Canada is a great place to work. The economy is booming, and the Canadian industry is rapidly growing. Combine this with an aging population, and you create a desperate need for outside workers to come in and fill the vacancies the local market can't fill. There are over 1 million vacancies for jobs in Canada.
On top of this, Canadian workers are exceedingly well-treated, with most jobs having government-mandated benefits and a very high minimum wage. As a result of all of these factors, it's a small wonder why so many job seekers from around the globe are lining up to join the Canadian workforce.
However, there is a catch. Even though Canada is famously respectful of international immigrants and the preservation of their culture upon their arrival in Canada, there must always be a medium of instruction. As Canada's official languages are French and English and over 75% of Canadians are English first-language speakers, most businesses operate entirely in English.
For many internationals, this can be an issue as they are often non-English speakers and won't be able to understand the Canadian medium of instruction. This naturally leads to many asking the following question.
Can you work in Canada without speaking English?
Unless you're speaking French, no. As a non-English speaker, your attempts to find gainful employment in Canada without speaking a passable amount of either of Canada's official languages will be futile.
If you do speak French, there will be plenty of jobs in Canada that may well be available to you. However, most jobs are localized to Canada's primary French-speaking province, Quebec. On top of this, as the majority of Canada is English-speaking, you will likely miss out on the vast majority of job opportunities in Canada for you.
So, what is a non-English speaker to do in this situation? The answer is exactly what you think. You need to learn English to an admissible level to be allowed to work in Canada.
If you want to see what else you need to start your Canadian journey, click the button below, and to talk to a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant who can evaluate your eligibility and give you the necessary advice to not only start your visa application but also choose the perfect pathway, and ultimately set you up to start looking to work in Canada.
Step 1: Determine What Level of English is Admissible for You
What is an admissible level of English?
This depends on your profession's type and skill level. The Canadian government has created a language proficiency classification system called the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) system.
What is the Canadian Language Benchmark?
A Canadian Language Benchmark level shows your ability to handle situations and communicate in English to the government of Canada and your potential employer. To get a Canadian Language Benchmark, you will have to complete a government-approved language test in either English or French.
For a full breakdown of how the CLB system works, the admissible tests in French and English and a full breakdown of the format and structure of the English tests, look at this page.
How does the type and level of work you do affect your English language requirement?
Different jobs have different requirements. Some require you to write extensively, some require you to interact with customers regularly. Different jobs require different levels of education and abilities.
To help determine which jobs in Canada have which requirements, the Canadian government has devised the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. Every occupation in Canada is classified under the NOC system and given both a NOC Code and a NOC skill level.
This handy guide will help you find out which NOC code and skill level you fall under.
What CLB do I need for my NOC skill level?
The Canadian government has strict guidelines for the CLB level required by each NOC skill level for admission to one of Canada's immigration programs. Canadian employers often stick to the same standards as they need to be able to communicate with employees effectively. The standard is as follows:
|NOC Skill Level||CLB Level|
|NOC 0 - Management Jobs||7|
|NOC A - Professional Jobs||7|
|NOC B - Trade Jobs||5|
|NOC C - Semi-skilled Jobs||4|
|NOC - Labour Jobs||4|
Step 2: Determine Your Current CLB level
If you do not speak or understand English, this does not apply to you. However, if you're not an English speaker but have some understanding and ability in the language, determining your current CLB level may help a lot with improving your language abilities by finding what your strengths and weaknesses are.
A great way to determine your current CLB level is to sit a practice test for one of the accepted Canadian English language tests - either the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP). These practice tests are broadly similar to the final tests and are readily available.
We recommend taking the IELTS practice tests as it is the current international English testing standard and shows your ability to work in Canada and on an international standing.
A fantastic resource for both IELTS practice tests and resources to help you improve your scores and ability to communicate in English is our IELTS course. Our IELTS course is carefully curated by our RCICs to ensure you're as prepared as possible for your IELTS test.
RCICs want to ensure you present the best version of yourself to Canadian employers and immigration authorities. If you want to know how an RCIC can help you show off the best version of yourself, click the button below.
Step 3: Improve Your English
Once you've determined your current CLB level, it's time to close the gap between your current level and the level you need to find a job in Canada. There are many ways to improve your English speaking and language abilities daily. Here are a few examples.
Consume English Media
This is a favorite of ex-pats for many reasons. One of the primary ones is that you can be entertained while learning and learning English by listening to conversations and situations, improving your ability to understand spoken English as well as reading in English, and helping your comprehension ability.
Try to consume some form of English media every day and try to consume a wide variety of media such as television shows, movies, literature, newspapers and even music.
Converse In English Daily
As well as listening to as much English as possible, you must be able to effectively communicate in English. Having regular conversations in English will help you both listen and speak in English effectively, allowing you to function far better in Canadian society.
Take an English Language Course
If you want to get a good start on the language basics, grammar, basic vocabulary, and help with some reading and writing skills, taking an English language course or class can be invaluable. While our IELTS Course will make huge steps toward how you do in your tests and a more advanced understanding of English, many courses will help you cover the basics.
Keep an English Journal
To help improve those writing skills, having a daily English journal can make all the difference. Every day, write an entry in the journal in English cataloging the day's events. It can be as simple or complicated as you like but a little bit every day can make major steps in improving your use of vocabulary, sentence construction and confidence in writing in English.
Step 4: Check your Eligibility For Canadian Immigration
Get a curated Resume
One of the major things you must ensure is that your resume is completed and in perfect English to ensure you come across in your best light to your potential employer. Our RCICs offer a service wherein they effectively curate your details into a Canadian-standard resume. If you would like to have a resume that is on par with Canadians, click the button below to talk to an RCIC and get your process started.
Look for a Job Online
Once your resume is ready, the way to find a job in Canada is to utilize a Canadian job site like the Canadian government's job bank, Indeed.ca or Glassdoor.ca. Each site has thousands of job postings as well as a projection of the salary you would earn in the job.
Which jobs in Canada have a low English requirement?
The top jobs that don't require a high level of English in Canada are:
- Automobile Repair
- Catering Services
- Food Production and Processing
- Janitorial and Cleaning Services
- Local Courier and Delivery Services
- Quick Restaurant Services
- Retail and Warehouse
Is there a simpler English test I can do to show my language ability to potential employers?
Yes. The Canadian Language Benchmark Placement Test (CLBPT) is accepted as an English benchmark. However, it is completely invalid for any visa or immigration-related purposes, meaning you will likely need to take another language test to be allowed to live and work in Canada. However, if you aren't sure if IELTS is for you, have a look at this breakdown of the pros and cons of each English test.
What happens once I find a job in Canada?
Finding a job is purely your first step. After that, you will either need a Canadian work permit or apply for permanent residence for Canada. If you're a killed worker looking for permanent residence, your best bet is to apply for the Express Entry system*. You can find a full breakdown of that and how to apply here.
If you just need a Canadian work permit, here's how to apply.
Can I immigrate to Canada without IELTS?
This depends on your situation. The video below gives you a breakdown on what those situations are.
Start Your Canadian Journey The Right Way
Now that you know what you need to do to immigrate to Canada as a non-English speaker, it's always helpful to have someone there to support you. Click the button below to talk to an RCIC who will help you determine your eligibility and help you with whatever processes you need to move to Canada.