“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”
— Milton Berle

The Work Of Matrixvisa In Recruitment

Where possible, Matrixvisa assists its client to overcome the hurdles mentioned below.

Foreign nationals often request that Matrixvisa “find them a job”. This is a valid request that deserves an answer: Matrixvisa conducts international recruitment assignments in the following two broad methods/approaches:

a. Employer Driven Process. Typically our recruitment is driven by employers who instruct Matrixvisa to find a foreign national with specific skills. In these cases, employers agree to pay Matrixvisa to find employees. This can be classified as an ’employer-driven’ recruitment process.

b.  Applicant Driven Process. From time to time Matrixvisa might search for a vacancy for a foreign national if it can be completed in a profitable manner. By law a foreign national may not pay for a job offer, meaning that a Canadian employer is the only possible source of income for recruitment. It follows that Matrixvisa may search for a job for a foreign national in the rare case that we are convinced that an employer will pay us to find an employee. Matrixvisa Inc do not search for jobs for all applicants. A majority of employers will not pay for recruitment services in an ‘applicant driven’ recruitment process. In such cases Matrixvisa can only educate and train the foreign national how to best search for vacancies.

Finding A Job In Canada

With a few rare exceptions, Canadian employers must first attempt to find Canadian Citizens or Canadian permanent residents before offering a position to a foreign national. It follows that the best strategy to obtain a job offer is actually to obtain permanent residence first.

Foreign nationals should understand exactly what is required to obtain permanent residence before the job hunting commences. If they are eligible to apply for permanent residence without a job offer they should apply immediately as it will make the job hunting easier. In some cases, however, foreign nationals will require a job offer in order to apply for permanent residence.

Foreign nationals searching for work in Canada should read about the 6 methods on how to immigrate before they search for work.

Reasons Why People Might Not Find Canadian Employment

Many foreign nationals living outside of Canada send their resumes to Canadian employers. They are shocked that they are not getting any responses.  Here are 26 potential reasons why immigrants or foreign nationals without permanent resident status might not find work or receive no responses on their applications:

1.   In terms of Canadian law, employers must provide vacancies to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents first. A foreign national should first attempt to become a permanent resident (if possible) and then start the process of finding work as it will make the process of finding work  significantly easier and quicker.  Please read about the 6 methods on how to emigrate (obtain permanent residence) here. We are often approached by foreign nationals that state they will only apply for permanent residence with a job offer without even reviewing or considering if they are eligible for permanent residence without a job offer.  Our advice is that if someone is eligible for permanent residence without a job offer, to apply right away. This will ensure that employers can make a job offer without the requirement of a Labour Market Impact Assessment (for which the employer must first advertise the position for 28 days to see if he/she receives applications from Canadian permanent residents or Canadian Citizens) or a Provincial Certificate of nomination.

2.    Foreign nationals often appoint immigration representatives with very limited knowledge and experience in how, where and when to help their clients to find work.  Over the past 15 years, we have met with hundreds of foreign nationals that received very bad advice or no advice at all from their representatives in the job hunting process. Recently we met a factory manager with general management experience (without specialised manufacturing experience).   The foreign national appointed a South African based immigration advisor.  The couple visited Toronto and Vancouver (first mistake) during their month-long visit. They spent thousands of dollars on flights, car rental and hotel costs. We asked them if the advisor was aware of the Canadian visit,  as it was clear that they had no idea what they were doing during the visit:  Most of the time they looked at properties with realtors.  The response was that the immigration advisor knew about the visit but never advised them how to write their resumes effectively, where to search for work and how to get interviews. We often read about foreign nationals asking about the price of the process, but rarely what advice (legal advice and job hunting advice) they will receive for a specific price.

3.   Although it was already mentioned above, special reference to labour shortage is very important. In some occupations and in some regions of Canada,  there are currently no labour shortages (2016), but this may soon change again.

