Did you know? In 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that Canada is facing a shortage of low-skilled and unskilled workers. This is mainly due to the existing merit-based immigration system of Canada 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 a low-skill level as well. If you believe that you fall into the category, well, then you are in luck!
Navigating the visa process for low-skilled workers can be a bit tricky, though. That’s why we are here to help. In this article, we will be discussing how you can work in Canada as a low-skilled worker and the types of jobs in Canada for unskilled or low-skilled immigrants.
Moving to Canada Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program
For unskilled and semi-skilled workers looking for jobs in Canada, the first option available is the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
This can allow foreign workers to live and work in Canada on a temporary basis (usually 2 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. In order to be eligible for this visa, you must:
- Have written evidence of the job offer you have received by a Canadian employer
- Have an approved Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This is given to your employer by the Department of Employment and Social Development Canada.
- Show the immigration officer that you will be staying in Canada temporarily and will leave the country at the end of your employment period. You must also be able to convince the officer that you have reasons to return to your own 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)
- Providing assistance 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
At present, there is no federal program that 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 be discussing your options of immigration to Canada under the provincial nominee program 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 provide assistance to Canadian employers in periods of 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. Currently, these include hotel front desk clerks, tour and travel guides, casino workers, outdoor sport and recreational guides, bartenders, and servers in restaurants.
If you meet these requirements, you can get your profile registered on the online immigration portal of 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. Currently, 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 application for residency.
2. Qualifying for the Northeast Pilot Project (British Columbia)
If you are considering immigration to Canada as an unskilled worker, then you can also check out the Northeast Pilot Project. This project operates under the Provincial Nominee Program of British Columbia. If you have been employed as a low skilled or semi-skilled worker in British Columbia, then you can apply for this program. In order 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 operations, heavy equipment operations, 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. In order to apply for this program, you must:
- 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 servicemen.
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 depends 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 difficult 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, get in touch with our team at Elaar Immigration Consulting Inc., leading immigration firm based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant can help you figure out the best way to immigrate to Canada while avoiding the usual hassles along the way.