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Moving Between Countries? 450

An anonymous reader writes "In six months' time, I am packing up and moving from Australia (Melbourne) to Canada (Vancouver). I'm a qualified network engineer. What I want to know is, what sort of quirks and tricks I am going to have to get used to in the Canadian job market? I'm used to Australian recruiters, and all the hoops you have to jump through, but Canada may have different hoops. I've tried contacting recruiters directly for information but they don't really give out much, as I am not actually in the country yet and therefore not worth their time. Is anyone willing to share their experiences on making the big move from country to country?"
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Moving Between Countries?

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  • I work in Canada (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anrego ( 830717 ) * on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:27AM (#23615643)
    .. as a programmer and havn`t moved between countries, so I can`t really provide a direct answer.

    What I can say is that I`ve found Canadian companies want to see work samples rather than long lists of certifications. Not really sure what would constitute a work sample in your field though.

    References are also very important here (and probably there as well). Generally employers want to talk to previous employers. Seeing as how that would be difficult due to timezones and long distance fees, having a few written letters of reference before you leave might be a good idea. Email might work as well.

    Also there tends to be a defacto job posting site for every province, where most of the jobs in the area will be posted. Here in Nova Scotia, it is CareerBeacon. Finding out what your areas job posting site of choice is, is probably a good first step.
    • Re:I work in Canada (Score:5, Informative)

      by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:47AM (#23615735) Homepage Journal
      References are also very important here (and probably there as well). Generally employers want to talk to previous employers.

      Heh, that's interesting. In the UK, it's almost the opposite; an employer judges you based on CV, interview, previous work, and maybe qualifications; often, references aren't even followed up on, or they are checked after the job is offered to make sure you're not hiding some catastrophic thing. I think this is more sensible, too. A previous employer's reference is pretty worthless; they might make up nasty stuff because they didn't like you leaving, or make up good stuff to get you off their hands if they think you're crap.
      • by Zemran ( 3101 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:52AM (#23615753) Homepage Journal
        The reason why they are not supposed to take up references until after an offer is because you might not have told your boss you are looking until after you have a job to go to. It might ruin your job prospects of your boss finds out you are job hunting.
        • by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@b ... u d s o n . c om> on Sunday June 01, 2008 @08:42AM (#23616347) Journal

          The reason why they are not supposed to take up references until after an offer is because you might not have told your boss you are looking until after you have a job to go to. It might ruin your job prospects of your boss finds out you are job hunting.

          ... alternatively, it's the quickest way to a fat raise.

        • The reason why they are not supposed to take up references until after an offer is because you might not have told your boss you are looking until after you have a job to go to. It might ruin your job prospects of your boss finds out you are job hunting.

          IANAL In the US, there have been cases where employees have sued employers for bad references if they said something malicious, slanderous, or they gave out private information.

          Your former employer can say "Joe didn't perform as well as his coworkers" and be
        • Re:I work in Canada (Score:5, Interesting)

          by njh ( 24312 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @01:54PM (#23618621) Homepage
          Interesting, my bosses have always been supportive, no, encouraging of following up job prospects. They want me to be happy where I am, and one way to ensure this is to allow me to consider alternatives and reject them (or accept them) myself. I can't imagine working for a boss who tried to hoard me. People at my work often talk about job offers they've got. Sometimes the leave, often they return :)

          As a result, I would happily return to work with any of my former bosses if the opportunity/need arose.
      • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <> on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:58AM (#23615765) Homepage
        Many companies in the UK now give references of the form: ''he worked for us starting XXX until YYY.'' Nothing else. The reason is that someone sued because of a bad reference, so HR departments are now scared to say anything at all.

        The sort of reason that we would do better with fewer lawyers in this world.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 01, 2008 @06:41AM (#23615915)
          There is another point of Law in the UK. (or so I was advised by a lawyer). If someone is dismissed because under performance or other such cause; then it must be disclosed in the reference or otherwise the company not so stating in the reference is liable for any costs the company asking for the reference incurs if the employee "re-offends".
        • by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @07:39AM (#23616093) Homepage
          That's why your reference has to be read in a specific way:
          • X has been employed by us - X has been the cause for a disaster that we don't want to talk about and we have 'suggested' that he ended the employment.
          • X has been working for us during N years. - X has been the cause for several near disasters during the years he has been working for us.
          • X has been doing a good job - X is not a very remarkable person, neither good or bad. (average joe)
          • X has been doing a very good job - X doesn't produce disasters, and delivers a bit above average without any real surprises.
          • X has been doing an excellent job - We would recommend you to employ X, but don't pay him too much!
          • X has been doing an outstanding job - You are stupid if you don't employ X.
          • X has been a cornerstone in our company. - We are fu*d stupid to let him have reasons to leave us.
          And in general - if an old employer gives incorrect references that can come back to bite them really hard, so that is very seldom a problem.
        • I disagree (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Xest ( 935314 )
          If your boss is an ass that gives you a bad reference out of sheer malice or even as in some cases, because they depend on you and don't want you to leave then you should have every right to sue the living daylights out of him/her. They're effectively playing with your life and your future which is unacceptable.

