How to Move to Work in Canada

Five Parts:Choosing the Right VisaExploring Job OpportunitiesOrganizing Living ArrangementsMaking the MoveArriving in Canada

Canada is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. The economy is strong, the unemployment rate is extremely low and the country’s residents have an average life expectancy longer than most places in the world. However, moving to another country can be intimidating and since the Canadian job market is quite competitive, moving there to work can feel overwhelming and out of reach for many people. It doesn’t have to be! Moving to Canada to work does involve a particular set of guidelines to ensure a smooth transition, but as long as you are well prepared in advance, it is completely within your reach.

Part 1
Choosing the Right Visa

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    Determine your visa eligibility. If you want to live in Canada, you must have a visa. This is an official government document that grants you permission to be in Canada. There are quite a few different visa classifications, which you must review online via Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).[1]
    • When searching for the right visa for you, you will need to assess your own career skills, qualifications, experience, and employment history and match those with the proper visa.[2]
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    Investigate employer-sponsored visas. The most popular visa program used by immigrants is the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. This employer-sponsored visa is used by Canadian employers who need to fill open positions at their companies after being unable to secure these employees locally.
    • This program will get you a temporary visa and you must be hired for a Canadian job before you are able to get it. Visit the CIC website to explore the resources currently available.
    • This type of visa will expire after 4 years unless your employer renews it. If you change jobs during that 4 year period, your new employer will have to go through the CIC and be accepted as an official sponsor for you.[3]
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    Organize a start date with your new employer (if applicable). If you land a job in Canada through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, you should immediately arrange a start date with your new employer so that you can then plan your move around that date.
    • You will need to give yourself plenty of time to settle your affairs at home, get moved, and get situated in Canada upon arrival.
    • Find out from your new employer if you will need a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for your new position. Your employer is responsible for taking care of that for you, but it’s good to know beforehand whether or not it’s required.[4]
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    Apply for your visa as soon as possible. Once you’ve decided on a visa program, apply for it immediately so that you can get the application process started. In most cases, the process takes anywhere from 2 to 15 days.[5]
    • However, if you are denied the visa and are forced to apply for a different one in another classification, this extends to process.

Part 2
Exploring Job Opportunities

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    Update your resume. Canadian employers will want to see your most current resume before they consider hiring you, which is a standard practice. If you already know what kinds of jobs you’ll be applying for, gear your updated resume toward that field.
    • If you’re exploring the job market via the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, gear your resume toward the postings that interest you.
    • Include information about when you are able to start working in Canada on your resume.
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    Get your qualification or trade formally recognized. Doing this will make it easier for you to find a job in your particular profession or trade in Canada. Typical trade qualifications are available in fields such as engineering, construction, metalwork, electrical and catering (to name a few).
    • Contact the Canadian Information Center for International Credentials (CICIC) for more information and to get the ball rolling.
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    Explore current Canadian job postings online. Most people prefer to find employment in Canada before moving there, but this is not required. However, in either instance you should get a feel for what sorts of jobs are available in your field by doing online research. Working Abroad is an organization that can help you with this.
    • Working Abroad posts current available job listings on their website, which makes it very simple for you to apply for jobs directly.
    • They also hold expos and exhibitions where you can meet employers in person and apply for jobs. Contact Working Abroad for more information.[6]
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    Find out if you will need a work permit. Some job categories require a work permit in Canada, and some don’t. CIC provides a listing of job categories that don’t require a work permit on their website, along with many other helpful tools to get your employment situation organized.[7]
    • If your particular job category requires a work permit, go ahead and apply for it. You can do this through CIC’s website.[8]
    • If you don’t see your particular field listed on their website, chances are you will need a work permit.

