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The perfect reference letter to come to Canada

Many people wonder about how to present their case to the Canadian Visa Officer in the best light. Supporting documents are the bulk of the file and the reference letter is the most important part of proving their work experience from Canada and abroad.

NOC 2016

First, you need to find the appropriate National Occupational Classification (NOC) title, code and skill type associated with each of your past positions.

IRCC – find the NOC

Letter of reference

Once you have found the corresponding NOC information, your employer needs to provide you with a letter of reference for each position. If your employer covers multiple positions in one letter, then make sure that each period of employment is detailed.

Verification of information by the visa officer

The visa officer will verify your work experience by checking internet sources (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Facebook, etc.), conducting phone interviews and investigating physical locations. Since work experience is an important factor, the quality of your reference letter may have an enormous impact on your file. If the visa officer is not convinced that your letter of reference is genuine or lacks information, your application may be rejected or refused without engaging the Anti-Fraud Unit and / or accuse you of misrepresentation.

Tips

To ensure that your case is as polished as possible, please follow these guidelines closely:

Format

  • be formal and dated,
  • be written on company letterhead,
  • be signed by the responsible officer/supervisor,
  • have the responsible manager/supervisor’s name and job title printed beneath the signature,
  • include the company’s contact information; including website, and
  • be stamped with the company’s official seal, if applicable.

Specific data

  • your official job title,
  • the dates of your employment,
  • your salary,
  • your hours per week,
  • a concisely detailed list of your duties (your daily tasks and responsibilities – avoid industry specific abbreviations or terms),
  • projects and achievements, and
  • benefits and vacations.

Every NOC code has an associated lead statement and list of duties. It does not matter if your official job title does not match a job title associated with your NOC code as long as your duties match the NOC duties.

Common pitfalls

The visa officer will find your letter suspicious, if it matches the NOC description exactly. Do not copy the NOC information as the visa officer will red flag your letter as a false record of your work experience.

No references

You can try to convince the visa officer with supplementary documentation:

  • employment contracts, paystubs, tax returns, certifications,
  • pictures of you at work,
  • sworn declarations from previous colleagues,
  • a signed letter of explanation describing why you are not able to provide a letter of reference.

Visa officer’s discretion

In the end, even if you have a perfect letter of reference, the visa officer decides your case. Whatever documentation you choose, keep in mind to create a complete and thorough record of your employment to convince the visa officer that your work experience is real.

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