Is it true that Canada is a land of opportunity? Many perceive the country as open and friendly towards immigrants.
But in spite of its relatively open immigration policy, finding a job as a foreigner in Canada is not easy.
We bring you a short summary of the most pressing questions that you might have if you are thinking about moving to Canada and starting a job search as a foreigner.
So take out your maple leaves and tape up your hockey sticks because we’re about to get started!
Table of Contents
Does Canada need more foreign workers?
More than a quarter of Canada’s workforce consists of immigrants. And as it happens, the baby-boomer generation is retiring, which is why companies have to look for options outside their national borders. Canadian policymakers are aware of that, which is why they are open to accepting workforce from other countries.
Canadian economy has grown by 1.4% GDP in 2016 and 3.0% in 2017. At the same time, the unemployment rate fell from 7.0% in 2016 to 5.6% in November 2018. It is the 10th largest nominal GDP country with the service industry employing around 70% of the population.
Also the logging and oil industries, traditionally the country’s primary sectors, remain crucial for the economy. According to Wikipedia, “Canada is one of the global leaders of the entertainment software industry” and „has an important high tech industry.”
Canada needs tech workers – badly. The most people-hungry industries in Canada belong to the STEM category – science, technical, engineering and mathematics fields, followed by healthcare and social assistance.
By the end of Q4 2017, Canada had almost 400K unfulfilled positions due to the lack of skilled workers and fast economic growth, which “is also the highest number of unfulfilled jobs in the private sector ever recorded in Canada” (CFIB).
The industries with the highest increase in job vacancies over the same period were personal services, information, recreation/arts, and retail.
What about their immigration policy?
One of the key documents regarding immigration was announced in September 2017. It was the first time that ministers agreed on a multi-year immigration plan instead of just a single year.
The plan is to welcome 191,600 foreigners in 2019 and 195,800 in 2020. That gives you a pretty good chance at getting in, right?
Some of the provinces are also implementing their own plans for the employment of skilled workers from abroad, taking the situation in their own hands.
British Columbia, for instance, is lacking one person for every 25 jobs. That is also part of the reason why the government has decided to run a program called Tech Pilot to attract new employees from foreign countries.
Canada takes on 300K immigrants annually, mostly from the so-called Family and Economy Class.
The Family Class program is mostly about helping families reunite. It requires a permanent resident to support and sponsor a family member to become a Canadian permanent resident as well.
The Economy Class supports professionals and skilled workers to come to Canada and potentially attain permanent residency.
Now, the question is whether you have the skills that Canadian employers are looking for. Or do you prefer to become a Canadian employer rather than an employee? There is a way too, just hold on a bit, we will get to that.
Will you get swamped in paperwork?
If you are thinking about finding a job in Canada, you probably have your reasons for moving. Be it family, quality of life, adventure, new life, politics, or anything else, keep in mind that you need to prepare your documents beforehand.
If you are not Canadian or do not have a permanent residence in the country, you should apply for a temporary work permit to work legally in the country. Just remember that before applying, you need to have a confirmed job offer from a Canadian employer.
You probably plan to live in Canada in the future and stay as a permanent resident. Then you should go with a skilled worker permit.
As a skilled foreigner, you must apply through a system called Express Entry which manages applications for permanent residency for skilled workers. The most sensible first step then would be to find out if you are even eligible for such type of permit. Once you know that, you can start looking for a job.
Another way is to get invited by the province or territory through the Provincial Nominee Program which aims at those skilled workers who “have the skills, education and work experience to contribute to the economy of a specific province or territory,” Of course, you must be eager to live in a specific province which might prove difficult if you do not know the province that well.
The third option is to get a special work permit intended for specific groups of workers such as “special work permit programs for live-in caregivers, business people, and agricultural workers.”
If you are thinking about running your own startup in Canada as a foreigner, you can also receive support. Canada‘s startup visa is the first program of its kind in the world.
As a successful applicant, you will be able to move to Canada and get permanent residency without any conditions for the success of your business. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Apart from the basic criteria, the only thing required is to “secure a commitment from a designated Canadian angel investor group or venture capital fund to invest in your business idea.”Full information here.
Is there a language barrier?
Once you decide to move to another country for good, you will be expected to learn at least the basics of the country’s official language. When it comes to Canada, there are two advantages.
