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Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

Hello everyone,

I have decided soon to immigrate to Canada from Greece to build my career as Electrical Engineer (I am fresh-graduated). Tell me general your opinion and especially for the following things:

1) What regions are better for electrical engineers? I have seen, British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.

2) I want to work in a combination of software engineering and electrical engineering in oil - natural gas industry. What programming languages and software programs I have to focus on? I know very well Matlab (Simulink etc) and C / C++ programming languages, but I do not think they are enough... My plan is to improve my knowledge in Python, Java, IEC 61131-3 programming languages for PLC and Autocad. What else?

Thanks in advance.

Are you ready for the future?

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

If you want to work in Oil & Gas, then your odds improve in Alberta (and maybe BC, out east they hate this industry).

You really don't seem committed to the EE role. In this industry any programming tends to be done by contractors, and software developers can be found in any sizable town in any of the provinces. An EE in Oil & Gas spends his whole life dealing with area classification, Load calcs, and code compliance issues. No programming language expertise required for that.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

hmmy - one regular poster here 'Moltenmetal' has posted several times about oversupply of engineers in Canada.

thread730-378704: A Waste of Talent: Engineering Under-Employment in Canada

You may want to investigate more just what youre employment prospects really are - especially with the recent drop in oil prices (which may well reverse sooner than later but currently seems to have an impact on employment in the field).

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

I live in Canada and do not think it is a great time to be moving to Alberta. The province was booming for a number of years, but no longer. I have worked with some controls groups in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, but also in Ontario and Nova Scotia. So although you might have better odds looking in Alberta, don't limit yourself to it alone.

If you are interested in programming and software development I would be looking within a couple hours of Toronto.

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

Thanks KENAT, it's nice to know that someone is paying attention to my rants!

To the OP: there is no shortage of fresh grad engineers here in Canada- in any province. Quite the contrary- there is a massive oversupply, with most grads having to work entirely outside engineering to make a living. Read that OSPE survey in KENAT's link cover to cover before you decide what to do- you would be insane not to do so!

Should you come? I wouldn't come without a job offer in hand prior to immigrating- unless you primarily want a new life in Canada and don't really care what you have to do for money to make that happen. In fact, I'm not sure HOW you will manage to immigrate without a job in hand- unless you are coming in as sponsored by a family member already settled in Canada- I'd really like to know how you're managing it. I realize the situation in Greece is bad, and Canada's in comparison might be better- but get it out of your head that it's the 1950s and we have a generalized shortage of engineers. That hasn't been so in at least two decades.

As to where in Canada- Alberta is in layoff mode as a result of slumping oil prices. Thousands there are finally realizing that people who told them that oil and gas is a cyclic business and that the bust is inevitable, were not lying. Toronto's unemployment rate is above the national average, but being the biggest place it also has the largest number of opportunities.

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

I might also suggest that you look into obtaining all the requirements necessary to get your P.Eng status once you move here. Each province in Canada is different, so I can only speak for my own, but in Ontario only degrees from some countries are automatically considered to meet the educational requirements. I do not know off hand if Greece is one of those countries where you qualify, so I would check the PEO website if you would consider Ontario. At a minimum, I would check to make sure you can at least get your EIT designation (engineer in training??). I believe this would make you more attractive to potential employers.

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

Certain regions in the US are doing tolerably well. Facebook has just expanded to a new building across from the old Sun Micro campus and are looking to hire, but supposedly having trouble finding qualified engineers. The "Silicon Beach" of Los Angeles is supposedly booming, as well http://www.represent.la/# http://www.siliconbeachla.com/

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RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

Thank you all for your answers. I will tell you some things about my plans and the circumstances.

About Greece: The situation is so bad that it could not be worse. 1 million problems exist in present and 1 million problems are expected during the next 10 - 20 years. For young well-educated people, especially younger than 30 years old, it is "mandatory one-way" to emigrate from Greece as soon as possible. The last 10 years no one in Greece cares about young well-educated people. The unemployment for young people is more than 60% and the majority of scientists, engineers, lawyer, doctors etc, leave the country. All the governments care about retirees and the "old mode" of public services. More than 80% of services by inter workers, can be done by computers - software, but governments and old Greeks, don't want to change it. A big lack of meritocracy. And if you look in the far future, the situation is worse. A country without development, without production - output, without manufacture - industry, with an unsustainable debt, with unsustainable pension scheme, with a stupid public system. If things will continue with this way, I think ISIS will be in Greece, during the next 10 years.