          References just don't work a lot of the time, it's already been pointed out here that a crap worker may get a good reference to get rid of them and a good worker may get a bad reference to try and pr
        • I'm not in HR, but I think there's a difference between simply verifying work history, and following up on references. Here in the US, the same thing often applies; HR departments will verify past employment, but not much more, for fear of what happens if they say something unkind. OTOH, If a job applicant specifically gives a list of references, I'd expect that those references would be willing to talk in detail about the applicant's work history. Although, since they'd been selected by the applicant, t
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CodeBuster ( 516420 )
          It is the same thing with job candidates who are interviewed but not hired, they never find out why because the HR department is afraid of being hit with a discrimination lawsuit. It is interesting or shocking, depending upon how one looks at it, to consider just how much the United States has changed since the end of WWII because of lawyers and lawsuits. It is hard to find any part of American life that has not been altered by the ever present threat of litigation. In the long run the lawsuit society plays
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by spasm ( 79260 )
          It's the same in the US - I work for a large west coast university & have been advised by our legal dept that you cannot say anything bad about an ex-employee if someone calls for a reference, no matter how bad the ex employee was. However, the one question you *are* allowed to answer honestly if asked directly is "would you employ this person again if a similar position arose in your organization?". So if you're checking references in the US, always ask that question - if they answer "no", you know t
      • Re:I work in Canada (Score:5, Informative)

        by Threni ( 635302 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @07:23AM (#23616051)
        > A previous employer's reference is pretty worthless; they might make up nasty stuff because they didn't like you leaving, or make up good
        > stuff to get you off their hands if they think you're crap.

        In the UK references are usually just to confirm that you worked there, with perhaps a mention of how much time you were off sick. If an employer said anything bad about you - no matter how true - they would be liable for claims of libel. It's just not worth the hassle - you're leaving, so just draw a line under it and move on; it makes no difference to them if you get a job elsewhere or not. Ditto for saying very good things about an employee - if you are shit in your new job, your new employee could sue the old one for lying/exaggerating etc. Generally a new employer just wants to ensure you're not lying to cover up gaps in your employment history because they want someone who is up to speed, not someone who's done a little SQL 3 years ago but has forgotten the syntax etc.
      • Re:I work in Canada (Score:5, Interesting)

        by vic-traill ( 1038742 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @10:01AM (#23616779)

        Heh, that's interesting. ...[snip]... ; often, references aren't even followed up on,

        Speaking for myself (and I've acted as a hiring manager on dozens of interviews, but less than a hundred) I use references for one reason: to investigate a behaviour(s) I have concern about as a result of something said or not said in the interview. This includes further discussion on specific behavioural answers given.

        In my experience, you've got a pretty good handle on whether you're interested pretty quickly in the interview, particularly from an expertise perspective (if not, then your interview is crap). However, there are people out there who are *experts* at interviewing, and their interview answers may not align with their actual behaviours in the job. So the reference check is an opportunity to ask specific questions of a previous employer that will tell you whether the individual in the job acts similar to the individual in the interview.

        This approach also allows the reference to give a meaningful reference without incurring any possibility of litigation ('you gave me a shitty reference - I'm suing!' behaviour)

        BTW, I am Canadian, interviewing in Canada. Whether this is indeed a characteristic of the overall Canadian job hunting scene , I can't say.

        Good luck, mate!

    • Seeing as how that would be difficult due to timezones and long distance fees, having a few written letters of reference before you leave might be a good idea.
      If the prospective employer can wake up early or stay up late and their cashflow can manage the 6 cents a minute it costs to phone Australia, I think it might be a good idea to place that phone call before investing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in a new employee.
    • by skrolle2 ( 844387 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @06:42AM (#23615921)

      long distance fees
      No. Just.. No.

      Recruiting the wrong person for a job is very, very costly, you'll end up paying a few months of salary before noticing the mistake, and then you have to re-do the entire hiring process again, which also costs money.

      On that scale, five bucks for a phonecall is totally worth the money.
      • Or $1.00 on a Skype call. VoIP is very handy for both telecommuting and for remote interviews, and familiarity with it would be helpful to a network engineer interview. I once purchased and sent an overseas business collaborator a good headphones for precisely this purpose, to ease our communications. It saved him a lot of money over the next year.
      • Re:I work in Canada (Score:5, Informative)

        by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@b ... u d s o n . c om> on Sunday June 01, 2008 @08:59AM (#23616425) Journal

        Recruiting the wrong person for a job is very, very costly, you'll end up paying a few months of salary before noticing the mistake, and then you have to re-do the entire hiring process again, which also costs money.

        ... which doesn't explain the over-reliance on CVs and "resume pushers." Want to hire someone? Go to a developers' conference and see who asks the most intelligent questions, who gives the best answers without trying to get into an ego pissing contest, who's honest and who's a poseur, etc. Sure, it will cost you some $$$, but you'll get a better feel of who is talking out their ass, who is respected by everyone, and who is an obnoxious toxic SOB in real life, instead of just playing at being a BOfH online ... plus you'll learn something.

        The biggest lack in business is communications skills, not programming skills. Where do you think the unreasonable deadlines, the feature creep, the death marches, the zombie projects that the undead are condemned to toil on come from? And it's not "all management's fault." Everyone in the chain has to take some blame, by not being able to effectively communicate why something is a bad idea, or the necessity of feature triage, or the need for more "quiet think time" as opposed to banging out LOCs a mile a minute.

        Also, to answer the original posters' question - the definitive place to look for jobs in Canada: [] - Canadian government web site where employers post job offers, it also supplies tools for job applicants, info, etc ...

        • Re:I work in Canada (Score:4, Informative)

          by Sentry21 ( 8183 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @01:38PM (#23618475) Journal
          I disagree here. I've never found a job through the Canada Job Bank, and for that matter, have never even seen a decent job posted there (maybe it's changed since then).

          There is no 'definitive place' to look for jobs in Canada, as each region has their own quirks, peculiarities, and preferences. The biggest site I know of for actual job postings (many of them highly technical, like Linux kernel development) is T-Net Jobs []. That said, I've found all of my jobs through Craigslist, oddly enough (and I make pretty good money), with one exception (where a recruiter called me for job that I didn't apply for through them).

          Honestly, a lot of the local companies that are recruiting talent (as opposed to 'hiring employees') can be found on Craigslist. Same goes for apartments and cheap couches.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by tomhudson ( 43916 )

            It's improved in the last couple of years. You might want to look at it. Sure, there's still the drudge-work and low-level stuff, but there's also some gold among the 53,000 jobs currently being advertised. There's also info about the requirements for non-citizens, which the original poster will need.

