The Canadian government has different immigration programs that allow foreigners to live and work in Canada as either permanent or temporary residents. The reason is to get a workforce that’ll fill labor gaps and improve the economy.
Hence, if you have the qualities and skills that Canadian employers are looking for, you may qualify for one of the immigration programs and be granted permission to live and work in the country.
But what are these qualities and skills that Canadian employers are looking for in foreign candidates? Here we’ll answer all of your questions. By the end, you’ll know what you need to make your dream of working in Canada a reality.
What are the qualifications and skills Canadian employers are looking for?
Generally, no Canadian employer (or any employer in any part of the world for that matter) will employ you if you do not have what it takes to do the job.
Thus, for a Canadian employer to choose you from the pool of candidates, you must be highly qualified. That is, you must meet language, education, experience, and skill requirements
These elements make up what Canadian employers look out for in foreign candidates.
1. Language Proficiency
Canada has two official languages, English and French. To work in the country, you’ll need to be proficient in one or both of these languages.
English is the most dominant of the two languages, so proficiency in English is usually enough. However, having a working knowledge of French, in addition to English proficiency, is usually an added advantage.
2. Work Experience
Canadian employers looking at foreign candidates are seeking competent persons to fill labour and skill shortages.
In fact, most times before hiring foreign candidates, Canadian employers will need an LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment). This document confirms that there is particular need for the foreign worker, and that no Canadian or permanent resident is available to do the job.
That said, work experience and accomplishments show competencies. So, employers usually require foreign candidates to have relevant work experience.
Going by the requirement of the Express Entry Canada Immigration programs for skilled workers, you’ll want to have at least one year work experience before applying for positions in Canada.
Just as with work experience, education is one way to show competency. It is why an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is a requirement for the Canadian skilled workers immigration programs.
That said, Canadian employers usually look for foreign candidates with training relevant to the positions that they want to fill. You may want to obtain at least a diploma or degree before applying for positions in Canada.
If you don’t know what degree to pursue, simply look at degrees relevant to the most in-demand Canadian jobs. Some of these jobs are:
- Registered Nurse
- Human Resource Managers
- Administrative Assistants (specializing in Accounting or Bookkeeping)
- Project Managers
- Web developers
- Data Analysts
Interestingly, you don’t always need a college degree to get noticed and selected by Canadian employers. For some jobs, all you’ll need is a relevant license. Sometimes vocational training and apprenticeship suffice. Some in-demand Canadian jobs requiring these are:
- Drivers (especially forklift operators)
4. Requisite Skills
It is the skills garnered from your education and experience that qualifies you for a job. So, above everything else, Canadian employers look for foreign candidates with particular skills.
Some of the most sought after skills are:
Leadership and management skills – Employers want workers that can lead and motivate teams, efficiently coordinating the human and material resources towards achieving organizational goals.
Research and analytical skills – Employers want workers who’ll be able to critically analyze an issue, consider the merits of different solutions, and objectively choose one.
Problem solving and creativity – Solving problems creatively is critical to success in the workplace. This involves defining a problem, identifying its cause, identifying and prioritizing alternative solutions, and implementing a solution. Thus, employers generally want workers with problem solving skills that can help them overcome business challenges.
Communication skills – The ability to communicate effectively (oral or writing) is important to succeed in any role. So, employers want workers with fine communication skills such as reading, speaking, and listening.
Planning and organization skills – Goals cannot be achieved without proper planning, or organizing systems towards their execution. Thus, employers want workers who can set objectives, establish priorities, manage tasks, etc.
Multitasking – The ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously is highly needed in every field because it helps workers accomplish more. Employers generally like workers that are highly productive, so multitasking skills are highly cherished.
Initiative skills – A rare skill is starting activity independently being able to assess a situation and take action without being told what to do. It shows workers resourcefulness and helps them perform better. Initiative is something that employers want to see in foreign candidates.
Teamwork skills – There’s hardly an employment where you’ll work in isolation. Rather, work usually involves collaboration with people in one form or the other. Teamwork skills are the qualities that allow you to work well with others. As such, Canadian employers want to see teamwork skills in candidates.
There are labour and skill shortages in Canada that foreign workers can fill. However, first and foremost, candidates need to have relevant education and work experience, and be proficient in Canadian official languages.
Employers also look out for requisite skills, which usually includes research and analytical skills, problem solving skills, planning and organizing skills, leadership and management skills, teamwork, and more.