Best Alternative Reference Letters For Canada PR

For one reason or the other, you may not be able to get a reference letter when you are applying for Express Entry.

The best alternative reference letters are the substitutes you can use to replace your job reference letter if you are not able to get one. For one reason or the other, you may not be able to get a reference letter when you are applying for Express Entry. In such cases what you have to do is get one of the alternative reference letters for Canada PR.

If you applying for Canada PR under the Express Entry system or under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program or any of the other Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), then you will need to submit the job reference letter from your current or previous employers. 

The candidate must submit this letter to Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to show proof of Canada’s work experience when the candidate is applying for Canada PR.

The applicant must get a letter from the organization where he or she has worked with all the specific information. This letter is called an Employment Reference Letter.

This is necessary when you’ve received an invitation to Apply (ITA) through Express Entry, but you have to get it ready before that so that immediately you get ITA, you h submit a work reference letter as part of your application for permanent residence.

Sometimes, you may be required to submit more than one work reference letter for your Express Entry, this depends on your employment history. 

Keep in mind that in the absence of a reference letter containing all of the required information, the final decision as to whether or not your additional documents demonstrate your work experience will be at the full discretion of the immigration officer who assesses your application. Please make every effort to obtain a complete work reference letter.

But in some cases, your organization or employer may refuse to give you a job reference letter and in such cases, you will have to find alternative reference letters either from your co-worker, customers, or supervisor.

In this article, you will learn about reference letters and alternative reference letters for Canada  PR if you are refused a reference letter from your employers. 

When do you need a work reference letter for Express Entry?

You will need a reference letter once you are applying for Canada PR through the Express Entry system which has a two-step process.

First, as a candidate, you must prepare and submit an Express Entry profile and if you are an eligible candidate, you will be accepted into the Express Entry pool of candidates.

Secondly, if you are among the most competitive candidates in the pool, based on the Comprehensive Ranking System(CRS), you will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) in an Express Entry draw. You have only 60 days from the date you receive your ITA to submit a complete electronic Application for Permanent Residence (eAPR).

You don’t need to submit the reference letter at the beginning stages of your express entry but it is advisable to prepare it if you hope to get ITA, since, you have only 60 days to submit everything once you receive an invitation to apply from IRCC. This way, you will be able to have it, or them, ready by the end of the 60-day deadline for your eAPR submission.

An employment reference letter is an official document from any organization or company that confirms that you worked with them in a particular position for a particular number of years with the salary you received.

If your work reference letter meets the criteria for Canada PR, then you may be able to get your permanent residency.

Information Required in the Work Reference Letter

When submitting your reference letter, it must be on an official letterhead of the organization or company giving it to you with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your company name and contact including your location of work
  • Your job title and job duties
  • Your job status whether it is part-time or full-time or you are currently employed or not
  • The period of your work
  • Number of hours you work per week
  • Salary and benefits and
  • Name and signature of the employer

Important Information For Reference Letter

Necessary Points Needed in  Reference Letter include the following:

  • Before submitting your application for Canada PR, you must put the letter in the format expected by IRCC which include the following points: expects the letter to be in a proper format include the following points:
  • Your reference letter must be printed on the company’s letterhead containing the company’s contact information. The contact information should include the company’s email address, phone number, and complete address.
  • Your reference letter must mention your name, supervisor’s details, including their name, designation, and signature. In the absence of the supervisor, the HRM of the organization can stand in on his behalf.
  • Your reference letter must mention your name, the title of the job, list of duties, the start date of the job and the end date of the job, total working hours per week, salary, and added benefits received every year from the organization.
  • An organization’s stamp is not essential. You may not need the company’s official stamp since it is not included in IRCC’s official requirements for application through express entry.
  • The crucial part of the Employment Reference Letter is to mention the exact duties and responsibilities.

Incomplete Reference Letter

Sometimes, you may discover that your reference letter has some missing information which is known as a deficient work reference letter. To solve the problem of incomplete reference letters, you have to do the following:

You can provide alternative or supporting documents to complete missing information. For instance:

Incomplete name or nickname: Provide affidavit letter with the copy of government ID

Incomplete or missing company name and contact: Provide affidavit letter with company business card or any business document with name and address

Incomplete or missing job title and job duties: Provide an affidavit letter from your supervisor, coworker with their business card or official ID

Incomplete or missing job status: Provide affidavit or job letter.