    • Re:I work in Canada (Score:4, Informative)

      by emodgod ( 310737 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @11:07AM (#23617171)
      I'm Canadian, I've worked in Canada, mostly Central Canada, but I now live and work in Southern California.

      What an employer wants to see depends on the employer. The BFIs (Nortel, ...) have very elaborate interviewing and hiring processes, structured interview, background checks, etc. These processes are not geared towards finding the best candidate. They are there to ensure the employer does not get sued.

      While smaller employers used whatever process they feel comfortable with. Which could be as little as the initial interview or requesting that you take a programming test. I suggest that you be ready for whatever they could through at you.

      Speaking from experience of moving from one country to another, the change in culture is, or was for us more difficult to adapt to. While we had an excellent credit rating in Canada, we unknown to the major credit agencies and as such getting loans for cars or a house was very difficult. We had to purchase our car using cash from the proceeds from the sale of our home. Given that we moved here ~ten years ago and the Canadian dollar was not where it is today, we lost a significant chunk of money due to exchange rates.

      Health care. Luckily for you, Canada has universal health care so you won't need to worry on that front. While hear in the U.S. health care is provided by the employer, if and only he feels like offering it. Having come from a country where health care is universal, being so dependent on your employer for health care makes you think twice about changing jobs.

      Immigration laws and how they impact your employment is another issue. Given that I'm from Canada I'm not knowledgeable on Canadian immigration rules, but here is the U.S., once you've started the 'Green Card' process with one employer, it is difficult to impossible to transfer that petition to another employer. Our petition took five plus year to complete. And in those five years, my spouse could not work since she was on a dependents visa and I had to endure a very abusive boss. Something I would not have endured if we were back in Canada.

      Education. Does the education system in the target country meet your cultural expectations? Here in the U.S. there are a many hot button issue. Namely, Evolution Theory, prayers in school and sex education, to name a few. If you have kids then you may want to find out what they are teaching in the Vancouver schools systems.

      Don't under estimate the time and distance traveling between Vancouver and Sydney. I've done the L.A. to Sydney flight and it takes ~14 hours, plus a crossing of the international date line. Which means you'll loose a day, but you get it back on the return trip. Traveling that distance with small children could be difficult. Also, the cost of the trip can only increase with the cost of crude oil. Seeing family and friends will be less frequent since you really need to take two weeks off when traveling such distances.

      Climate. Never thought I would miss winter! Southern California has the Fire, mudslide, and earthquake seasons! Vancouver winters are mild but wet.

      Lastly, small creature comforts. Things that you enjoy at home that won't be available at your new place. Doughnuts! Too quote Homer Simpson. Krispy Kremes are no Tim Hortons. Favourite television programs, This Hour has Twenty-Two Minutes, Royal Canadian Airfarce, Saturday Night at The Movies, etc. Watching the Olympics from a different countries perspective! The only time we see Canadian athletes is when there are Americans participating in the event. Also, which of you electronic gadget will you need to replace? TV broadcast signals use NTSC encoding, in North America. Soon to go digital. As such you TV may be useless. Same could be true for any DVD or VCR. Electrical systems. We use 120/240 (110/220) volts. Got adapters?

      Thing to think about.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sentry21 ( 8183 )
      In Vancouver, you can find a lot of the jobs on T-net []. I've had this recommended to me many times after moving to Vancouver, and while I didn't get any of my jobs through it, that's largely because I'm not as qualfiied as the high-end candidates.
  • by daliman ( 626662 ) <> on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:27AM (#23615647) Homepage

    Seeing as you know the Australian market, and I've recently arrived here - what are the hoops here? The biggest challenge I have is finding a technically competent recruiter; many I've spoken to are fine so long as you repeat buzz words, but if you try to explain anything more complex, their eyes glaze over...

    I've got a contract for the moment, but it's up in another month or so... Your experiences here would be useful.

    • Which part of Australia... I have some good recruiters I use to look for people.
    • I work and have always lived in Melbourne. I have never met or heard of a technically competent recruiter. They don't exist.

      The company I work for is always hiring. Qualified staff are very hard to find. The fact that so many of them have a hard time getting past the recruitment agency probably doesn't help.

      Let me know if you want a job. I get a finders bonus as well.
      • ZOMG if I move to Melbourne get me a job :) Adelaide is such a hole, though I have a job I absolutely love.

        Its more than likely I will be moving country to NZ, however... but who knows where I may end up.
        • Seriously. We have a big demand for people who can do real time java, C and Ada on *nix. Its in a central location in Melbourne.

          We do get a lot of people coming over from Adelaide.

          Ummm Okay

          I can afford to have that address in the open for a while. I won't use it again.
    • Depends where you are. Here in Melbourne there's plenty going, a lot of stuff is advertised on the major job sites (JobNet, Seek, MyCareer), and as for the rest you have to build up contacts. User groups are a quick way to do that (For the major lugs see []).

      And what you do. If you are willing to be a PHP programmer and have a decent resume you could have half a dozen (good!) offers within two days, the combination of Cisco and Windows seems to be the big one for sysadmin type st
      • by Xiroth ( 917768 )
        Yeah, I can certainly certify that PHP developers are insanely in demand here in Melbourne - I've been involved in recruiting for a couple of positions, and it's ridiculously rare to find anyone with a grasp of Computer Science basics, let alone any OO architecture knowledge (if you're looking for a senior). Personal experience says that if you've got a good grasp of the field, you can name your price - I can get pretty close to 6 figures, and I haven't even hit 25 years old yet (with, admittedly, some unu
  • Just do it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MantiX ( 64230 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:38AM (#23615683)
    Mate, things work pretty similar the world over for an engineer, the research you need to do is more so with visa and living arrangements.

    In terms of your work, the situation is mostly the same, be it Canada, UK, Australia, in that you are expected to hold a professional attitude, and be good with your work. You will find Australians have strong work ethic reputations abroad, so you need to back that up.

