Did you know? 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that Canada faces a shortage of low-skilled and unskilled workers. This is mainly due to Canada’s existing merit-based immigration system that favours immigrants who are well-educated and highly skilled in their respective fields. While this is undoubtedly important for the growth of the Canadian economy, there is no denying that the country needs more individuals with low skills as well. If you believe you fall into the category, you are in luck!
Navigating the visa process for low-skilled workers can be tricky, though. That’s why we are here to help. In this article, we will discuss how you can work in Canada as a low-skilled worker and the jobs in Canada for unskilled or low-skilled immigrants.
Moving to Canada Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program
The first option for unskilled and semi-skilled workers looking for jobs in Canada is the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
This allows foreign workers to temporarily live and work in Canada (usually two years). You can also apply for a new work permit or an extension on your existing permit. However, this depends on your employers and the job offer you have received. To be eligible for this visa, you must:
Have written evidence of the job offer you have received from a Canadian employer
Have an approved Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The Department of Employment and Social Development Canada gives this to your employer.
Show the immigration officer that you will stay in Canada temporarily and leave the country at the end of your employment period. It would be best to convince the officer that you have reasons to return to your country.
Provide evidence that you meet the requirements of the job. This can include your previous work experience, job-specific training (2 years maximum), and educational requirements (usually a high school diploma).
You must not have a criminal record and must be in good health.
Make sure all documents are in English or French.
Show that you do not pose a threat to the security of the country.
Provide evidence of having a sufficient amount of funds for your stay in Canada.
Your employer will be responsible for the following:
Applying for an LMIA
Paying for your airfare (arrival and return costs)
Assisting in finding suitable and affordable accommodations
Providing temporary medical insurance coverage
Getting you registered under a provincial workplace safety insurance plan
Immigration to Canada Under the Provincial Nominee Program
Currently, no federal program allows permanent residence to foreigners holding low or semi-skilled jobs in Canada.
However, depending on their requirements, you may qualify for residency under a Provincial Nominee Program hosted by a province in Canada. We will discuss your options for immigration to Canada under the provincial nominee program, which is possible in two prominent provinces, namely British Columbia and Ontario. These are:
1. Qualifying Under the Entry Level and Semi-skilled Worker Category (British Columbia)
British Columbia offers permanent residency nominations under the entry-level and semi-skilled worker category of BC PNP. Professions include transportation, manufacturing, food and beverage, and hospitality. These nominations are given to assist Canadian employers during critical labour shortages. Requirements include:
You must have a valid work permit
You must have a minimum work experience of 9 months in British Columbia
You must have a valid job offer for full-time employment from an employer in British Columbia
You must prove your proficiency in the English or French language at CLB Level 4 or higher (Canadian Language Benchmark).
Your work experience must be relevant to the ELSS In-Demand Occupations. These include hotel front desk clerks, tour and travel guides, casino workers, outdoor sport and recreational guides, bartenders, and restaurant servers.
If you meet these requirements, you can register your profile on the online immigration portal of the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP). You will then be assigned a score and ranking. The highest-ranking candidates will receive an invitation to apply for residency. You can submit your completed residency application within 30 days after receiving the invitation. If your application gets approved, you will be issued a provincial nomination for permanent residence. You will then have six months to submit your official application for permanent residency. The fee for applying for permanent residency under this category is 700 Canadian dollars. You must also check whether your employer is eligible and willing to support your residency application.
2. Qualifying for the Northeast Pilot Project (British Columbia)
If you are considering immigration to Canada as an unskilled worker, you can also check out the Northeast Pilot Project. This project operates under the Provincial Nominee Program of British Columbia. You can apply for this program if you have been employed as a low-skilled or semi-skilled worker in British Columbia. To qualify, you must:
Be currently employed in the Northeast Development Region
Have a secondary school certificate or occupation-specific training
Not have a work permit under the federal Live-In Caregiver program
Meet all requirements stipulated under the Entry Level and Semi-skilled Worker category
The jobs offered in this program include mine service workers, machine operators, heavy equipment operators, retail sales clerks, and more.
The Employer Job Offer: In-Demand Skills Stream (Ontario)
This program allows foreign workers who qualify for some specific, in-demand occupations to work and live permanently in Ontario. To apply for this program, you must:
I have a job offer for a permanent, full-time position in Ontario.
Have a minimum work experience of 9 months in Ontario (the experience must be relevant to the in-demand occupation)
Be proficient in English or French (CLB level 4)
Have a high school diploma
Have funds to support yourself and your family members while living in Canada.
Show intention to stay in Ontario after getting permanent residency
The jobs offered in this program include truck drivers, heavy equipment operators, farmers, industrial butchers and meat cutters, construction workers, nurse aides, home support workers, greenhouse workers, and commercial/residential service members.
Let’s Sum It Up
There are a few provincial programs under which foreign workers can apply for residency as unskilled, low-skilled, or semi-skilled workers in Canada. The industries or sectors wherein these workers are required depend on the respective provinces. You can apply under the Temporary Foreign Worker program to live and work temporarily in Canada. However, immigration to Canada may be complex under this option. Unskilled workers can also apply for permanent residency under the Entry Level and Semi-skilled Worker category offered by the British Columbia Nominee Program. You can also apply for residency under the Northeast Pilot Project (British Columbia) and the In-Demand Skills Stream program (Ontario).
If you require further advice on immigration for unskilled and low-skilled workers, contact our team at Elaar Immigration Consulting Inc., a leading immigration firm based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant can help you determine the best way to immigrate to Canada while avoiding the usual hassles.