  • Example: due to the current low coal price, many coal mines in Canada closed or stopped operations and the possibility of an underground coal miner (without permanent residence status) to find work is close to zero.
  • Example:  During May 2016 Matrixvisa Inc. was informed that in some parts of Alberta there are no shortage of medical doctors and that the Health Regions would not appoint any international medical graduates.

Foreign nationals often ask Matrixvisa Inc. if there is a shortage of their specific skill in Canada.  The answer is that (in our opinion) there are no national shortages in specific occupations, but that regional shortages of specific skills do exist.

Question: Is there a shortage of electricians in Canada

Answer: No not at all.

Question: Is there a shortage of electricians with 10 000 hours experience in the maintenance of overhead cranes in Manitoba?

Answer: Possibly, but one would only know once advertisements are active in the media for 28 days.

Foreign nationals should also read about the different meanings of the concept of “labour shortage”. Please download, print and read the article at point 26 at this link as well as the letter written to the Manager of Service Canada in Toronto at point 24 at the same link.  The advice is, that you do not start job hunting unless you have read the information at both these links.

The reality is that some foreign nationals would not be able to emigrate as their skills are just not in demand.

4.  Applicants from around the world apply for vacancies in Canada. Therefore competition is fierce for most Canadian job vacancies.

5.    Many Canadian employers will not just offer a job blindly to a foreign national as they typically want to obtain a 3rd party’s opinion on the applicant’s personality, skills, ability, education and motivation. Matrixvisa Inc. often receives calls from Canadian employers asking us whether we met the applicant and what our opinion is about the foreign national’s skills, knowledge and motivation. Canadian employers often also ask to meet the owner of Matrixvisa Inc. to ask specific questions about the immigration process.

6.    Applicants do not have a well developed strategy to search for work in Canada. Matrixvisa assists its clients on how to search for work, where to search for work, what to say and what not to say to potential employers.  Sometimes well-intended statements are misinterpreted by employers due to a lack of their knowledge about the foreigner’s culture and/or social-economic situation.  This is probably one of the most important reasons of why foreign nationals can not find work: they do not know how to search for work. We often see on social media that immigrants who arrived on their own steam (well done to those that were able to do this!) provide advice to other foreign nationals that they can do this by themselves and that advice from others are not required.  Recently a Cook, who was able to find a job by himself and whom recently arrived in Canada, advised other foreign nationals to contact him for advice and guidance!  Well, it is obvious that working as a Cook in the town of Oxbow (with a few hundred people); and finding work as a quantity surveyor with a large construction company, are two completely different challenges.

7.   Applicants apply in the wrong geographic areas without reliable regional and local information.  Many foreign nationals waste thousands of dollars visiting Canada with the wrong strategy and return without interviews or job offers.

8.   Most foreign nationals do not know how to write a resume to make it relevant to the Canadian job market.  The example found on the internet rarely works as it is developed for Canadians living in Canada. At Matrixvisa Inc. we have developed our own unique format and style of presenting the skills of a foreign national to Canadian employers (with attention to differences in Canadian vs e.g. South African industry-specific skill sets).

9.   The majority of “recruitment agencies” in Canada only deal with Canadian applicants because international recruitment is just too complex. In Manitoba (for example) international recruiters must be authorised to practice immigration law as well as recruitment of foreign nationals.

10.   Many employers are reluctant to consider foreign nationals for jobs because they do not understand the immigration process. In assisting our clients to find work, we advise them to inform potential employers to contact Matrixvisa Inc. to clarify any questions about the immigration process.

11.  Canadian employers are looking for employees that will understand or are familiar with Canadian values, ethics, social cues and expectations. We assist our clients in demonstrating such intuitive abilities and knowledge. Most of our clients come from English speaking countries and it is therefore relatively easy to demonstrate this ability or knowledge. It is important to note that the Ontario Human Rights Commission has found that demands by Ontario employers that applicants must have Canadian experience violates the Human Rights Code in Ontario. Canadian employers often call Matrixvisa Inc and inquire about the ability of a specific person to “fit” into the workplace and if we at Matrixvisa Inc has met the applicant and the family. If a foreign national does not have a local Canadian that can speak on their behalf, it might be more difficult to find work.

