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One of the most disheartening things I hear about Canadian Immigration is the stories of families who return to their original country after unsuccessfully attempting to settle in Canada. One of the main reasons for the failures, it seems, is that the principal member of the household that normally supports everyone financially is unable to gain meaningful employment in their chosen profession or trade.

Many of these stories state that once in Canada it is quickly discovered that the foreign qualifications do not meet Canadian standards and so they cannot find employment without extensive retraining. Most of these cases may have been avoidable if the prospective employment requirements had been thoroughly researched well in advance of landing. Canada has an extremely high standard of education and many other systems simply don't measure up against theirs -- a degree program is 4 years for instance. So the chances are you will have to retrain, recertify or normally as a minimum, start again at the bottom. This may seem crazy but it's the way it is -- at least once your experience is apparent you may well soon find yourself rising up the ranks.

When my wife and I moved to Canada I believe we had exceptional luck, but we had also spent two years thoroughly researching our respective occupations in the Province of our intended destination. When I realized that my qualifications would not suffice I had to make alternative plans and so set about working towards qualifications that would be attractive to any employer -- not just my "niche."

A first aid at work course run by the St Johns ambulance will only cost 2 days of your time and around $150.00 and will instantly make you slightly more attractive to any employer -- most Provinces have Laws requiring employers to train their staff. Being computer literate with a variety of applications is almost imperative. Anything that makes you stand out and will reduce the cost and time needed to train you, will be a massive boost to your Resume. Also, employers are the same the world over -- everyone prefers people who are keen to self improve and make themselves more employable.

The first step is to decide which Province you wish to settle in as each has its own educational assessment agencies and occupational regulators. The Federal application for skilled trades bases your trade on the National Occupation Classification (NOC) list. However, some "Red Seal" trades are regulated in such ways that they transfer between Provinces, but the majority of trades and professions do not, which means recertification if you ever move.

Once you have an idea whereabouts in Canada you want to settle, contact the agency that will carryout your educational assessment and follow their instructions. Once you know what your qualifications equate to you will have a good point from which to start. Then using the PROVINCIAL regulators find out exactly where you stand with regards your intended field of expertise. The International Credential Assessment Service (ICAS) in Ontario provides a service that evaluates educational documents to provide a Canadian equivalent that can be used for employment, immigration or further education. ICAS also has information and advisory services for all types and levels of education -- elementary, secondary, postsecondary and technical. I would definitely recommend contacting them well in advance for some professional advice. You can find the contact details on our website "Job search" and "Ontario Immigration assistance" pages on our site.

If you only need to complete a few exams or courses to change over to the Canadian system then great, if not, make plans so that you can support yourselves during the time it takes to recertify. Also, try to make sure that there will be a good chance of employment available once you've qualified.

Definitely have a back up career chosen or identify anything you could easily cross over into as things rarely work out as you intend. If you read the "Our Story" page on our Canadian Immigration information website, you'll see that events transpired that meant my Plan A and Plan B both went wrong. Luckily some earlier research paid off and I managed to "the right job" within 6 weeks.

To close this article, DO NOT rely on your settling funds to last -- I would thoroughly recommend working anywhere to start with -- our budget gave us 6 months without work but in reality we'd have been in trouble in 4!!!! A servers or Bar job can be very lucrative but even $1,000 a month means that your money will last longer or help with retraining costs. My wife, Andie, worked in the local movie store almost straight away and apart from the money it means you meet people and start making contacts. As the saying goes "it's not what you know it's who you know."

Whatever you decide about your Canadian Immigration adventure, please ensure you fully research your employability.
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