So, yes, I have decided to start my life from zero in another country. And I want it to happen, far away from Greece and South Europe general. Just for a safe future of my kids. So me, and two other friends have chosen to come in Canada. We will try to find a job (at least one of us) before our moving. In the begin we will come with the IEC - Working Holiday program. We will have work permit for 1 year, and then if we will like the things there, we will try to become permanent residents with Express Entry or with something else. And if then everything will be ok, why not a master in a Canadian university? I prefer Vancouver and BC, just because Oceanic Climate is my favorite, but I do not think that I have the choice to choose climate.

About me, I have a 5-year-diploma in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and if I will have the opportunity, I will choose the NOC code 2173 Software Engineers and Designers. If not, then I will choose the NOC code 2133 Electrical and electronics engineers. I like very much the programming languages, the software and everything new - innovative in technology (for example it would be paradise for me to work even in the lowest level of a robotic subject).

About Canada, I cannot understand why many of you believe that the situation is not good. I have never heard that there is brain drain problem in Canada, like in South Europe. Generally, I know, that Canada and USA, don't let well-educated people to leave the country. These countries know how to reclaim - invest in them, even in low degree. About Alberta, I know that oil price is near to 60 dollars, but everyone says that it will get up, and maybe in October when I will be there, it will be 80 dollars. And Canada belongs to the top countries in the evolution - development - innovation in technological and scientific subjects. Greece belongs in "tail" of these subjects.

Please, tell me your opinion about my - our plans, and forgive me for my so big monologue. Just if you don't understand, in Greece, we have "passed away". There are not opportunities to find job, to have the survival money, to build a career or to create a family. Everything has ended and there is not future. Inside Eurozone, or outside Eurozone, it does not matter. The situation will be the same. In Canada, we don't expect to become wealthy or mayors in Toronto. Simple things, just a small career, and a simple family, without worries for the future of our kids.

Thanks in advance.

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

It may be wise to go straight for a Master's. When I was in school there were many foreign grad students. If you like Vancouver, they have a very nice school there, UBC.

I think the complaints by Canadians is all relative. I suppose we have been lucky, the brain drain here is different. I hear about it often in other professions where there is much more money to be made in other countries. I think of doctors and lawyers moving to the US when I say this. I do not think the same brain drain is an issue for engineers, if anything it is the opposite. I can go on LinkedIn or Monster in Toronto and find (probably) hundreds of jobs. Whether they are good jobs or not, I don't know, I suppose that is up to the individual. I find the value of the engineer low here. With so many applicants, why would companies pay top dollar for an engineer when they can get their second choice for $10K less?

But depending on what you are looking for, Canada may be a great choice. I actually cannot think of an unemployed engineer in my group of friends at the moment. So maybe we are just spoiled.

Along with my earlier suggestion of getting your professional engineer license lined up you can check out the Canada InfoNet program if you have not already. It is an organization that helps engineers, and possibly other professions, assistance immigrating to Canada.

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

"I have never heard that there is brain drain problem in Canada,"

hmmy, you misunderstand us. The supposed problem is the opposite. There are more 'engineering brains' than can be used in their relevant fields.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

AS an imigrant myself I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that Canada is one of the best places in the world. And dont believe everyone who tells you that $60 oil is a catastrophe. I work in the mining industry and even now the trade I have most trouble filling is electrians and electrical engineers. Of course I talking about those willing to work with me in remote locations. Pay is excellent and you can live in Vancouver or any major centre. Just dont get hung up on what you want to do, determine what employers are looking for!!!

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

KENAT, I have just started a new project which actually will have minimal electrical demands. THe last project was $3.5 billion over 4 yeas, and as an owners rep, you wouldnt believe the poor quality of electrical engineers supplied to us by the EPCM contractor. Yes I always prefer experienced personnel but I think I had about eight EIT's working with closely with me over a 4 year period and with 2600 construction workers on site at one time, I couldnt begin to imagine how many apprentices there were in the field. Good sparkies are ALWAYS in demand and if they've got 3 or more years experience underground after the completion of their apprenticeship, they can pretty much write their own ticket.

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

@macmet, I know UBC. It is one of my favorite Canadian Universities. About engineering license, it is required to pass an exam and then I will be in the Engineering-In-Training category.

