Getting a job in canada

Canada is a very popular destination for Immigrant and temporary workers. The quality of life is good, and competition is strong for jobs. Canada takes in about 100,000 people per year, for employment purposes.

Don't even think about illegal immigration, period.

As in our other articles, job seekers are strongly advised to make sure they understand every step of the process. Canada, like other countries, is looking for skilled workers in areas where Canadians can't fill jobs, and their employment policies are pretty unambiguous.

The emphasis on skilled workers is a big part the selection process for visas and work permits.

If there's anything at all you don't understand, find out.


Your first stop is Citizenship and Immigration Canada, (CIC) which handles visas and work permits. (NOTE: Quebec has a separate entry process, you'll need to inquire with the Quebec Immigration Office regarding procedures.)

Visas are required for both visits and transits for the countries shown on CIC's site visa page:

All applicationzs for Temporary Resident Visas (TRV) Transit Visas, Study Permits and Work Permits are all done on one form.

Fortunately for job seekers, CIC has a very straightforward approach to all its entry requirements, all spelled out on the Immigrating to Canada, Skilled Workers And Professionals page.

The emphasis on skilled workers is a big part the selection process, which has six selection criteria, and a points system for entrants.

Extremely important:

Applications have criteria which must be met for a visa to be granted. You'll need to do your homework. Make sure you can provide the information required, and check that you're giving CIC what it needs. Read the guidelines carefully.

There are two applications processes for skilled workers and professionals, the Simplified Application and the Regular Application.

There's a series of steps in the simplified application process, which are (from the CIC website):

  1. Obtain and print the application kit.
  2. Complete your application.
  3. Determine where you must submit your application.
  4. Obtain the instructions for the visa office where you will submit your application.
  5. Calculate your fees.
  6. Check your application.
  7. Submit your application.

You can get the forms online, but the applications have to be made as hard copies.

The regular application process is similar, but applies to applicants who don't meet the criteria for a simplified application:

CIC naturally advises on its site that care is taken to submit all documents properly. You can create some delays for yourself with incorrect lodgments, so be prepared to make some time for doing the paperwork.

It's always better to ask first regarding your lodgments, in any migration process.

You can literally save yourself months, and a lot of frustration, with a phone call or two.

Work permits

NOTE: This process involves your employer. You'll need to do everything right, to get your work permit without delays.

Read the CIC information thoroughly, and you'll also need to check with your employer about putting the application together, so everyone knows what's being done, and when.

The work permit process itself is very straightforward, but there's a bit of work involved.

CIC's Work Permits page couldn't be simpler.

These are the basic steps:

  1. Check the application processing times.
  2. Obtain an application kit.
  3. Determine where you will submit your application.
  4. Determine if you need a passport and a temporary resident visa.
  5. Pay the correct processing fee.
  6. Submit the application form.

Note: Generally, worldwide, documents are not considered lodged until application fees are paid.

Job searching in Canada

Canada has a lot of online resources for jobs, and you can take your pick from local and national sites. Professionals can also take advantage of Canada's well developed professional and scientific publications.

Some Canadian job sites:

Monster Canada:


Career Builder Canada

These sites are useful both in seeing the job market and application processes first hand.

Graduate Jobs

Canada's emphasis on skilled workers and professionals does help graduates. The immigration process is specifically designed to help employment processes, so the degree of difficulty is lower.

Those with science degrees can check out some of the better known general science magazines like New Scientist, etc, there's usually a healthy range of jobs.

Economically, Canada has a strong economy with a lot of upside. That makes the job market fairly fluid, and upward movement is easier.

For foreigners, it's advisable to check out directly with employers regarding jobs and applications. You can also get some very useful advice from the HR professionals handling job applications, so you won't be wasting your time. First hand information is always extremely valuable.

Not everybody is prepared to go to the time and expense of hiring foreigners, either, because of the work permits process. Another reason for checking out jobs before taking any major steps is to get the employer's reaction to hiring on this basis.

Jobs in Canada- skills

Employment in Canada operates like most developed countries.

There aren't really any major differences, except the fundamental requirements for language skills. Good English or French are basic requirements.

NOTE: You may find a requirement for bilingual skills, because of the dual language system. This is a legitimate job skill requirement, because English and French are official languages.

Job applications

This is where the need for firsthand information is extremely important for foreigners. The basic application methods are the same, but you're dealing with another country's requirements.

You need to check:
Qualifications accreditation in Canada
Relevance of your experience to the job
Any issues regarding foreign applicants
Specific matters related to the job

This is another area where language skills matter.

Canada gets a huge volume of job applicants from overseas, and you can expect the culling of applications to be based on quality.

High school French, for example, won't cut it with an employer.

Canada has a relatively high unemployment rate, which also means that there are plenty of local applicants. That has to be considered when making an application, because Canada's hiring policy for foreigners, like the US and Europe, is based on filling jobs which can't be filled immediately by local workers.

Working in Canada

Wages are relatively high, thanks to a stronger currency, and Canada is a particularly beautiful place, of which Canadians are justly proud. There are much worse places on Earth to work than Canada.

Working hours vary from standard 9-5 through part time, contract and shift hours.

Working conditions and terms of employment vary accordingly. It's a good idea to check out thoroughly conditions and entitlements in any job you see, to know your rights and obligations under the various types of employment.

Canada has moved from the traditional job into more benefits packages-oriented arrangements. This is becoming popular as more employers and employees want to customize their conditions.


Quebec is one of Canada's jewels, genuinely loved by Quebecers and other Canadians for its unique identity and culture.

The Quebec Issue of the past has now more or less been settled, with occasional hiccups on relatively minor points.

The Quebecers made their point about their cultural identity, and they remain rightly proud of their heritage.

That should be understood, and the sensitivities respected, by foreigners.