Whether you’re planning to go abroad as a temporary worker, or seeking to apply and become a permanent resident, one of the places you should definitely consider is Canada — a vast, diverse, and progressive country located in North America.
Featuring a stable economy, excellent healthcare system, and numerous career opportunities across multiple sectors, Canada is a top choice among jobseekers worldwide, including overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). The fact that it has plenty of beautiful landscapes, along with vibrant towns and cities, makes this country an amazing place to settle in, indeed! In this article, we will discuss how Filipinos can apply to live and work in Canada.
Types of Programs
There are different types of programs for those who would like to work in Canada. Depending on your preference, you could apply through the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program, or through an Express Entry Program, which leads to permanent residency.
A. Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program
As the name says, this program involves the hiring of foreign workers, particularly for industries where there’s a shortage of local laborers. In recent years, these include the following sectors: food service, fish and seafood processing, hotel, and hospitality services.
The great about the TFW programs is that it allows foreign workers to eventually apply for permanent residency in Canada, provided that they have worked for a certain number of years in the country.
B. Permanent Residency: Express Entry Programs
Express Entry Programs enable skilled workers to work and stay in Canada permanently. There are three Express Entry Programs, namely: Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and Canadian Experience Class.
Here is a brief description of each program:
Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program. You can apply for this program if you have the education, language proficiency, and work experience required in any of Canada’s “eligible occupations” (there are more than 300 such occupations). Under this program, you become part of an “Express Entry Pool,” where candidates are ranked using a point-based system. Those who rank the highest are invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada.
Federal Skilled Trades Trades Program (FTSP). To qualify for this program, you must have at least two years of work experience within the past five years in an eligible skilled trade. This program was introduced in 2013.
Canadian Experience Class. This program is designed for those who have skilled work experience in Canada.
Do you qualify for an Express Entry Program? To find out if you are eligible for any of these programs, you can fill out this form on the official website of the Government of Canada.
The system will determine whether you qualify for a program, and if so — you’ll be instructed on what to do next. You’ll be added to the Express Entry Pool, with the possibility of getting an invitation to apply for immigration. That being said, please note that it could take some time before you receive an invitation.
The qualifications would depend on the type of job you are applying for, and the type of entry program involved. You can expect that each job opening would have a minimum age, education, skills, and work experience as part of the requirements.
When applying for work in Canada, you’ll need to obtain a work permit and a visa. Here are some of the basic requirements:
A. Work Permit Requirements
- Job Offer Letter;
- Employment Contract;
- Copy of Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA); and
- LMIA Number.
B. Canadian Visa Requirements
- Filled up IMM5257 Form;
- Filled up Family Information Form;
- Valid Passport;
- Digital Photo;
- Proof of Means of Financial Support;
- Proof of Purpose of Travel;
- Travel History;
- Business Registration Documents (if applicable);
- Letter of Explanation; and
- Visa and Biometrics Fees.
Most Popular Jobs in Canada for Overseas Filipino Workers
Currently, the most active industries in Canada are agriculture, construction, engineering, healthcare, education, hospitality and tourism, manufacturing, information technology, and transportation.
Here is a list of the most in-demand jobs in the country, grouped according to industry:
- Agriculture – agricultural mechanics, butcher, farm workers, greenhouse workers, sawmill operators, etc.
- Construction – machine operators, carpenters, electricians, welders, etc.
- Engineering – civil engineers, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, etc.
- Healthcare – nurses, doctors, caregivers, etc.
- Education – subject teachers, language teachers, etc.
- Hospitality and Tourism – restaurant managers, cooks, waiters, hotel managers, receptionists, etc.
- Manufacturing – equipment mechanics, factory workers, machine operators, managers, supervisors, etc.
- Information Technology – computer programmers, IT specialists, software developers, etc.
- Transportation – automotive mechanics, truck drivers, etc.
How to Become an OFW in Canada
Do you think you have what it takes work in Canada? If so, be sure to follow these steps when you apply:
1. Choosing an Entry Program
As mentioned earlier, there are different programs to enter Canada, including temporary work and permanent residency programs. Based on your education, skills, and job experience, consider which program best fits your qualifications, so that you would have the best chance of getting hired and getting your application approved.
2. Finding a Job in Canada
Along with finding out which entry program is best, you should also start looking for employment in Canada. If you qualify for an Express Entry Program, consider looking for a job through the Job Bank. This is the official job site of Canada; it matches Express Entry candidates with potential employers.