@KENAT, I understood you.

@miningman what is your advice? How to search for a job? And in which fields I have to focus on? PLC programming and MATLAB have demand? I am willing to work anywhere in Canada, even in very remote cold locations. How can I contact you? I am not seeing the pm section in this forum.

Thank you all.

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

hmmy, sorry I dont have time or inclination to hold your hand. In the days of google, if you dont have the initiative to find these leads yourself, you probably wont be successful. Having said that, infomine.com is one of the best sites going. And again I dont have a clue what programming languages are used. What Im suggesting is that the guys in demand are those with heavy industrial experience at 575, 4160 and 13.8kv. Im sure there is demand somewhere for computer nerds, just not in my world.

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

Anyway, thank you and everyone else for your help.

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

hmmy: read the OSPE report- by your subsequent comments, you clearly either haven't done that yet, or didn't properly understand what you read. It spells the engineering supply/demand situation out in detail, based on the statistics rather than anecdotes, and does so not just for Ontario but for the country in total. If you immigrate here before you read that report, then you'll be an idiot, and in that case insult will both be intended and deserved. If you fly into Toronto, you are very likely to take a taxi driven by an Indian-educated engineer...Since you're clearly NOT an idiot, having had the good sense to post questions here before coming, you WILL read that report, and hence will go in with both eyes open.

Canada's a great country with a first-world economy (arguably...). There are plenty of opportunities generated here every year, in every field. Mind you, there are TEN TIMES as many opportunities of every kind in the US! You may be lucky and find one- or make one for yourself- but the likelihood of that for you is, realistically, VERY low. But without relevant work experience, you will be competing with thousands of fresh grads who were educated here, have English as a first language, and have at least some contacts through school, friends and parents/family etc. Some may not be as "hungry" as you are, but others are every bit as motivated, smart AND hungry- especially the ones whose immigrant parents sacrificed everything and worked in crappy survival jobs solely so that their kids could have a chance at a good future here! The ones from co-op universities will also have two years of relevant, local work experience, work-related references etc. that you don't have. If even 75% of those grads were finding work in their chosen field every year (about 93% of 4th year students say that this is what they want), then you might have a good chance- but the fact is, less than 50% of our own fresh engineering grads here get engineering jobs.

There are plenty of foreign students here already too- paying high foreign student tuitions in the hope that when they graduate, they can get a job via the Canadian Experience Class. You'll be competing with them too. And even if you do get a job on your year's student experience visa, there is no guarantee that you'll be able to parlay that automatically into permanent residency via the express entry route.

Nobody is complaining about a brain drain from Canada? Sure- and businesses here still scream "shortage"! But the shortages they're reporting are of the people with 10 years of experience that their industry didn't hire 10 years ago- those people, who others have trained for you, are always going to be in short supply! As to the brain drain: of the top 10% of my class (25 years ago, when times were WAY better in engineering supply/demand terms based on the stats), only two of us are still in Canada. The others are all in the 'States or Europe. Not all of them left by choice- they went where the work was. You're trying to do the same, and good luck to you. Just be realistic about the likelihood of success.

If you do choose to come: don't come without a pre-arranged job. Don't assume that a local Masters will give you a substantially greater shot at one- many have made that mistake before you. Apply to the professional association in the province you intend to settle in LONG BEFORE you come- or else, you may come here and find that your school or program is not an accredited engineering program as far as the licensure body is concerned and they will require you to write more technical exams. BC doesn't automatically make you write exams before they let you become an EIT, so I suggest you do your research better! Many employers use eligibility for licensure as a means to test whether you're really educated as an engineer, or not- most of us have no idea which universities in Greece are good and which are really just technician/technologist colleges. If you just want to code, Vancouver apparently has seen a recent surge in demand for code-slingers- but note that it's world-renowned as a great place to live, so it draws people from the entire rest of the country as well as the rest of the world for that reason- job competition is fierce. It's notoriously expensive in cost of living terms- worse than Toronto.

Miningman: EPCMs aren't running short of fresh grads to choose from, and they aren't loyal to them the second the economy takes a dive either. As to trades jobs in specific fields, the problem is getting in- nobody wants apprentices. The companies hiring people aren't just taking warm bodies. Everybody wants to outsource their training costs to somebody else. As to remote locations, getting experienced people who want to move there is tough- there's usually a spouse who also needs a job too, and who wants to live away from their family most of the time? Money isn't everything, and it's not like the engineering grads who can't find engineering work are going begging on the street- they're displacing people from other parts of the job market, outside of engineering- and THEY for the most part are the ones who are out on the street. It's an enormous waste of talent and potential.

