The 6th Week

Documents Necessary for Immigrants

Documents required in Canada
In agencies serving immigrants, you have to show identification, proof of your status and date of arrival plus marital status. If you wish to continue your education, you have to bring your certificates, diplomas and information relating to your studies. Employers want to see documents from previous work and references. The organization issuing the license to work in your occupation needs a detailed description of the subjects that you have studied.
Make a note. Some Canadian organizations trust foreign diplomas only if they get them directly from the issuing institutions.

How to find a translator
Usually, Canadian organizations need your documents in English, translated by certified translators. This means that the document must be officially certified by a signature and a stamp. Addresses of certified translators can be found in the ethnic newspapers and on the site of the Association of Interpreters of Ontario where you can check if the person you want to entrust to an official translation is listed. The address of this site is, before going to a paid interpreter, try to get your documents translated for free. To do this, you must go to organizations serving new immigrants (Settlement Agencies), and ask about this service. If they consider that your request is convincing, then they will make the translation free of charge. Please read carefully the finished translation. Ask the translator to check the terms of the diploma according to the Canadian Classification of Occupations (NOC).

What the evaluation of documents is
To evaluate documents concerning education, you have to bring original and translated documents. If you have questions, please contact the International Credential Assessment Service. There are evaluating centres are in Ontario and other provinces in Canada. These centres evaluate diplomas obtained abroad according to Canadian equivalents. Usually, you must pay for the services of such centres.
You can have an assessment of diplomas for employment done at World Education Services ( If you intend to present your diploma to the organization which issues licenses for the regulated occupations, you must first of all ask where they recommend making this assessment. Sometimes, these organizations make the assessment by themselves. Also, the Foreign Credentials Referral Office will explain to you what documents are often asked for when you want to request a license for your occupation.

What to bring to the interview
When you go to a job interview, in addition to the required documents, you need references and samples of your previous work. Usually, these materials are not attached to the resume but they should be shown in an interview at the request of the employer. If you have a beautifully designed folder with the documents enclosed, it favorably distinguishes you from your competitors. You can buy a folder in "Staples" stores.
How to get a reference
You need to collect your existing references which have been given to you by people who know you (other than relatives). Many Canadian employers accept references from inside and outside of Canada. If you do not have such references, ask for them now. First, select people for whom you have worked in the occupation which is similar to the one you are applying for now. They might be your superiors and subordinates, your colleagues, and finally, clients you serve.
References, as a rule, contain the following information: your technical knowledge, productivity, ability to plan and make decisions, teamwork, responsible attitude, personal qualities (honesty, integrity, and directness). Reference letters should also contain the names of persons recommending you, their addresses and phone numbers.

What a portfolio is
Put samples of your work in a special folder that is called a portfolio. The portfolio includes the documents that confirm that you have work experience (an extract from a work book,
references); education (certificates, diplomas and documents about completion of courses and seminars); practical achievements (patents, inventors' certificates, awards, certificates of achievement). In addition, the portfolio contains samples of your work (drawings you have made, a variety of printed materials, samples of your websites on the internet, photos of buildings and facilities built by you, etc.). All materials should be carefully reviewed, selected and translated into English. Detailed advice about making a portfolio is in the book by Frank Satterthwaite & Gary D'Orsi, The Career Portfolio Workbook.