Meanwhile, if you are planning to apply through the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program, you can start by looking at the official website of the Philippine Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). This website contains a list of approved job orders as well as a list of manpower agencies that are licensed to recruit workers for overseas jobs. Be sure to look for the agency’s official website and contact details so you can verify their job openings.
3. Waiting for Documents
Before you apply for a work permit or visa, you need to have some important documents, which will be sent to you by your prospective employer. These documents include the job offer, employment contract, and the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
First of all, your job offer must have details such as your job description, working hours, salary, benefits, and other information.
As for the LMIA, you might be wondering what it is, exactly. The Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) means that the employer cannot find a Canadian available for the job, and so they need a foreign worker. Basically, the LMIA confirms that you — a foreign worker — are needed to fill the job opening.
Not all jobs require a LMIA, however; there are certain jobs that are exempted from this requirement. To find out if your job offer requires a LMIA, please visit this webpage.
4. Applying for a Work Permit
Upon receiving your job offer, employment contract, and LMIA, you can now apply for your work permit. Before anything else, be sure to prepare the following documents: job offer letter, employment contract, copy of LMIA, and LMIA number.
Where to apply? You can apply for your work permit online, or in-person through a designated application center.
Online. Visit this link to start applying for a Canadian work permit. Aside from submitting an application, you’ll also need to pay a biometrics fee. You will receive instructions on where you can have your biometrics (i.e. photos, fingerprints) taken. You have up to 30 days to give your biometrics at a designated application center.
In Person. VFS Global is the exclusive service provider for the Government of Canada. It provides administrative support services to visa applicants in the Philippines. VFS Global has offices in Manila and Cebu; you can go to these offices to apply for your work visa and permit. Here is the official website of VFS Global.
As part of your application, you may also need to undergo a medical exam and interviews. Wait for instructions regarding the schedule and venue of your medical exam and interviews.
NOTE: Once your application is approved, you will receive an approval letter. You’ll be bringing this letter to Canada, and upon your arrival, that’s when you will receive your work permit.
5. Preparing to Become an OFW
Aside from getting your work permit, you’ll need to complete a couple more requirements before becoming a full-fledged OFW: the Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar, and the Overseas Employment Certificate.
Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS). This is a mandatory seminar for all aspiring OFWs; it is conducted by the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). During this seminar, you will learn all about the processes, costs, and other information relevant to OFWs.
Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC). This is a document that you’ll need to show Philippine immigration officials before you depart for Canada.
Licensed Recruitment Agencies to Canada
As cited earlier, you can apply for an overseas job through a manpower agency — as long as it’s accredited by the Philippine Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). Here is a list of agencies that are licensed to recruit OFWs to Canada-based employers:
- 10th Story Placement Agency, Inc.;
- 1st Dynamic Personnel Resources Inc.;
- Advance Productions Inc.;
- AMI Global Recruitment;
- Andrews Manpower Consulting Inc.;
- Anifel Management and General Services Corporation;
- Archangel Global Solutions Incorporated;
- Asia Reach International Management and Contractor Services Inc.;
- Aureus Manpower and Consultancy Corp.;
- Best Group Marketing Agency Inc.;
- Chartreuse Prime Recruitment Specialists Inc.;
- Cierto Agencia Profesionale Inc.;
- Cleopatra International Placement Agency Inc.;
- EDI Staffbuilders International Inc.;
- EMR Construction and Manpower Services Inc.;
- Euroasia Philippines Inc.;
- Fil-HR Manpower Development and Services Specialist Corp.;
- Industrial Personnel and Management Services Inc.(IPAMS);
- International Staffing Organization Inc.;
- Magsaysay Global Services Inc.; and
- Mercan Canada Employment Philippines Inc..
NOTE: Please head to the DMW official website to view the full list of manpower agencies that are licensed to recruit land-based and sea-based OFWs around the world.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Meanwhile, here are some frequently asked questions — and answers — about becoming an OFW in Canada:
1. Who are qualified to work in Canada?
There is an extensive list of occupations that are in-demand in Canada. Depending on your education, skills, and work experience, you may qualify for a job and apply through the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program or any of the Express Entry Programs: Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and Canadian Experience Class. Each program has its own set of qualifications and requirements for applicants.
