Canada at a Glance
Working in Canada
Working in the True North for one, two or five years is the dream of many adventurers and global minds worldwide. Some fulfill this dream on their own, as self-made expats. Others are sent by their companies to assume a position in Canada, be it as an engineer developing new extraction methods for oil and gas or as a transferee in the banking sector.
Being employed in Canada means participating in one of the world’s leading economies. The country offers a strong service sector, a good infrastructure for next-generation technology, as well as copious amounts of natural resources. Although Canada has suffered from the global recession, it still offers plenty of opportunities to expats with professional qualifications.
Self-Made Expats and Professional Qualifications
Being a self-made expat is not as straightforward as you may imagine. Permits are only issued for a confirmed job offer. Those with skills and professional experience in the service sector, especially telecommunications, finance and insurance, IT or high-tech, usually have the best chance of finding attractive positions.
All those who intend to work in Canada, no matter in what field, should be fluent in either English or French, depending on the province where they will be working: A job in Québec requires a good command of the French language.
To be considered under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, your Canadian employer has to obtain a “Labor Market Opinion” from Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC). In this opinion, factors such as the availability of locals for the job and the economic benefit of your employment are taken into account.
If the LMO is positive, nothing stands between you and your temporary work permit for Canada. Expats should keep in mind that a work permit is only valid for the specific position you have applied for: It is not a general permission for working in Canada. For more information on visa requirements, please read our article on moving to Canada.
Intra-Company Transferees and Young Workers
If you merely transfer within your current company, the procedure becomes much easier. A “Labor Market Opinion” is no longer required, and the process speeds up considerably. Intra-company transfers of this kind are possible for executive or management positions and workers with specialized skills.
Other possibilities for working in Canada include the Young Workers Program and the Work and Travel category. The latter gives young people between 18 and 35 the chance to discover Canada while working there for 12 months.
The Federal Skilled Workers Program
If you do not want to leave Canada behind after a couple of years, but would like to make the country your new permanent home, the Federal Skilled Workers Program or the Canadian Experience Class are the categories you should look at.
Candidates are evaluated according to criteria such as education, professional experience, and language skills. Successful applicants have the chance to become permanent residents and start working in Canada.