Citizenship and Immigration Canada developed a point-based system to recruit skilled immigrants based on the needs of the economy. But the fact you are eligible for permanent residency on paper doesn’t necessarily mean you will enjoy life in Canada. I don’t have a crystal ball nor a magic wand. I can’t predict who will be successful in Canada. But based on my experience, some folks will adapt better than others.
Browsing: Life As An Immigrant
Canada welcomes immigrants for a variety of reasons, including to help the country address challenges such as an aging workforce and demands for skilled labour. However, many newcomers run into settlement difficulties, like having their foreign credentials recognized, fitting into the Canadian work culture and networking their way to a job that truly matches their skills.
So how can we bridge the gap and build a better country?
But little by little, you will adapt. And one day, you will look back and realize how “Canadian” you have become compared to your friends or family members visiting, or compared to most newcomers. Meanwhile, here are ten signs that you are still new to Canada!
A lot of people do get by without a car but really, whether you like it or not, having your own vehicle—and a driver’s license—will make your life in Canada much easier. Opting out of the car culture is something a lot of people wish they could do but it means making sacrifices and finding alternatives, which isn’t always convenient or possible.
Prospective immigrants interested in moving in the National Capital Region (NCR) often ask whether they should settle in Ottawa or in Gatineau. This is a rather big decision to make, because even though the two cities are very close geographically speaking, they are located in two different provinces, with the Ottawa River as a boundary.
I get a lot of questions from prospective immigrants and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a reality check on their immigration project is sometime needed.
Some days, I’m that close to hit the “delete” or “spam” button because I can’t believe how rude or strange some people can be.
I have received what I call “WTF questions” before, including the ever-popular “please send me a copy of your old completed immigration forms so that I can fill my own forms easily”. Because of course, I’m dying to share personal information, including extensive background info, work and family history, with random strangers on the web.
So this is how to NOT ask for help for help when contacting a blogger.
I’m usually happy to visit France. I enjoy traveling and I love seeing my family. The first few days there, I immediately feel very French as I reconnect with my roots—it feels like slipping into an old pair of jeans. I catch myself thinking that it would be really nice if Feng and I could rent a place in one of Nantes’ funky neighborhoods.
As much as I enjoy immigration topics, I have never been able to find a…
I hadn’t really studied Canadian etiquette before coming here, and I naively thought traditional European etiquette would apply.
I was wrong.
Here are three more faux pas I committed.
I receive a fair share of questions directly on this blog. I actually enjoy answering them—it’s always rewarding to share your experience and to help someone. Besides, I remember how lost and clueless I was when I was in the immigration process.
That said, some questions, on this blog or in the forums, get on my nerves.
The term “faux pas” comes originally from French (it literally means “misstep”)—I guess the French are so prone to cultural awkwardness they needed a word for it.
I like to think my parents raised me well and that I’m usually a polite and considerate person. But I was also very French when I settled in Canada, and my Frenchness led to me to commit many involuntarily social “oops”.
The question may sound strange but lately, reading immigration news, I started to wonder whether immigrating to Canada through the Quebec process was still worth it.
The Front National went from being a marginal party in the 70s to being the third largest political force today. Frankly, if such a party existed in Canada, I’d be really annoyed. Fortunately, here, the influence of such fringe parties is very limited, so limited that I never hear anything about the Heritage Front or the Nationalist Party of Canada.
All immigrants go through a phase in which they hate Canada. Sometimes it happens during the lengthy immigration process: it’s hard to keep faith when you have to deal with so many administrative requirements, and when your life is pretty much put on hold waiting for someone to take a decision about your future.
For the first two years I was in Canada, it was fairly obvious I was new to the country. Not only I didn’t speak English very well but the North American way of life was a novelty to me. I didn’t know the local customs, products and culture. I never really researched Canada the way a lot of prospective immigrants do because I just happened to land in the Great North Strong and Free by chance.
Six years ago, I was one of the many applicants waiting for permanent residence in Canada. Citizenship and Immigration’s website was updated weekly, so every Monday I logged in to check my application status. And every week, I sighted because the status invariably showed as “in process”.
One day, I read the magic words: “decision made”.
So, immigration-wise, what changed since 2005?
A little while ago, Guillermo, my good blog friend and fellow immigrant in Ottawa, asked me if he could interview me. “No worries!” I replied—hey, who doesn’t like being interviewed?
“The interview would be in Spanish” he quickly added. See, Guillermo and is family are from Argentina and even though I know for sure he speaks English fluently, the interview was for his Spanish blog.
“Well, sure” I replied, mentally reviewing who could edit my Spanish replies.
“Oh, and it’s a recorded interview” he finally added.
Immigrants I’m in contact with often mention how challenging it is to make new friends in their adoptive country. Sure, we can stay connected with “home” easily through the Internet and social websites made it easier to keep in touch. But meeting new people in real life can be tricky at first. I know. I’ve been there.
You finally landed wherever you dreamed of living, some kind of visa in hand. You tackled all the bureaucratic obstacles on your way and went through an often lengthy immigration process. You adapted to life in a new country, got a job, learned a new language and made friends with locals. You are a new immigrant and you embrace your status.
But were you prepared for these three unexpected consequences of immigration?
This attitude is common when it comes to immigration. A lot of people want to leave their country for political or economic reasons. I get emails through this blog that basically say: “I’m desperate to leave XYZ country, how I can move to Canada easily?” And when I start explaining that moving to Canada is usually do-able but that you have to meet a few requirements, do research etc. their interest vanishes.
Citizenship & Immigration Canada is currently consulting the public on marriages of convenience and ask those interested to fill out an anonymous questionnaire. As a former immigrant who was sponsored, I sat down and starting sharing my thoughts.
Just browse a few immigration forums and you will notice how angry, frustrated or confused some applicants are. Indeed, applying for a visa or the permanent residence is stressful and the whole process can seem obscure. The idea that an immigration officer, in a Canadian embassy somewhere in the world is dissecting your professional and personal life can be quite unsettling.
I recently received two questions about my still relatively new Canadian citizenship. One reader asked me if there were any drawbacks to applying for Canadian citizenship and another asked me why I decided to become Canadian. Since applying for Canadian citizenship is usually the ultimate goal for most permanent residents, I’m going to try to answer both questions.