2. What are the requirements?
Once again, this would depend on the type of job and entry program you’ll be applying for. Nevertheless, to apply for a work permit, you’ll need to submit your job offer letter, employment contract, copy of Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), and LMIA number.
As for your visa, general requirements include: your passport, filled-up application forms, proof of financial means, proof of purpose of travel, travel history, and letter of explanation.
3. What are the most in-demand jobs for OFWs?
At present, the most popular industries in Canada are agriculture, engineering, construction, education, healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality and tourism, transportation, and information technology.
Hence, the most in-demand jobs in the country include: farm workers, sawmill operators, carpenters, welders, civil engineers, mechanical engineers, nurses, caregivers, teachers, cooks, receptionists, factory workers, equipment mechanics, computer programmers, software developers, automotive mechanics, and truck drivers.
4. How can I become an OFW in Canada?
To become an OFW in Canada, you’ll need to find a job, and choose an entry program that best fits your qualifications. Together with your employer and employment agency, you’ll need to prepare documents such as your job offer, contract, LMIA, and more. The process also involves getting a work permit, undergoing a medical exam, interviews, and other important procedures.
5. How can I learn more about working in Canada?
To know more about how you can work in Canada as an OFW, visit the official website of the Government of Canada. You can also get in touch with the Canadian Embassy in the Philippines, whose contact information are provided below.
Contact Information: Canadian Embassy in Manila
Here are the contact details and location map of the Canadian Embassy in Manila. This office is located in Makati City:
Address: RCBC Plaza Tower 2, 6th-8th Floor, 6819 Ayala Ave, Makati, 1227 Metro Manila, Philippines
Telephone: +63 2 8857 9000
Video: Applying for a Job Through Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program
One of the ways in which you can get a job in Canada is through the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program. Check out this video to learn more about this program, along with the different steps involved. This video is shared by the YouTube channel, “DREY’s Canada Vlog,” which is managed by a Filipino based in Canada.
Of course, aside from preparing for your job and visa-related requirements, you should also get ready for your actual stay in Canada. Here are some tips and reminders on what to expect during your day-to-day life in Canada:
Prepare for extreme weather. Unlike in the Philippines, where we have just two seasons (dry season and rainy season), Canada has four: summer, spring, autumn, and winter. Depending on your location, the winter can get really cold… as low as negative 40 degrees Celsius in some areas! So be prepared, make sure you have the right clothes and accessories!
Learn the language. The official languages in Canada are English and French. Fortunately, most Filipinos are proficient in English, so you shouldn’t have much problems with communication. However, please note that there are areas where French is the predominant language. If you are planning to work in Quebec, for example, it would be wise to take up French lessons and practice the language.
Know the cost of living. Compared to the Philippines, keep in mind that the cost of living is generally higher in Canada. Moreover, there are places that are more expensive than others — major cities like Toronto and Vancouver, for example. To save on housing or rental costs, you might want to consider staying in smaller towns outside these cities. In that case, though, you’ll need to factor in your daily transport cost.
Know how to get around. Speaking of transportation, you’d be happy to know that Canada has an efficient public transport system, with trains and buses operating within/between cities and towns. You can also catch a flight in any of the country’s 400 airports! What’s more, there are ferries and boats that operate in Canada’s coast and lakeside areas.
Don’t smoke in public. In Canada, smoking is banned in public spaces. You can only at smoke at home or in large, designated outdoor areas. This rule benefits not only your health, but the environment, too!
Understand the tipping culture. Tipping is expected in the service industries, such as restaurants and cafes. As a general rule of thumb, a 15-percent tip would be much appreciated!
Connect with fellow Pinoys. Filipinos have been living and working in Canada for many decades now. In fact, as of 2018, there are more than 900,000 Filipinos in Canada including temporary workers, permanent residents, and naturalized Canadians. Aside from the Philippines, other leading sources of immigrants to Canada are China, India, and Iran.
Respect cultural differences. Canada prides itself for being home to diverse cultures and ethnicities. People from all over the world come here to work, and eventually, settle as permanent residents when given the opportunity. You can expect to make friends with people from various places. In any case, always be respectful of differences in culture, beliefs, and practices.
Canada is among the world’s top destinations for immigrants and foreign workers, there’s no doubt about that. If you are planning to live and work in this beautiful country, we hope that this guide has been truly helpful!
On the other hand, another top choice among OFWs is Hong Kong. Check out this article to learn more about how you can apply and become and OFW in this amazing city!