Considering the booming economy, there is no shortage of labour jobs in Canada for Indians. Apart from the availability of steady employment, workers should consider Canada as their first choice because the system works very differently. Canadian agencies actually prefer people who would be an asset to the country and do not allow employers to discriminate against foreign workers.
For now, let’s put aside the other aspects and focus on finding work. There are around 300,000 temporary foreign nationals working for Canadian employers. The breakup according to industry sector is too big to list here, but the focus is on skilled trade workers for the Alberta Tar (oil) Sands, mining, agriculture, construction, hospitality, cruise liners and small businesses.
Indian laborers working here usually come through staffing agencies based in India who have been contracted by employers to provide manpower. The agency places ads in newspapers and classified websites about available openings. Applicants walk-in to an agency’s office and get hired after a brief interview to determine their capability and work experience.
Again, the list of agencies is too big to publish here, but they’re pretty easy to find in the classified sections of newspapers in big cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai. Being in one of these cities is pretty much essential, since the interviews are in-person meetings. The staffing agency gets paid by the employer, so the workers are not charged any fees.
Another option is to search for available openings online. Since most laborers in India are completely illiterate as far as use of computers is concerned, this is not really a viable solution. Even so, for those few who can find their way around the net, there are several additional possibilities.
For starters, Service Canada offers an electronic job bank which includes a full listing of all jobs available from every company across the nation. Applicants have to create a job bank account. They can then browse available openings and apply for ones they find suitable and matching their profile.
Secondly, there are tons of industry-specific job sites that post openings supplied by the staffing agencies. Again, most require candidates to create profiles, upload a CV and then apply for available openings. The advantage here is that workers residing anywhere in India can apply to agencies based anywhere in the world, including in India, Canada and USA (for a job in Canada).
One more thing to keep in mind is the difference between various industries. For example, foreign workers hired in the agriculture sector are primarily temporary or seasonal workers who are brought in from nearby countries like Mexico only for peak periods. The Alberta Tar Sands industry needs workers able to tolerate the freezing cold Arctic weather conditions.
The Canadian hospitality industry is badly in need of Indian chefs and kitchen staff, both for hotel kitchens and for individual restaurants. There is huge demand for Asian food, and new restaurants are opening faster than they can be staffed. Secondly, this is one area where Canada does not have a resident base of experienced workers.
This leads to the pending question that was raised above about Canadian immigration and human resource agencies not allowing discrimination against foreign workers. The thing is that employers need to get a “labour market opinion” approved by the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRDSC). This has to be done before the work permit application process is initiated.
This process determines that the employer first tried to hire or train Canadians for the job, but the position could not be filled. Secondly, it ensures that the overseas worker being employed will be paid wages equivalent to or greater than what a Canadian citizen working in the same occupation in the same region would be paid. So a fast food worker is sure to get at least $10.75 (CAD) per hour while a plumbing supervisor can expect $30.93 (CAD) per hour.
The way it works is that once the employer gets the confirmation letter from HRDSC, they will send a copy of this letter to the worker. It is then the worker’s responsibility to apply for a work permit from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). Canada uses the VFS system for visa application processing across nine cities in India. Applicants can also download the forms and send them in directly by mail.
In reality, the paperwork associated with work permit applications is handled by the staffing agencies based in India, and workers merely sign the papers and follow instructions. Either way, once the CIC approves the application, they send an authorization letter. The actual work permit is only issued when the worker lands up in front of a Border Services Agency officer upon arrival in Canada.
Laborers applying for a work permit will come under the temporary resident category, meaning that they are expected to return when the duration of the work permit expires. It can, of course, be extended if the employer wishes it. The worker does not have to leave the country while the application is being processed.
Apart from the lack of discrimination, another benefit is that the HRDSC and CIC process filters out people who might not be suitable for integration into Canadian society. This is why every application has to be supported by documents that prove the applicant’s qualifications and work experience for the job in question, and sometimes an interview at the High Commission or Consulate General may be required. But once a worker enters into Canada, the same career prospects available to Canadian citizens are virtually guaranteed for foreign workers too.
So let’s try and summarize all this information about labour jobs in Canada for Indians. Finding the job is easier in the big cities, and better yet if done online. Canada prefers skilled trade workers who will be an asset for the Canadian economy. File the CIC work permit application through a VFS Center if possible, because it makes the whole process smooth and the application status can be tracked online. Do not worry about wages, because employers are not allowed to treat foreign workers and Canadians differently.