Taiwan to Québec, QC
Moving to a different country is a very important decision and a big change for a family because, on the one hand, it concerns their aspirations for the future, while on the other it engenders feelings of anxiousness. Nevertheless, the process itself is a beautiful memory.
Over the past few years, Canada has been gradually tightening immigration by raising the bar. Back then, we decided to apply for immigration to Quebec and the federal immigration program simultaneously. At the time, the federal program had not been canceled yet. However, during the application process, there were changes in federal immigration policies, and all pending immigration applications were canceled. Despite the misfortune, our application for Quebec had not been affected.
I still remember that during the application process, we had to keep supplying paperwork to the authorities: Police Criminal Record Certificates, entry and exit information, proof of funds, etc. It wasn’t until July 2016, when we received documents from the Canadian government approving our application, that we were able to stop worrying and feel some sense of relief. It was then that we began to actually collect information on how to make our landing and what we need to know, details of the process, renting a place to live, filing tax returns, etc. We really appreciated how S.U.C.C.E.S.S. provided us with lots of information during that time.
In July, we left sultry Taipei and stepped into the airplane cabin with the blessings of our loved ones; it was not until then that I realized what had taken years of planning was about to become a reality. We arrived in Vancouver, where we went to the immigration office to make our landing, fill in forms, and be interviewed by immigration officials. All procedures were completed quickly and smoothly, then we rushed to transfer to a domestic flight to Montreal. In Montreal, it was a bit chilly in the mornings and nights on rainy days in July, which was something one couldn’t have imagined during the summer while living in Taiwan. There were two reasons why we arranged a flight to Montreal. One was that when we made our landing, our boarding passes for Montreal could prove that we were indeed heading to Quebec should immigration official ask for our landing destination. The second was to have the family experience the beauty and culture of Francophone Canada. With my child’s education and work opportunities in mind, we arranged for our landing in July 2017 to be a short-term one, so we mostly traveled for pleasure during that time. We made our way south from Montreal to Ottawa, Toronto, and Niagara Falls, and we also visited many universities such as McGill, University of Montreal, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, and McMaster. We stopped at different campuses to prepare for my child’s school applications the following year.
Acquiring a preliminary understanding of the universities as well as their geographical locations helped my child make the right decision when applying to schools the next year, which was one of the biggest gains of our first short-term landing. In 2018, my child was accepted by UBC, following which the whole family moved to Canada. We completed a number of tasks one by one, such as applying for our SINs at Service Canada and MSP online, and also changing our driver’s license at ICBC. The time for new immigrants to make their short-term and long-term landings varies according to the needs of each person or family, but thorough planning beforehand will make the immigration process proceed more smoothly.
Everyone's reason for emigration is different, but there are some necessary procedures which are common to all after arriving in Canada. Be aware of the details in the procedures and prepare all necessary documents before your departure so that everything will go smoothly after landing. S.U.C.C.E.S.S. has many resources you can take advantage of, and their office in Taipei holds seminars on various topics that you can attend. That’s also where you can pose questions to Cindy Liu, their friendly consultant, face-to-face. You can also use the Internet to participate in seminars held by S.U.C.C.E.S.S. branches in different countries. I myself, for instance, have not only taken part in their events in Taipei, but also their seminars on different topics in Beijing through the Internet, all of which were very rewarding.
These are my personal experiences from before and after landing. I hope that every new immigrant and their family can begin a new chapter in their life with success.
South Korea to Toronto, ON
Prepare everything you can in Korea before moving to Canada! After witnessing many coworkers immigrating to Canada in hopes of finding better education and retirement, I seriously began considering immigrating as well. Even though I never had been to Canada, the optimistic information I found on internet was sufficient enough to make a decision. Canada seemed as a heaven on earth where I can dream a bright future.
As I began volunteering at the AEIP Seoul office, I collected information on settlement process and employment and broadened my understanding on the Canadian culture. A month after receiving the landing paper, I left Korea. At first, I thought that I would be just fine in Canada with my IELTS score and my technical expertise in the IT field. But the reality was harsh. The English I learned in Korea was very different from the English spoken in Canada. After selecting a homestay, I began my job search online through Indeed and Monster. Since I already had a resume which I prepared with the assistance of the AEIP staff, I received many phone interview requests. However, the result was all negative due to my English. As a response, I came up with my own interview strategy; I made a list of expected interview questions and answers and memorized them all. I also paid special attention to the questions I did not answer correctly. As I summarized the interview questions, my answers and things I did well and did not do well, my weaknesses were clearly identified. I put efforts into strengthening my weaknesses and it helped me tremendously in my job search.
I found that it requires both English language skills and IT technical skills for a job in the IT field. These two skills are complementary. For a technical position, English language skills take about 30% of the job requirement and IT skills 70%. For a consulting or management position, English language skills take 70% and IT skills 30%. My expertise was IT consulting, but I did not possess significant years of system/ network engineering technical experience nor appropriate English language skills. Thus, getting an entry level position was even difficult for me.
