We get lots of highly qualified skilled trade workers, such as HVAC Service Technicians, reaching out to us from all over the world: Africa, Australia, India, England, and Jamaica wanting to know what they need to do to immigrate to Canada or the U.S.A and work in their trade.
While we are no experts and are unable to facilitate the immigration and work visa process, we’ve compiled some information and general guidelines to help. Keep in mind, these are only suggestions and are by no means exhaustive; we highly urge for you to speak with a qualified immigration lawyer or consultant and research the State/Province of where you are looking to relocate for their specific employment and immigration laws and requirements.
SUGGESTED PREPARATIONS FOR A SMOOTH TRANSITION:
Regardless of where in North America you are looking to establish your roots, below are some general tips:
- Obtain letters of references from your current and previous employers detailing your skill set, experience, job duties, types of machinery/equipment you are experienced with, and total hours of work
- Where possible, make sure it’s on company letterhead
- Include full contact information for both the company and your Service Manager/Supervisor (i.e. company address, phone number, email, and where applicable, the company website)
- Have copies of all trade and safety-related courses, certifications, and licenses
- Obtain a transcript and/or retain copies of your education courses and/or completed programs (i.e. High School Diploma, College Diploma, University Degree) and get an educational credential assessment completed to assess the Canadian or American equivalency
- Improve your English proficiency by taking classes if required. Although there are a variety of spoken languages in Canada and the United States, English is predominant and you must be able to meet the minimum language requirement
- Put aside some money to help with the move – flight, accommodations, living expenses, seasonal clothing, and purchase of new HVAC/R tools (as transporting them could be very costly) and safety equipment, etc.
- Research the geographic area, climate, health care and educational system, recreation, support programs available for newly landed immigrants, job outlook, etc.
** NOTE: All documentation (letters of references, certifications, degrees etc.) should be transcribed in English to avoid additional fees and delays. **
RELOCATING TO CANADA?
So you and your family have chosen to make Canada your future home. Skills Canada estimates over one million skilled trade workers are currently needed across Canada and approximately 40% of new jobs created in the next 10 years will be in skilled trades. Experienced HVAC professionals are highly sought after; and with a skilled trade’s shortage, the Canadian government has taken extra measures to attract and bring in foreign talent.
Skilled workers looking to make Canada their permanent home can apply through the Federal Express Entry system choosing from the three different streams (Federal Skilled Trades, Federal Skilled Worker, and Canadian Experience class), depending on which is the best option for them.
Some general minimum requirements applicants must meet as outlined on their site, include:
- Skilled work experience
- Language ability
As mentioned previously, go to the website for the body that governs the trades for your specific province/territory of choice to be assessed accurately for your trade and learn more details about what certificates of qualifications are needed and how to get it.
RELOCATING TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?
A skilled trades shortage is not just a Canadian problem, it’s a challenge faced by employers all over the USA as well. The Department of Labor estimates they are currently facing a shortage of 1.1 million skilled workers, with the number increasing substantially each year with an aging work force ready to retire and leaving a huge skills gap, shown in graph* below.
Skilled immigrants are encouraged to bring their talent, experience, and skill set and become contributing members to the American economy.
HVAC/R Technicians, Fitters, or Installers looking to relocate to the USA may be able to obtain an immigration employment-based visa, such as an EB-3 that is specifically designated for those “classified as a skilled worker, professional, or unskilled worker (other worker).” Similar to the Canadian Express Entry program, you must meet certain minimum requirements:
- At least 2 years relevant work experience
- Education credentials
- Permanent, full-time job offer
For more information on the work visa process, requirements, and fees, visit the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
Hopefully, this article was helpful and has pointed you in the right direction to achieving your goal. Relocating is a huge decision and involves time, money, and attention to details to ensure a smooth process. Although Rockstar HVAC is unable to assist with the work visa or immigration process, once you have the required paperwork to legally work in Canada or the USA, contact us and we can help find a job in your trade.
*Source: America’s Skilled Trades Dilemma: Shortages Loom As Most-In-Demand Group Of Workers Ages- forbes.com