Preparing for Immigration

There is more to moving to Canada than getting a visa and packing boxes. An immigration expert explains how to make your job search easier.

According to Elizabeth McIsaac, Executive Director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, immigrants should begin researching work possibilities before they leave their home country. Below are three key areas you should look into before reaching Canada.

1. Canadian job markets.

Research can begin online, at the federal government’s Working in Canada portal. This site gives users a detailed report on labour market information, including job duties, skill requirements and wages for particular locations in Canada. “If I’m planning to go to Saskatoon and I’m a nurse,” McIsaac says, “I can type in ‘Saskatoon, nurse,’ and it will tell me the requirements, labour market conditions, what they pay, and give me a good reality check of what I will be facing when I arrive.” Having this information in advance gives you an idea of what to prepare for.

2. Necessary qualifications.

McIsaac also recommends that new immigrants do online research to determine the requirements for practising their profession in Canada. “Start as many parts of the process overseas as you can,” she advises. “If you need credentials assessed [by a professional association], see if you can send them before you arrive.” The more you can do in advance, the easier your transition will be when you land in Canada.

3. Language skills.

It’s also important to determine whether you are proficient in the language used in the region where you will be working: English is the work language for most of Canada, whereas French is dominant in Quebec and certain communities in other provinces. If you need to improve your use of either language, consider taking classes in your home country. “The better your language skills when you arrive, the more likely you are to have early success,” McIsaac says.

Are you in China, India or the Philippines?

The federal government has funded three pilot projects under the Canadian Immigration Integration Project to provide labour market counselling and advisory services at consulates in Guangzhou, New Delhi and Manila. “They’re providing some of this early, so that people will hit the ground running when they arrive,” McIsaac says. “The more time spent between arriving and getting a job, the harder it will be to get into their field.”