Canada is a country of immigrants and the majority of job seekers are immigrants. Thus, companies seem put an importance on credentials such as international certification. I obtained my international certificate while I was still in Korea. Even though I had over 10 negative job interviews, I finally received a job offer. I believe my international certificate played an important role in my success. I still have difficult time in communicating in English at work so I am studying English very diligently. I want to emphasize again that even if you cannot speak English like a native speaker, if you communicate well and have an international certificate in your field of expertise, you can have more opportunities. I hope that you put your best efforts into studying English and obtaining an international certificate.
Lastly, I want to express my gratitude to the AEIP Seoul office for their tremendous support. I attended workshops organized by YMCA and similar organizations once I landed in Canada, but there was nothing new or more than what I received from the AEIP Seoul office. So I strongly encourage my fellow new immigrants to participate in all the AEIP programs and prepare everything possible before departing to Canada.
Byoung Moon Yoo
South Korea to Halifax, NS
Be assertive, knock on companies' doors to find a job. When we decided to immigrate to Canada, the foremost important factor was our happiness. It might sound silly but I chose Halifax because I prefer East over West. So I opened a map of Canada and picked Halifax. I wanted to live in a smaller city where it is not crowded and Halifax is a clean, well-planned city with many immigrants and kind and honest people.
We first faced difficulty in Canada with our housing. After signing an interim rental contract, we went to meet with an apartment manager to finalize our rental contract. But, the apartment manager requested us to pay with cash instead of cheque. We could not withdraw a lump sum of cash as there is a restriction for new immigrants. I did not think the apartment manager was being fair so I told him that we would annul the rental contract. Then, I was told to pay penalties for annulling the contract. So, I went to ISANS to get some advice and I was referred to a free law consultation program at Dalhousie University. This program specifically helps immigrants in Nova Scotia. The law students talked to the apartment manager and the responsible professor for this program also sent me an email to confirm the result. They seem to help immigrants very effectively.
In the first few months, I put all my efforts into learning English. I frequently visited ISANS and got a tutor from a local library. I found people in Halifax to be very helpful and open-minded towards immigrants.
Since my field of expertise in Korea was image processing, I set my goal to get a job in the same field in Canada. Halifax has relatively fewer opportunities but I researched relevant companies in Halifax and began my job search. After spending 6 months learning English and settling down in Halifax, I started taking workshops on job search and interview techniques from ISANS. When I found job opportunities, I did not send my resume to companies’ generic HR email addresses, but I researched responsible manager or director for the advertised job and emailed my resume directly to them. Because of this, I received replies and had interviews via phone or video conference. I believe it is very important to submit a customized resume. After reading a job description, applicants should analyze job requirements and make the first few lines of resume attractive so that employers will review the entire resume. Furthermore, the cover letter should strongly and thoroughly explain how the applicant can contribute to the employing company. It also makes a good impression if applicant studies about employing company and asks appropriate questions. From my experience, I noticed that Canadian companies do not seek someone who speaks perfect English, but someone who can communicate well and get along well with other employees.
The interview process, which took 3 months in total, was very nerve-racking for me. I was first interviewed by a manager, then by coworkers the next week and by executives the following week. Also, the manager checked my reference in Korea, who had difficulty speaking in English. After this long process, I finally received a job offer. I have been working for this company for 1.5 years and the company is still looking for more qualified candidates. Just knock on companies’ doors with courage and I strongly believe that new immigrants can get a job because of the experience, expertise, and diligent skills gained in Korea.
I want to emphasize 2 things to new immigrants. First, study English so that you can communicate and proactively and courageously try whatever you do. If you can accomplish that, you can successfully settle down and get a job in Canada. Lastly, I want to express my gratitude to Seoul AEIP staff for their support and help and I hope my letter is helpful and encouraging. Do not wait for a door to be opened automatically for you in Canada, but knock on companies’ doors and get in there! Then, you will find a way.
China to Toronto, ON
China to Brandon, MB
India to Vancouver, BC
Like every other aspiring immigrant, I too was bundled with hope and riddled with apprehension while applying for Canadian permanent residence through the Federal Skilled Worker Program in 2017. Hope for a better quality of life, enriching opportunities, a new canvas, a fresh start and apprehensions about whether or not I will secure a job in my field of expertise & experience, be a cultural fit in this new country, be able to sustain myself until I’m employed, find a social circle of like-minded people, and whether this decision would be one I would ever regret.
As soon as I received my visa, I was contacted by AEIP who began counseling me regarding my move. I was delighted at AEIP’s proactive approach even before I landed on Canadian soil. I was introduced to a Settlement Practitioner from the Immigrant Settlement and Integration Program (ISIP) who was in constant touch with me via email to answer any questions I had before the move. Farhad helped me with resource material, processes for application of my SIN, and ID documents. He helped me with building my resume and cover letter, and guided me through the process of job applications here. His help definitely reduced the time and effort needed to try to decipher and navigate the Canadian job market.