12.  Many foreign nationals do not understand their skills in Canadian equivalence. Here are just three examples:

a).  A millwright in South Africa can be a electrician or a “fitter” in Canada.  A Millwright in Canada is not a dual trade but can only perform the duties of a “fitter” in South Africa. A millwright in Canada is also called a industrial mechanic.

b)  A boiler maker in Canada ONLY fabricates and maintain boilers.  Depending on the experience of the applicant, a “boilermaker” in South Africa can be a welder, fabricator, iron worker, sheet metal worker or a boiler maker in Canada. The experience (not the red seal) by the foreign national will determine what they are eligible to do after arrival.

c)  Mould makers in South Africa often present themselves as Tool and Die Makers when they search for mould maker vacancies in Canada. They follow this practice as they actually completed training as Tool and Die Makers before they started their careers in South Africa as Mould Makers.  Although they could be highly employable in Canada some candidates are unsuccessful because they present themselves to employers with an incorrect occupation title.

Such misunderstandings lead foreign nationals to apply for incorrect job vacancies or present their skills incorrectly to Canadian employers.

13.  From time to time we observe foreign nationals who are completely over confident and have a lack of understanding of the realities of the local regional labour markets. A foreign national (personal trainer) said that she and her family were going to Vancouver to find a vacancy. Another foreign national (competent creative writer) said to me that she will find work at “the coast.” Obviously, we hope they will be successful in their efforts, but without permanent resident status, their chances of finding work in such popular areas are close to zero. They are probably unaware of the requirement of a labour shortage in the area where they search for work if the employer intends to use a Labour Market Impact Assessment. What does labour shortage mean? See the  article that was published at point 26 under Matrixvisa’s Efforts (see link here.)

14.  Certain occupations are very difficult to enter from outside of Canada. See the following examples:

  • In Canada Vibration Analyses, Infrared Thermography and Oil Analyses do not require Canadian General Standards Board examinations. In Canada, Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Technicians required Certification that is regulated by the Non-Destructive Testing Certification Body (NDTCB) which is managed by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). See and The non-destructive testing that requires certification is Industrial Radiography, Industrial Radiography, Ultrasonics, Magnetic Particle, Liquid Penetrant, Eddy Current and Visual Testing. There are three steps to obtaining Certification: training, work experience, and the final exams. The three steps are repeated for each method of inspection and level of certification. There are three levels of certification for each of the five methods of inspection within the NDT industry. Foreign-trained NDT Technicians should fly to Canada to challenge the examinations. Vibration Analyses, Infrared Thermography and Oil Analyses do not require certification Canada, Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Technicians require Certification that is regulated by the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB). There are three steps to obtaining CGSB Certification: training, work experience, and CGSB exams. The three steps are repeated for each method of inspection and level of certification. There are three levels of certification for each of the five methods of inspection within the NDT industry. Without certification at a specific level, finding work from outside of Canada will be very difficult. Foreign-trained NDT Technicians should fly to Canada to challenge the examinations.
  • Foreign-trained veterinarians are eligible for Limited Supervised License in certain Prairie provinces such as Alberta once you have passed the Basic Clinical Science examination which can be done in South Africa. This Limited  Supervised License is issued 6 months at a time for up to 24 months during which time the South African vet need to pass the first 3 exams. Once the South African vet passed the first 3 examinations you would be eligible for a Temporary License which is issued for 3 months at a time until the vet passed the last examination.  See African trained   Veterinary doctors must eventually complete 4 examinations that will track 12-18 months with the National Board of Veteran Medicine. See
    • Basic clinical skills Examination (BCSE)- continuously throughout the year – anywhere in South Africa with Prometric. .See
    • North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (Navle). Navle is completed twice a year (deadline for application is  1 April for and 1 Aug) anywhere in South Africa with Prometric.
    • Pre Surgical assessment (PSA)  is new (a couple of times a year) completed in Prince Edward Island and Saskatoon.
    • Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE), 8 times per year.
  • There is no provision for a foreign licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineer to directly challenge Transport Canada Technical or Regulatory Exams. Prior to being approved to write any exam, the applicant needs to provide evidence of acceptable Basic Training. One possible exception to this is if the applicant possesses a valid foreign AME licence conforming to ICAO Annex 1 for airframe and engine privileges that were issued prior to January 1, 1990.  The authority for the exception for privileges issued prior to Jan 1990 is the Canadain Aviation Regulations:  566.07 Alternative Training Provisions (1) Foreign Licences  (a) Applicants who held, prior to 1 January 1990, a valid Inspection Authorization issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration, or a valid AME licence conforming to Annex 1 of the ICAO Convention, that included airframe and engine privileges, are exempt from the basic training requirement specified in Appendix A. (amended 2008/12/30).   If the issuance of privileges before Jan 1990 can be documented to be the case, the applicant could then apply to write the applicable technical exams. After successful completion of the technical exams, he would then be able to write the Canadian Aviation Regulations regulatory exam.  The approved Basic trading organizations can be seen here Allowance has been made for foreign-trained AMEs to work under supervision but they might not approve repairs and maintenance (no “signing off”).
  • The same situation is valid for foreign-trained pharmacists dentists, lawyers (solicitors), advocates (barristers), etc
  • Truck drivers are now increasingly being required to complete MELT (Mandatory Entry Level Training) in many provinces. This costs between CAD5000 and CAD12000. See The MELT training is now part of the requirements of Truck driver LMIAs. Visa officers wil not issue a work permit if the applicant did not  complete the MELT. Applicants can not get visas to complete the course before applying for the work permit due to COVID travel restrictions. Even after the COVID pandemic it would be difficult to obtain a study permit for this 3 month course. 

