Australia Immigration vs. Canada Immigration

Australia and Canada are two main destinations for people thinking about immigrating to a new country. Both are great countries, especially for immigrants, but to make it easier for you we have compared them side by side to help you choose a path for your new life. A major factor in choosing where to immigrate, is the immigration system itself! We’ve therefore compared the Australian Skilled visa system with the Canadian Skilled Worker program!

We have done a similar comparison for these countries business visas and can be seen here.

Please note this is a basic comparison of immigration programs between Canada vs Australia skilled visa programs, for your to understand which immigration program gives you better options! To assess your individual case please book a meeting here.

See our latest post comparing Skilled visa invites for Australia and Canada here.

Skilled Worker Programs – Overview

Here we are going to compare two popular immigration programs: Australia’s Skilled Independent program (subclass 189) and Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program.

Both of these programs aim to attract high caliber applicants with skilled work experience, your education, English language ability and many more.

Neither of the programs require applicants to have a job offer or family or state sponsor.

These two immigration programs may be ideal for highly qualified skilled workers from any country, regardless of having a family or employer to sponsor them on these visas.

In both of the above visa programs you achieve permanent resident status. Permanent resident status allows you to stay in these countries indefinitely with a pathway to citizenship.

Both of these skilled migration programs are points-based systems to determine their eligibility and to select applicants.

Major difference

A major difference in the Australian 189 visa to the Canadian Federal Skilled Worker program is that in to apply for the 189 visa you must have a positive skills assessment from a skills assessing authority to demonstrate your degree is comparable to an Australian degree and can potentially start practicing in Australia. In Canada you can do this after you enter the country.

On the other hand Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker program requires applicants to have at least 1 year of full-time, skilled work experience. Similar to Australia, Canada defines skilled work experience as any job at National Occupational Classification(NOC) Skill Level 0, A, or B.

Another difference is the occupations lists for both programs. The Australian occupations list for the skilled independent visa can be seen here.

Points System Comparison

Both programs are points based and to determine eligibility of applicants for immigration. They assign points for age, language proficiency, work experience, education, and factors such as study in respective countries, regional area work and more. In Australia, you must score a minimum of 65 points to be eligible, while Canada’s program requires a minimum of 67 points.

Factor Australia Canada
Maximum Points Per Factor
Age 30 12
Language Proficiency 20 28
Overseas Work Experience 15 15
Onshore Work Experience 20 10
Qualifications (Education) 20 25
Other Factors (study requirements, regional study, professional year, community language, partner skills) 20 10
Passing Score 65 67

If you meet the minimum point’s requirement, you are eligible to submit your interest in the program. However, for both Australia and Canada simply meeting the minimum points requirement does not guarantee that you will be invited to apply and immigrate to these countries. In other words the pool mark for all General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa are 65 for Australia and 67 for Canada but the competitive nature of these visas, a pool mark does not guarantee an invitation to apply.

Application Process


The application process for the Australian Skilled Independent Visa program is similar to Canada’s Express Entry system. Applicants who meet the minimum of 65 points must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) using the SkillSelect online system. Unlike Canada, Australia does not have a secondary points system, and uses its eligibility system to rank applicants against each another.

Australian immigration issues invitations once a month (on the 11th day of each month). Applicants with the highest ranking EOIs will be invited to apply. If multiple applicants have the same ranking score, the candidate whose occupation ceiling is not reached and their 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.

Occupation ceilings in the Australian Immigration system give an eligible occupation a maximum quota and if that quota is reached no other invitations in that occupation will be invited until the next year.

After receiving an invitation, an applicant is given 60 days to submit an application for Australian permanent residence to the Department of Home Affairs. If the application is successful, they receive permanent resident status for themselves and any dependent family members (spouse/ de facto and children).


Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program runs within the Express Entry immigration system.

Completing an Express Entry profile is the first step to immigrate to Canada permanently as a federal skilled worker. You will need to complete an Express Entry profile and meet the minimum criteria to be accepted into the pool.

If you are interested in the Federal Skilled Worker stream, you will need to meet, at minimum, the pass mark of 67 points out of 100 on the Federal Skilled Worker grid.

If you are accepted into the Express Entry pool, you are not guaranteed to receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence. An Invitation to Apply for permanent residence will be based on your score and rank in the Express Entry pool using the Comprehensive Ranking System.

The CRS score is a scoring system out of 1200 points and separate from the eligibility points grid. An Express Entry profile remains valid for up to 12 months, if the profile is not selected within 12 months the applicant must resubmit a new profile.

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 dependent family members who were included on the application.

Processing Times & Cost

Australia’s Skilled Independent program costs $4045 AUD for the principal applicant, plus an additional $2025 AUD for a spouse or partner, and $945 AUD per child. Similar to Canadian immigration, Australian applicants would pay for translation, postage and miscellaneous costs.

Canada’s application fees are lower compared to Australian immigration but the processing time in both programs are similar.

Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker program charges total fees of $1040 CAD per adult applicant, plus an additional $150 per child. Though, applicants to Express Entry programs should be aware of the various other costs they can expect during the immigration process.

Canada’s Express Entry system shows processing of 80% of all applications within 6 months of receipt. Australia’s Independent Skills migration program states that 90% of applications are processed within 6 months of receipt.

Other Immigration Options

Both of these programs are intended for high-skilled workers and to address skill shortages without a connection to either Australia or Canada. If the applicant has ties to the country, for example they completed their studies in Australia or they have a job offer in Australia, then they may have additional options.

Australia, for example, also manages the 190 state sponsored visa or the 489 provisional skilled visa, another program within the skilled category which prioritizes foreign nationals with a state or family sponsor. As well, Canada has a host of Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) which select candidates who have a regional connection.

As well, Australia operates several immigration programs for employer sponsored programs who have a business to support their application. There are visas available to those with an employer nomination (482 TSS visa, 186 ENS visa, 187 RSMS visa), to those from certain regions, and for those with special skills.

If you would like to learn more about your own eligibility for Australian immigration, book a consultation or complete one of our free online assessments. One of our registered migration agents will review your eligibility and contact you to discuss your options!

If you would like to find out more about the current skilled occupations list or discuss your visa options further and evaluate which pathway to take, please book a meeting.