Employment for Immigrants to Canada
One of the biggest considerations for prospective immigrants to Canada is where to find employment. The job market in Canada is highly competitive and can be daunting for new arrivals.
There are many government and non-profit agencies and organizations in Canada that offer practical and useful services for immigrants. Some of these services include such things as language training classes, housing assistance, information about available community services, and assistance in filling out forms and applications, etc.
Despite such assistance, there appear to be real obstacles for immigrants looking for skilled or semi-skilled work in Canada. The first such obstacle is that of language. If a new immigrant is not at least semi-fluent in English or French, then the chances of securing employment will be greatly diminished. Another impediment for skilled immigrants to overcome is that of getting licensed in a profession or occupation that is regulated in Canada – either provincially or at the federal level. Indeed, it can be frustrating for new immigrants to discover that their education and training credentials may not be recognized in Canada.
Yet another obstacle for immigrants to Canada is what is known as the “Canadian experience” factor. This is a sort of intangible quality that a number of employers still consider. This so-called “soft skill” is a way for potential employers to ascertain how well they think a candidate may have acquired Canadian cultural norms and therefore may have a bearing on how well they may fit into the workforce. It really is a perplexing situation for many new immigrants, in that it often presents a “catch 22” situation: how can a new immigrant acquire a so called “Canadian experience” if they are not able to secure employment?
Hopefully by this point prospective immigrants to Canada are not too discouraged. The information above is intended to provide you with a quick overview of some of the more obvious challenges to overcome when arriving in Canada looking for work.
So, as a prospective immigrant, you might say: “How do I overcome these challenges to securing a job when I arrive?”
Your preparation for finding a job in Canada should begin long before your arrival. In other words, if you are not fluent in either French or English, then you should make every effort to learn and practise at least one of these languages before embarking on this adventure.
Do as much research as you possibly can about Canada. It is such a large and diverse country that you’ll find there is so much to discover. Hopefully you will keep an open mind about where you will re-locate in Canada. In another MyConsultant article, we focus on job prospects in three Canadian cities: Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. While these cities are interesting and vibrant, there is so much more to Canada! (Canada’s maritime provinces are often overlooked by new immigrants). So please keep an open mind and explore all possibilities. Again, do your research!
Look at the requirements in Canada for certification or licensing in your chosen field. Make online enquiries to the regulatory body in Canada overseeing your field. If you’re unsure of where to make the appropriate enquiry, secure a contact on the Government of Canada website to get direction regarding the appropriate body responsible.
If possible, before coming to Canada and looking for work, come as a student. That’s right! Enrol in a local Community College or take a course in a university near where you think you might like to settle in Canada. This will allow you to gain some “Canadian experience.” Check out the area and get a sense of the country as a whole. Even a short university summer course or short-term Community College program can get you a “leg up” in the Canadian job market. If you’re able to undertake this preliminary visit to Canada, then be sure to take in as many events and activities as possible. Talk to as many people as possible, and be open to new experiences and opportunities. Remember, this is a big part of why you’re considering immigrating to Canada in the first place.
While Canada enjoys an international reputation for being open and welcoming to new arrivals, substantial pre-planning on your part is very important to help make the most of your opportunities upon your arrival.