Working in Canada
If you want to live and work, study or start a business in Canada the first thing you need to do is find and apply for the right visa. The website for Canada – listing all available visas types and the requirements for each – is run by Canada’s Immigration Department otherwise known as Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC). You should visit this site once you have read the summaries below. Every year, over 180,000 foreign workers enter Canada to work temporarily. Designed to help Canadian employers address skill shortages, a work permit is needed for most temporary jobs in Canada. The main visa classifications for working in Canada are the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (Skilled Workers & Professionals), Canadian Experience Class (for people with recent Canadian work experience or who have graduated and recently worked in Canada), Provincial Nominee Program (one of Canada’s provinces or territories sponsor you) and the International Experience Canada Program (Canada’s Working Holiday Visa). There is also options for Investors and Self-Employed, otherwise known as Business Class Visas.
Employer sponsored visas
Most foreign workers are employed in Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which is a temporary employer-sponsored visa used by Canadian employers to fill positions when they can’t find anyone in the local labor market.
To be granted this visa you need to secure a job with a Canadian employer. Your new employer will handle the application process with CIC by obtaining an LMO (Labor Market Opinion) where they’ll need to prove that your skills can’t be sourced from within Canada.
There are a number of other requirements worth bearing in mind, including: that your skills, qualifications, experience and employment history match those required for the position; that you have English language ability; you are eligible for any relevant licences or registration required for the role.
Your right to stay and work in Canada depends on your employer continuing to sponsor you but most foreign workers on a temporary visa will be subject to a 4-year limit on the length of time they may work in Canada. If you want to change jobs, your new employer must apply to CIC and be accepted to sponsor you.
There are plenty of ways to find an employer to sponsor you. Many employers will proactively seek candidates at international recruitment exhibitions, like the Working Abroad Expo. It is worth finding out what employers from your industry will be attending these events and going to meet them in person. Meeting someone in person will always increase your chance of being offered a job.
Employers will also advertise on job search websites and through recruiters. If you’ve got mates or family in Canada, get them to let employers know you are looking for opportunities too.