Heinm

Personal experience coming to Canada

Recommended Posts

Heinm

I also just want to share my story which I hope helps someone else who is either in a similar situation or are thinking of moving to Canada right now.

I gave up my job back home at the end of February (I gave two months' notice in December, so couldn't change my plans), sold my car and other goods, and booked my flights. So, there was no turning back at this stage, plus I’ve already put in so much effort and money to obtain my Canadian permanent residence.

After a more than 39h journey (including a 9h in layovers), I landed in Vancouver, just in time before everything was locked down. I'm in, the worst part is over I thought! But little did I know how protracted this pandemic will be and how much economic uncertainty it will bring. Canada’s unemployment rate increased to 13.7% from 5.6% pre-pandemic, and 3m fewer Canadians held jobs by the end of April.

Five months have passed since my arrival. I’ve made new friends and managed to explore my newly adopted city. Vancouver has so much to offer, beaches, mountains, efficient public transport (you don’t need a car for the most part). However, all of this means nothing if you don’t have a steady income.

After applying for upwards of 50 jobs, going on numerous interviews, I am still without stable employment. I’ve even been to the final interview stages, just to be told they no longer wish to fill the vacancy. My hopes were crushed, and I started to seriously doubt my prospects and abilities. Is my international experience of little value here? Do I go back? Will I ever build a successful career here so I can at least afford a decent lifestyle? Vancouver’s is not a cheap city to live in.

So where to from here? I haven’t thrown the towel in yet, but what happens over the next few months is crucial. If it doesn’t work out, at least I know I’ve tried my best. But still, I’ve moved here for a reason and, sadly, I might have to give up my hopes.

This is a summary of the situation I’m in and if you have anything to add or have a similar story to share, please reach out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FamilyGuy

Thanks for sharing. I know of others in a similar situation to you, it can't be easy, especially when you're trying to find your feet in a new country.

What line of work are you in?

We are still in SA waiting in the Express Entry pool trying to land a job offer so we can get over. I'm in Software Engineering (NOC 2173\2174) - I'm not getting any positive responses. I assume it's a combination of COVID and a depressed economy and also Canadian companies not really wanting to interview unless you're in the country (which is obviously different to your situation). It's somewhat disheartening to think of emigrating and then struggling to survive the main thing keeping me steadfast in this direction though is the strength of the Canadian economy and seemingly much better handling of the pandemic compared to what I am seeing here back home. I'm willing to weather the storm if we can provide our kids with a secure future (at least more so than in SA at least).

Best of luck, hope your situation improves soonest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Johann William Voss

I need some advise with regards to job prospects for my field of expertise. I am a qualified South African Attorney. I have commercial and property law experience and have been practicing for the  last 9 years. I am aware that the economic has taken a down turn and so has the unemployment rate but any general guidance will be appreciated.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jules
On 8/30/2020 at 4:48 PM, Heinm said:

I also just want to share my story which I hope helps someone else who is either in a similar situation or are thinking of moving to Canada right now.

I gave up my job back home at the end of February (I gave two months' notice in December, so couldn't change my plans), sold my car and other goods, and booked my flights. So, there was no turning back at this stage, plus I’ve already put in so much effort and money to obtain my Canadian permanent residence.

After a more than 39h journey (including a 9h in layovers), I landed in Vancouver, just in time before everything was locked down. I'm in, the worst part is over I thought! But little did I know how protracted this pandemic will be and how much economic uncertainty it will bring. Canada’s unemployment rate increased to 13.7% from 5.6% pre-pandemic, and 3m fewer Canadians held jobs by the end of April.

Five months have passed since my arrival. I’ve made new friends and managed to explore my newly adopted city. Vancouver has so much to offer, beaches, mountains, efficient public transport (you don’t need a car for the most part). However, all of this means nothing if you don’t have a steady income.

After applying for upwards of 50 jobs, going on numerous interviews, I am still without stable employment. I’ve even been to the final interview stages, just to be told they no longer wish to fill the vacancy. My hopes were crushed, and I started to seriously doubt my prospects and abilities. Is my international experience of little value here? Do I go back? Will I ever build a successful career here so I can at least afford a decent lifestyle? Vancouver’s is not a cheap city to live in.

So where to from here? I haven’t thrown the towel in yet, but what happens over the next few months is crucial. If it doesn’t work out, at least I know I’ve tried my best. But still, I’ve moved here for a reason and, sadly, I might have to give up my hopes.

This is a summary of the situation I’m in and if you have anything to add or have a similar story to share, please reach out.

You asked if your international experience counts for anything... to be blunt the answer is no 99% or the time. That A+ experience in SA is viewed with skepticism in Canada. You could just as well be coming from another country from Africa, Asia or Latin America. So you are competing as an immigrant against millions of Canadians. That’s the bad news. 
 

The good news is that millions have done it before and so can you. This is a huge economy and new jobs pop up all the time. Yes COVID is making it worse but that too shall pass. Sometimes it means taking a survival job for a couple of years while you restart your career if you want it bad enough. Nobody likes going backward before advancing but it happens a lot. It might be harder than expected. Might take longer than planned. But it can be done. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MaryJane

@Heinm, I would echo Jules' comments in saying that even before the pandemic, the job market was already competitive. Even more so now that many have lost jobs, transitioning, etc. There are a lot of jobs open at the moment, but equally a lot more applicants flooding the market.

I don't know of your exact situation and so would not want to assume anything about expectations. I'd say just keep looking and don't give up hope. Like Jules suggested, I'd think about a survival job, if you must. I know some people balk at the idea, but not everyone gets the right job, the first time round. This is one way to get out of the house, feel like you're doing something whilst understanding that this is "for the meantime".