Foreign nationals do not always understand the process of entering their occupations in Canada, which also contributes to a low success rate in finding Canadian employment. Matrixvisa assists its clients to find solutions that enable them to enter their occupation of choice in Canada.

15.   There is a misunderstanding that all vacant jobs are advertised.  Many vacancies are not advertised and are only available through networking. Once again Matrixvisa assists its clients in how to network in the Canadian market place.

16.  During 2015, about 100 000 people lost their jobs in Alberta due to a historically low oil price that has effected all oil-producing nations. Finding work in certain occupations in particular provinces is simply not possible due to the current state of the economy (Feb 2016).  Experts within major media outlets predict that the oil price may remain low for another 12 -24 months. It is important to read Newsletter 7 of 2015, which includes an extensive discussion of the Canadian economy.

17.  Understandably, some foreign nationals have no clue about the geography in Canada and the related challenges. A foreign national recently said he is searching for work at Lake Superior. It is assumed that she saw photos of this beautiful lake (the biggest of the Great Lakes and about 560  square km).  The Canadian side of Lake Superior has only 2 major towns: Thunder Bay and Sault Ste Marie (pronounced “Sue Saint Marie” or also called “Sue City”). Although both towns might have jobs that cannot be filled by Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents, the chances of a foreign national finding work in that part of Canada are very slim. If one drives from Sault Ste Marie to Thunder Bay it will quickly become apparent that it is a very isolated area – some regions do not even have cellphone reception. Matrixvisa assists its clients by providing them with a ‘reality check’ regarding the local geography and regional labour markets. When the owner of Matrixvisa lived in the Greater Toronto Area (for 14 years), he drove from Toronto to Thunder Bay twice and experienced the challenging geography first hand.

18.    Many immigrants have specific jobs and salaries in mind and refuse to accept lower paying jobs with less responsibility with a lower wage. The suggestion is for immigrants to take lower paying jobs, to prove themselves and then slowly move up,  if ‘moving up’ is an important objective.

