Employment Strategies for New Immigrants

Making a home in a new county with a different culture is challenging. Many immigrants find that it takes a long time to get a good job in their chosen field. Many immigrants do other jobs to make money while they try to get jobs in their field.

There are many things you can do to get a job in your field or get started in a new field and many organizations that can help you find employment.

Becoming Employment Ready

Becoming employment ready means accreditation (if you need it), having your language skills assessed, and ensuring you have basic and essential skills for a specific job.  Visit TOWES (Test of Workplace Essential Skills) for information about testing and training that uses workplace documents to assess job skills.


You need Canadian accreditation for some jobs. You may need to take some courses to get accredited.  This may be easy or it may take a long time and be expensive.  If getting accreditation is expensive or takes a long time, you could consider a different career in your field so you can get to work more quickly.

Bridging Programs

To become employment ready, bridging programs offer in-class training and work placements to bridge your former education and work experience so you can practice your profession in Canada.  Get more information about bridging programs from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.

Language Skills

Employers often require you to have strong English language skills.  It can take a long time to improve language skills. Try to learn as much English as you can before you arrive. Then find an English language program in Waterloo Region when you get here.

These resources can help you assess your written and spoken English:

  • English Language Services in Waterloo Region
  • The Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks

Canadian Experience

Employers often want Canadian work experience.  Gaining practical Canadian experience by volunteering, an internship, or temporary employment can be very important.

Cultural Difference

Work is done differently in Canada than it is in other countries. Get to know Canadian norms and etiquette. Volunteering or gaining experience in other ways can help you learn more about cultural differences.  It also helps to get to know your neighbours or a mentor in your chosen field.

You may also be interested in our checklists of things to do Before You Arrive and After You Arrive in Waterloo Region.

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