Many Canadian Immigration applications request employment reference letters as part of their document checklist as proof of your work experience, such as express entry applications, family sponsorship applications, work permit applications, and other temporary residence applications.
What needs to be included in the employment reference letter for Permanent Residence?
The reference letter from each employer is an official document printed on company letterhead and signed by a company official which includes:
- Your full name
- Company contact information (address, telephone number, email address)
- Name, title and signature of immediate supervisor
- All positions held while employed at the company
- Job title(s)
- Main duties/responsibilities (for each position held)
- Dates worked for the company in each position
- # of hours per week
- Annual salary plus benefits
Getting the letter
People often enquire about how to ask their current or past employer for a reference letter for immigration. We see people struggle to get this required document that will meet Canadian immigration specifications. Many countries do not issue letters of employment status that include all of the above details. Sometimes you may have left your previous employment on bad terms and cannot expect your past employer to provide you with a proper letter. Or sometimes the company that you worked for has closed and there is no employer left to issue you the employment verification letter. This can cause issues with proving your employment history for your Canadian immigration application.
Proof of your work experience is required information. It is up to you, the applicant, to provide enough details to confirm your past employment in order for IRCC to verify that it meets the standards required to approve your application. One common mistake that we see in our office is a letter of employment that is deficient in some way. It may not list the main duties of the position, or include job duties that will not satisfy the officer that the applicant meets the requirements of the NOC code which is the basis of their application. Or the letter of employment may not confirm the exact date of employment for each position, the hours the employee worked (full time or part time), exact salary, or other details. A template letter of employment is likely not enough. Nor can you find a perfect sample letter from someone else. Each employment experience, therefore each letter of employment, will be different.
If you cannot obtain a proper employment letter
If you cannot obtain an employment letter that meets all of the above criteria, there may be other options to provide additional information to prove your employment history as necessary for your Canadian immigration application. It is possible to collect other evidence such as salary information, pay stubs, company details, contracts, etc about the employment. But the combination of documents and information to provide will be different for each individual situation.
If you find yourself unable to obtain a proper letter of employment for your Canadian Immigration application, contact our office for assistance. If you were an employee who did indeed work in the role, we can usually brainstorm together to create a custom evidence package that will satisfy the officer of your past work experience.
If you were self-employed….
It is also important to note that a reference letter on its own will not be sufficient to prove any self-employment that you are claiming as relevant to your Canadian immigration application. If you were your own boss, IRCC is not going to accept a letter of employment that you have written for yourself as the only evidence of what took place during that period of time.
The evidence that will provide sufficient proof of self-employment will be different for every situation. We advise you to get professional help any time self-employment is a material factor in a Canadian immigration application. We can assess what the officers would likely expect to see in your circumstances and help you provide it at the outset.
Please note that this article refers to the employment reference letter only, and not the job offer letter for Express Entry or work permit applications which has different criteria than what is stated above.
At The Way Immigration, we work regularly with preparing and reviewing evidence to prove past employment for Canadian immigration applications. Please contact our office to arrange a consultation today, so that you can be assured of success with your immigration application.