Of all the challenges of starting a new life in a new country, finding a job in Canada is one of the most critical steps for new immigrants. As many new Canadians will tell you, getting that first job and that first "Canadian" work experience is not always easy. It is particularly hard on those who immigrate to Canada as "skilled workers", but find out the hard way that this does not automatically mean that a job will be waiting for them when they arrive. In this post, I have put together some tips and resources that can help in finding a job in Canada.
First, let's start with some tips. Many new Canadians find the job search and recruitment activities in Canada a bit different than what they are used to. Often times it is small things, but they make a difference in the eyes of a recruiter or a hiring manager. The candidate themselves and their skills and experience don't change. It is simply a matter of how they present themselves in a resume/CV and in-person during an interview. New immigrants to Canada may find this frustrating, as they are confident that they can do a great job and work hard. But unfortunately, to get your foot in the door you must first be able to present yourself professionally and prove to the recruiter and hiring manager that you have the skills and experience necessary to do the job.
So here are some tips:
1) Be Flexible: Your first job may not be exactly what you want. It may not match the job you were doing before coming to Canada. You may even have to accept a more junior role to start. Of course, you should always target your desired job and level. But the point is to be flexible if needed. Write down all the skills you have and think of all the types of roles you could apply them to so you can come up with a wider set of jobs that you can apply to. With time and experience, it will become much easier to move your career towards your goals.
2) Work While You Apply: It is often easier to get a job when you are currently employed, than when you are not. This is not fair, especially to new Canadians who have uprooted their lives and quit good jobs in order to immigrate to Canada. Unfortunately, this is the reality you have to accept. From a hiring manger's point of view, when they see a person applying who has been unemployed for several months (or years), the decision to hire them becomes much more difficult. But you might ask, how can I work while I'm still applying? It makes no sense! The idea is that you should try to do something with your time. Can you work part-time? Or even volunteer somewhere? Try to show employers that you are active and eager to work. A long the gap on your resume might reflect that you are not doing anything with your time and that you lack motivation.
3) Re-Write Your Resume/CV: The typical resume in Canada probably looks a bit different that it does in an immigrants home country. Therefore, just bringing the same resume and sending it in job applications probably won't work. Here are a few pointers:
a) Remove your photo, data of birth, gender, and other personal information such as marital status or how many kids you have. While this type of information is standard in some countries, it is not typically included in a Canadian job application. Your resume should focus on your education, skills, and professional accomplishments. Including personal information immediately gives the impression that an applicant is new in Canada and not yet aware of how to conduct themselves in a professional setting.
b) Focus your resume on specific accomplishments you have made. Descriptions that describe generic functions such as team management, sales, marketing, etc. at a very high level do not give any insight into why an employer should hire you. If you managed a team, talk specifically about some accomplishments such as how you built or grew a team, new methodologies or processes you built and the results achieved, improvements in efficiency or profitability you made, and so on. Similarly for any other type of role. This is your opportunity to show the employer what you can do for them.
c) Highlight your key skills/accomplishments at the top of your resume. This section usually goes at the very top and is a summary of the strongest points that you have to offer. You can include degrees, certifications, major well known employers, specific accomplishments and achievements, and specific skills you have. Doing this can trigger the interest of an employer to look further and read the rest of your resume.
d) Include keywords. Of course, make sure the resume is easily human-readable, and don't stuff too many keywords because that can make your resume look fake. Rather, try to thoughtfully work in all the keywords that you think an employer would be looking for. If you are in IT, include the names of operating systems, programming languages, development environments and frameworks, tools, and anything else you think are relevant. It may be obvious to you, but often resumes are searched by keyword, and the initial recruiters screening resumes may not know details of your role. So if you don't match the keywords, your resume will not even be looked at.
e) Do all of the above while being brief! I typically recommend a two page resume because it's brief but still gives you enough room to include a detailed description of your skills and experience. Whether you decide on one, two, or three pages, the key point here is to convey the message efficiently, because most employers will not spend more than a few minutes looking at your resume when screening applications. Once you are selected for an interview, you will have an opportunity to get into depth as required.
