Immigrate to Canada as an Athlete

Immigrate to Canada as an Athlete in 2023

If you’re looking to immigrate to Canada as an Athlete you’re in luck! Athletes are in demand right across Canada and you may be able to secure a Canadian Permanent Residency Visa either with or without a job offer.  If you are an Athlete and have been working as an Athlete you may qualify to immigrate to Canada.


Migrate to Canada as an Athlete 

Every occupation on the Canada NOC List is assigned an immigration code and the code for those looking to emigrate to Canada as an Athlete is 5251. This is also known as the NOC Code for Footballer.

No doubt you will have read online that having a job offer to move to Canada is a prerequisite to accessing the Express Entry process but as an Athlete you also have other options to secure your Canada Visa from the start.

For starters, Athletes are eligible to apply for Canada Immigration under the Canadian Government’s Immigration program due to the demand for Athletes in Canada being so great they have included the occupation on the targeted occupations list, known as the NOC list (National Occupation Code In Demand List).

The code for Athletes on the NOC is 5251

This is great news for Athletes the world over hoping to live and work in Canada.

Express Entry for Canada is not a visa class at all, it is simply the method (or database) that Canadian Immigration uses to select the right candidates for a permanent residency visa and in that case, as an Athlete looking to immigrate to Canada we’ll be looking at the Federal Skilled Worker visa and Provincial Nominee program.


Athletes from all over the world are eligible to make an Express Entry for Canada Residency providing they have the right skills, experience and qualifications in their home country.

Athletes looking to move to Canada to work under this NOC category 5251, might be employed under work titles including: 

  • amateur athlete
  • archer
  • athlete
  • automobile racer
  • badminton player
  • baseball player
  • basketball player
  • billiard player
  • bowler
  • boxer
  • canoeist
  • chess player
  • chuckwagon driver
  • chuckwagon racer – stampede
  • competitor – chess
  • competitor – gambling
  • coxswain
  • curler
  • cyclist
  • demolition driver
  • discus thrower
  • diver – olympic sport
  • fencer
  • figure skater
  • football player
  • footballer
  • gamer – video games
  • golf player
  • golfer
  • gymnast
  • hammer thrower
  • handball player
  • harness race driver
  • harness racing driver
  • helmsman – sports
  • hockey player
  • javelin thrower
  • jockey
  • judoka
  • jumper
  • pentathlete
  • ping-pong player
  • poker player
  • prize fighter
  • professional athlete
  • professional boxer
  • professional pool player
  • professional sportsman/woman
  • race car driver
  • rider
  • rodeo performer
  • rower
  • sailboarder
  • short-distance runner
  • shot put
  • skater
  • skier
  • snowboarder
  • soccer player
  • sprinter
  • stampede performer
  • stampede racer
  • standardbred pacer
  • stock car racer
  • sulky driver
  • swimmer
  • table tennis player
  • tennis player
  • track athlete
  • volleyball player
  • water-polo player
  • weight-lifter
  • wrestler


All these roles held by an Athlete are eligible to apply under this specific NOC category of 5251.

Skills and Tasks to Immigrate to Canada as an Athlete.

In general Athletes moving to Canada will be able to demonstrate knowledge or experience of the following:

Main duties

Whilst the above is meant as a general guide do take our free online visa assessment for further information and be sure to list out your skills and qualifications in detail.

Athletes perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Train under the direction of a coach or trainer to qualify for competition
  • Attend scheduled practice and training sessions
  • Participate in local, regional, provincial, national or international competitions and sporting events
  • Assess performance after an event to identify strengths and weaknesses.

Emigrate Canada has a dedicated Sports Industry Workers desk that only represents Sports Industry Workers to immigrate to Canada. They understand your profession and can talk your language when it comes to explaining your immigration pathway and the route to securing a Canada Visa for you (and your family).

Qualifications required to Immigrate to Canada as an Athlete 

Employment requirements

  • Demonstrated ability in a particular sport, or type of game, is required.
  • Extensive training under the supervision of a coach is required.
  • Certification with a particular sports federation may be required.
  • A background combining athletic training and college or university studies is strongly recommended.

How to Immigrate to Canada as an Athlete 

The first stage in your Canadian immigration process is to calculate your Canada Immigration points for Express Entry using the Canadian Comprehensive Ranking System.

CRS Points are awarded for (amongst other things)



English ability

French ability

Your partner’s skills

Work experience

As well as providing you with important CRS points these for Athletes also count towards your overall Immigration Points score which must equal or exceed a total of 67

Take our free online visa assessment for an up to date report on whether you have enough points to immigrate to Canada as an Athlete from both an Express Entry and Immigration points perspective.

Once you receive an ITA (Invitation to apply) from Canadian Immigration as a result of your Express Entry application you’ll only have 60 days in which to lodge a formal application so under no circumstances should you lodge an Express Entry application ‘claiming’ to have certain points without first having all of your points verified through different testing, education equivalence certificates and skilled worker assessments.

Once you are invited to apply for your Canada Visa you cannot go back and have these things verified retrospectively, they must be done before you claim any points for them and given that your express entry profile is only valid for one year it makes sense to present the best possible case right from the start.

Before you lodge your express entry we will help you through the process of having your qualifications and certificates verified as required by immigration.

Can I immigrate to Canada as an Athlete without a job offer?

The answer is a resounding yes, providing you have a reasonable total CRS score on your Express Entry application and can meet the 67 immigration point threshold for your Canada Federal Skilled Worker Visa.

Technically there is no minimum CRS score required to submit an Athlete Canada Express Entry profile.

Of course, securing a job offer (documented in the right way for immigration purposes i.e. LMT) will give you an instant CRS boost of 200 points so it makes sense to start this process as soon as is practical.


Athlete Jobs in Canada

Occupations on the Canada NOC list can be classed as being ‘in demand’ and the Athlete code 5251 has been firmly established on the list for many years with lots of opportunity right across the country.

As a qualified new and highly skilled Permanent resident of Canada, you may work full time from day one. Athlete Jobs in Canada are often better paid than in the UK, Europe and Asia and Canadian employment law respects the work-life balance. The industry body for Athletes is the Canadian Association of Athletes.

Emigrate Canada are the Sports Industry Canada Visa specialists with a dedicated Sports Industry Workers desk.

Emigrate Canada are ideally placed to take care of not just your immigration paperwork, but also to get you registered to work from day one.


Full Guide how to immigrate to Canada as an Athlete. How to Immigrate to Canada as an Athlete without a Job Offer. Canada PR
Immigrate to Canada as an Athlete 

Immigrate to Canada as an Athlete in 2023