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The Questions

I am a Kenyan citizen, 25, an accounting student at Kenyatta University. Since I was a kid, I have been dreaming to work in Canada as an accountant. I love my profession. But the only people getting chances outside of Africa are children of powerful politicians. “Maybe they deserve it more than I do” – that’s how I have been consoling myself all along.

My name is Farid, I am 19, live in Azerbaijan, and studying in the National Aviation Academy. Is it even possible for me to continue studying in Canada for my speciality so that one day I may work there?


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The First Answer

Doug Ewen

Certified Human Resources Executive, Midland, Ont.

First and foremost, I want to say that I am glad you are considering Canada in your career search. With our changing demographics and very low unemployment rate, it will be important for Canadian companies to tap into international sources to fill key roles.

Apart from the government requirements and red tape around international hiring, there are a number of reasons why Canadian companies will increasingly look to international recruiting. From a positional standpoint, skilled trades and other technical roles are increasingly difficult to fill as fewer people pursue those fields of study. In the manufacturing sector, there is a huge push to greater automation to be able to remain globally competitive. However, workforce skills have not kept pace with the need to build, program and maintain that equipment.

Companies are continuing to expand their footprint in a global marketplace. Building a multicultural work force to reflect a global customer base can be a strategic objective to foster a better understanding of the markets in which they compete. International hiring in various professional, technical and skilled positions will support that objective.

For international applicants, patience and perseverance are going to be important, as this will be a new frontier for many companies.


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The Second Answer

Peter Caven

Founder and director, Launched Careers, Toronto

Individuals seeking employment in Canada with degrees or accreditations from institutions outside of Canada, and no experience living in Canada, face several challenges, even though the institution may offer programs of a very high calibre that are well regarded in their home country.

Firstly, it is not common that Canadian organizations have extensive experience with people from offshore institutions. They likely do not have employees from that institute and therefore do not have any points of reference for the skills and knowledge of graduates.

In addition, they may have concerns about the cultural fit of people who have lived in Canada and acquired an understanding of Canadian culture.

Perhaps most importantly, graduates of offshore institutions do not have any networks in Canada. Research has proven that 80 per cent of jobs that are filled are done so by networking and referrals. One of the global management consultancies studied the success of new hires from a variety of sources and found that employee referrals resulted in the best hires. Employees know the organization and its culture and therefore refer those who they think will fit the environment. In addition, when someone makes a referral into their organization, they are taking a risk – by putting their reputation on the line – and will refer only high-quality candidates.

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A degree or accreditation from a Canadian program goes a long way to alleviating the foregoing concerns. Graduates will already have experience with the Canadian culture and a group of alumni with whom to network.

Research will identify appropriate Canadian institutes and provide information on programs, tuition, financial aid, application processes and so forth. Although it will be challenging and potentially expensive, graduation from a Canadian program will pay off in the long term for those seeking to launch a career in Canada.

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