    Short of that, you merely need to be resourceful, and you don't necessarily need to go through recruiters. Get your resume up to speed, make sure it is within 2 pages so as not to waste others time, and advertise your skills and project work so as to give potential employment a good honest run down on your skillset.

    Print it out 20-50 times, and go walk through the front door in professional attire and give it to reception, possibly ask to see if they are seeking help.

    With a skills shortage of competent engineers, you will gain employment fast, and gain the margin a recruiter normally takes.

    Every top 500 needs engineers, and google for the integration/IT comms companies in your city of settlement.

    If you work with specialist sectors like network/comms, speak to the local distributors to find out what integrators work with those products.

    Hope this helps.

    IT CEO.
  • by DiSKiLLeR ( 17651 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:39AM (#23615691) Homepage Journal
    I'm in Australia (Adelaide) Looking to move countries too!

    Canada and New Zealand are the two places I have been seriously considering, and it looks like Auckland, New Zealand has won me over. (I have a really close friend there for one, and NZ is a beautiful country.)

    I'm a Software Engineer and Systems Administrator in my current role. Anyway, guess I should read what people post as that stuff my apply to me too ;).

    I bet Americans are wondering why on earth we would want to leave Australia.....
    • by felipekk ( 1007591 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @06:18AM (#23615835) Journal

      I bet Americans are wondering why on earth we would want to leave Australia.....
      I guess the kangaroos won?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by mrbluze ( 1034940 )

        I guess the kangaroos won?
        They haven't won a grand final in freakin' ages. Not likely!
    • Lemme guess... It starts with K and ends in Rudd?


      I know I am sick of living in Adelaide (The hills). It is too small and too little industry is here.

      I'm looking to move to America. I imagine it will be like the movie Coming to America.
    • Yes, New Zealand is a beautiful place. Personally [] I prefer the non-Auckland parts, but YMMV.

      Without wishing to state the obvious, NZ/AUS is a long way from other places. The flight to the US isn't a killer, but you'll find you only see family once or twice a year. That's OK for a while but once you have kids you may find you want them to be with their relatives more often (or maybe not!) Moving to NZ will at least keep you near your (assumedly) AUS family.

      Our friends from NZ just visited last week - we last saw them about three years ago and it'll be another five years before our kids are big enough for me to happily go from the UK to NZ. We miss those friends and I'd like them to be a bigger part of my kids lives.

      As for moving countries, we found it quite easy because I was seconded from my UK company. The folks we know who seem to have had the best time are the ones who committed whole-heartedly to the move and got setup in the new country with the intention of staying. Having said that, one of my friends from the US is just about to move back as he can't sell his US house and can't afford to live in the UK anymore. It's a real shame as he was really getting settled in the UK.

      My experience is that getting your foot in the door is the hardest part, but once you're in you can demonstrate your competence and all is well. Its time to use every friend, contact or professional organization you can - they can be surprisingly willing to help.
    • by Anomolous Cowturd ( 190524 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @07:34AM (#23616075)

      I bet Americans are wondering why on earth we would want to leave Australia.....
      There have been some recent unpleasant changes in Australian society. The Iraq war and anti-Islam propaganda has started turning the knuckle-draggers here into nationalists. Every day sees more crosstikas plastered on the rear windows of SUVs, and Aussie flags are cropping up in incongruous places. It used to be that Aussies were only nationalistic when it came to sports... now, I feel an ugly change coming.
      • The Iraq war and anti-Islam propaganda has started turning the knuckle-draggers here into nationalists.

        And you want to move to *America* to avoid that???

  • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:41AM (#23615699)
    They are known to drop from the trees and surprise foreigners with deadly force.
  • My experience (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jmv ( 93421 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:42AM (#23615707) Homepage
    I'm a Canadian who spent three years in Australia and I'm returning to Canada next month. I actually found a job back in Canada by applying online and doing interviews over the phone. I don't really know much about any "hoops" you have to go through in Australia, but can't think of anything really important to know when applying in Canada (OK, can't say for anything other than Montreal). I've pretty much dealt directly with companies, so I don't know how it is with recruiters.
  • by trims ( 10010 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:45AM (#23615723) Homepage

    Moving to another country, you need to familiarize yourself with the important laws and assumptions that are being made there. So, go direct to the source: find a reputable lawyer to talk to, and swallow the few $100 it will cost for several hours of his time. And, that's a LAWYER IN THE COUNTRY YOU ARE MOVING TO.

    There are a variety of different topics you will want to discuss, so you might need to talk to more than one lawyer. BUT DO IT. You are no longer a visitor, so you need to understand the ins and outs of the local legal system.

    Here's some topics that are important:

    • Work rules and labor laws. What exactly are the conditions of your visa, how much can you work, what is expected, what can be negotiated, etc. This varies even by state here in the US, so don't assume you know anything.
    • Housing regulations. What are renter protections and responsibilities? Does and Don'ts of your landlord? And general property law.
    • Free Speech Regulations. What can (and can't) be said, whether out loud, in front of your boss, or on-line.
    • Liability. How is liability handled?
    • Local court system. How does the criminal justice system work, and what are your rights under it (particularly, as a foreigner)? How does the civil system work?
    • Family Law. Can you marry? What if you already are? Divorce? How are your kids required to behave?

    These are but the most important I can cite off the top of my head. It's more than worth the cost of a short lawyer consultation, and you might even be able to get a good conversation out of one on the cheap (like, offer to pay for a good dinner and drinks out, since there's not going to be any paperwork or case, it's just a consultation).

    Knowing the lay of the land is by far the most important thing to find out. Getting the inside scoop from an expert is the fastest, best way to do it.


    • by KillerLoop ( 202131 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:55AM (#23615759) Homepage
      One of the creepiest comments I've read in a long time...
    • by WarwickRyan ( 780794 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @05:59AM (#23615771)
      >$100 it will cost for several hours of his time.

