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Where Should I Immigrate: Canada vs. Australia

Published on: September 26th, 2023
Last updated: March 27th, 2024

If you’re thinking about immigrating to a new country, it’s likely that you’ve considered a few possibilities for where you want to move. Why wouldn’t you compare your options before picking a location to start a new life?

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One big factor in deciding where to immigrate, is the immigration system itself. Thankfully, we’ve done the work for you. Canada is a great country, especially for immigrants, but another popular destination is Australia.

Before you make any decisions, take a look at our comparison of immigration programs between Canada vs Australia, and determine which immigration program gives you better options!

Skilled Worker Programs - Overview

So, you’re trying to decide whether you should live Down Under, or in the Great North White? Well, first let’s compare two popular immigration programs: Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program and Australia’s Skilled Independent program (subclass 189).

Both of these programs target new immigrants with skilled work experience. As well, neither of the programs require applicants to have a connection to the country in terms of work experience, educational experience, or a job offer. This means that these two immigration programs are excellent choices for highly qualified skilled workers from any country, regardless of whether or not they have any relation to the country to which they wish to immigrate.

The end result of both of these programs is permanent resident status. It allows holders to enter and exit the country as often as they’d like and provides a clear pathway to citizenship in the country.

Similarly, both of these programs utilize points-based systems to determine eligibility and to select applicants. We’ve taken the time to compare these points systems below.

Basic Requirements for Immigration

Those who are familiar with Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker program will know that the program requires candidates to have at least 1 year of full-time, skilled work experience. Canada defines skilled work experience as any job at National Occupational Classification TEER level 0, 1, 2 or 3.

Similarly, Australia’s Skilled Independent program requires candidates to prove that they are qualified to work in one of the program’s eligible occupations. Australian immigration maintains a Skilled Independent Occupations List indicating all of the program’s eligible occupations. In order to be eligible, a candidate must consult with the proper Assessing Authority (included on the list) to receive proof that they are eligible to practice that profession in Australia. If an occupation is not on the list, or if an applicant has not consulted with the Assessing Authority, then they are not eligible for this program.

Eligible Occupations - Australian Skilled Independent Visa

Medium and Longterm Strategic Skills List
ItemOccupationAssessing Authority
1construction project managerVETASSESS
2engineering manager(a) Engineers Australia; or
(b) AIM
3child care centre managerTRA
4nursing clinical directorANMAC
5primary health organisation managerVETASSESS
6welfare centre managerACWA
7accountant (general)(a) CPAA; or
(b) CAANZ; or
(c) IPA
8management accountant(a) CPAA; or
(b) IPA; or
9taxation accountant(a) CPAA; or
(b) IPA; or
10external auditor(a) CPAA; or
(b) IPA; or
11internal auditorVETASSESS
13land economistVETASSESS
15management consultantVETASSESS
17landscape architectVETASSESS
20other spatial scientistVETASSESS
21chemical engineerEngineers Australia
22materials engineerEngineers Australia
23civil engineerEngineers Australia
24geotechnical engineerEngineers Australia
25quantity surveyorAIQS
26structural engineerEngineers Australia
27transport engineerEngineers Australia
28electrical engineerEngineers Australia
29electronics engineerEngineers Australia
30industrial engineerEngineers Australia
31mechanical engineerEngineers Australia
32production or plant engineerEngineers Australia
33aeronautical engineerEngineers Australia
34agricultural engineerEngineers Australia
35biomedical engineerEngineers Australia
36engineering technologistEngineers Australia
37environmental engineerEngineers Australia
38naval architectEngineers Australia
39agricultural consultantVETASSESS
40agricultural scientistVETASSESS
42medical laboratory scientistAIMS
44physicist (medical physicist only)ACPSEM
45early childhood (pre‑primary school) teacherAITSL
46secondary school teacherAITSL
47special needs teacherAITSL
48teacher of the hearing impairedAITSL
49teacher of the sight impairedAITSL
50special education teachers (nec)AITSL
51medical diagnostic radiographerASMIRT
52medical radiation therapistASMIRT
53nuclear medicine technologistANZSNM
56orthotist or prosthetistAOPA
59occupational therapistOTC
61podiatrist(a) APodA; or
63speech pathologistSPA
64general practitionerMedBA
65specialist physician (general medicine)MedBA
67clinical haematologistMedBA
68medical oncologistMedBA
71intensive care specialistMedBA
74renal medicine specialistMedBA
76thoracic medicine specialistMedBA
77specialist physicians (nec)MedBA
79surgeon (general)MedBA
80cardiothoracic surgeonMedBA
82orthopaedic surgeonMedBA
84paediatric surgeonMedBA
85plastic and reconstructive surgeonMedBA
87vascular surgeonMedBA
89emergency medicine specialistMedBA
90obstetrician and gynaecologistMedBA
93diagnostic and interventional radiologistMedBA
94radiation oncologistMedBA
95medical practitioners (nec)MedBA
97nurse practitionerANMAC
98registered nurse (aged care)ANMAC
99registered nurse (child and family health)ANMAC
100registered nurse (community health)ANMAC
101registered nurse (critical care and emergency)ANMAC
102registered nurse (developmental disability)ANMAC
103registered nurse (disability and rehabilitation)ANMAC
104registered nurse (medical)ANMAC
105registered nurse (medical practice)ANMAC
106registered nurse (mental health)ANMAC
107registered nurse (perioperative)ANMAC
108registered nurse (surgical)ANMAC
109registered nurse (paediatrics)ANMAC
110registered nurses (nec)ANMAC
111ICT business analystACS
112systems analystACS
113analyst programmerACS
114developer programmerACS
115software engineerACS
116ICT security specialistACS
117computer network and systems engineerACS
118telecommunications engineerEngineers Australia
119telecommunications network engineerEngineers Australia
120barristera legal admissions authority of a State or Territory
121solicitora legal admissions authority of a State or Territory
122clinical psychologistAPS
123educational psychologistAPS
124organisational psychologistAPS
125psychologists (nec)APS
126social workerAASW
127civil engineering draftsperson(a) Engineers Australia; or
128civil engineering technicianVETASSESS
129electrical engineering draftspersonEngineers Australia
130electrical engineering technicianTRA
131radio communications technicianTRA
132telecommunications field engineerEngineers Australia
133telecommunications network plannerEngineers Australia
134telecommunications technical officer or technologistEngineers Australia
135automotive electricianTRA
136motor mechanic (general)TRA
137diesel motor mechanicTRA
138motorcycle mechanicTRA
139small engine mechanicTRA
140sheetmetal trades workerTRA
141metal fabricatorTRA
142pressure welderTRA
143welder (first class)TRA
144fitter (general)TRA
145fitter and turnerTRA
147metal machinist (first class)TRA
152carpenter and joinerTRA
155painting trades workerTRA
157fibrous plastererTRA
158solid plastererTRA
159wall and floor tilerTRA
160plumber (general)TRA
161airconditioning and mechanical services plumberTRA
164roof plumberTRA
165electrician (general)TRA
166electrician (special class)TRA
167lift mechanicTRA
168airconditioning and refrigeration mechanicTRA
169technical cable jointerTRA
170electronic equipment trades workerTRA
171electronic instrument trades worker (general)TRA
172electronic instrument trades worker (special class)TRA
175boat builder and repairerTRA

