9 Questions You Should Answer Before Moving to Canada

Coming to Canada is a dream of many people. Whether they have relatives in there, they wish to experience winter (the hard way) or for a change of scenery, there’s plenty of reasons we can give. But sometimes we migrate to Canada because of a family member’s plan or our best friend is moving there.

Thinking to migrate to Canada is a good sign you are planning for the future. But this also a big decision to make and requires a thorough evaluation of the pros and cons. That’s why it’s important to check whether the time to research, passing necessary tests and financial outlay needed to accomplish your plan is worth your effort and time.

Edmonton, Alberta. Photo credit: bcl869 / Pixabay

Why do I want to move to Canada?

Put in another perspective, the question is actually “why would you like to leave your current location?” Is it because the prospect for your children’s future isn’t bright? Or you find limited career opportunities there (and Canada has the answer)?

Or maybe you just want to experience the life and culture of Canada and while you are still young and eligible, you want to try out this adventure?

Whatever your reason is, make sure it’s rock solid and define a clear goal why you want to make a change in scenery. The last thing you’d like to feel is uncertainty while you are in the middle of processing your immigration papers.

Should I accept a job offer that’s not in line with my field?

Yes, if a relevant job offer has not come yet. Many newcomers to Canada whose professions back home include doctors, engineers and professors initially worked in fast food counters, convenience stores, and other blue-collar jobs. The important thing is that you have a means of livelihood. Another reason to accept such jobs is that your qualifications back home may not be honored in Canada and further experience and studies may be required.

Nobody will look down on someone who is working hard and aim for a bright future for the family. Many immigrant success stories also share the same experience.

While you work on a job unrelated to your field, take time to get accreditation. Study relevant courses and gain valuable experience. For example, actuaries need to pass two exams before getting recognized and eligible to practice this field.

Where in Canada will I live?

Canada is a huge country. It’s the second-largest country in the world only after Russia. And when it comes to deciding where you’ll settle, it can be a tricky situation. Will you move to a place where friends and family members are already settled and adapt better socially? Or should you go to where you can find a job faster and have better chances of developing your career?

Sounds cliché, but you need to research before selecting a place ideal for you before picking one. A common approach is to look for provinces where your skill is valued more than the others. Once you have obtained residency rights, you can later move to another place you like better.

Am I ready for the harsh winter?

If you’ve never experienced winter before, the season can be exciting as you’ll see snow, build a snowman and wear legitimate winter clothing for the first time. But even before the winter season is over, you could get overwhelmed by shoveling the snow or struggling to drive through icy roads. Worse, winter can also be a depressing experience for many people who have to deal with cold weather, feel unproductive, bored and lazy.

Be mentally prepared for winter, which can be bitterly cold — minus 40 or 50 C — in some areas. Go out and engage in winter activities, interact with fellow community members or do something to keep you busy. These things help fight off winter depression.

How will I be able to support myself there?

Whether a visitor or a student, you will need to support yourself like your accommodation, food, and transport. Costs are significantly higher when you settle there as an immigrant, and you’ll be in a tough spot if you haven’t got a job yet.

There is a minimum amount of funds you need to bring to sustain yourself (so-called “show money” as others would say) in your initial week’s stay in Canada. While it’s understandable that you don’t land a job immediately, prior research in the Canadian job market even before your arrival should give you ideas on what jobs are available and be able to apply ahead of time.

Should I bring all my money?

Assuming you can comfortably care for yourself and your family once you arrive in Canada, thanks to your pool of savings, it might be tempting to bring all your money over. After all, you’re settling to Canada for good, and there’s little reason to leave your wealth back home, right?

You have the right to do so, especially since the cost of living in Canada is not the same as back home. Having enough liquid assets is a reassuring way to settle into Canada.

However, also note that the government puts the priority on assisting citizens and permanent residents whose accounts don’t exceed a certain threshold. If you expect and need help from the government, you might want to consider bringing in the minimum amount as required.

Should I migrate alone first or arrive with my family together?

Saying goodbye to extended family, friends, and colleagues is easier if you’re moving to Canada, or another country, together with immediate family members. However, adjustment to a new environment is a lot tougher when you arrive in Canada with the family than when you’re alone.

Arriving solo makes it easier for you to find cheaper accommodation for one and get better mobility (transport, looking for jobs, etc). If you arrive with family, you’ll probably need a bigger accommodation, securing which could be troublesome if you lack credit history or have no job references as a newcomer. Your selection of where to settle will depend on many factors such as where you work, where your kids will study, which place is affordable and close to basic public services (clinic, public transport, grocery, etc). Such things can be a very costly initial few weeks and could be financially and emotionally draining.

Arriving on your own first might be a better option. This allows you to live a minimalist way, building your credit rating and savings as you look for a suitable place for your family. As you’ll become more familiar with the ins and outs in the community and get advice from new friends and neighbors, you’ll be better equipped to make sound decisions. You’ll be more familiar with things such as the transport system, availing of public services, or how the school system works.

By the time your family is scheduled to arrive, you’ve already got an apartment for them, a car to pick them up from the airport yourself, and secured a school place for your children.

What should I bring with me and my family to Canada?

Some things are essential to bring with you and there are things considered too sentimental to leave behind. Aside from looking at the Canadian customs regulations, think about practical implications when deciding which things to bring or ship.

Weigh things carefully and compare the cost of shipping, quality, and usefulness, and cost to buy them in Canada.

What happens to those I’ll leave behind?

You’re not the only one who will feel lonely once you migrate to Canada. Those left behind will feel the same. Both you and them ask when, if ever, you’ll be able to see each other again. This is one reason some people decide not to pursue their Canadian dream; they find it difficult or impossible to leave families behind, especially if there’s little or no chance of bringing them over to Canada soon.

If you are supporting your family, is there a new arrangement on how you’ll be able to support them financially and emotionally? If you used to care for your elderly family members, are there worthy replacements and assurance they can provide adequate care?

What happens to your real estate and other properties? Will you sell them to augment the cost of living in Canada? Will it remain as-is for your future once you return from Canada as a retiree?

Is migrating to Canada worth all my efforts?

From the moment you hatch the idea of immigrating to Canada, to filing your paperwork, undergoing exams and spending money in the process, it could take months to conclude before you receive your offer to become a permanent resident.

Is it worth giving up a stable, fulfilling job back home only to work long hours as a taxi driver in Toronto? Would you pursue your Canadian dreams just because someone you know in Canada tells you his dream has come true? You’re the only one who can answer this question.

While not all who wished to migrate to Canada had the same outcome (some say they experienced nightmares coming to Canada), many of those who endured the long process of becoming an immigrant has been grateful for their decisions. They have practiced their careers, lived good lives and secured a good future ahead of them.

Conclusion

There are many questions to ask before you make up your decision to move to Canada. Canada is not for everyone; some are happy and contented with where they are and some want changes. These thought-provoking questions help to uncover inner realizations and point you towards your ultimate goals and determine if Canada is part of fulfilling those goals.

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