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

@ moltenmetal, I cannot understand why your behavior and your style are so bad and cold. Just I asked a few queries and I wanted to know some opinions for my plans. I did not say that I will come in Canada to kill you.

About OSPE report. Ok, I read it. And? I can find many reports which argue the opposite. And reports for the future. Just, I googled "engineering Canada 2020"... And I found it: http://www.engineerscanada.ca/sites/default/files/...

So? What is the prediction for the next years? Official prediction from engineerscanada.ca

And British Columbia 2022 Labour Market Outlook: https://www.workbc.ca/WorkBC/media/WorkBC/Document...

They are not anecdotes. Read them and tell me your opinion...

Or do you think it is important to compare which sources are more reliable? Or if the number of optimistic reports are bigger than the pessimistic ones, does it mean something?

We will come, only if we have found a job (at least one) with skype interview before immigrating.

"BC doesn't automatically make you write exams before they let you become an EIT, so I suggest you do your research better!"

Here, you are not right.

Read this: Engineer-in-Training – This membership status indicates that the first step in the licensing process has been completed by satisfying the academic requirements and meeting the good character requirements. People with an engineer-in-training membership are working toward gaining the four years of engineering work experience they need—including one year in Canada—to become a professional engineer (P.Eng.).


I contacted APEGBC and they told me that my university is in designated ones, and just I have to pass an exam in general engineering.

About work experience, I want to say something. Of course an old man with 10 - 20 years experience is better than a fresh graduated, but only in the current work circumstances. A young fresh graduated has clear mind and ambition for active life. He can say: (like me), "I am willing to have a strong active life in the next 30 years". Can you hear it from a 40 years old man with 15 years experience?

A man with experience satisfies only the present. The future will be satisfied with investments on young people. For example the Express Entry gives just 80 points for experience more than 5 years, but 110 points for young people under the age of 30: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/express-entry/grid-cr...

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

I'll just weigh in on a couple of points regarding Vancouver and BC in general (this is where I live...).

At the moment anything related to oil/gas is looking pretty dismal. Over the past many years, there has been a lot of spillover from the Alberta oilsands economy, and that has ground to a halt with the low oil prices. That may change, and I hope it does on behalf of myself and everyone I work with.

BC has a couple of large projects that I'm aware of that would likely require electrical engineers:
  • Site C Dam: Multi-billion dollar hydroelectic project up north. Construction is expected to begin this summer per this link
  • Future LNG export: The BC government has been spouting off about this for years. Based on the current state of the world, I wouldn't hold my breath on anything happening for many years to come. That said, if I am surprised (it would be pleasantly for my industry), it would be an enormous project that would demand many electrical engineers.
  • Shipbuilding: I really don't know where things are at with the BC shipbuilding program. Seaspan Vancouver was awarded something in the order to 17 ships in the next ocuple of decades (old news article). I have no idea the status of this, but all ships need some sort of electrical design.
These are a few of the mega projects that are either happening or could happen soon.

Unfortunately I'm not in any way associated with the electrical fields, so couldn't even advise you if I wanted to. All I can say is that Vancouver truly is a beautiful place to live, but is also brutally expensive. If I didn't have roots here with family, or I didn't care so much about said roots, I'd seriously consider moving to a smaller interior community if I could find a job.

Good luck with whatever choice you make.

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

I feel sympathy to moltenmetal. In this real world, an honest person who tells the truth will always likely be ill treated by common people who only want to listen to faked pleasant words.

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

@ marty007, thank you for your info and your wishes...

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

If choosing universities for a masters, I wouldn't look to UBC unless you have some savings. It's rather expensive, and in my experience, most employers don't care which university you went to for your masters, so long as it was at a Canadian university, or is well known. I'm just finishing at the UAlberta, and it's a fine school.

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

hmmy: sorry if my attempt to knock the rose coloured glasses off your eyes, felt to you like a slap in the face. All I'm trying to do is open your eyes and prepare you to make an informed decision.