I landed in Victoria, BC on August 8th, 2017. I chose Victoria, BC since my younger brother lives here and living with him until I secured a job would help me offset some of the living expenses. Not all migrants are fortunate enough to have a family member here and end up spending a good chunk of their savings on rent even before they have an income source. All of August was spent exploring this beautiful city shining in its summer glory. I then began the process of applying for jobs. I’m a marketing professional with over 6 years of managerial and mid-managerial experience and hold a master’s degree in marketing from a reputed Tier A educational institution in India. However, I found it really difficult to make it past preliminary resume screenings to be called for interviews and this, sooner than later, began to frustrate me.
Two weeks through relentless online job applications for marketing positions in Victoria, I decided to visit Vancouver and meet with Farhad from the SUCCESS ISIP team. Farhad helped uplift my diminished confidence with his positive attitude and guidance. He gave me insight into alternate approaches I can adopt as part of my job hunt. He suggested various networking events and recruitment fairs that I could attend at no cost to network with people from the marketing and recruitment fraternity.
Unfortunately, since I lived in Victoria then, I couldn’t attend any of these networking events or fairs. But that meeting with Farhad did go a long way in helping me mend my approach with online job applications. I started to be more proactive, research more about the companies I’m applying for employment to and show keen interest in the position that is being advertised. I also started applying to vacant positions in Vancouver (since it is a bigger city with more job opportunities in comparison to Victoria). I would try and schedule 3-4 interviews over the weekend or on a Monday and travel from Victoria to Vancouver to attend those interviews and head back the same day or the next. About 3 weeks into doing this, and a robust four round interview process, I was offered a position within Marketing at an established organization in the capacity of Manager.
I moved to Vancouver in October 2017 and worked as Marketing Manager with the organization for about 8 months. Why only 8 months, you may wonder? While work was great, I lacked a good social circle and started to feel lonesome in the big city. 8 months later, I stumbled upon an exciting opportunity for a similar position with another organization in Victoria. I applied and after three rounds of interview and screening, I made it! Living and working in busy urban cities most of my life, I kind of longed and missed the quiet and slow pace of a smaller town like Victoria. This was a huge decision, given that I had only moved to Vancouver 8 months ago, but I decided to go with my gut and take this opportunity.
I’m in Victoria now, close to family (my brother) and friends with a job that I absolutely love and taking life as it comes, a day at a time. Sometimes it really helps to go easy on yourself, and let life lead you to your next milestone on the journey. There’s nothing that you cannot achieve, if you only decide to put your mind to it.
India to Calgary, AB
Vikash Sangwan is young professional from India. He applied to come to Canada through the express entry program for the skilled workers. The process was quick. When he got approved, he was excited but nervous at the same time. Vikash had no family member or friends in Canada, the only thing only he knew about Canada is that it’s really cold in the winter. Luckily Vikash got to know about the AEIP program from IRCC website and he registered to the program in January 2018. The Settlement Practitioner from the AEIP program provided 1-on-1 consultation to Vikash. During the session the SP did needs assessment and completed Vikash’s Settlement Transition Plan. Since Vikash was going to Alberta he was referred to AEIP’s Alberta partner Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS).
Once Vikash connected with his CCIS AEIP Advisor he felt he was no more alone in this journey, he had someone ready to assist him. Vikash attended online Orientation to Alberta webinar delivered by CCIS and learned more about his new home. He’d also learned job market in Alberta and how to build up a Canadian styled resume. His SP also signed him up for some employment webinars focusing on resume writing, job and interview skills training.
When Vikash landed in Calgary in March 2018 he was very much job ready and was full of confidence. He applied the skills he learned from AEIP into his job search. He had a Canadian styled resume and actively reached out to people and built up his network. He contacted the Director of Accenture, for the company he used to work in India. After a few rounds of the interviews, Vikash’s hard work was paid off. He got a job offer within 30 days of landing in Calgary. He was hired as a Consultant by Accenture and currently working on a project for Suncor Energy.
Vikash had settlement in Calgary and loved his new home: I choose Calgary and I love it here – it has more oil and gas companies that is my domain of expertise and it has low cost of living with less population. Plus, Banff – Incredibly gorgeous heaven is in the Rocky Mountains, and only one and a half hours from Calgary.
People are so nice in Canada, you hear a lot of thank-you and sorries here. When people get down the bus, they thank the driver, they thank when you open the door for them and so on the list goes. In short, Canada is a wonderful country with diversified culture, career growth, tremendous job opportunities, and quality of life, so get along well with the communities and people here, if you are from South Asia, you will get thousands of families here from Indian Sikh community, Urdu speaking communities from Pakistan, even communities from southern part of India and Sri Lanka as well, to interact with.
Vikash also has some suggestions for newcomers:
Plan well – Take the advantage of the pre-arrival services (for example, AEIP) Make a detailed plan keeping all the aspects in mind - Job search strategy, City Selection etc.
Do a lot of networking on LinkedIn before you arrive in Canada to make sure you know some people who can refer you in their companies.
If you work for a multinational company, talk to the leadership in your country and try your best for internal transfer.
Bring all the good traditions from back home, but also remain open minded to experience new culture.
Be patient, take help from communities, clubs etc. of your home country, and make your Canada immigration and settlement a pleasing experience.
Vikash would like to share his success with newcomers, he is working on his YouTube channel. So, stay tuned, you will hear more from Vikash.