As a personal experience, I sat for 4 months without a job before finding a survival one, at which I stayed for 5 months until I found something that was a little bit better. The first years are always hard because you never quite know how hard/easy it's gonna be. Hope things work out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Heinm
2 hours ago, MaryJane said:

@Heinm, I would echo Jules' comments in saying that even before the pandemic, the job market was already competitive. Even more so now that many have lost jobs, transitioning, etc. There are a lot of jobs open at the moment, but equally a lot more applicants flooding the market.

I don't know of your exact situation and so would not want to assume anything about expectations. I'd say just keep looking and don't give up hope. Like Jules suggested, I'd think about a survival job, if you must. I know some people balk at the idea, but not everyone gets the right job, the first time round. This is one way to get out of the house, feel like you're doing something whilst understanding that this is "for the meantime".

As a personal experience, I sat for 4 months without a job before finding a survival one, at which I stayed for 5 months until I found something that was a little bit better. The first years are always hard because you never quite know how hard/easy it's gonna be. Hope things work out.

I value everyone's input, thank you! I think each person's journey is different. About survival jobs, how does it impact your chances to move back into your industry with "xyz survival job" on your resume? What did you do as a survival job if you don't mind me asking?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Heinm
On 8/31/2020 at 4:39 AM, Johann William Voss said:

I need some advise with regards to job prospects for my field of expertise. I am a qualified South African Attorney. I have commercial and property law experience and have been practicing for the  last 9 years. I am aware that the economic has taken a down turn and so has the unemployment rate but any general guidance will be appreciated.  

I'm not in a position to give you any advice relevant to your field. What I do know is that you'll have to get licensed to practice and that is another story which I don't have the details on. For reference have a look here: https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/requirements/15815/BC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Heinm
On 8/31/2020 at 1:41 AM, FamilyGuy said:

Thanks for sharing. I know of others in a similar situation to you, it can't be easy, especially when you're trying to find your feet in a new country.

What line of work are you in?

We are still in SA waiting in the Express Entry pool trying to land a job offer so we can get over. I'm in Software Engineering (NOC 2173\2174) - I'm not getting any positive responses. I assume it's a combination of COVID and a depressed economy and also Canadian companies not really wanting to interview unless you're in the country (which is obviously different to your situation). It's somewhat disheartening to think of emigrating and then struggling to survive the main thing keeping me steadfast in this direction though is the strength of the Canadian economy and seemingly much better handling of the pandemic compared to what I am seeing here back home. I'm willing to weather the storm if we can provide our kids with a secure future (at least more so than in SA at least).

Best of luck, hope your situation improves soonest.

Thank you for your thoughts, I appreciate it. Canada's Covid stats might not look as dire as SA's, but the economy contracted by similar magnitudes - good news is it didn't really affect your industry. Most just continued working from home. My suggestion is you look at PNP's or even other countries' skill shortage lists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MaryJane
9 hours ago, Heinm said:

I value everyone's input, thank you! I think each person's journey is different. About survival jobs, how does it impact your chances to move back into your industry with "xyz survival job" on your resume? What did you do as a survival job if you don't mind me asking?

I'm in the accounting field and at that point in time, was getting antsy over not having a job for so long so I took the first one that offered me an office job. Frankly, I was even willing to go unpaid (yes, I had another offer, if you could call it that), but am glad that I didn't have to resort to that.

The office job had a fancy title but basically was much like an office/admin clerk. I call it my survival job because while it wasn't at minimum wage, the pay barely made it through the 15 days till the next one. But I understood that I was doing what I needed to and it wasn't going to be a long phase. Having a job brought about routine and normalcy and I needed it at the time (after the uprooting of lives 🙂).

When I started looking for the second one, it was actually easier to explain that it was a transition phase for me. Nowadays, I don't mention my survival job on my resume anymore (it doesn't add anything to help get me the job). 

The pace of integration and settlement differs from person to person. Even within my own family, each member dealt with it their own way. But it does get better.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jules

Let’s say you take a minimum wage job working in a coffee shop. You are wondering what that does to your resume? Well you could just leave it off... but you earn some money. I would then also find a meaningful volunteer role which could look good on a resume (for some Canadian experience) while leaving the minimum wage job off the resume. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Heinm
16 hours ago, MaryJane said:

I'm in the accounting field and at that point in time, was getting antsy over not having a job for so long so I took the first one that offered me an office job. Frankly, I was even willing to go unpaid (yes, I had another offer, if you could call it that), but am glad that I didn't have to resort to that.

The office job had a fancy title but basically was much like an office/admin clerk. I call it my survival job because while it wasn't at minimum wage, the pay barely made it through the 15 days till the next one. But I understood that I was doing what I needed to and it wasn't going to be a long phase. Having a job brought about routine and normalcy and I needed it at the time (after the uprooting of lives 🙂).

When I started looking for the second one, it was actually easier to explain that it was a transition phase for me. Nowadays, I don't mention my survival job on my resume anymore (it doesn't add anything to help get me the job). 

The pace of integration and settlement differs from person to person. Even within my own family, each member dealt with it their own way. But it does get better.

Yeah a survival office job isn't the worse thing that could happen to you :)  I think another factor in my case is that the investment industry is relatively small in Vancouver. So I am strongly considering making the move to Toronto. I've already applied for a few positions based in the GTA, but I'm afraid they won't consider me if I'm not already there. 

Edited by Heinm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sparky6

Just my two cents, hubby took a job at a call Centre which had nothing to do with his IT field, but he did that for a year before he got a great job in his field.   They pay you while you are in training as well.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.