Points System Comparison

Both programs utilize points-assessment grids to determine eligibility of candidates for immigration. The grids assign points for age, language proficiency, work experience, education, and other unique factors. In Canada, you must score a minimum of 67 points out of 100 in order to be eligible, while Australia’s program requires a minimum of 60 points out of 135

Maximum Points per Factor
Language Proficiency2028
Foreign Work Experience1515
In-Country Work Experience2010
Other Factors2010
Passing Score6067

If you meet the minimum points requirement, you are eligible to submit your interest in the program. However, please bear in mind that for both countries simply meeting the minimum points requirement does not guarantee that you will be able to immigrate. Meeting the minimum points is only the first step in the application procedure.

Application Procedures


Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program is contained within the Express Entry immigration system, which manages immigration applications electronically. Through Express Entry, candidates who meet the 67 points first must create an Express Entry profile through the online immigration web portal. The Express Entry profile acts as an Expression of Interest (EOI), indicating that the candidate is interested in Canadian immigration.

Once a candidate creates their Express Entry profile, they are assigned a score, called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. Note: The CRS score is a scoring system out of 1200 points, completely separate from the eligibility points grid we discussed above. An Express Entry profile remains valid for up to 12 months, if the profile is not selected within 12 months the candidate must resubmit.

Approximately every two weeks, the Canadian government conducts an Express Entry draw, inviting the candidates in the pool with the highest CRS scores to submit official applications for permanent residence. If an applicant is successful, they receive permanent resident status for themselves, and all accompanying family members who were included on the application.


The application procedure for the Australian Skilled Independent Visa program is similar to Canada’s Express Entry system. First, candidates who meet the minimum of 60 points must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) using Australia’s online system: SkillSelect. Unlike Canada, Australia does not have a secondary points system, and simply uses its eligibility grid to rank candidates against one another.

Australian immigration issues invitations approximately twice per month. Candidates with the highest ranking EOIs will be invited to apply. If multiple candidates have the same ranking score, the candidate whose profile was submitted earlier will be prioritized. SkillSelect EOIs are valid for up to 2 years. If an EOI is not invited within 2 years, it will expire.

It should be noted that the Australian Independent Skills program determines occupation ceilings each year. Each eligible occupation is given a maximum quota and if that quota is met then no other professionals in that occupation will be invited until the next year.

After receiving an invitation, an applicant is given 60 days to submit an official application for Australian permanent residence. If the applicant is successful, they receive permanent resident status for themselves and any accompanying family members (including partner and children).

Canada vs Australia Immigration Processing Times & Cost

Canada demonstrates an advantage in terms of both processing time and cost of immigration.

Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker program charges total fees of $1365 CAD per adult applicant, plus an additional $230 per child. Though, applicants to Express Entry programs should be aware of the various other costs they can expect during the immigration process.

Australia’s Independent Skills program costs $3800 CAD for the principal applicant, plus an additional $2330 CAD for a spouse or partner, and $960 CAD per child. As with Canadian immigration, Australian applicants should expect a range of other costs for documentation, postage, etc.

Canada’s Express Entry system boasts a speedy processing time and aims to process 80% of all applications within 6 months of receipt. Australia’s Independent Skills program states that 75% of applications are processed within 8 months of receipt. Though processing times can fluctuate for both countries and its recommend to check current processing times when thinking of applying.

Other Immigration Options

As stated at the beginning of the article, both of these programs are ideal for high-skilled workers without a connection to either Canada or Australia. If a worker has a connection to the country, perhaps they completed their studies in Canada or they have a job offer in Australia, then they may have additional options.

Canada, for example, also manages the Canadian Experience Class, another program within Express Entry which prioritizes foreign nationals with at least 12 months of work experience in Canada. As well, Canada has a host of Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) which often select candidates who have some sort of regional connection.

As well, Australia operates several immigration programs for skilled workers with connections to the country. There are visas available to those with an employer nomination, to those from certain regions, and for those with special skills.

If you would like to learn more about your own eligibility for Canadian immigration, simply complete our free online assessment. One of our experts will review your eligibility and contact you to discuss your options!

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