Employers don’t like taking risks – and hiring someone with academic credentials and work experience from a country they don’t know is a huge gamble.
While having a Canadian work reference definitely helps, thankfully there are other ways for newcomers to gain a foothold here. According to Jan Sheppard Kutcher, Employment Services Manager at Nova Scotia’s Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association (MISA), the requirement that a landed immigrant have Canadian work experience is more myth than reality – and she explains how to land a job without it.
Introduce yourself through a job placement
Her solution? Job seekers must reduce the risk to potential employers by building their familiarity with you. The best way to accomplish this is via job-placement programs.
In Nova Scotia, for example, MISA runs the WINS Work Placement Program, a six-week, full-time job placement in a field related to the applicant’s education and experience. Placements are usually unpaid, and give employers an opportunity to evaluate an applicants’ ability to perform on the job, as well as get to know the participants as people.
The rewards you reap
Participants, in return, develop business contacts, acquire work and character references from a Canadian employer, learn employment-related language, and get an opportunity to showcase their skills to potential bosses.
Programs like WINS are tremendously successful. 80% of WINS participants are working in their field within three months of their job placement, and 50% of participants are offered a position by their host employer. Different provinces have different services to help point immigrants in the right direction: Consult the Citizen and Immigration Canada directory for the organizations nearest you.
Perhaps the biggest benefit to job-placement participants is that the jobs they acquire are related to their fields of study, allowing them to continue the careers they left overseas. On average, immigrants who initially make ends meet by accepting jobs outside their field of work have a harder time returning to a job in their profession.