4) Present Yourself Professionally: When meeting with an employer in an interview or even a less formal setting such as a job fair, make sure you present yourself professionally. Dress well and take care of your personal hygiene. Prepare yourself with some specific phrases or summaries about yourself, your skills, and your previous experiences. This will go a long way to make sure you present a focused and coherent message about yourself. Speak confidently and be calm. Make sure you listen intently when being spoken to so you can respond appropriately. Avoid talking about personal matters, politics, religion, or any other controversial issues. Making statements or repeating stereotypes targeting people of a certain gender, race, or background are completely unacceptable in Canada. If you have to make "small talk" to break the ice, talk about the weather - a favorite topic for Canadians!
With a flexible approach, a solid resume, and some preparation for meeting potential employers, you will be ready to start applying for jobs. But where should you start? These days, most job applications are made online, however, don't forget to check for in-person opportunities to apply for work. In particular, retail and restaurant jobs are often posted in the establishments themselves, and resume submission can be made in person. Here are some resources you should consider looking into:
1) The Canada Job Bank: It is recommended for you to create a profile and start applying for jobs on the job bank even before arriving in Canada. You will often find jobs here that are not posted anywhere else. As with all job searches, it is highly competitive and you won't hear anything back from most job posting you apply to. But don't give up and keep trying. You never know where your next job will come from! Visit the Job Bank.
2) Search Jobs on Google: Google's search engine has a new feature for searching for jobs using their super easy search engine. All you have to do is go to Google and search for a term like "jobs in Canada" or "jobs in Toronto". You can even specify a type of job like "jobs for engineers in Canada". You will see a special jobs box show up listing jobs that match your query.
3) Use LinkedIn: You can use LinkedIn's jobs section to search for, find, and apply for jobs. Before you do so, you should make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated and professionally written. Make sure it matches your resume since most employers will check your LinkedIn profile if they are interesting to learn more about you. You can put more details on LinkedIn and include a longer employment history since you are not limited in space. Being active on LinkedIn including commenting, liking, and posting original content can also raise your profile. Combine this with a strategy to build your network thoughtfully. Find the right opportunities and approach, don't just send random invites to people. If you don't have a profile yet, get started today on LinkedIn.
4) Connect with your local settlement agency: There are many settlement agencies in Canada that are dedicated to helping new Canadians settle into their new life in Canada. They can provide support with housing, health, employment, and education. Many also run programs to match newcomers with mentors who can help them navigate the employment landscape, network, and prepare for job interviews. Here are a few to get you started:
Arriving in a new country for the first time and knowing that this will be your new home can be exciting, but also a little bit scary. However, rest assured that millions have immigrated to Canada successfully, and almost all eventually are able to build their own successful and happy life in Canada. Keep the tips in this article in mind, and use the resources provided, and you will be way ahead of most other newcomers to Canada.
If you are thinking about immigration to Canada, and would like to speak to a professional about available immigration programs and whether you would qualify, book an immigration consultation session with us and we'll be happy to help!
Good news for immigrants to Canada whose move has been disrupted by the COVID19 pandemic! CTV news reports that Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino has indicated that COPR holders who have not been able to travel to Canada due to COVID19 travel restrictions will eventually be allowed to complete their immigration process, once COVID19 travel restrictions are removed. Thousands of immigration applicants who successfully received their Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and permanent resident visas since the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic have not been able to actually travel to Canada due to travel restrictions.
Exemptions have been in place for those whose COPR was issued prior to March 18, 2020. There are also exemptions for certain international students, temporary workers, and family re-unification. However, thousands of prospective immigrants who received their COPR after March 18, 2020 have not been eligible to travel to Canada. This has impacted many families, since the expectation once an applicant receives their COPR and permanent resident visa is that they will start to prepare to permanently move to Canada. This involves quitting jobs, selling personal belongings, and making arrangements to travel to Canada. The uncertainty regarding when these immigrants will be able to take the final step of travelling to Canada so they can start their new lives as permanent residents of Canada has been difficult for many of these families.
Although no timelines have been given, the good news in Mr. Mendicino's comments is that even if COPR documents have expired, they will be renewed and extended to allow their holders to travel to Canada. So while the waiting continues for these families, at least they can rest assured that it is a matter of time before travel restrictions are removed and that their COPR will be extended. In normal circumstances, COPR documents cannot be extended, a fact that has understandably been a major concern for holders of these documents. Mr. Mendicino's comments should re-assure the holders of these expired COPR's that there will be a path for them to complete their immigration process to Canada.