      You're missing a 0 from that.

      For the record, I've moved countries, and I found all the information that was needed by talking to my destination's embassy in my own country.

      They were happy to help, send everything via email and also answered my questions via email.

      For more general information, and social stuff I found [] to be a good resource. Googling for country-specific forums also found a place to find information which wasn't so obvious - like good local plumbers and flat shares.

      My move was UK to Netherlands so it was easier as far as visas were confirmed (don't need one), but harder because of the language difference (which I've now solved by learning).
      • by Krischi ( 61667 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @06:18AM (#23615833) Homepage
        This is assuming that the embassy staff actually is up to speed with respect to the rules and regulations, and that there is a halfway sane bureaucracy in the destination country.

        Speaking from bitter experience, I have received more than a bit of misleading, and sometimes patently false, information from the Greek embassy. Still, somewhat in the embassy staff's defense, no one in the twisted bureaucracy here in Greece actually knows for certain what the rules and regulations are for various areas of public life. All I am saying is that it is better to go to the source and talk to foreigners who actually have experience living in the country in question.

        Also, do not underestimate the execution of the actual move. Packing, shipping, selling stuff, deciding what to keep, making sure that all the formalities with respect to visas, pets (if any), etc. are followed, is a real nightmare, even with the best of planning. Whatever you do, make sure that you have a place to stay and people to help you in the destination country before you move.
      • by trims ( 10010 )

        The embassy (or consulate) in your original country is a great place to start, and indeed should cover a wide swath of general things. I should have suggested that, too.

        However, talking to a lawyer to get the important details is, well, important. I've never found a consulate that really was useful for anything more than tourist-style advice. Even embassies are not geared toward the kind of detailed info you really should have as a private citizen. Sure, if you're interested in investing (or starting a

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I've moved countries too, a couple of times. I've found the best technique is to arm yourself with a good sense of humour then stumble your way into the country making snap decisions as you go. I mean c'mon! You wanna suck all the fun out of it??

        Oh, get a local girlfriend as quick as you can, that usually clears up any minor details you missed on your first pass.

        Bonne chance!
    • by OAB_X ( 818333 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @06:09AM (#23615799)
      Canada is basically identical to Australia in terms of laws (British Common Law Countries), and most of the laws are federal ones that deal with all the major issues (the criminal and civil codes are all federal, except Quebec).

      Minor varriations in realestate rules exist, but those are both provincial and municipal level things, so just any lawyer wouldn't do. The federal government has education programs and resources online as well, however those would mostly be of help from someone not from a Common Law country.

      @OP: There is no Work Choices legislation in Canada. Oh, and learn the slang. No-one calls it a 'ute' here, it's a pickup.
    • Free Speech Regulations. What can (and can't) be said, whether out loud, in front of your boss, or on-line.

      That scares me the most.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Why not find their local embassy in your home country and ask all the questions there? Yes, this goes for anyone anywhere.

      If the country you're moving to has an embassy (most of the bigger ones whose names you already know have one) then you should be able to find it.

      They are cheaper than a lawyer and they'll probably give you more user friendly advice. Lawyers tend to use a lot of costly words.
    • You forgot this point:

      Knowing the culture of the country you are moving to, for example how lawyers are viewed and what they are used for there.

      To me, the advice of getting a lawyer seems completely overkill, everything you need to know is on a number of government websites anyway?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by owlnation ( 858981 )
      Spoken like a true lawyer. And it's nonsense too.

      I've moved countries several times -- not just to English speaking ones. Most western laws are basically similar. Assuming you are not going to be doing anything unethical, pay your bills, and generally behave reasonably, you've no need to talk to a lawyer -- ever. Though you'll probably find that most countries (except the UK and Ireland) don't binge-drink as much alcohol as the average Australian, and have much less tolerance for drunken behavior -- that
  • Be Canadian first. (Score:5, Informative)

    by William Robinson ( 875390 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @06:00AM (#23615777)
    I immigrated to Canada, and finally decided to leave Canada after few years. During those days, I was invited by social workers to give presentations to new immigrants to Canada.

    Canadian work culture is different, and was more or less of shock to me. If you could say that I am wearing Canadian underwear, the probability of getting job is better than if you say, I have designed supercomputers in Australia. I know I am exaggerating, but it is not too far from reality.

    One of the best way is to start is applying directly to companies, instead of recruiting agents, as they would consider you less marketable lacking Canadian experience (god knows WTF it is.) You will wasting too much of your time if you believe that agents can help you.

    Second important thing is to start working and build your credibility, which could come from working somewhere either voluntarily or accepting job that was not your profession in Australia. You will need to be patient to get job what exactly you are looking for.

    Third suggestion is to start acquiring some academic qualification or certifications in Canada. It helps.

    Fourth suggestion is to start looking for social services network of your own community. Surprisingly, Canada has pretty good social network of helpful people. They would guide you a lot better than anybody else.

    I used to tell a lot of jokes to new immigrants, and would love to share with you. Hang on.

    • by S3D ( 745318 )

      Second important thing is to start working and build your credibility, which could come from working somewhere either voluntarily or accepting job that was not your profession in Australia.

      Wow, that sounds really unattractive. Canada have overabundance of IT workers ?
      Here in Israel a dog can work as programmer if he/she could prove he have some coding skill and have work permit. Don't have to know Hebrew either, if English is fluent enough. Of cause the pay is about half of that in US and the summer i

    • The new immigrants in Canada are called "Landed Immigrants". FYI.

      Richard dies and his soul is met by St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. "Welcome Richard," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We are not able to dig information related to you and we don't seem to know what to do with you. Why not go around and have a look at heaven and hell both, before we find about you."