Part 3
Organizing Living Arrangements

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    Create a budget. Once you’re ready to start planning your move to Canada, create a budget for yourself to ensure you will have the amount of money you need to work and live there. Start investigating housing options and costs, research the cost of living in Canada, and whatever other relevant information particular to you. This budget will provide a financial roadmap for navigating your move to Canada.
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    Arrange for temporary housing or a rental property. If you want to buy a home in Canada, that will take time. You will need to be in the country to search for homes. Most new Canadian immigrants either arrange temporary housing prior to arrival, or they search for and rent property/an apartment prior to arrival.[9]
    • Check out the area you want to live in to get started. If you’ve found a job already, then look for places to live close to that.
    • Other things to consider when looking for places remotely are what you can feasibly afford and what matches your preferred lifestyle.
    • CIC is a good resource for assistance with this, as well as other online resources that will allow you to view places and make living arrangements online.
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    Find a home. Once you’re settled in Canada for a time, you may or may not want to actually purchase a home there. If you do, you must establish a good credit history in Canada first.[10] Once you’ve done that, start looking!
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    Ship your belongings. Are you moving to Canada for an extended period? If so, you’ll probably want your belongings, pets, and possibly even your car shipped to Canada. When you move, you likely won’t be moving right into your permanent Canadian residence, so storing and shipping your belongings later is probably the best option.
    • Visit CIC’s website for more information about Canada’s international shipping guidelines, restrictions and requirements.

Part 4
Making the Move

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    Obtain or update your passport early. In anticipation of passport processing times, apply for your passport as soon as possible. Passport applications can be completed online and printed, or you can obtain one from a United States post office that has passport acceptance services.
    • If you already have a passport but it will expire while you are working in Canada, go ahead and update it before you leave to avoid any future headaches. Many people move to Canada with a 4 year visa, so keep that in mind when reviewing yours.
    • If you need to expedite your passport, you can request and pay for a faster application processing service.
    • If you have family moving with you to Canada, make sure to get their passports and documents arranged, too.
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    Open a Canadian bank account. You can do this several months before you move to Canada. In fact, doing so is recommended, so you can start building a good credit rating there. To get started, contact the local bank to your future province in Canada.[11]
    • These banks can even have new debit cards waiting for you when you arrive in Canada and they can help you with transferring your funds from your current country to your new Canadian bank account.
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    Settle your finances. Before moving from your home country, don’t forget to close down all of your open accounts, including your internet provider services, electricity and other utilities, and whatever else you may have open.
    • Don’t forget to cancel your current subscriptions and arrange to have your mail forwarded to your new address before you leave.
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    Book your flight or plan your drive. Start making your travel arrangements as soon as you are able to. If you plan to fly, there are airlines that offer discounted one-way air fare for people moving to Canada, so look into that possibility. The decision will be made based on what type of visa you’ve secured.[12]
    • If you’re driving, start planning your route, research which check point you will go through when crossing the border, and begin making preparations to get through border patrol smoothly. You can obtain this information through CIC’s website.

Part 5
Arriving in Canada

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    Apply for a Canadian Social Insurance Number (SIN). This is required in order for you to receive an income in Canada, so do this as soon as you possibly can upon arriving.[13] This number also enables you to receive government programs and benefits, including taxes. Find a Service Canada office or check out their website to apply for your SIN.[14]
    • If you’ve lived and/or worked in Canada before, you already have a SIN. This number will not change.
    • Generally, only one SIN is issued and it’s assigned to you for life, much like a Social Security Number is in America.
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    Register for healthcare. Canada offers both public and private healthcare options.[15] Each Canadian province has its own health department, but there is also a national service available there called Medicare (not to be confused with Medicare services of America).
    • Get more information from your particular provincial and territorial ministry of health website.
    • These websites can also help you determine your healthcare eligibility and provide important contact information.
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    Apply for a Canadian driver’s license. Your home country driver’s license will be valid in Canada for a few months after you arrive, but you should arrange to get your Canadian driver’s license as soon as possible. These licenses are issued through provincial and territorial departments and are valid in all provinces of Canada.[16]
    • If you do plan to use your home country driver’s license when you arrive in Canada, obtain an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) before you move.
    • An IDP will translate your current license into French and English (Canada’s two main languages).
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    Enroll your children in school (if applicable). Canadian law states that all children under the age of 15 must be enrolled in school, so if you have children, enroll them at their new school as soon as possible. You can visit CIC’s website for a listing of schools nearest your new Canadian address.

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Categories: Canada