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When Can I Start Looking for a Job in the Immigration Process?

Anyone who is immigrating to Canada will need to find employment unless you're independently wealthy or you have support, so you are not reliant on a job. During the immigration process, we commonly hear people say, “I need to start looking for a job” but are not sure when they can start doing so. The answer is that it depends. Moving to a new country is already daunting enough so you want some time to do the job search efficiently and effectively.

In this article, we would like to discuss the optimal times to search for work during the immigration process while at the same time giving you some things to think about so that you can seamlessly settle into Canada.

Coming as a Worker
A lot of people want to come to Canada as a worker. This is understandable as it allows you to support your stay in Canada, but unless you already have an employer that is going to go through the process of sponsoring you (and yes that means a lot more than just offering to hire you or giving you a job letter) then it is advisable to not start any process except finding an employer as the initial process is employer-driven.

It will depend on your program, but generally, before even you start the job search, you should have your immigration documents for Canada sorted. As the expression goes, “don't count your chickens before they hatch!” If you are not being sponsored, most employers in Canada will not take you seriously as a potential candidate unless you have a job offer, you have been approved, or have valid status as a worker.

If you are coming on an open work permit, such as through International Experience Class under the Working Holiday program, then there is flexibility as you are not on a closed work permit which means you can work for any employer you wish under any condition or location in Canada. You can search and apply for jobs once you are approved or when you are here in Canada.

Alternatively, if you are an accompanying spouse on an open work permit, then you can work in any position and support your spouse. Your work can be dependent on your family’s needs and wishes so you can see what the best jobs are once you are in Canada.

Coming as a Permanent Resident
If you are coming through an economic pathway, like Express Entry, then it is best to focus your efforts on getting the application done initially. With invitations and points becoming competitive, it is important to have a strong profile, get into the pool and then get the invitation to apply (ITA). While you are waiting for any news, then you can shift gears on your transition to Canada.

If you are looking for a job in Canada, this is the prime time to do so. You want to start that process in the middle when you are a little bit further in the process and have completed your initial profile. If you are honing on a particular job, depending on the level you're at, you can plan and apply for it closer to your landing.

Timing your Application
No, not your immigration application, but your job application. As discussed in the previous section, it is best to apply to certain jobs when you’re settled in Canada, depending on the level of the position you are applying for.

The reason is that if you're at a senior level in a sought-after industry then people are putting those jobs out there because they are looking for the ideal candidate. They want to fill in the spot but there might be a more thorough vetting process so potential hires must be available to go through that. Again, it depends on your industry, experience, and the position level that you're going for if you are specialized or in-demand then it is more likely that the employer will wait for you and work around your timelines.

If you're going for something in middle management or entry-level, then you can wait closer to the end of the process or when you can land in Canada. These jobs are posted because they're looking for an immediate hire. If you apply and are not even ready in Canada, then you’ll lose your opportunity and miss your chance to even be interviewed. If you're overseas, then the employer may say contact me once you get here. It is important to take these things into account so plan appropriately when you apply for certain jobs.

While you Wait
If you are waiting on your immigration papers to process, you can consider some steps to lay the groundwork before you come to Canada. For example, reaching out to employers, mentors, or companies, in your industry. You can make yourself known and say you are not In Canada yet but will be in Canada approximately during this period. You can also contact the association for your industry as they will have available jobs and connections.

Lastly, if you're in a regulated profession, such as architecture or engineering, you may have to get a license to work in Canada, as your country’s credentials may not be recognized here. You can also look at some alternatives and start planning for that. This allows you to gain some experience in your field while you're finalizing your credentials.

Final Thoughts
As we have discussed in other posts and topics, it is important to be strategic with the types of jobs you are applying for.

As an open work permit gives you the freedom to work in any occupation, you can use that to your advantage and work in a skilled job (NOC 0, A, or B). Then this work experience can be used for permanent residency for Express Entry in the future.

As permanent residents, there will be certain jobs that you are not able to apply for in Canada, such as some government occupations or jobs with government intelligence, for instance. If you have certain aspirations, such as working abroad for international companies, then you may be limited to only your PR card. Having a Canadian passport allows you the freedom and flexibility to broaden your career opportunities.

If you’re interested in getting that Canadian passport and working in Canada, then you can contact the Second Passport team now for more information and check out some of our great options to not only immigrate to Canada but also to settle in properly! Click here for more info!



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