Pakistanis have steadily been migrating to Canada over decades but recent pro-immigrant policies, PM Trudeau’s previous tenure and the express entry stream have seen thousands of Pakistanis to migrate to Canada.
And if you’re also planning to have a fairytale life in Canada as an immigrant then this post is definitely for you!
Pakistan is amongst the top 5 countries from which Canada is gaining immigrants from.
Most Pakistanis who make it through the points based system for immigration are young, bright, well resourced, highly educated and well employed.
Losing what is probably the top tier of Pakistan’s demographic dividend is a loss for Pakistan but certainly a gain for Canada.
You ace through the points, you get an invitation to apply and within 6 months you get the green light to come through.
The system is quick and hassle free but there is quite a lot to consider before the big move is made.
Following are 10 things you would benefit from knowing if you are thinking of or about to take the plunge as an immigrant in Canada!
1. What is the job market like?
Well, it really depends on what skill set you bring, how well you can sell yourself and how long you can wait for a worthwhile opportunity to support yourself.
Usually, IT professionals, marketing managers and people with digital marketing skills are sought after.
Canadian experience is the gold coin really – but that doesn’t mean you will not get a job without it. It might mean that you probably have to start from where you were 5 or more years back.
Generally, it is a good rule to go to settlement agencies (lots of free services around) which connect you to mentors, or pay a percentage of a Canadian certification you may think will help you get a job.
A lot of people start volunteering or take up survival jobs to scrape by while they look for a good opportunity. Some people get lucky and find something quickly, others struggle for months to years waiting for the big break.
After all every dollar you earn is a dollar less coming out of your savings which already shrunk manifolds when rupees were converted to Canadian dollars.
2. When will I get my PR card?
Anytime from 2 to 3 weeks to 3 months after your arrival is the time you need to wait to get a hold of your PR card. Don’t beat yourself about it. It will come when it does. There is nothing you can do except for waiting.
3. Can I start applying for jobs even when I have not moved or don’t have my PR card in hand?
Yes, you can but most employers prefer to recruit after in person interviews. If you know people or have references, landing a job is much easier.
4. Soft Landing or Diving in through the deep end?
The answer to this question depends on personal preference, really. Some plunge in, some like dipping their finger to test waters before diving in. I personally would just pick the boat and get on it.
5. Which is the best city to land in?
If you have family or friends somewhere and you can stay with them for a couple of weeks while you sort out accommodation and get acquainted – that’s definitely the place to start out from.
6. What can I do to expedite my chances of getting a job?
There are some things you can work on – strengthen your linkedin profile (get recommendations, connect to professionals), condense your CV to 2-3 pages, research your options and read about organizations you may be targeting, publish yourself (articles, blogs, write ups) and master the art of writing cover letters.
7. Key things to do before getting on that plane?
Well, before you take your flight you’d have to so some stuff beforehand. Get an international driving license AND get a verification letter from Ministry of Foreign affairs for it, get health insurance for yourself and your family (it will be 3 months till provincial healthcare starts covering you), get all your experience letters, get degrees etc verified from HEC/universities, get a letter from your car insurance company saying you have a clean slate (it will save you lots on car insurance here).
8. What social support/benefits will I be eligible for?
Canadian permanent residence offers you some benefits. These include, Universal child care and provincial childcare/benefit/subsidy, free schooling, settlement services, health insurance, some return on environmental tax etc if you are eligible.
You will need to print out the form for universal childcare and post it out to the nearest tax office and probably apply online for provincial subsidies etc depending on where you live (each province if different).
9. What happens to/for my kids once I land?
School going kids need to go school so enroll them as soon as you can. If you and your spouse both work, they will need afterschool day care. Children under school going age (school going age is different in different provinces; example 4 years in Ontario and 5 years in British Columbia). Day care is very expensive – Brace yourself!
10. What should I pack?
Now that is one heck of a decision what to take and what to leave behind! Pack all your personal items, antibiotics and basic medicines (even anti-lice shampoo if your kids are small; a bottle is 30 dollars+ here, stainless steel kitchen items, trendy jewelry (for women – its expensive here!), comfortable shoes (also v expensive here), prayer mat, Quran, Kids norani qaaedas, bed linen etc if you can manage.
Leave warm clothes/boot for here (our warm clothes don’t fare well against winter here). Check out local prices at a cheaper store like Walmart and see what you can fit in your luggage to save up.
The initial settlement will cost a lot and that too when you will be converting every dollar figure to rupees which can be overwhelming – but hang in there. As they say; this too shall pass.
You will elevate your quality of life in any case but settling will take time – it is only natural. Get your motivation right – Why are you migrating? Get it right enough for you to feel good despite experiencing tough times. While you battle with what decision to make, know that with faith, patience and hard work everything is possible. Initial difficulties are one piece in the larger puzzle of life.
Are you planning to move as an immigrant to Canada? Tell us in the comments below!