Expats planning on working in Calgary can look forward to a strong and confident economy that is expected to top every other Canadian city in real GDP growth by 2016. The energy sector is one of Calgary’s top industries, as are the financial services sector, transportation and logistics, as well as television, film, and the creative industries.
Due to the city’s location and Alberta’s richness in natural resources such as gas and oil, Calgary has grown to be both Western Canada’s business center and its major distribution hub, drawing more and more people to start working in Calgary. As such, Calgary boasts the highest head offices per capita concentration nationwide, as well as Canada’s highest total growth of salaries and wages per employee over the last few years.
In most cases, you need to have a job already lined up in order to be allowed to work in Canada. If you are not sent by your current employer to start working in Calgary, there are numerous sites where you can look up vacancies in Calgary specifically or Alberta in general. You can, for instance, take a look at the local job listings in the official Canadian Job Bank or check out well-known online portals such as the Calgary Job Board and Monster.
Bigger newspapers also have career sections worth browsing. The Calgary Herald’s careers section, for instance, is presented in collaboration with Workopolis. The Alberta Learning Information Service furthermore provides a comprehensive overview and link collection for various job banks.
Depending on your field of work and your individual situation, you may need to get an educational assessment in order to accredit your personal qualifications before you can start working in Calgary. Such an accreditation can include exams, additional training, as well as language tests. They will assess whether your personal training, education and work experience are in line with local standards.
For more information on regulated trades and professions, you can check the certification requirements of your occupation on the website of the Government of Alberta.
There are a few jobs you do not need a work permit for, such as news reporters or performing artists. For the majority of occupations, however, you do have to get a permit in order to start working in Calgary. When applying for your work permit, make sure to have a written copy of the job offer and proof of your qualifications ready at hand. If necessary, also include the positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for the position. Your (future) employer will have to apply for the latter.
Your spouse or common-law partner, as well as your dependent children, also have to apply for a work permit if they are planning on working in Calgary. Their application process typically follows the same steps as yours, including getting an LMIA where necessary. In some cases, an “open” work permit may be possible, so they do not have to stay with one specific employer. You can read up on work permits for spouses and common-law partners or dependent children on the website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
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