Employment & language programs

As someone who is relatively new to British Columbia and Canada, you may be having difficulty finding employment here for many reasons, including that:

  • you are still learning how B.C.’s labour market works
  • your qualifications may not be recognized
  • you may need to upgrade your English language skills

Fortunately, programs designed to help you overcome these hurdles are available at no cost. Find out about the programs that can help you develop the skills you need to connect with jobs.

SKILLS CONNECT FOR IMMIGRANTS PROGRAM

British Columbia has a growing economy and job market–employers and communities are looking for workers in many different areas. Skills Connect for Immigrants is a practical and cutting-edge WelcomeBC program that can help you find the perfect employment fit. It uses an individual approach, tailored to you and your needs.

The Government of British Columbia understands that you have the skills, qualifications and experience we need. We are working with a number of different organizations to connect your job experience and qualifications with our workforce.

What is the Skills Connect for Immigrants Program?

The Skills Connect for Immigrants Program (“Skills Connect”) is an individualized employment bridging program that helps skilled immigrants connect to jobs in B.C. There are two streams within the Skills Connect Program: General and Health.

Bridging is achieved through providing services and supports to:

  • effectively assess recent immigrants’ skills, qualifications and experience.
  • provide career counselling and planning.
  • promote skills upgrading and other enhancements, including workplace language support to meet B.C. labour standards.
  • offer workplace practices, such as mentoring, that will help immigrants find and keep employment.

The goal is to help skilled immigrants find employment that maximizes their pre-arrival skills, qualifications, and experience.

Employment Services for Immigrants – Skills Connect

The Skills Connect for Immigrants General Program has been delivered throughout all regions of B.C. since 2009. The program is delivered by four agencies specialized in helping immigrants to prepare for and find employment in every sector of B.C.’s economy. Connect with one of the following agencies to find more information:

The Skills Connect for Immigrants Health Program is delivered throughout all regions of B.C. via two agencies specialized in helping immigrants to prepare for and find employment in the twelve priority health occupations for B.C.’s economy. Connect with one of the following agencies to find out more:

Call a service provider now to find out more about Skills Connect and how it can help.

Did you know?

The majority of the participants who completed this program have found a meaningful career that uses their skills and training. Find out if you’re eligible for Skills Connect.

Are you eligible?

Basic Requirements for the Skills Connect for Immigrants General Program:

Individuals may be eligible for the Skills Connect for Immigrants General Program if they:

  • became a permanent resident of Canada within the last five years.
  • are certified in a profession, trade or skilled occupation from their home country or have a minimum of five years of pre-arrival work experience in a profession, trade or high-skill occupation.
  • have an intermediate to advanced level of English language proficiency.
  • are not receiving Employment Insurance.

Basic Requirements for the Skills Connect for Immigrants Health Program:

Individuals may be eligible for the Skills Connect for Immigrants Health Program if they:

  • became a permanent resident of Canada within the last five years.
  • have a minimum of three years of pre-arrival work experience in one of the twelve health occupations.
  • have an intermediate to advanced level of English language proficiency.
  • are not receiving Employment Insurance.

The priority medical professions are:

  1. Licensed Practical Nurses
  2. Medical Laboratory Technologists
  3. Medical Radiation Technologists
  4. Midwives
  5. Occupational Therapists
  6. Pharmacists
  7. Physicians
  8. Physiotherapists
  9. Registered Nurses
  10. Registered Psychiatric Nurses
  11. Speech Language Pathologists/Audiologists
  12. Ultrasonographers

 If eligible, Skills Connect can assist skilled immigrants to maximize their career potential by:

  • assessing their skills, qualifications and experience
  • providing targeted career counselling and career planning services
  • providing job-seeking skills and support and an introduction to Canadian workplace culture
  • improving language skills and providing assistance to upgrade other skills
  • helping with industry-specific skills training
  • providing connections to and support with regulating bodies
  • delivering hands-on workplace experience through mentoring and other innovative approaches

WORKBC EMPLOYMENT SERVICES CENTRES

Finding employment may be a challenging process, especially when you’re new to Canada. WorkBC Centres can help you understand the local labour market and offer employment services and supports to ensure you are successful in landing a job. Visit your local centre and access employment services including job search resources and employment planning. Personal services and supports are also available to job seekers who need a more tailored approach than self-directed job search tools and workshops. The staff at the WorkBC Employment Services Centres will work with you to find out how they can help you. 

Find out if you are eligible

The Employment Program of British Columbia (EPBC) is available to all unemployed British Columbians who are seeking employment and are legally eligible to work in B.C.

What Does “Unemployed” Mean?

“Unemployed” means you are not a full-time student as defined by the program, and you:

  • are not working
  • are working an average of fewer than twenty (20) hours per week, AND
    • are actively seeking full-time employment, or
    • are unable to work full-time because of a disability and are seeking to work more hours
  • are in receipt of a notice of imminent layoff
  • must leave your current occupation due to a medical reason
  • are at significant risk of losing your employment because of a disability
  • must be legally eligible to work in BC; please visit your local WorkBC Centre for more information

Get detailed information on eligibility criteria.

LEARN ENGLISH

English is the official language in British Columbia, Canada. You will need to speak, read and write in English to work or study in B.C. Good English language skills will make it easier for you to work in your profession or take care of daily activities such as banking, shopping or visiting a doctor. People who can speak English will also find it easier to learn about Canadian culture and meet new friends—learning English will help you and your family find success in B.C.

Permanent residents may be eligible to take free English language classes. For information about these government-funded classes, please visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.