First, a large portion of the world’s population speaks English, one of Canada’s two official languages. French is the other one, and even though government institutions cover both languages, you should be careful when picking the city or province, as it might be more difficult to make friends in some parts.
Take Quebec, for instance. The official language here is French. However, the Constitution requires that all legislation be enacted in both French and English, and court proceedings may be conducted in either language.”
Second, since you have already decided to look for a job in Canada as a foreigner, you probably speak English at least a bit. Otherwise, you would not stand a chance. You must prove to your potential employer that you speak the language well.
What’s more, accents can make a huge difference, too. If you come from a country famous for its hard-to-understand English accents, and you know there are such countries, a call instead of a cover letter can help you prove you can make yourself understood.
Essential websites and more
Probably the most useful one is the official government site Canada.ca. Here you can find most probably answer to any question you can come up with — anything from from employment insurance, through getting a passport and finding a job, to immigration and citizenship in Canada.
If you are planning for more than just a tourist stay in Canada, head straight to the Immigration and Citizenship section.
A community website of like-minded people who moved to Canada from abroad and want to share their knowledge and everything they had learned.
“We remember the uncertainty and the excitement of the new and unknown. We secured work permits and jobs, discovered neighbourhoods and places to live. We get what it takes to make a successful transition from other countries,” reads the site.
In case you need help and support in finding a job or you want to get more first-hand information about the relocation, employment and education in Canada, Canada Info Net is the way to go.
Funded by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada bureau, it can connect you with the Canadians who work in the same profession as you and they will become your mentors, thus helping you integrate better.
Zero2Hired is a project founded by John Ribero and Connel Valentine who both come from the recruiting industry and try to support people looking for a job in Canada.
Connel himself came to Canada as an immigrant, which gives him a unique advantage. He knows what he talks about and shares his valuable know-how on Quora so don’t forget to check it out.
CareerEdge is a platform that wants to help “break the no experience, no job cycle” by connecting Canadian employers with talent looking for a work experience in the country.
The goal is to help newcomers to Canada get a paid internship and, in this way, help them launch their career. The internships come from various engaging industries such as business, finance, HR, public services, etc.
We have already mentioned the new options for foreigners to get a work permit in Canada through the Canada Express Entry platform.
Everything is explained here – from what the system brings in, various articles and updates, all the way to the workings of Provincial Nominee Program.
Job search sites
In case you have just made up your mind and you want to move to Canada but have no idea what you could be doing there, a here’s a helping hand.
Various provinces and territories of Canada can also act on the immigration policy separately, inviting and setting up their own conditions for skilled workers to come and live in there.
To give you a hint of what is on the table, here are links to the websites of the three largest provinces that explain how to find a job and get accustomed. The most populated one is Ontario, with Toronto as its biggest city.
Learn more about both at OntarioImmigration.ca, TRIEC.ca, and TransferWise’s blog on finding a job in Ontario here. For Quebec, follow the link to the Immigration-Quebec website. In case you prefer the third most populated province of British Columbia, you should click on WelcomeBC.ca.
This does not apply only to Canada. Whether you are a newbie to a company, team or a country, it always helps to have someone you can rely on.
Somebody who will help you with finding first connections, ease you in on the cultural specifics, traditions, do’s and dont’s, give you tips on looking for an apartment or even introduce you to potential employers.
To get you fired up for your Canada experience, we have put down some of the Canadian podcasts that can get you going. From politics, through immigration, to career advice, they cover all kinds of topics.
“A podcast for the discussion of immigration law and policy. Each episode features 2-3 lawyers, academics, politicians, and stakeholders discussing current migration issues.“
„Comic Rob Norman and producer Andrew Norton try to help those who want to better themselves with crazy gambits like building a ‚haunted house of consequences.‘ Personal Best is less a show about self-improvement than it is about self-discovery.“ — Time
„Anna Maria Tremonti’s show, the Current, is arguably one of the best news shows in Canada. The podcast means I won’t miss any of the hard-hitting news that team digs up.“ — HuffPost Canada
“The irreverent show highlights the people, places and stories that probably didn’t make it into your high school textbook. Join hosts Leah and Falen as they explore the unauthorized history of a complicated country.“
“Award-winning career advice blog & podcast! Hacking and reimagining an easier job search process for you!“