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The reference letter is an important document in the Canadian immigration process as a proof of the work experience the candidate has claimed to have. It is totally different from the reference letter you submit with a job application. The purpose of a reference letter for Canadian immigration is to verify that you have worked for a particular employer for a certain period of time and you have chosen the right NOC code.

The relevance of reference letter for Canadian immigration

Most of the economic immigration programs of Canada require the applicant to have at least a minimum level of work experience. As work experience is a deciding factor in successfully immigrating to Canada, reference letters, as proof of your work experience, can make or break your application. It is based on the reference letters you provide the visa officer, who reviews your immigration application, calculates how much work experience you have. Your immigration application may be rejected if the visa officer finds out the reference letters to be fake or lack relevant information.

Choosing the right NOC code

The first step in arranging a reference letter is finding the right National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes associated with your past job positions. National Occupational Classification (NOC) code is a four-digit code assigned to each of the occupations available in the Canadian labour market. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses the NOC codes to evaluate a candidate’s work experience. A candidate must claim a NOC code before applying to any Canadian economic immigration program. Many streams of these immigration programs are for candidates with work experience in a skilled occupation classified under Skill levels O, A or B of the National Occupation Classification(NOC).

After finding out the NOC codes associated with each of the past job positions, a candidate must prove the veracity of their work experience by submitting a letter of reference for each of the past job positions.

Contents of the reference letter for Canadian immigration

An ideal reference letter for Canadian immigration must be formal and include all the basic information about the company that issues the letter. The reference letter must be:

  • Issued in company letterhead
  • Signed by the responsible officer/supervisor and have their name and job title printed beneath the signature
  • Stamped with the official seal of the company

Besides, the letter must include the contact information of the company. The business card of the officer/supervisor issuing the letter shall also be attached to the letter, if possible.

The reference letter must contain the following information:

  • The applicant’s official job title
  • Dates of employment
  • Salary per week
  • Average hours per week
  • A detailed list of employment duties

List of employment duties in a reference letter

The reference letter must include a detailed list of your employment duties and it is one of the most relevant parts of your reference letter. In fact, the list must form the major part of your reference letter’s content and be written clearly and concisely. Please make sure that this part is sans industry-specific abbreviations and jargons as the visa officer reviewing your application may not be familiar with your industry.

It is based on the list of duties a visa officer decides if the NOC code you have chosen suits your work experience. Each NOC code comes with an associated lead statement and list of duties. However, it is not necessary that your official job title matches with a job title classified under your NOC code. But your employment duties must match the lead statement and duties.

Remember, if the reference letter matches with the NOC description exactly, the visa officer might suspect that the letter is not genuine and was created for matching the NOC. This may lead to rejecting the application.

If you can’t obtain a reference letter

In case if you cannot submit a reference letter for a legitimate reason, you can submit supplementary documentation such as employment contracts, promotion letters, salary slip, photographs of you at the workplace and sworn declarations from previous colleagues. You must also submit a signed letter citing the reason why you cannot provide a reference letter. The ultimate goal of a reference letter is to present a complete record of your employment to prove to the visa officer that your work experience is genuine. Despite what all documents you submit, it is up to the visa officer to take a final decision on the letter.

At Immiglobal, we help you create a flawless reference letter and make sure that the documents you submit relevantly and up to the mark.

We offer comprehensive assistance to our clients in each step of the Canada immigration process. Get a free online assessment to know your options for immigrating to Canada.



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