      So Richard decides to have a look at heaven. It is whitish, full of saintly decent people, talking about al

  • Hi, I can't find how to send you a message or email privately, so here goes... I lived in Melbourne for 4.5 years (Carlton and Kew) and am now a recruiter in Canada. I work for Hays in Calgary. Shoot me an email at matthew at area709 dot com - I've been through the whole gamut (brought my Aussie gf with me, got her PR, found her a job, etc etc) and work in recruitment so can probably steer you in the right direction in exchange for a pack of tim-tams on your arrival. :)
    • You lived in Carlton? I'm so, so, sorry.
      • You lived in Carlton? I'm so, so, sorry.

        Ummm Why?

        I have lived in:

        • East Doncaster
        • Hawthorn
        • Kew
        • Glen Iris
        • Mount Waverley
        • South Croydon
        • Williamstown
        • East Brunswick

        ...and the last, just up the road from Carlton is by far the best place I have found to live in Melbourne. I am just glad I can afford it now.

        The inner north of Melbourne actually does have a good balance between ultra low density car dependant suburbia (Croydon) and ultra high density living (St Kilda). I don't know why you think Carlton is a bad place to live.

  • by Sandcastle ( 563801 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @06:10AM (#23615809)
    Although it may prove to be a walk in the park for you, in wasn't for me.

    Went from Adelaide (Australia) to Toronto (Canada). British citizen, work visa, Masters Degree, years of work history -> not a fricken response to my resume for months.

    The friends we made while there explained that they don't trust a foreigner to understand what it's like to work in Canada until you already have... makes it tricky ;-) Also seems weird, Toronto is the most multicultural place in the world by some counts. Australia and Canada are both english speaking, multicultural, Commonwealth countries - there are so many similarities but they didn't want to take the risk. So my advice, go straight to a professional recruiter or pay for a similar service to rework your resume and take whatever you can.

    An Australian resume is like a brief bio in some ways, educational and work history, what you're now looking for etc. etc. Mine was often 3 pages long here and worked well. In Canada it's a 1 page resume or it's straight to the round filing cabinet. Yes, they'll barely know anything about you, but this way you have a better chance of getting to an interview, where they'll spend the first 10 minutes asking the sort of questions your Australian resume would have answered!

    Once you've got the first job, the rest is easy. I started back at level 1 help desk, but jumped 5 levels of management to Director in 2 years. The O/S experience sure as hell helped once back in Australia too. I've tripled the salary I earned before I left Oz only 5 years ago now.

    Oh, and socially they'll love ya. Us Aussie's rock, especially in Canada.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sandcastle ( 563801 )
      Oh yeah... Even if it feels like being a freshly minted graduate again, go to trade shows / job fairs etc.

      Getting even 2 minutes of face time with an employer (doesn't even have to be the hiring / HR person or the prospective manager) will give them a chance to realise that even Canadians can in fact speak/understand "Australian", and we don't all wear Akubras and shark's teeth around our necks.

      • we don't all wear Akubras and shark's teeth around our necks. Cheers.
        That's a disappointment but as long as you live in a post war wasteland fighting over oil then all is forgiven.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 01, 2008 @06:25AM (#23615861)
    Here you might not want to refer yourself as a network "engineer", unless you are licensed by the proper provincial authority - in this case the APEGBC. It is illegal to practice professional engineering without a license. The use of term "engineer" is contested - as it has been suggested that the term should always refer to professional engineering. See

    Typically to be licensed, you will have had to study engineering at the post-secondary level and pass an ethics exam. See the APEGBC website for more information:

  • I think you would find Vancouver almost as different as Sydney and Perth, so relax and enjoy it.

    The biggest changes are driving on the wrong side of the road and turning right on a red light.

    Oh, and there are some funny politicians in Ottawa, but since they are thousands of kilometers away, nobody in the west cares about them. Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC are practically independent countries. Oh, and Yukon - nobody cares about Yukon. The power of the central government doesn't seem to extend much beyond O
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Immigration experience here in Canada will depend where you came from. I'm sure you will have less problems as you a are coming from a wealthy country and your mother tongue is 'English'.

    The well known 'Canadian Experience' is an excuse to not hire someone you don't want to for reasons that are not technical ... (yeah, undercover racism!!)
    If you're caucasian, you will not have much problem with this ...

    Anyways, IT professions are not regulated and there are a lot of opportunities. Create a resume as expec
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 01, 2008 @06:42AM (#23615925)
    I moved from Victoria (the AU one) to BC myself 3 months ago. It was definitely an easy move to make, both personally and work wise. Canadians are kind of like more friendly Australians, it's really nice.

    Most important things though

    1. Get your qualifications recognised. I'm currently still undergoing getting my accounting qualifications recognised, it's a lengthy process. I have my accounting degree done by these guys - however I'm waiting upon the chartered accountancy guys to do their end to continue my studying. They requested a ICES recognition (they being the chartered accounting institute of BC), so it seems a good place to start.

    2. Work visa, I am currently on a 2 year working holiday that has very few restrictions and was rather easy to get (took all of 3 days). All acquired via post and online at here - Took me forever to get through customs in Canada, my stuff was stamped off straight away once I got to the front of the line, but I came in just after a couple of plane loads of Chinese Immigrants. So don't trust the "express" check-in

    3. I had a few issues with a stopover flight into the US. Basically I needed to get a US visa for the entire time I'm in Canada just to enter the country (which was for a 2 hour stopover where I had no intention of leaving the airport). It involved meeting the US consulate for an interview and I wound up just changing my flight to fly via Auckland (air kiwi fly direct from Auckland, air canada now fly direct from Sydney). If you fly air kiwi, I highly recommend the lamb :)

    4. As an accountant, I probably had more work issues in some regards (different laws), less in others (demand for accountants). Definitely apply directly to employers, I got stuff all help from employment agencies. Applying to companies I got a lot of "get back to us when you're in the country" replies, however I found work before I actually arrived in the country anyway (however, it was through someone I already knew here who worked at an accounting firm). I think you shouldn't have too much hassle, maybe you will finding the exact job you want, but demand for skilled employment (especially in business and IT) is high, there's plenty of work around and large employers are smart enough not to worry about where you come from, just the skills you have.