Salary and benefits: Provide a copy of the payslips

What to do if you can’t get a work reference letter for Express Entry?

In certain situations, you may not be able to a reference letter for your express entry because of many reasons of factors. It could be because your former employer’s business no longer exists, or there was a change in staffing and you don’t have anyone to verify your past work experience.

There are various reasons why you may not lay hand on your reference letter, but the most important thing to check when preparing your work experience letters, is that you demonstrate the following:

Proof you meet your program requirements:

You must make sure to meet the requirements for any of the three Express Entry programs (Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades, and Canadian Experience Class) that choose to apply for. Each has their work experience requirements.

For example, if you are applying under FSW, it requires a minimum of 12 months’ continuous, full-time, skilled work experience obtained within the last 10 years while those applying under CEC require 12 months of skilled work experience in Canada within the last three years.

Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score requirement:

You can decide to show proof of your CRS because you received your ITA because your CRS score was above the cut-off for a particular Express Entry draw. Make sure that you have high-quality reference letters that prove you have enough work experience to achieve a CRS score above the cut-off for the draw where you received your ITA.

If you have enough documentation to prove the work experience related to both of these aspects, and you are confident in the quality of this documentation, then your application may still be accepted, but there is no guarantee. If your remaining work experience documents are not perfect, the immigration officer assessing your file may still use their discretion to approve your application.

What if you don’t have enough reference letters to prove the program and CRS requirements?

If you do not have enough documents to prove your CRS score and you think you could get the required reference letters with more time, then you can always decline your invitation to apply.

If you are still eligible, your Express Entry profile may be picked for the pool and you will be considered for future draws, but you have a guarantee that the CRS score cut-off mark will remain low enough for you to be invited again.

When it is not possible for you to get the required work reference letter for Express Entry even in the future, then you can check for other documents you can submit in place of your CRS score to use as proof of work experience for positions where you cannot get a reference letter.

This is not the best option because it depends on the officer processing your application to determine whether or not to accept your substitute documents. Examples of substitute documents include:

  1. Payslips
  2. Tax forms
  3. Records of employment
  4. Personal letters from former coworkers
  5. Media stories about the company that mentions your name
  6. Bank account statements with pay deposits highlighted
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Best Alternatives to Reference Letter for Canada PR

There are other documents that can act as substitutes to reference letters.

Contact Your Supervisor or Manager

If you are not able to get your reference letter from the organizations you have worked for, you can try to get a reference letter from your supervisor or any manager in your hierarchy.

Required Documents

  • Job reference letter with company letterhead
  • Business card or official ID of the supervisor

Contact Your Coworker

You can also try to get a job reference from a co-worker who is already employed in the same company.

When it is not possible to get an official letterhead, you can write it on blank paper and provide the id of the coworker as confirmation that the person is still working in the same company.

If you want to use email to send the letter, you must use the official email id to prove that it’s a confirmation that the co-worker is still working at the same company.

Required Documents

  • Job reference letter with or without company letterhead
  • Your coworker’s business card or official ID
  • Other supporting documents

Affidavit From Supervisor or Coworker

You can as well get a letter of reference even if your co-worker or supervisor is no longer working in the same company anymore but you will convince them to write an affidavit to show as proof of work experience from the company. They will have to specify that you have performed these job duties under this job role for this period of time.

Required Documents

Affidavit from supervisor or coworker with all the necessary details.

  • Their official ID.
  • Other supporting documents

Letter of Explanation

When the above is not possible, you can provide a letter of explanation(LOE). The letter of explanation can include the following information:

  1. why you cannot get the letter
  2. the steps that you have taken to receive the letter
  3. your job title
  4. your job responsibilities
  5. your company information, 
  6. hours of work, 
  7. salary, and benefits
  8. your supervisor name and designation and all the required information

Required Document:

  • letter of Explanation  
  • supporting documents

Supporting Documents For Alternative Letter of Reference

You can provide any of these four documents as an alternative letter of reference but also you need to attach some supporting documentation including:

  • your job offer letter
  • your employer agreement letter
  • employment contract
  • job reference letter for your car loan or your home loan
  • job reference letter to open a bank account.
  • the first couple of pay stubs for each position you have in the company
  • bank statements, if the salary is transferred to your bank account
  • performance review letter,
  • job promotion letter

You can attach any of these documents as proof that you work for that company.

Employment Reference Letter