state of affairs engenders demand in the areas of healthcare and hospitality- two sectors that the Canadian government struggles to fill.

This is where Filipinos come in. From nurses to caregivers, the Philippines has been one of Canada’s go-to countries for immigration. The Philippines has been one of Canada’s leading sources of registered nurses, mental health professionals, and home caregivers.

This began in the 1970s when Ottawa and Manila entered into a “labour export” agreement. The results of the agreement led to the influx of thousands of Philippine-trained nurses to Canada. Now, Filipinos make up at least one-third of Canada’s population of foreign-trained nurses. As well, the lion’s share of Canada’s caregiving population consists of Filipinos.

Filipino professionals from other sectors like IT and hospitality have also begun to populate Canada’s diverse workforce. This is thanks to the immigration programs of Express Entry, as well as the streams of various Provincial Nominee Programs.

With a sizable Filipino diaspora, Canada remains to be the ideal destination for Filipinos.

Are you thinking of immigrating? Canada may just be the right fit for you. If you are eligible, you might just find yourself being part of Canada’s third-largest non-European community.

What Advantages Do You Have As A Filipino Immigrant In Canada?

Every immigrant contributes in his or her way to Canada. As a Filipino, you would have certain things going in your favour. These advantages might also make you desirable in the eyes of the Canadian government and potential employers.

English Language Proficiency

The British Council is one of the administrating bodies of the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). The administering body holds the IELTS exam in the Philippines monthly.

Over the years, the British Council has made numerous observations about the English language proficiency of Filipino test takers.

According to the organization, the average Filipino IELTS test taker scores at least 6.0 to 6.5 in the test. Measured against the Canadian Language Benchmark, this score is equal to a high intermediate level. Numerically, an IELTS score of 6 to 6.5 is equal to CLB 7- the requirement for all programs of Express Entry.

This could indicate the overall English language acumen of the average Filipino. 

As a Filipino English speaker, you might be able to meet Canada’s requirement for English language proficiency. Your edge in this area could also benefit you outside your application.

As English is the official language for nearly all parts of Canada, you may not experience too many obstacles in communication. This could potentially go a long way in establishing relationships with Canadians and job hunting.

Flexibility And Adaptability

Anecdotally and factually, Filipinos could be found in numerous parts of the world outside Canada. Filipinos in the hospitality sector abound in the Middle East. Those in healthcare and elderly care are in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom.

The numerous Filipino diasporas in many parts of the world prove how well Filipinos acclimatize to a foreign land. Flexibility is a Filipino characteristic. It is one that you may have likely inherited (namana), learned (natutunan), and trained (nakasanayan).

This characteristic could be helpful to you in Canada as you interact with its culturally diverse population.

A Growing Filipino Community

growing community of filipinos in canada

In 2016, it was discovered that more than 837,130 Filipinos became part of the Canadian population.

Also, it seems that many Filipinos tend to favour certain provinces over others. Before 2016, most Filipinos immigrated to either Ontario or British Columbia. Nowadays, Filipinos could be found in clusters in the Maritimes and the Prairies. Even the territories in Canada’s North see their fair share of “Pinoy” newcomers.

The ubiquity of Filipinos in Canada could help you overcome your feelings of isolation and loneliness. The growing Filipino population means that you could bump into your kabayan in almost any part of Canada.

What Are Some Of The Best Immigration Programs For Filipinos

For years, Filipinos have become permanent residents of Canada through several skilled worker programs. As well, the various streams of the different Provincial Nominee Programs have helped Filipinos come to Canada.

Sponsorships have also allowed family members to move to Canada from the Philippines. Due to the family-orientedness of Filipinos, family sponsorships are also seen as a way to permanent residence in Canada.

Here are some of the tried-and-tested programs for you if you want to immigrate to Canada from the Philippines.

Express Entry

For any immigrant, one of the main deterrents of immigration is the processing time of visas. Through Express Entry, you may be a permanent resident of Canada in six to nine months.

The Federal Express Entry system is the IRCC’s way of managing permanent resident applications online. Through it, the IRCC assesses the eligibility of applicants and invites those who are qualified to apply for permanent residence.

Applicants are selected based on meeting certain eligibility requirements. There are requirements for language skills, education, work experience, and adaptability.

The Express Entry system has three immigration programs for which you could potentially be eligible:

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Canada’s provinces and territories have taken steps to attract immigrants by facilitating their permanent residence applications.

Provincial nominee programs give eligible and qualified applicants a chance to be permanent residents of a province or territory. A province nominates qualified applicants to the IRCC for permanent residence. These nominations could help greatly in ensuring the success of an application.

Filipinos have immigrated to their desired provinces through the PNP. Unlike some of the requirements for Express Entry immigration, some of the requirements to qualify for a provincial nomination can be easier to meet for some.