19.    Some foreign nationals might struggle to find work due to personality types that are not compatible to the Canadian work environment. Individuals that are aggressive and confrontational might struggle to find work. Canadians are known to be very friendly, courteous and accepting of others. Canadian employers would not employ foreign nationals if the employer (or their recruiter) believe the foreign national will not be a good “fit” to the workplace. Sometimes the difficult personality is the spouse. We have experienced that offers have not been made or work permits not extended due to the spouse that are trouble makers at the workplace or in the social circle that is closely related to the workplace,  especially in small towns.

20.    Some foreign nationals might be technically competent for a specific position and with the correct personality type, but after emigrating the spouse might become unemployed. For example: if the main applicant finds a position in a small town as an instrument mechanic, the spouse might become unemployed if she is a chartered accountant. Employers would be very careful if they believe the emigration process would not result in a permanent employee with a long term employer-employee relationship.

21.    Some foreign nationals want to live in certain parts of Canada (for example to be close to family). Employers would be reluctant to offer jobs if they believe the job would be used as a stepping stone to get into Canada.

22.   Some employers might be reluctant to appoint anyone whom they have not met in person.  Long distance job hunting via e-mail might not be effective in certain competitive industries.  Foreign nationals should consider requesting a visitor visa to meet with Canadian employers. Always be truthful in a visa application about the intent of the visit and clearly show the ties back to the country of Citizenship (demonstrate the ability and intent to return after the completion of the interviews).

23. Applicants/Foreign nationals appoint immigration representatives with very limited experience in the Canadian labour market.  Many foreign-based immigration representatives (in South Africa,  India, the UK) has very limited experience in assisting immigrants to navigate the labour market before or after immigration. As many immigrants require job offers they need to be coached how to find work before they can immigrate.  Sadly many immigrants appoint representatives that are not licensed recruiters, with limited experience in how to find work and with limited work experience in Canada. Matrixvisa holds licences in all the provinces where it is required and has completed many recruitment assignments for many companies in Canada during the past 17 years. The owner and employees of Matrixvisa have lived in Western and Eastern Canada. Matrixvisa has offices in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. We have completed immigration law work and recruitment work in the following industries: Mining, Agriculture, Tourism, Manufacturing, Services such as Insurance, Medical industries, etc. The people at Matrixvisa also understand the economy, political trends and economic issues that effect job hunting.

24.  I have seen immigrants from some countries not performing well at a specific employer in Canada. Let’s say someone from the United Kingdom, South Africa or the Philippines did not perform well at a specific employer in Canada.  In some of these cases, the Canadian employer refused to employ Citizens from the same country. This does not happen often but Canadian employers use bad examples as a representation of a specific country. Obviously, the opposite is also true.

25. Some occupations are not regulated (such as Health and Safety advisors). However, the legislation governing health and safety is different in Canada. Therefore employers will be searching for local certifications such as:

  • Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP)
  • Certified Safety Professional (CSP),
  • Certified Health and Safety Consultant (CHSC)Immigrants that plan to emigrate should determine what certifications are available in Canada for their professions and attempt to study before travelling to Canada for interviews. On arrival, they can challenge the examinations before starting their interviews.

26.     Some immigrants with permanent residence visas arrive in Canada and settle in the wrong province. For example, a hard rock mining engineer and hard rock geologist settled in Red Deer (between Calgary and Edmonton).  The hard rock mining in Canada is mostly located in a geological formation, the  Canadian Shield.  That is not in Alberta at all.  Many of the hard rock mines are in Northern Ontario (and some in British Columbia). These two immigrants should have settled themselves in Sudbury and Timmins which are both towns in Northern Ontario.  Sadly they came to the wrong province.  Immigrants should choose their place of initial settlement carefully or face a risk of unemployment.  Immigrants often choose an area to settle where they have friends or family instead of considering other important employment-related considerations.

General Employment Websites

Once a foreign national has been coached and prepared by Matrixvisa they could search for jobs through the following websites:

When To Post Resumes (Before Landing)

Immigrants could try to post resumes before landing in Canada at one of the following sites. You will require an e-mail address and phone number for communication. Ensure you keep an accurate record of usernames and passwords.

We understand that Canadian job hunting can be a daunting process, but well-guided persistence is the best way forward.