I skimmed that silly BC government labour market projection report- more marketing document than report! It is from 2012, and forecasts a "tight labour market" in 2018-19. Are you planning to come now, or in 2019? It quite clearly shows a labour market which is the OPPOSITE of tight for the only time for which its projections have a hope of being accurate, i.e. 2013- and there has been a slump in oil prices since then. That whole report is based on forecasting- crystal ball stuff, full of wishful assumptions motivated by the "industry partners" who are inevitably behind reports like this. It predicts 100,000 new jobs from LNG export projects alone, as an example of wishful thinking embodied in that report.

There are similar industry-sponsored media reports about shortages every few days here. And people believe them- they give people hope and make them feel good about themselves.

In contrast, the OSPE report is based on measurements- Canada's national census data over the past 20 years. The trend is unmistakeable. Fewer and fewer engineering grads here, regardless where they were educated, actually work in their chosen field. And it's not all by choice. If it were, the fact that the ones who work outside engineering earn something like 20% less, on average, than those who do, would indicate that they were making choices against their own economic interests.

Engineers Canada did a similar labour market projection study, with the participation of Randstadt- a temporary staffing company (conflict of interest much?). Even though the data in the study showed that we were generating far more candidates for engineering jobs than were required to satisfy even the most unreasonably optimistic estimates of economic growth, retirements and replacement demand, and that this trend was likely to remain into the future as the baby boomers start to retire, they STILL concluded that the labour market would be tight. Why? Because they took the fact that most engineering grads fail to gain access to the profession as a given- as inevitable, and normal. They were looking at the effect of changes in supply/demand balance on employer PERCEPTIONS of labour market tightness, rather than basing it on the labour market supply/demand balance itself!

The OSPE study demonstrates the patent falseness of that assumption. Two decades ago, the fraction of engineering grads and immigrants working as engineers was DOUBLE what it is now, and it has gotten steadily worse each and every census.

The fraction of engineering grads educated outside Canada, who are actually working as engineers, was only about 20% as of the last census. The 20% that succeeded are just fine, thanks, and not all of the 80% who didn't are unhappy either- but some are bitter as hell and they bad-mouth Canada publicly as a nation of liars. They feel they were recruited here under false pretenses, for jobs that didn't exist. They certainly have a point, based on the data!

As to the licensure requirements: if you meet the academic requirement, that's fantastic, as it's a huge hurdle if you don't. I still suggest that you apply, pay the fees, submit the transcripts and get that ARC review in writing, from APEGBC- not from the useless Engineers Canada- and that you do all of that BEFORE you come. That you can do that prior to arrival was done for a very good reason- people who come and then are surprised by having to write sets of technical exams are generally very, very unhappy about that fact when it happens to them! And it's totally unnecessary.

I don't know where you're getting the notion that you have to write an academic exam about "general engineering"-whatever that is- if you meet the ARC requirement. And yes, I had a look at the APEGBC website! In most provinces, and certainly here in Ontario- if you meet the ARC requirement, you merely need to gain your four years of mentored work experience and then write the ethics and law exam which is NOT a technical examination whatsoever. If you were a Canadian grad, here in Ontario even registering as an EIT before writing the exam and applying for a full license wouldn't be mandatory. But for you, I strongly suggest registering as an EIT before coming- it will certainly help you with a job search.

As to your rant about the benefits of youth versus experience- good for you. My own company prefers to hire and train young engineers and NEVER suffers from shortages- but we're not typical in the industry here. All I was telling you is what employers are looking for- what shows up in their job ads. If you're young and motivated and full of fire, by all means come here and find or create your own job- and the very best of luck to you! Just don't blame Canada if it doesn't work out the way you'd hoped.

Finding the job before you come is key. It will make all the difference to both your ability to succeed here and your ability to become a landed immigrant once you're here. Focus on that.

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

moltenmetal, you are an honest gentleman. I do believe Canadian government has made mistakes on its immigration polices (or you can say they lied to outside world about their engineering employment status). Maybe its intention is to build Canada into an ideal heaven country that every body in the country is high level educated (with Bachelor, Master or even Ph.D. degree) no matter he/she is a janitor, a laundry man, a restaurant cooker, a taxi driver, etc.

