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August 13, 2006 7:44 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have any tips for finding Canadian employers willing to sponsor somewhat average applicants for immigration?

My husband and I pass the skilled immigrant test, so we could go that way if we had $20,000 Canadian/$18,000 US in the bank (for application fees, permanent residence fees, and "funds required to relocate" for a three-member family), but we don't, and probably won't any time soon. I'm home with a new baby, so he is the one who would be looking for work.

He has a lot of skills. In Egypt, he taught ESL. Here in the US he teaches computers and Arabic at a private school. He's also managed the school's computer network, filmed and edited videos for the school, and done some graphic design work for them, including laying out a yearbook, designing some fancy invitations, posters, and so on. In his freetime he does freelance computer repair / networking / web design, all self taught (except for an A+ certification). He's just an average, self taught designer, though. Nothing so unusual that I'd expect a company to go out of their way to import him. (I've put a link to his portfolio in my profile for the time being. You can see the progression from before he was even using CSS to now).

We're nice people and we're getting more than a little uncomfortable living in a place where people like us can get arrested for having a bunch of cell phones or taking photos of landmarks when they go on vacation, especially because of the sweet little two month old who's sleeping a few feet from me right now. That is equivalent to one meter, my friends. Or one metre, even. You see? We are ready to assimilate.

Last year he sent out letters with a cd-rom showing some work he's done for his current school to all the Islamic schools in Ontario, with no bites. Those schools don't usually like to get involved with immigration because everyone has a brother or a cousin or whatever who's trying to come over, and they find it better just to stay out of it, I think. So I guess we're looking at some kind of position where he would just use his tech skills? Or do English-Arabic translation? Or anything else the hive mind thinks of.

Generally, though, the main questions are:
-How can you tell when looking at job listings whether the employer will be willing to sponsor?
-When should this issue be raised?
-How can he make himself look stellar enough that they would be willing to go through this process?
posted by leapingsheep to Work & Money (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
  • He should take a trip to Toronto, visit some headhunters, talk to people in person. Ask them if they're willing to sponsor.
  • Are you US citizens? If so, look into NAFTA exemptions similar to a TN status in the USA.

  • posted by blue_beetle at 8:12 PM on August 13, 2006

    Having gone through the immigration process for my wife (from the U.S.), and having a continued interest in how utterly screwed up the process is, and being someone who has worked in IT in Vancouver for 16+ years...I can say that you are not going to have an easy time of this.

    If you meet the points criteria as you say, that's really the best way to get into the country. That really means nothing in terms of finding work and surviving though. Just last night there was a 15 minute news segment on how screwed up the system was for skilled immigrants. They had people with multiple degrees, years of experience, great skills and talents, who were working as cab drivers, janitors, snow shovellers....if they were able to find jobs at all.

    Saying that, most of the examples they gave were people who were in professions that required certification of some sort, and that certification required extraordinary steps (like a pharmacist or nurse having to go through most of their years of school once again). You husband might do OK in IT or film production, but he's going to have to be lucky as hell.

    It is all going to depend on how badly you want to leave and how badly you want your destination to be Canada. A few of the examples on the news were people who came to Canada and ultimately gave up to move to the U.S., where the requirements were not quite so stringent. I would generally assume that would be easier for you if it wasn't for the lunacy happening there right now (ie. perhaps waiting for the outcome of the election would be prudent).

    Good luck and stay safe, no matter what you decide!
    posted by Kickstart70 at 8:17 PM on August 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

    Response by poster: He's a permenent resident. Citizenship will take about another year and a half. The original plan was to wait for him to get that so it would be easy to travel in and out of the US for visiting my family, then apply for work in the Emirates or even back in Egypt. But a year and a half seems awfully long right now.
    Visiting headhunters in person seems good. I was kind of under the impression that they don't like you visiting the country for the purpose of looking for work, though. Am I mistaken?
    posted by leapingsheep at 8:23 PM on August 13, 2006

    Sorry, I misread the apologies.

    Some of what I wrote should be not completely useless, I hope.
    posted by Kickstart70 at 8:41 PM on August 13, 2006

    Response by poster: Don't appologize, kickstart. Of course it's useful. Thanks for your help.
    posted by leapingsheep at 8:46 PM on August 13, 2006

    "Citizenship will take about another year and a half..."

    I'd suggest that you folks stick it out, at least until he's secured US Citizenship.

    I'm American, living in London with "Indefinite Leave to Remain", aka Permanent Residence, and I'm planning a move of my own out of the UK, but I'm deliberately delaying departure until I've gotten British Citizenship.

    It might be much harder / take longer for your husband to secure US Citizenship later. At least now it's in motion, for better or worse.

    Delaying would also allow you folks to more deliberately and thoughfully probe the job market, finding out current - especially future - skills hotspots. He might want to take a few classes to position himself more attractively in the eyes of Canadian employers.
    posted by Mutant at 12:15 AM on August 14, 2006

    Best answer: I'm sorry to rain on your parade, but employers who have the resources to sponsor immigrants will do so only for exceptional candidates that offer something a Canadian cannot. You say that your husband's skills are not especially remarkable -- unfortunately I would have to agree. There is a decently-sized Arab community in Ontario and Quebec (especially in Montreal), thus his abilities in Arabic are far from unique. And while the Canadian IT industry is going through a modest resurgence, the jobs are going to software engineers and computer scientists with post-graduate degrees. Network admins and web techs are a dime a dozen.

    $18,000 is not very much money -- think of it in the same terms as a car loan. If you're really determined, you should be able to save it within three years, maybe even two. Yes, even as a single-income family of three. Then you can apply to immigrate as a skilled worker.
    posted by randomstriker at 1:31 AM on August 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

    Best answer: It'll probably take close to a year and a half to get PR up here anyway, so don't drop the citizenship application. I imagine that'll be very useful to have.

    If I remember correctly from when we applied for permanent residence a couple of years ago, the $18k (I think it was $11k in our case) didn't all have to be cash in the bank. We had 401ks and stuff that we provided statements for. I'd call a lawyer up here if I were you and see if/how you can "get around" that requirement by, I don't know, perhaps providing evidence of what your car would be worth if you sold it etc.

    In addition to coming up and meeting headhunters you should put some feelers out to the Egyptian community - practically every job I've gotten in the US & Canada has been through Irish connections. And start asking everyone you know if they know people in Canada. Make connections!

    I sympathize. My better half is a young, Muslim guy who ran into some nasty prejudice within the last few years; towards the end of our stay in the States, every time he left the house I was entirely paranoid that he was going to be arrested or harassed. Not entirely logical but it's not a nice or healthy feeling. Hang in there and don't do anything hasty.

    If you need any info about Toronto or the PR-application experience, feel free to drop me an email.
    posted by jamesonandwater at 6:12 AM on August 14, 2006

    Best answer: With his ESL teaching background, you may want to look into universities to teach at. Universities seem to do a lot of hiring from abroad.

    Also, what about French? From what I understand if you have French language AND a needed career, getting to Quebec is relatively easy.
    posted by k8t at 8:51 AM on August 14, 2006

    Response by poster: The thread seems to have ended, so I'm taking my husband's site out of my profile. If anyone wants to see it, it's here.
    posted by leapingsheep at 7:15 PM on August 14, 2006

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