Ruairi Spillane offers advice to engineers who are considering making the move to Canada, whether they are newly graduated from college or if they have considerable experience under their belt

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Author: Ruairi Spillane, CEO, Moving2Canada

The labour shortage in Canada is expected to peak in 2015. With baby boomers retiring and an ageing population, Canada has been working hard to attract experienced engineers to fill the void by creating a new career in Canada. The world’s second-largest country has a population of just 34 million and is experiencing a labour shortage across locations in Northern British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

These locations are rich in natural resources, attracting huge direct investment, which in turn drives investment in related civil and infrastructural projects. Yet, when it comes to one’s motivation for moving to Canada, everyone is different. Carefully consider what motivates you about your move. These answers can help you decide which location would work best for you.

  • Will you move alone, with a partner, or as a family?
  • Are you moving due to economic necessity, desire for a better lifestyle or a combination of the two?
  • What level of experience do you have?

Remember, your reputation precedes you.Irish engineers have a fine reputation in Canada. Many Irish emigrants of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s have forged strong careers across Canada. The popularity of Irish engineers is down to:

  • A willingness to go where the work is — Irish engineers tend to be more willing to relocate to remote parts of Canada (Fort McMurray, Edmonton, etc.) where opportunities are greatest;
  • A strong personality — Being confident enough to speak up when necessary and not taking ourselves too seriously are massive assets in the eyes of employers. Irish engineers are recognised for their strong people skills and thrive in client meetings and social situations;
  • A strong work ethic — Our work ethic precedes us as Irish immigrants. We are often hungry to succeed;
  • The ability to adapt — Whether it’s coping with the marginal cultural differences or the colder winter across parts of Canada, Irish engineers tend to overcome these challenges very quickly;
  • A can-do attitude — Employers regularly compliment the versatility of Irish engineers as they tend to be open to trying new types of roles or filling temporary gaps in the workforce.

WORK PERMIT

If you are under 35 years old and hold an Irish passport, you can apply for the International Experience Canada working holiday visa. For those with UK passports, the age limit is 30. Since January 2014, Ireland’s quota increased from 6,350 to 10,000 visas, but visas are expected to sell out quickly. This route is recommended for those who are eligible, as it allow you to come to Canada and seek work.

As of 2013, you will get a two-year work permit, which you activate upon entering Canada. Once you gain 12 months of skilled work experience, you can then apply for permanent residency via the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) programme.

For those over 35 years old, you have two options:

  • Acquire a work permit via Labour Market Opinion. You can find an employer to apply for a work permit on your behalf. This process assesses your skill set, your potential employer’s needs and their ability communicate that your skillset is not readily available locally.
  • Apply for residency via the Federal Skilled Worker programme. Engineers are listed here as a desired profession, so it may be possible to for you to apply for permanent residency prior to moving to Canada. The process can take around 12 months, but you are then entitled to travel to and work in Canada indefinitely.

Toronto and Vancouver continue to be the most popular choices for Irish immigrants. Incidentally, employment prospects are generally much stronger outside of these two cities. For those with limited work experience, consider moving to regions with greater employment prospects. The provinces of Western Canada currently offer excellent opportunities as they are experiencing resource-driven booms.

Like most countries, employers will favour local experience and hesitate to commit to candidates without any Canadian experience. This means you should focus on selling your international experience and work to ensure that your qualifications match up to Canadian standards. Provincial registration with the provincial body of your target province is highly recommended.

For those with little or no work experience, it is crucial to pick the right location to kick-start your career. Too many Irish graduates are choosing lifestyle over job opportunity. They often struggle to make an impact in competitive cities like Vancouver and Toronto if they are not up for the challenge.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Canadian companies do not move quickly when it comes to hiring from abroad. The process can often take three-to-six months, so be prepared to adapt and be persistent. It is crucial to ‘Canadianise’ your curriculum vitae, as this is the first test to show a Canadian company that you can adapt.

The big question you face if you have decided to immigrate is, ‘why Canada?’. What are the influential factors?

  • Local economy — While Australia and the Middle Eastern economies have slowed significantly, Canada has continued to boom. This boom is driven by an abundance of natural resources across Canada and strong housing markets in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver are driving construction booms in each city;
  • A long-term option — Most immigrants choose Canada as it represents a viable long-term alternative to Ireland, given its cultural similarities and closer location;
  • Proximity to home — Depending on your location in Canada, you are typically between 5-12 hours from home;
  • Weather — While Vancouver can offer a remarkably similar climate to Ireland, other locations across Canada tend to offer colder, dry winters and warmer summers;
  • Scale of projects — Canada, Australia and the Middle East can offer opportunities across some of the largest projects in oil and gas, mining and construction sectors;
  • Wages — Wages tend to be slightly higher in both Australia and the Middle East relative to Canada. That said, Canada competes very favourably with wage levels in Ireland and the UK.

To get started, you can download the comprehensive Moving2Canada Getting Started Guide, which provides essential information on immigration, employment and lifestyle in Canada. Also, keep track of our social media networks for more updates and news. More questions? See www.moving2canada.com or email: info@moving2canada.com.

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  Author: Ruairi Spillane, CEO, Moving2Canada The labour shortage in Canada is expected to peak in 2015. With baby boomers retiring and an ageing population, Canada has been working hard to attract experienced engineers to fill the void by creating a new career in Canada. The world’s second-largest country has a...