    5. Check out the work laws, as mentioned. You don't get public holidays in your first 30 days with an employer (I didn't work Good Friday, fortunately my overtime I'd been working covered it), you only get 2 weeks annual leave, 5 days sick leave, etc, etc.

    6. Get setup when you get here. Go to a bank and get a bank account (take your passport and any other kind of ID you have, Aussie stuff worked for me). - HSBC have quite a range of services for new-comers and non-residents. Get a Social Insurance Number, go to Service Canada (they have a zillion offices, like Centrelink, basically) and you get it on the spot. You need one to work anywhere. Get a phone too, getting a prepaid one is easy. Getting anything on credit can be more difficult, but I haven't really gotten into that

    7. And a whole heap of small things. Finding vegemite is a bitch. Most things you buy have a price on them that is BEFORE tax and you'll always wind up with a tonne of change. People are wrong about it being hard to drive on the opposite side of the road. It rains really, really hard in Vancouver sometimes, however they have the sky train, which is cool. It's as pretty as hell here as well.

    8. Shit I forgot, get an international drivers licence before you leave, you can get it from RACV, takes 5 minutes and costs $20 or something. I'm not entirely sure on the legality of it though, it's meant to be 1 year, but I've heard since getting here it's only 3 months for residents. Look at getting a drivers licence here eventually, I've never been pulled over to really find out. Don't buy Ameri
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Durrik ( 80651 )
      I'd like to add a few things since I live in work in Metro Vancouver.

      7a. The transit service (including skytrain) is great if you live or work in the downtown core. The transit service is OK if you live and work in the same suburb of the city. The transit service is complete and utter garbage if you live and work in different suburbs of the city. It takes me 25 minutes to drive to work, and 90 minutes (estimated) to take the bus. The buses are often filled so you have to wait for the next bus and hope
  • My experience of recruiters in general is that they suck if you're looking for a job that's technical. They are rarely experts in their field of recruiting. If they were they would would for a tech company rather than some horrible commission based job.

    I had to apply for my work permit in the UK so I had to save money and then come over and sit about while waiting for my work visa. So once I could work I just took a retail job literally on the same day as receiving my visa. I held that for about two week
    • Recruiters in the UK just scan your CV for buzzwords and junk it. And don't expect them to understand anything other than MS Word .doc (definately not .docx) as their keyword strippers can only read that format.

      A fun trick is to write "I have absolutely no knowledge of Html, Css or Javascript" and see how many web designer jobs they send you to (obviously change the keywords to suit your circumstances).

      Some of them then reconstruct an entirely ficticious CV based on what they think the job wants and send t
  • This is probably not unique to Canada but one thing you should always remember is that head hunters do not work for you and they are not on your side. They get paid by the company that hires you and hope to get return business from them and therefore are more concerned with making sure that the company gets the best deal. What you will find is that they usually misrepresent the compensation up front and when it comes down to the final salary negotiations, don't be afraid to call them out on it or even go as
  • by MichaelCrawford ( 610140 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @07:37AM (#23616087) Homepage Journal
    I'm back in the US now, but I applied awhile back for Canadian permanent residency. Eventually I'll go back to stay, and plan to become a Canadian citizen when the time comes. I'm married to a Canadian, who is sponsoring my immigration.

    I used to be self-employed as a software consultant, working out of my home in Truro, Nova Scotia. But when I grew weary of it, I found that there wasn't much in the way of programming jobs anywhere in Atlantic Canada, and what little there was paid very poorly.

    So I used all the Canadian job boards - particularly Craig's List [] - to look for coding jobs anywhere in the country. The job I found was in Vancouver.

    I've blogged about it extensively:

    I kept blogging there even after I moved back to California, because I intend to return someday. Vancouver is a really wonderful place, or at least it is for some people:

    It's also the location of the Downtown Eastside, the poorest neighborhood in the whole nation. My job in Gastown was just a couple blocks from there. Many of my diaries are about my encounters with Vancouver's homeless, many of whom were mentally ill.

    I was advised never to give money to panhandlers, lest they spend it on drugs. Crystal Meth abuse is widespread there. But I wanted to do something to help, so I often bought them meals.

    Often I found that it made their day simply to ask their name and to shake their hand. Folks like that don't get paid that kind of respect very often.

  • John Howard's gone now! That said, I'm not going back. :)
  • by Titusdot Groan ( 468949 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @08:30AM (#23616279) Journal

    I'm a development manager and hire programmers and IT people in Toronto ...

    I wouldn't worry too much about getting Canadian designations or education, Canadians are used to hiring Eastern Europeans, Indians and Chinese talent and know how to deal with differences in education.

    Do document what you did and what you can do in resume. Keep it to two pages unless you have 10+ years of experience. Do list specific technologies you work with and relative skill level in each. When you list designations, make sure they are either the same in Canada or explain what they are.

    If you are using your employer to move to Canada, I would be careful to go with a legit company. You might want to use a headhunter for that reason. There are many headhunters that are used to dealing with immigration issues. The hiring company usually the headhunter's fees not the job seeker. If you find a headhunter that is charging you a fee run away unless it is for specific services (such as immigration aid).

    I wouldn't waste money hiring a lawyer unless you get a job offer that has an employment contract containing lots of restrictions. Canada has fairly good labour laws. Be careful about signing contracts that take away too many rights upon termination.