I do not read those government employment paper reports. I read real world facts around me. Here is what I read from my surroundings:

a Mr."C", a MSc. degree, now is a semi. driver.
a Ms."P", a Mechanical Engineer with Master degree, now is a CNC operator in a family size Customer workshop.
a Mr."H", a PhD. in engineering, now works in a grocery store.
a Mr."W", a PhD. in engineering, has been doing post-doctor for over 12 years for over 5 different professors and still can not find an university position and still unable to find any engineering job either.
a Mr."L", a Mechanical Engineer with Master degree is now a drafter in a small company (he is lucky).
another Mr."W", a Mechanical Engineer with Master degree, now is now a welder in a small company.


Don't want to discourage anybody, but truly to say, U.S. has far much more engineering job opportunity than Canada.

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

Sorry, I forgot to introduce myself.

I currently live in U.S. and work in a decent company (with decent pay and position(senior engineer, PE), over 100k salary, and have been worked in the same company for around 10 years). 16 years ago I immigrated to Canada with engineering master degree and around 8 years engineering experience. During initial 5 years, I can not find any related engineering job in Canada and have to go back to U of Alberta. after I got a master degree, I still cannot find a related job. (I do got a job offer by walk-in myself into a small company, but they only offer a CNC operator position, which of course I rejected). Then until 5 years later, I find an opportunity to immigrate to U.S. and then got my current job.

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

chrislaope: your experience is not unusual, sad to say. It is true also of many Canadian-educated engineers that I know personally- they got jobs in whatever they could find when they graduated, being unable to find suitable entry level engineering jobs, and after a few years their engineering degrees were viewed as insufficient to find a job in engineering. Some are doing very well. Others much less so.

Your experience is not surprising to me at all, since during the 2001-2003 period, more engineering immigrants attempted to settle in Toronto alone, each and every year, than we graduated from all of Canada's engineering universities COMBINED. More than 70% of immigrants to Canada under the former, seriously flawed "Skilled Workers" program, attempted to settle in either Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver. Sound far fetched? Difficult to believe? Toronto represented, at the time, something like 17% of Canada's jobs- maybe a touch more of its engineering jobs, but not double for sure. It was certainly never going to be able to find engineering jobs for a group greater than the entire nation's graduating class! And those stats are verified- they were so difficult to believe that they had to be checked all the way back to the CIC raw data before people would believe them. The rates of immigration have eased considerably since then, but we're still bringing in at least half as many engineering degree-holders as we generate every year. Regrettably on average, only 20% of them (the ones educated outside Canada) ended up working in their chosen field, per the last census. The average for all engineering degree holders irrespective of where they were educated, was only 30%.

I'm very glad you landed on your feet. Sorry it took so long and put you through so much. Canadians are overwhelmingly positive toward immigrants and immigration in general terms- almost uncritically so. It is only in recent years that they started to get upset with the abuse of the temporary foreign workers program by businesses and forced the Federal government to clamp down on it. That program was just the tip of the iceberg. Done right, immigration provides opportunities for people to build a new life for themselves. Done wrong, it robs people of their professions and dumps them on the economic scrap heap. We got it wrong for a very long time, and the business lobby wants us to keep getting it wrong- for their private profit. There's a whole "industry" here related to immigration, both in the for profit and not-for-profit sectors, and after a while it gets a life of its own and starts to set policy. In the old days, when we accepted primarily refugees and asylum seekers, and limited the number of purely economic migrants based on the help wanted index etc., it seemed to work well enough. But bringing in professionals at rates far higher than the economy could possibly use is a failed experiment. Too bad it harmed so many people in the process!

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

Well I have to concede that the last couple of posts are a lot more balanced that some of the earlier ones. If the OP manages to get to Canada will he find it easy? No. Will he suffer discrimination to some extent ? Yes undoubtedly. Will his standard of living be dramatically higher than if he stayed in Greece?? Yes undoubtedly even if he ends up as a truck driver or a CNC operator. Would his life be better if he chose to go to the USA?? I don't know, neither does he, nor does anyone who has an opinion. My advice still stands....focus on what employers want, and a major hint.... in my world we don't want or need MSc, MBAs PhDs. All those do is paint you as overqualified. Give me a good basic BSc, I don't really care where it comes from , and demonstrate a good attitude, willingness to pay my dues, work perhaps excessive hours in perhaps miserable conditions until you've got some really marketable skills THAT ARE IN DEMAND SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN IN YOUR OWN MIND... and you'll make a success of life in Canada. And also recognize that what be true in one province is not necessarily true in other provinces, but in my view there is still way more opportunity out west than down east. And one more piece of advice to any immigrant..Leave the "Back home we did it this way" attitude back home. We don't care how you used to do it, we have our own ways of doing it, generally for really good reasons. You had a good reason to leave the country of birth, embrace, don't reject or fight against your new country's culture / way of living. I came here in 1975 and never looked back

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

I'm flattered that you consider Canada an ideal place to immigrate, over so many other first-world countries that you might have chosen instead. I have to agree; living just a few miles down the road from paradise is pretty nice.

