Canada is an attractive country for many Americans. It has a relatively lower cost of living, a more socialized healthcare system, and it is closer to home. And while the United States has been in the midst of political turmoil, Canada’s economy has been thriving.
Why should a US citizen consider working in Canada?
Several reasons make Canada a lucrative option for work. The first is that the Canadian labor market is more stable and secure than the American labor market. The unemployment rates in Canada are lower. This means that there is less of a chance that you will be out of work or unemployed, which is essential for those who have families to provide for. In addition, the health care system in Canada provides free health care to all Canadians, which Americans don’t have access to unless they’re insured through their employer or have private medical insurance. These are just some of the most critical points you should keep in mind when considering Canada to live and work in.
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Benefits of living and working in Canada for American workers
- Large growing economy – Despite the pandemic, the Canadian economy displayed resilience as it added 303,000 jobs in March 2021. Canada is the world’s 10th largest economy. The country renewed its commitment to get 1.2 million immigrants by 2023 as it added new immigration programs recently. It already has 70+ immigration and visa programs that facilitate foreigners to work and settle in Canada permanently.
- Jobs for Skilled and Unskilled Workers – The economy is growing at a rapid pace. This means there is no shortage of demand for skilled and unskilled workers. Foreign workers can find suitable jobs and get the quality lifestyle they are bereft of in their home country.
- Rising immigrant wages – The income data released by Statistics Canada shows promising growth demonstrated by immigrants in Canada. The median entry wage for immigrants who landed in 2017 was CAD 26,500. This income grew up to CAD 31,100 for immigrants who landed in 2018. Immigrants continue to outperform their peers to earn higher initial wages and wages earned after gaining a few years of Canadian experience.
- Avenues for business immigrants – Canadian business landscape has witnessed several immigrant success stories. Immigrants with a business mindset can enter on start-up visas or self-employed person programs. Apart from these, there are several options available at the provincial level. Canadian provinces have specific Investor and Business immigration programs, e.g., Quebec Investor Program, Quebec Entrepreneur Program, and many more.
Work opportunities for different foreign workers
- Temporary foreign workers – Close to 470,000 foreign nationals received temporary work permits in 2019. There is a massive list of work you can take up as a temporary worker in Canada. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program of the Canadian government is designed to allow local businesses to hire foreign workers for specific jobs. The local employer needs to apply for Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to temporarily fill labor or skills shortages. General applications can be routed through High and Low wage streams. The government also made provisions for specialized applications like Express Entry, Global Talent Stream, Academics, Agriculture, and Caregivers.
- Business persons – Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) – Applicable only to citizens of the US and Mexico. These workers’ employers do not need an LMIA to hire them. Individuals could be business visitors, professionals, intra-company transfers, traders, and investors. People from countries with whom Canada has Free Trade Agreements can come to do business in Canada. Includes citizens of Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Korea.
- International Experience Canada – Youths are eligible for the program. They have three streams to choose from:
- Working Holiday
- Young Professionals
- International Co-op (internship) – for students
You usually do not need a job offer; however, temporarily, this permit requires you to have a job offer from a Canadian employer. Under this permit, youth can work for more than one employer. They are not limited to working in a particular geography within Canada.
- Caregivers – Canada offers permanent residence to caregivers under several programs. However, the most typical way for a caregiver to get to PR is via a temporary work permit. A caregiver could be a professional or could be a live-in caregiver too.
- Agricultural workers – Canada, through its Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, invites foreign workers to work in agriculture jobs. This permit allows workers to work for more than one employer while in Canada. A job offer and a positive LMIA are required on the part of the employer to hire you
Some exceptions to LMIA
Canadian employers are allowed to hire some temporary foreign workers without an LMIA. However, there are more exceptions to the LMIA requirements; these are:
- Skilled Workers who are working under the NAFTA agreement
- Workers who get transfers within their employer company or group company
- International Experience Canada participants
- Those workers who received their Post-Graduate temporary work permit
- Workers who have Bridging Open Work Permit holders
What are the best jobs for Americans in Canada?
The best jobs for Americans in Canada are those that require a skill set that is in demand in the Canadian market. If you are a skilled tradesperson with experience, you might want to consider moving to a place that has a shortage of skilled talent. If you have experience as an accountant or lawyer, there will be less competition for these positions, and the pay is likely to be higher than what it would be in the United States.
It’s important to note that if you want to live and work legally in Canada, you’ll need an employment authorization card or work permit. This can take up to six months, so make sure you plan before making any moves!
Steps on how to immigrate to Canada as a foreign worker
You will need a work permit to come to Canada and work as a foreign worker. In a few exceptional situations, you can work without a permit. You can apply from inside Canada as well as from outside. The steps to applying as a foreign worker are pretty straightforward:
Prerequisites – You need to have documents handy. They include – a passport or travel document, proof of employment (job offer and LMIA), and Relationship proof (if spouse accompanies you).
Step 1 – Fill application package – Prefer online for speedy processing and easy traceability.
Step 2 – Pay fees online. The fee is CAD 155 per person. An additional biometrics fee of CAD 85 also applies.
Step 3 – Submit the application and check for status updates.
The approximate processing time is ten weeks for work permit applications submitted outside Canada. Inside Canada, applications take around one month.
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