What it’s REALLY Like Immigrating to the Great White North

I will never forget the date March 12, 2018. It was the day I finally immigrated to Canada. Just one day after celebrating my birthday with my family in India, I landed on Canadian soil for the very first time and was welcomed with open arms by customs officials who wished me a happy birthday before sending me on my way to make my Canadian dream a reality.

However, the road to Canada was long and winding with a number of bumps along the way. I worked as a mechanical engineer in Bangalore, India for nearly three years and a year and a half in Dubai before beginning my application for permanent residency in Canada. I was already in the process of trying to come to Canada when I interviewed for a job with Aercoustics.

Getting a work visa would have sped up the process but many companies shy away from this option because it involves a rigorous process to prove there is no local talent available which is not always easy to do.

My application went through the Government of Canada’s express entry program. It is a very detailed application process which starts by awarding points for a variety of factors such as work experience, marital status and the completion of a challenging English proficiency exam. Everyone who meets the lowest cut-off for points is eligible to be part of a draw held twice a month. If your name is drawn, you are invited to apply for the next step. In the past, having a job waiting for you in Canada would help score more points in the application process but sadly, it changed shortly before I applied so I was no further ahead than someone coming to Canada looking for a job.

Even using the express entry option, it was nearly two years before I was granted a one-way entry visa into Canada. I met a few people whose application took eight months while another took 14. Once I was offered a position with Aercoustics, I naively returned to India to spend time with my family, assuming that I would leave any day for Canada. But the process took much longer than anticipated and I picked up contract work until my visa came through. So even if you are offered a job, don’t quit your current employment without the appropriate paperwork.

Coming to Canada was not without its challenges but it has also provided incredible opportunities. At Aercoustics, architectural acoustics is my primary focus but I have many opportunities to learn and grow as I gain invaluable cross-platform experience working with other teams on transit and wind.

This country has welcomed me with open arms and I’ve received so much advice and mentorship along the way that I am now trying to help others in a similar situation with the hope that my experience will help others who are also in pursuit of the Canadian dream.