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WORKING ABROAD / JUN. 07, 2017
version 5, draft 5

Your Guide to Moving to Canada for Work

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Canada is very famous for two things: apologising and lakes, both of which are reason enough to want to relocate and work there. Lakes because they go hand in hand with stunning vistas and great fish, and apologising means that everyone’s nice which could result in a relatively stress-free life, despite the sometimes extreme weather. Most people choose to work abroad to improve their standard of living and Canada will not disappoint in this regard.

General Info

Due to the country’s cold climate, only 4.3 per cent of Canada’s land can be used for farming, and even though it has more fresh water than any other country on the planet, little of it can be used for hydropower, irrigation or other industrious practices.

You would think that all this would have a terrible effect on the countries finances, but Canada has one of the largest economies in the world. Unemployment rates are at 6.5 per cent, a figure which has been steadily dropping for the past few years, while the economy is steadily growing.

Biggest Sectors

Like the majority of developed countries, Canada heavily relies on its service industry. Approximately three-quarters of the population is employed in this sector, while the primary sector is also very important. The logging and oil industries are very large, and in central Canada, the manufacturing sector is booming. Some of the country’s key industries include:

Salary Information

The minimum wage varies between provinces and territories. In Ontario, the biggest English-speaking province, the hourly minimum wage is now at $11.40 (a little over £6), but this will be changing in January 2018 and January 2019 when the minimum wage will be increased to $14 (£8) and $15 (£8.6) respectively. This increase to the minimum wage will match Alberta’s minimum wage which will also be increased to $15 (£8.6) in October 2018.

In the French-speaking Quebec the hourly minimum wage is at $11.25 (just over £6). But, as Quebec is considered one of the world leader’s in scientific research, there’s high earning potential if you are a scientist.

Some of the highest paying jobs in Canada include:

  • Judges
  • Specialist physicians
  • General practitioners

Cost of Living

Canadians enjoy high wages and a relatively low cost of living which means that there’s potential to lead a much more comfortable lifestyle in Canada than in the UK. Consumer prices, including rent, are much lower in Toronto, for example, than in London. Renting a one-bedroom flat in the centre of London would cost an average of £1,600 a month whereas the same type of flat in the heart of Toronto would only set you back £930.

Work Visa

If you are planning on moving to Canada, then you need to understand how their immigration system works. Canada operates a skills point system which allows candidates to accumulate points based on their skills, work experience, educational background, etc.

There are many types of visas available, and they all work under the assumption that the more skills you have (which can be proven with certificates, degrees, etc.) then the more value you have and the more you’ll be able to contribute to the country’s economy.

Types of Work Visas

The three major types of permanent visas you are likely want to apply for are:

  • Federal Skilled Trades Programme: this route offers a permanent visa to qualified people in skilled professions such as mechanics, electricians and heavy-duty equipment mechanics. It’s meant to be a path for tradespeople looking to enter Canada permanently.
  • Federal Skilled Workers Programme: offers a permanent visa to skilled workers. It’s aimed at semi or low skilled professionals and usually requires a university degree, fluency in French or English and work experience.
  • Provincial Nomination Programme: for people who will not qualify for the Federal Skilled Workers Programme. You’ll need to be nominated for a specific province that’s looking for professionals in your sector.

Express Entry

The Canadian government launched the Express Entry programme in 2015 to help speed up the immigration process. If you are planning on relocating and working in Canada using one of the three visas mentioned above you will need to go through the Express Entry programme.

The Express Entry system helps applicants manage their application. You need to accumulate a maximum of 1200 points to be eligible for a work visa. The 1200 points break down as follows:

  • A max of 500 points for skills and experience (460 if you’re relocating with a spouse/common-law partner and their level of skill and experience can help you accumulate another 40 points).
  • A max of 100 points for skill transferability factors: these include post-secondary degrees and work experience in both Canada and abroad that can be transferred to the Canadian workforce.
  • A max of 600 points for additional factors: these can include a job offer from a Canadian employer.

To start your application you need to assess your National Occupational Classification and complete your Express Entry Profile online.

Find a Job

To find work in Canada you’ll need to do more than just respond to job board ads. Being selective about who you apply to and tailoring your CV (called a resume in Canada) to match the specific company’s needs are two crucial aspects of a successful job search. Bear in mind that networking can also be an extremely beneficial aspect of the process.

Where to Find Work

If you’re planning on getting employed in Canada before applying for your work visa you’re going to need to find a few companies in your sector and talk with them about any available opportunities. Of course, it never hurts to go through job boards as well, just make sure not to rely a hundred per cent on them and try to establish a personal connection with the hiring manager as well.

Some job boards you can use include:

  • JobBank: JobBank is the official Canadian government job board. It’s a very comprehensive career website, and it offers information on requirements for each role, career trends and outlooks.
  • Indeed: Indeed Canada offers an English and a French version. It’s an incredibly helpful resource as hundreds of new jobs are added every week and it’s one of the most accredited career websites in the world.
  • Monster: Monster is much more than a job board, it’s a career website that offers advice and resources. What’s great about Monster is that it also allows people to add their CVs and get found by recruiters.

Networking

Networking is an especially important aspect of getting a job in Canada. Especially, if you are interested in getting a job before you move there or apply for a permit. Canadian employers will need to know that you are reliable and that taking you on is not too big of a risk.

Canadian employers value references so make sure that you get past and/or  present employers to write you a reference letter. Also, try to contact hiring managers from various companies you’d be interested to work for before you apply. Let them know that you are interested in relocating to Canada and that you are enthusiastic about an opportunity with them. Even if they are not looking for someone, they’ll hopefully answer and might even give you a few pointers.

Establishing strong professional links before you move is very important so start building your Linkedin presence and make the most of it.

 

Relocating to Canada might mean moving to a country that’s colder than the UK, but as the standard of living and salaries are higher it could be an excellent decision. Canada also offers many career opportunities, so whether your dream is to become an expert in your industry or an entrepreneur and start your own business, you will find that there’s a lot of space to reach your dreams.

Do you think you’d be able to adjust to working in Canada or would sunny Australia, for example, be a better option for you? Let me know in the comment section below.

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