Arranged employment vs work reference letter for Express Entry

I recently noticed many Express Entry applicants mix up the concepts of arranged employment and work reference letters. Therefore, I decided to write this article and clarify the matter.

What is a work reference letter?

A work reference letter explains issues such as the following:

  • The name of your employer
  • When you started working for the employer
  • Your position with the company
  • Whether the job was full-time or part-time
  • If the job was unpaid or paid
  • The list of your job duties
  • Your salary
  • When you finished working for the company or if it is an ongoing job

Please read my article on this subject for more information. Nonetheless, a typical work reference letter does not include an arranged employment offer.

What is an arranged employment offer?

Unlike a work reference letter, an offer of employment extends a job position with the employer. Of course, it could include matters such as the following:

  • The letterhead shows the employer is Canadian.
  • When you could start the job
  • If the offer is indefinite or has a time limit
  • Is it full-time or part-time?
  • Is it paid or unpaid?
  • What will be your duties

As you can see, there are many similarities between a job offer and an arranged employment offer. However, if you look closely, an offer of employment focuses on the future rather than the past. Regardless, please read my article on the subject of job offers for Express Entry.

The differences between the reference letter and arranged employment

We could summarize the differences in the following list:

  • Although not always the case, but the title of the letter could indicate its purpose.
  • As mentioned earlier, an offer of employment letter focuses on the future, but a work reference letter is about the past.
  • You could support a work reference letter with documents such as a contract, an older job offer or paystubs. However, such records do not exist for an arranged employment offer.
  • A valid arranged employment offer for Express Entry usually demands an LMIA. However, a work reference letter is a simple letter from your manager or the HR department.
  • Arranged employment offers are from Canadian employers only. On the contrary, you could receive work reference letters from both Canadian and non-Canadian employers.

Of course, you could receive an arranged employment offer from an existing employer. In this case, you need to present both the work reference letter and the offer of employment. Sometimes, they prefer to amalgamate both documents. However, I do not recommend this practice as it is confusing for the immigration officer.

Can I use old job offers for Express Entry?

The simple answer is “no.” When you apply for Express Entry, you need to show the employer is willing to hire you upon becoming a permanent resident. An arranged employment offer supports this requirement. On the contrary, the old job offers usually do not include supporting clauses for your permanent residence application. However, make sure to read my article on job offers to see if this is the case.

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    Al Parsai

    Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in Toronto, Canada. He also teaches the official immigration consulting courses at Ashton College in Vancouver, Canada. Al who holds a Masters degree from Yorkville University is a member of ICCRC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented hundreds of applicants from more than 30 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.