For example, the Express Entry system’s FSTP requires a valid job offer from a Canadian employer. This job offer must be for a full-time position. It must also pass ESDC’s Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The LMIA at the time of writing costs about 1,000.00 CAD so some employers might hesitate to issue job offers.

In contrast, PNPs like the Saskatchewan PNP and the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) have streams for applicants that lack a valid job offer.

In other words, you could still apply for permanent residence through these PNPs without a job offer.

Also, a provincial nomination adds 600 CRS points to your application. Since the visa application process in Canada is points-based, a nomination may almost guarantee your success.

Family And Spousal Sponsorship

family and spousal sponsorship for filipinos in canada

In an article released online by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, it was mentioned that the Filipino presence in Canada grows with each generation.

Here is what usually occurs:

A mother immigrates to Canada and earns citizenship. She then sponsors her husband for permanent residence. The husband, in turn, sponsors two dependent children and both his parents.

This is an example of how the presence of sponsorship programs help with Filipino immigration to Canada.

If your family members (or spouse) have already become permanent residents or citizens of Canada, they may be able to sponsor you for permanent residence.

As sponsors, family members or spouses in Canada need to meet certain eligibility requirements. As well, they would have to prove in writing their willingness to financially support you for a certain period of time.

Once the IRCC approves your nanay, tatay, or asawa as sponsors, you may then apply for permanent residence.

For spousal sponsorships, check out this article.

Home Child Care Provider Pilot And Home Support Worker Pilot

It is no secret that Filipinos have a reputation for their caring attitude. Perhaps, this is what makes them excellent care providers.

The Home Child Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot are two recently opened programs. These programs allow applicants to stay in Canada on a work permit. The work permit is an employer-specific permit, requiring a person to work for the same employer throughout his or her stay in Canada.

At the time of writing, the two pilot programs have received close to 3,000 applications. For this reason, the IRCC will re-open the programs to new applications on January 1, 2021.

Things To Address When Applying For Permanent Residence

The challenges faced by different groups of immigrants vary. As you apply for permanent residence, it might help to be aware of some issues or difficulties you might encounter.

These points for consideration are not unique to Filipinos. These are experienced by all groups of immigrants. However, these are two of the most commonly mentioned barriers among Filipinos.

Not Getting Enough CRS Points For Educational Requirements

While some immigration programs have no requirements for education, many do. In fact, for most, the minimum requirement is a secondary school diploma or its equivalent in Canada.

Seeing this, many Filipino applicants go into the application process with confidence. After all, the vast majority of Filipino applicants have university degrees.

However, many find that they do not meet the requirement for education. A possible reason for this is the educational system of the Philippines prior to 2012. Before the changes of 2012, Philippine primary and secondary schooling lasted 10 years for the average student. This is two years shy of the K-12 system present in Canada.

As a result, Filipino university graduates might get the same number of CRS points a high school graduate in another country gets.

Solution: Seek Further Study, Training, Or Certification

To make up for the lack of years, you could take a course in your area of expertise. It would be better if this course offers certification and lasts at least two years. This way, you could potentially gain more CRS points towards your application- even if your primary and secondary education is not K-12. 

Further training does not need to be in the Philippines. You could also take a bridging course when you arrive in Canada.

Problems With Settlement Funds

solution for settlement funds of filipinos applying for canada

At the time of writing, the IRCC requires at least 12,960.00 CAD as settlement funds. It is assumed that this amount is sufficient for six months.

For some Filipinos, this could be a large sum of money.

Solution: Save Or Try To Get A Valid Job Offer

As a rule of thumb, all applicants for permanent residence need to meet the minimum requirement for settlement funds and prove it.

Luckily, there are exceptions. You might not need to show settlement funds if you have a valid job offer. A job offer that could exempt you from the settlement funds requirement:

  • States that you can work as soon as you arrive
  • Has a valid LMIA from ESDC
  • Is for a full-time permanent position

This is why candidates of the FSTP and CEC are usually exempted. These are Express Entry programs that require job offers. Hence, candidates of these programs often do not need to prove settlement funds.


Filipinos have a long history of being excellent migrant workers. This has earned Filipinos a reputation that turns Canada’s gaze eastward.

Canada takes steps to accommodate immigrants. As a country with massive labour needs, Canada is perpetually in search of skilled workers who do more than work well. The country also desires skilled workers who could easily integrate into the country’s ethnically diverse population.

This description fits Filipinos like you to a tee. If you are choosing which country to call your new home, look no further.

Canada will be happy to have you.

Choose Canada Magazine

Each member of our team at Choose Canada Magazine has been in Canada for over five years, and has helped dozens of people worldwide find their life in Canada.

Leave a comment

Related Posts

Sign up today!

There are some tips, guides and job opportunities that we only share with our newsletter community.

Please wait...

Thank you for signing up!