  • Vancouver job market (Score:4, Informative)

    by Snocone ( 158524 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @08:42AM (#23616335) Homepage
    Actually, the Vancouver job market is getting pretty simple these days. Sod the recruiters, pretty much all the jobs show up here. []


    One other address you may find useful: This can be helpful with getting your place furnished while you're waiting to actually have money. []

    And ... hmm, well, actually, that's pretty much all you really need to get along fine in Vancouver. See ya soon, mate.
  • Aren't people in Australia really laid back and easy going? That's what my friends have told me who lived there.

    North Americans are relatively anal by comparison, what with the puritan work ethic and all.

    Good luck with that.
  • by florescent_beige ( 608235 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @10:06AM (#23616809) Journal
    The Concise Guide

    Number One

    Don't say 'oot and aboot' that's just stupid. And if you looked at that and thought those should have been double quotes, I'd hire you.

    Number Two

    Canadian girls are easy except in Toronto Montreal Calgary Vancouver St John St Johns Halifax Quebec City Gander and lets see where else have I lived...

    Number Three

    There is one city called St. John and another one called St Johns nobody knows which is which

    Number Four

    Pants are expected to be worn at work

    Number Six

    Math skills are important for getting a job

    Number Seven

    Is a nice number. Too bad that movie had to ruin it for me

    Number Three Redux

    I just looked it up and St John is where they actually do say oot and aboot

    Number Five

    Better late than never

    Number Eight

    Montreal has potholes and Toronto has that smell so take your pick. In Calgary, bring your own cardboard box to live in. Vancouver has a commuter train that takes you into the middle of the woods.

    Number Nine

    Saskatchewan is flat because the 6000 kph winds blew all the hills into Lake Superior

    Number Ten

    There are lots of high tech jobs in Ottawa but the only thing to do there in your spare time is laugh at Corel's office building.
  • "Engineer" (Score:3, Informative)

    by Spudley ( 171066 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @11:53AM (#23617637) Homepage Journal
    Watch out calling yourself an "engineer" in Canada -- there are legal restrictions in that country as to who may call themselves engineers.
  • by thewils ( 463314 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @11:56AM (#23617669) Journal
    I moved from the UK to Vancouver a few years ago so my experiences might be a bit dated. I had the same response from the recruiters as you though - they will not treat you seriously unless you are resident.

    It depends on the job market at the time as to how you'll fare, Vancouver is quite a small town as far as IT goes, so be prepared not to work for some time :) - I figured on about 12 months - but you won't care as you'll probably be hitting the slopes quite a bit. Be persistent, hawk your resume around town to the major recruiters - fill in their questionnaires and put yourself around as much as possible to get your face known. Believe it or not, Vancouver can be a quite a conservative place for the job market - they don't like strangers, so get in there and network, network, network.

    Check out the local classifieds [] nearer the time, although there isn't usually much in there, but there might be. Also, check out Usenet - - to get a feel for what's active, you should probably be doing that now to get a feel for what is happening.

    Be prepared to move around quite a bit - if you can work freelance, start up your own company which is quite easy to do and I would say is by far the best way to network and get known. It also means that you don't pass up on contract work. A relative doing the same as you worked for 3 companies in the first couple of years (as a "permie") so employment can be volatile - plan on it being this way. You can be "let go" easily in the first 6 months or so, so don't treat everything as a job for life. I did some work in Calgary for a while - this is a good way to see other cities but watch out for having to pay for accommodation twice. It helps to have relatives over here.

    G'luck sport! See you around town :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sentry21 ( 8183 )
      A few comments on this...

      The 'grace period' in Canada is three months, during which time they can decide that they don't want you and let you go without notice. After that, you're a full-on employee, so they have to give you notice and have some kind of a reason. Six months might be something that an employer can add in an employment agreement, but I've never seen it.

      Since coming to Vancouver in August, I've had several jobs - I've just started my sixth - and a few more interviews. The first was Starbucks -
  • Vancouver (Score:3, Insightful)

    by starfishsystems ( 834319 ) on Sunday June 01, 2008 @12:56PM (#23618175) Homepage
    I've been working as a computer scientist here in Vancouver for thirty years. I've also held a couple of positions in Silicon Valley and Europe.

    A couple of people have commented about the importance of sorting out the work visa situation. I'll second that, with emphasis on getting it completed before you enter the country. Most nations, including Canada, you can't apply from within the country. Of course, this creates a Catch 22 in which the strongest justification for issuing the visa comes from having a prospective employer write a letter of offer. And that rarely happens without an interview, or two, or sometimes three, in person. So yeah, it may be necessary to come here for a couple of months ahead of time to do interviews.

    I've been trying out recruiters lately. I can recommend a couple, if you want to contact me privately. I can also list several that have, for me at least, proved to be a complete waste of time. Odds are, you can do far better looking on your own. In Vancouver, check out the BC Techlology website: []

    The other comment I'd like to make is that, at least acccording to my experience, there is not much that can be generalized about how employers interview, what they look for, or what you can expect to find after accepting a given position. I think we're generally honest people here in Canada, but it's a young industry in a young culture, and so every organization makes up its own rules and expectations. The interview process is almost entirely directed at finding out about you. Except for a few bare facts, you won't learn much about the organization or the people you'll be working with. What you do learn is designed to make the organization look good, rather than to disclose what sort of challenges and difficulties you can expect from the position. And given the high degree of variability that I mentioned, you really won't know what you've gotten yourself into until the first day on the job. I'm sure this is true the world over, but it has a particular flavor on the west coast of Canada. On one hand, we're bound by Canadian politeness and a mild social reserve that can be hard to break through. On the other hand, we aspire to some form of American entrepreneurialism and the frankness that goes with it. I'm delighted by our West coast liberalism and our tolerance for different cultures, but if I may say so, we're not yet as fully evolved as we think we are. You have an advantage as an Aussie, I think, in that you have lived within a similar cultural paradox. Ours ends up perhaps a bit less tolerant of people being outspoken.

e-credibility: the non-guaranteeable likelihood that the electronic data you're seeing is genuine rather than somebody's made-up crap. - Karl Lehenbauer