Go West Working Minded Man or Women – Alberta Has Jobs

You know you have something going for you if you can entice the Irish away from those 40 shades of green. Or convince the British that it’s ok if you’ve never ridden a horse before, come to Alberta and see the biggest rodeo show on Earth. While you’re at it, there’s a whole lot of interesting money making opportunities in the province, why not stay a while?  And that old proverb about “East is east, west is west, never shall the two meet” has also met its match in the Alberta oil sands. In all these cases, it’s go west and you shall find jobs a plenty.

This is not a myth. Take for example a Calgary based electrician that has roughly 200 workers employed. Of those, 70 originated in Ireland or England. The boss himself is a transplant from Manchester, England. It’s not that he hasn’t tried to hire local but advertizing in Canadian papers just doesn’t bring the needed response. The lack of ready, qualified people is costing money by forcing that firm to turn down work.

To help alleviate the employment crunch, a group of Alberta employers, sponsored by the Calgary Economic Development organization, heads to the wilds of Ireland and England each year on a recruiting mission. In Dublin alone the group set up shop at the Working Abroad Expo and found 14,000 people in attendance during the three-day affair. The unemployment rate in Ireland currently sits at 13.3 percent, so Alberta’s visit was most welcome. In England that unemployment rate sits at 7.6 percent. Compare both figures to Alberta’s comfortable 4.3 percent.

Foreign workers come to Alberta under a one-year work permit, which may be renewed. Many that come aim for permanent residency, allowed under a new immigration law, the Canada Federal Skilled Trades Programme. Put into effect this past January, the intent was to make it easier to immigrate for those having needed skills. Though it did meet some legal opposition from a firm in British Columbia, the time to get a work permit and entry approved is down to about three to four months. It normally takes six months or more for immigration entry documents to be approved.

Prior to the incident in British Columbia which involved workers imported from China, the turn-around was less than six weeks. Some major employers would like that shorter window reinstated for those categorized as trusted employers. The entry and work permit fees are generally paid for by the employers, which are roughly $275 CAD per person. If they bring family then each member needs paperwork filed and fees paid. It can get expensive, which is one reason firms justify the shorter waiting window.

As far as immigration from within other parts of Canada into Alberta, most come from British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia is actually seeing a concerning decline in their population numbers. British Columbia is expensive as far as housing and other living expenses. Ontario, hub for the majority of Canada’s immigrants from other lands, is seeing an exodus to Calgary, Alberta, as well as Regina, Saskatchewan because of job opportunities. Both cities offer good wages, lots of jobs and low taxes, all of which are attractive.

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