Moving to a new country is an exciting adventure that can lead to many rewarding experiences. Canada is an increasingly popular destination for work, with many different sectors and cities that attract workers from around the world. But it’s important to understand the particulars of moving to Canada before packing up and heading north. To help you get the lay of the land, here are 7 important things you should know if you’re considering moving to Canada for work.
1. Canadian immigration regulations are strict
Canada is a very welcoming place, but their immigration policies are complex and difficult to navigate. For example, it’s important to apply for the right work permit as each occupation is handled differently, and permanent residency and citizenship applications require an individualized assessment.
While the policies do have certain limits, they are designed to ensure that only people with genuine commitment to integrating and contributing to the country’s culture, society, and economy are accepted into the country. People hoping to become permanent citizens need to demonstrate that they will be able to support themselves financially, and the language requirement for newcomers has increased.
Furthermore, any prospective citizens need to be prepared to participate in an extensive interview process. While some regulations are understandably more lenient towards those coming from certain countries, the Canadian government makes it their priority to provide the country with safe and competent immigrants who will have a beneficial effect on the country’s cultural, social, and economic fabric.
2. Different provinces have their own unique requirements
Canada is an incredibly diverse country and each of its provinces has its own unique regulations when it comes to workers from outside of Canada entering its borders. While each province is largely bound by federal laws, some have chosen to further enhance certain criteria that applicants must meet. For example, workers from certain industries or areas may require an additional labour market opinion before being allowed to enter and work in Canada.
In Alberta, all non-Canadians must possess an Alberta Qualification Certificate to work in the province. This qualification confirms that the worker meets all provincial criteria and has the right skills and education to perform the work. Meanwhile, the provinces of British Columbia and Manitoba require those who are entering their province to take a safety-oriented knowledge test before they are allowed to begin their job.
Those wishing to work in Quebec have to demonstrate they have both sufficient work experience and specialized knowledge of the labour market, as well as show an official document proving that they are adequately proficient in French. Nova Scotia also has unique language requirements in place, as they must pass an Occupational Language Test as a way of proving they can communicate in either English or French depending on their particular job role.
New Brunswick requires workers from outside of the country to first have a job offer from an approved employer and prove that they have the necessary experience, education and financial security to live in the province for at least the duration of their work contract. Lastly, Newfoundland and Labrador imposes the strictest entry requirements, as it insists that any non-Canadian applying for a work visa must already possess valid work experience or a formal trade or apprenticeship program certificate.
3. Cost of living is varied
Depending on the area, the cost of living in Canada can be relatively high or surprisingly affordable. For example, living in Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa can be expensive, whereas other cities like Winnipeg or Halifax may offer a more reasonable cost of living.
4. There are different types of healthcare
The healthcare system in Canada varies from province to province. In some areas, residents can benefit from free or affordable universal healthcare while in other areas there are only private insurance options available.
5. Language is a major factor
Moving to Canada for work is an exciting prospect, but for those whose first language is not English, it may seem like a daunting undertaking. Canada is officially bilingual and English and French are both spoken in certain provinces and territories. As a result, understanding the local language is key for getting by, particularly for finding a job.
There are several language learning opportunities available in Canada to help with the transition. Many communities and organizations offer language classes, which are an invaluable resource. Additionally, there are programs available to help bridge the language barrier. Even those whose first language is not English can take advantage of these tools and gain a basic understanding of the local language. With dedication and commitment, learning a new language can become a positive and rewarding experience, while at the same time offering many new and exciting opportunities. Ultimately, language may be one of the major factors to consider when moving to Canada for work.
6. Renting a home or finding a job first
Canadian cities tend to favor those who can demonstrate they already have a job or a secured residence. Therefore, having a job offer lined up and being able to show proof of a leased apartment could help you more easily move to the country.
7. Professional advice can be key
Many companies, law firms, immigration services and online platforms can provide the professional advice and assistance necessary for navigating the different immigration laws, visas and regulations.
All in all, moving to Canada for work is a complex but incredibly rewarding venture. Taking the time to learn and understand the various regulations and requirements can help ensure your transition to the Great White North is as smooth and enjoyable as possible.