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There’s a lot of unknown waiting to be discovered when you’re immigrating to another country. More so, if that move is during this COVID-19 pandemic. “Don’t be overwhelmed. Keep calm, put in your best effort and everything will eventually start falling into place,” says Viral, sharing his learnings from Planning for Canada’s (PfC) pre-arrival sessions.

Country of origin: India
Immigrated to Canada in: February 2020
Currently lives in: Vancouver, British Columbia
Occupation: Technology Recruiter / Human Resources


Why did you decide to immigrate to Canada?

Well, I remember dreaming of having visas of all the countries stamped on my passport as a child (laughs). Immigration wasn’t really on my mind till I learned about the process of moving to Canada. The country opens up a lot of windows of opportunities for immigrants and its citizens. With age, education and English by my side, I fit the criteria and… here I am. My mindset was like, “Let’s go and see what happens.”

What do you like about Canada? Is there also something you dislike?

Like:

The people here are super-friendly. They smile at you on the streets, wish you a good day and casually chat with you. I also love being surrounded by nature. Not just Vancouver, where I live, but all of British Columbia is so beautiful.

Dislike:

I guess, there isn’t anything I dislike so far. The way I see it, no country is perfect – each has its challenges.

Did you face any specific challenges after you landed in Canada?

I landed in Canada in February 2020, and in March, there was a lockdown due to the pandemic. That’s the big challenge that many newcomers like me continue to face.

When did you avail of Planning for Canada’s pre-arrival services? Was the time that you had enough to absorb all the information?

When I approached Planning for Canada in December 2019, they had a session coming up in January, so I attended that. I was flying to Canada in three weeks so the information they shared in that and the following sessions helped a lot, but I wish I had more time.

 

What was Planning for Canada’s role in your immigration preparation?

During the PfC’s sessions, we first had a Group Orientation where they gave us an overview of Canada – history, geography, politics, education, weather, etc. – and told us what to expect. Our group exchanged phone numbers to stay connected on WhatsApp. Next, came the more personalized session focusing on what they call an Action Plan after taking into consideration our needs and qualifications. All this helps a lot when you are moving to a new country; it helps you prepare an essential checklist.

How did these services assist you in your settlement and integration journey in Canada?

I found out about many new things here in Canada, like organizations that can assist newcomers with a variety of resources and services. And bridging programs that also have a mentorship component included to help one integrate professionally and learn about the workplace. All of this has helped me in my decision making since I moved here. I’m still in contact with my settlement advisor and keep referring to the Action Plan we created.

Please tell us about your employment journey in Canada.

After nine years of project management experience, I moved to recruitment. I spent four years in Dubai, more than a year in Mumbai, India, and then I moved here. Canada went into the pandemic lockdown within a month after I landed. The job market was affected, too. Things have been slow ever since, but I believe that all kinds of work experiences add up to something bigger. So, in April, I joined the Amazon warehouse and while that continues, I am now discussing another opportunity – a project coordinator role that will allow me to use some of my scheduling as well as HR skills.

Any tips or learnings that you’d like to share with future immigrants?

I think, anyone who moves to another country immigrates with mixed emotions – looking forward to what’s next but also leaving behind family and friends. There’s a lot of unknown to figure out – finances, rental accommodation, career, making new friends – and this can be overwhelming. Keep in mind that every country is different, and that Canada might be unlike your home country in many ways. There will be favourable as well as unfavourable times and you will have lots of questions to find answers to. Remember, patience is a virtue. As you start your journey here in Canada, just put in your best efforts, keep calm and everything will eventually start falling into place.