It remains to be seen when travel restrictions will be finally removed to allow travel to return to normal. Canada has been targeting to complete a major vaccination campaign across the country by the end of the summer in 2021. In recent days, it appears that the availability of vaccine doses has been improving, potentially opening the door for an acceleration of the vaccination timeline. Of course, all this depends on no further outbreaks, variants, or waves causing any further disruption.
For now, expired COPR holders can only wait and monitor the situation, and hope that they will be able to join us in Canada soon to start their new life as Canadian permanent residents!
The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) English language test is a crucial part of many immigration applications to Canada. If you have considered immigrating to or studying in Canada, you may have heard about the IELTS. The IRCC accepts two tests to prove English language proficiency: the IELTS and the CELPIP. The IELTS is much more widely available and is the most popular choice for most candidates.
The IRCC only accepts the IELTS "General Training" test, and not the "Academic" option. Please refer to the relevant IRCC website pages to learn the details of the language testing requirements. This is not the purpose of this article, but rather, our goal here is to give some pointers and direct you to some resources to help with scoring well on the IELTS.
One of the key resources to learn about the IELTS is the British Council IELTS page, where they provide information on test, how to register for it, the test procedures, how you will receive your results, and so on. There is also a special page dedicated to preparing for the IELTS exam, which provides free courses and practice tests to help you get ready and improve your score.
The IELTS is a difficult test for non-native English speakers. It is not easy to get a higher score. No one can achieve a perfect score on the IELTS. Even native English speakers would find it hard to achieve that. However, this does not mean that you cannot take some actions to help maximize your score.
If your English language communication skills, including speaking, listening, reading, and writing are not strong, then your strategy should be to first take English language courses to improve your skills. No amount of test preparation will help you if your underlying English language skills are weak. But just remember, no one is born speaking English! Whether we learn it from our parents as young kids, or we learn it in school, or maybe even we start learning it as adults, we all start with no knowledge of English and build on it with practice. Therefore, your goal in this situation should be to improve your listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.
If your English language skills are already strong enough that you can study or work in and English speaking environment, you may feel that you are ready to take the test. However, even if you are very fluent in English, it is a good idea to take an IELTS preparation course, or at least read a book on preparing for the IELTS exam. Your goal in this scenario is to be familiar with the test style, and what to expect during the test. You want to minimize any surprises during the test so that you can focus on putting forward your best performance.
It is important to know which of these two camps you are in. If you need to strengthen your core skills, no amount of test prep courses or re-takes will help you achieve a high score. Your best course of action is to improve your underlying skill by practicing speaking, listening, reading, writing. If you are in the second category where you have solid English skills, you may still benefit from extra courses to practice before you take the test. But you will definitely want to do some prep courses and take a number of practice tests until you are comfortable with the test format and style.
With some research, you will find many resources online, many of them free. Here are some samples for you to consider:
If you have tried the IELTS once, twice, or more and still haven't got the score you need, don't despair. Just remember, even if you feel that your language skills are already strong but you repeatedly get a low score, this is a signal that you need more practice. Don't under estimate the impact a few weeks of focused study can make. For best results, you can even hire a 1-on-1 language teacher specializing in IELTS. Remember, the cost and effort might seem too much right now, but when you achieve your dream of immigrating to Canada, it will be well worth it.
On Friday, January 11th, 2019, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that the new and improved intake process for sponsorship of parents and grandparents will launch on January 28, 2019. After some complaints in previous years, the IRCC has overhauled the program for 2019. This program is intended as a family reunification program which gives Canadians and permanent residents the opportunity to have their parents and grandparents come to Canada to live permanently.
Among the key highlights of the program for 2019 is that it will be on a first-in-first-served basis. This means that getting your applicant in as early as possible will be very important, because only 20,000 applications will be accepted. Once that cap is reached, no more applications will be accepted for 2019. Invitations will be sent out to selected sponsors who will have 60 calendar days to submit a complete application for sponsorship.
