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Help! No one wants to hire me as a foreign worker

The question:

I'm currently in the United States working for a cruise line, but I would like to relocate to Canada with my family. We're originally from Macedonia. I'm a university graduate with a bachelors degree in electrical engineering. I have lots of experience in the electrical trades and I also have experience in hospitality.

For the past two years I've been looking for a Canadian employer who is willing to hire foreign workers. But I've had no success, no one wants to hire from overseas. I get a lots of e-mail responses, with everybody writing me that when I arrive in Canada I should contact them. Can you help me?

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The answer:

What you are experiencing is what many in your position go through when trying to find a job before relocating to the city the job is in. It can be a challenge to find work in an area you do not live in, depending on the demand for the role and, like you said, the willingness of employers to hire foreign workers.

There are many things you can do to increase you chances of finding work in Canada.

Make sure your credentials are accepted in Canada. Many licensed and regulated professions as well as skilled trades have different standards, depending on the country they were acquired in. Ensure that your education as an electrical engineer in Macedonia is accepted in Canada. If it is not, you may need to adjust your work expectations in order to find a job in Canada, then work toward the applicable education requirement.

Make sure your résumé talks specifically about your experience in electrical engineering. Highlight your skills and accomplishments, showing how they directly apply to the work you are looking for.

Play up your experience in travel and research where you may be able to apply your skills to businesses in Canada, such as airlines, ferry companies or anything travel related that my be applicable.

Many employers travel all over the world searching for employees. Watch for career fairs in your part of the world that would feature employers from Canada. Attend the career fair, résumé in hand, for a valuable chance to talk with representatives from companies that are hiring.

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Research companies that are expanding or growing in your area. The easy way to do this is to view Canadian newspapers, national and local as company growth tends to make the news. You can subscribe online to do this. This is a good way to identify companies that may be hiring in your area, now and perhaps in the immediate future.

The Canadian government has many policies and procedures in place to assist employers and potential employees with respect to hiring foreign workers. Go to this website for a host of information on how employers can apply to hire foreign workers, and what the regulations are for the foreign worker. The site contains some very important information you and your family should know before entering Canada as a foreign worker.

Eileen Dooley is a certified coach and lead consultant for Cam McRae Consulting in Calgary.

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