I won't wade into the employment debate, which is already well discussed now, but I have a parallel opinion to offer: Don't just move to a city just because there must be jobs there. That is only partly true. Canada still has a very "rural" culture and economy, and there are good jobs for people who are willing and able to live and work in the country, smaller towns, or the remote development projects that are far away from our city centres.

This sort of breaks down to a "old-fashioned" vs. "modern" model of economic development in Canada, where the resource economy dominated for most of our history, and only recently has the modern urban life become the norm. This is very different from life in Europe, which is carpeted with urban development. I think this is the point that Mininman is also trying to bring up, and Moltenmetal, too, to some degree. Forgive me if I seem like I'm trying too hard to point it out. Any assumption based upon a European view that professionals work in offices and offices only exist in cities, is both false and detrimental to your prospects for work or a good life in Canada.

When I was young, growing up in a small town, some of the most influential people on my life were immigrants (one was from Hungary, one from Pakistan). They had chosen to live outside of cities and established themselves as professionals in a town that had trouble attracting them. So in that sense, they prospered because they chose life in the countryside, not despite it.

Urban life is a valid option, of course. Just 6 months ago I met an engineer from Greece, who moved to Canada about 4 years ago, and settled in Montreal. Just before the greek banking crisis, the job prospects in Greece were also bad (and they've only gotten worse since, I'm sure you would agree). This person was able to find work in engineering at Bombardier as an engineer. His family has moved to Canada with him and is doing quite well.


RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

< Thousands there are finally realizing that people who told them that oil and gas is a cyclic business and that the bust is inevitable, were not lying. >

Interesting discussion here. I graduated from UBC in 1981 when things were great, multiple offers, companies begging you to fly out and interview "you don't like that job, fine, what do you want and we'll see what we can do". My boss walked in my office a couple of times that first year with a raise out of the blue.

1982 and the oil industry collapsed. The joke was "Please God, let there be another oil boom, I promise I won't piss it all away this time". Looks like things never change.

The oil and gas industry is basically a industry of boom and bust and I doubt we've seen the last of either.

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

OP: no one can tell you what decision to make. You've heard the negative but there are some positives as well. I was in a similar situation as you not too long ago. I had no hesitation in leaving my country as there literally was nothing there for me and it sounds as if it's the same for you. This is what others like MM need to realize.

At the time I also think I started a thread on here just like this and read basically the same thing from MoltenMetal, back in the mid 2000s', lol. I knew I had nothing to lose by coming here. After considering what MM had to say, I was pretty open minded about coming here and enrolling in a 2yr college and finding a new path. Luckily for me, I came during the boom and was lucky enough to find a job and now, I'm coming close to my 10yr mark in engineering. Here's the thing though. In my experience, lots of immigrants here in Alberta have found engineering jobs. Of all the people I interact with on my job, I'd say about 50% are immigrants. There are cases of people coming to Canada and having to find survival jobs, but there are also lots of success stories. And I also know a few younger immigrants who are also doing well. One way or another, things always seem to sort themselves out. You may come here and get lucky as well and find an engineering job or you may have to re-train and find a new field. Either way, you likely won't regret moving here, especially since it doesn't seem like you'd be leaving much behind in Greece. It will always be better to put yourself in a situation where the percentages are in your favour. In my case, I had a ZERO % chance of getting what I wanted. Even if Canada only presented a 15% chance, it's still better than the zero.

RE: Moving to Canada as Electrical Engineer - Entry Level

calguy07 has exactly the right advice, and attitude. But people have to come here with their eyes wide open, without the delusion that Canada is a land of unfettered opportunity where merely having an engineering degree is a ticket to a life of luxury. That definitely is not the case, irrespective of where you got your degree. Are the odds better here than in Greece? Probably- but that's not saying the odds are particularly good here. In fact, the odds here of an engineering grad working in an engineering job are less than 1 in 3- and though some left by choice and are happy to be well shot of (happy to be gone from) engineering, many more never got the chance.

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