Interested sponsors are therefore advised to submit an interest to sponsor form as soon as it becomes available online. In 2018, more than 90 thousand interest to sponsor forms were submitted. It is likely that the quota for 2019 will be met very quickly, so preparation ahead of time is very important to maximize your chance of being selected. The interest to sponsor form will open at noon EST on January 28, 2019. The form will remain available only until enough submissions have been received.
To be eligible to sponsor your parents or grandparents to come to Canada permanently, you must meet the following criteria:
A new web site and software tools have been launched under the name MovNorth to help encourage tech workers from the U.S. to move to Canada. The web site matches tech workers abroad to Canadian companies looking to hire highly skilled workers.
Canadian technology companies are increasingly being constrained by a lack of qualified talent in Canada, and are looking abroad to find the required skill sets. Even startups are starting to look into hiring from abroad or from international students studying in Canada and looking to remain after graduation.
The technology industry has been growing rapidly in Canada, and multiple major companies have announced that they will open large offices in Canada. Both startups and large companies are now competing for talent with experience in software development, user experience, digital marketing, sales, and product management.
In addition to the regular immigration programs such as the Federal Skilled Worker, Canadian Experience Class, and Provincial Nomination Programs, Canada has specific programs aimed directly at attracting highly skilled technology workers. The Start-Up visa program aims to attract innovative entrepreneurs who would like to build their start-ups in Canada. To qualify, an entrepreneur must get support from a designated Venture Capital (VC) or Angel investor fund, or a Start-up incubator program. Canadian companies also have access to a program known as the Global Talent Stream, which enables them to process work permits for highly skilled workers within 2 weeks.
If you are interested in immigrating to Canada and have experience in the technology industry, we can help you select the program that is the best fit for your circumstances and guide you through the entire process.
Canada's Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, has announced that Canada will bring in more than 1 million immigrants in the next three years. In his 2018 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration, Mr. Hussen discussed Canada’s Immigration Plan for 2019–2021, which targets immigrant admissions between 330,000 - 350,000 for each of those three years.
The report also includes interesting data about immigration in 2017. Canada admitted 286,479 permanent residents in 2017, more than half of whom were admitted under the various economic class programs, and 29% under the family class, with the rest being admitted as refugees or for humanitarian reasons.
Another interesting piece of data revealed in the report was the growing percentage of immigrants who settle outside of Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, which have traditionally attracted most immigrants. In 2017, 34% of economic immigrants were destined to other Canadian provinces. This is attributed to the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) which attract economic immigrants under specific rules to the various provinces.
The top three countries source countries where immigrants are coming to Canada from in 2017 were India (18%), Philippines (14%) and China (11%).
This is a great time to consider immigrating to Canada. With Canada opening the doors and increasing the number of immigrants it is accepting, and with unemployment rates at historic lows, the next few years will be a good time to come to Canada to become established and look for work or open a business.
If you would like to discuss the possibility with an immigration professional, please don't hesitate to contact us today.
Canada has always welcomed newcomers and worked hard to attract and retain the best and most talented people from around the world to settle in Canada and become Canadians. Although humanitarian considerations are a strong motivation to accept newcomers escaping war or persecution, there are also economic reasons why immigration is important for Canada.
Canada is a vast country and is rich in natural resources. Our growing economy needs a growing workforce, especially as the "baby boomer" generation (people born in the years following the end of the second world war) continue to retire from the workforce. Immigrants fill this important gap and allow our economy to continue to grow. In addition, when fully integrated, newcomers contribute to the Canadian economy by paying taxes and purchasing goods and services from Canadian companies. Newcomers also typically bring their life savings and invest them in Canada, and many of them launch new businesses and create jobs.
Through well crafted immigration programs designed carefully to attract talented, hardworking people who are ready to integrate into Canadian society, Canada has one of the most successful immigration strategies of any country in the world. Canada selects applicants who are the most qualified and needed by the Canadian economy through federal and provincial immigration programs.
On June 19, 2018 the London Free Press, the major newspaper in London, Ontario published an article about a report presented to London's city council about the need to attract newcomers to London, not only because to help those in need, but also because it is good for London's local economy. The city is working on developing a strategy to attract newcomers to Canada and to retain students who study at the post-secondary educational institutions in London. A link to the article is provided below.