Thursday, June 25, 2015

Madras to Montreal :)

Okay, It is time to unwind.

Like most of us, I have landed abroad in search of greener pastures, economically as well as professionally. I want to give some tips to my friends and family on what to do and what not to do. These are mainly intended for people who immigrate as permanent residents by quitting their jobs in their home country. Of course, for people like me on Intra Company Transfer, there are different things to consider which I will devote a separate section.

The PR Route:

The best time to immigrate to a foreign country WITHOUT a job is when you are still in your early to mid twenties without heavy commitments. The older you are, the tougher it is to accept and adapt to the new environment.Every Country has their own rules and laws, Please do your own detailed research before signing on the dotted line on the immigration application.

Canada requires Canadian experience for virtually any job that is being posted.
Now you may wonder why do I need Canadian experience when you are well experienced in your field. This is a requirement by the Government to give preference to the local population. So DO NOT EXPECT to find a job as soon as you land. Have loads of cash in hand for your day to day survival. I have seen people with Masters Degree working double shifts in stores almost 7 days a week.

The next big thing, especially for Professionals in NON-IT sector is the P.Eng Certification. I was stumped by this requirement (Didn't do my research). Even if you are an IIT graduate from India, the person has to apply for P.Eng certification so that the person's credentials can be compared as an equivalent to Canada's standards. So basically, you are not allowed to use the Title "Engineer" until and unless you are certified as a P.Eng. Do you really need a P.Eng to be employable? No, an employer can hire a person without P.Eng but the person has to work under the supervision of a Certified P.Eng. For some one planning for the long haul, a P.Eng is a must to further career prospects in Canada. Now, I got this information from my friends in the office, Every province in the country has its own association so if you move from one province to another , you have to get yourself another certification but comparatively the process is easier as you already have one.

Okay, for someone from India, who wants to get P.Eng certification, he has two choices. If you are experienced enough, you can directly get interviewed by a Panel of members of the association, who will grill you based on what you have stated in your resume. Once you clear this step, you will have to write an exam for Ethics and complete the certification.
If you do not have much experience, you have a stage called Engineer in Training wherein you will have to get experience by working in projects as well as take lessons from university and clear some exams for certain subjects. Imagine, an IIT engineer who will go through these steps !!

The problem is that there are so many immigrants from various countries with fake degrees that the country has set up this system. I wish the Indian Government collaborates with its Canadian Counterpart and set up something which ensures that Indians with recognised degrees from Indian universities do not go through this hassle.

The next surprise is the hiring and firing culture. Many companies hire just when a Project is won and dismantle the team when there are no projects. Of course, if you are good, they will keep you :)
In India, of late the IT companies have started using these tactics, but this was a real surprise to me. It is the North American culture as they call it.

The Intra Company Transfer Route:

For ICTs, your spouse will have an Open work permit and you hope that he/she will get a job. Do not negotiate for a lesser salary based on this. It is very difficult for anyone to get a tech job without Canadian Experience. Of course, he/she can do part time jobs in some stores if you are in dire straits.

Most companies will offer a full load container from India to your new city. Make the most of it if you have existing decent furniture. A good shipping company will bring your stuff almost in good condition (except for a few small scratches here and there). Plan and ensure that you follow the rules and do not bring in stuff which is forbidden. Ensure that you sign the packing list. In my case, I left in a hurry and it was my dad who signed the packing list. The customs officer in Montreal wanted to open the cartons and inspect it just because of that. The container took about two months to reach me. I guess this is the worst possible time period that you can plan for.

Of course, some companies will provide you with relocation allowance and arranged accommodation. The relocation allowance will be paid in lump sum with almost 50% of it being taxed. Negotiate for higher, if possible double of what they initially offer you. Arranged accommodation was 6 weeks for me. But it took almost 3 months for my stuff to arrive from India (was sent late from Chennai). Fortunately, the company took great care of me and I was able to get some rented furniture until my stuff arrived. Negotiate for 12 weeks accommodation if possible.

Getting a house for rent is another big headache as owners will not let out their houses to new immigrants as they do not have a credit score in Canada and also because a temporary resident can just vanish :). It took me numerous visits to select a place I like and to get a landlord who was willing to rent me a house. Have this in mind, when you step into a country like Canada. Also, the lease agreement is not a mere formality like it is in India, you are virtually liable to be sued if you break the lease. There are also penalties associated with it. Be careful, before you sign the lease.

The public transportation system in Montreal is really wonderful and there is no need for a car. Having a car , maintaining it and fuel and Insurance costs are really high and it makes sense to have a car only if you need it and if you are not worried about saving money to pay loans back home.

The next step for an ICT employee is to apply for PR after about 1.5 years of arrival in Canada. If you want to work longer in Canada, a PR is a must. Each province has its own rules and lots of documents to be produced. It is always good to know what are the documents required and to start collecting documents on each visit to your home country.


Do not make a hasty decision to go abroad, think wisely, do research especially about Employment, Visa and Local life. If you are doing really good in your country(loan free), there is no need to chuck your jobs and come to Canada. Generally, the Canadian government advertises that they require so many people to come to Canada as there are so many jobs available. A whole lot of the economy is based on these immigrants namely government agencies, driving schools, rentals for apartment, etc . It is a vicious cycle if you do not plan properly, your hard earned money from India (taken on loans from relatives or savings) will go down the drain in no time.

If you coming as an ICT, make the most of it and apply for PR only if you really want to be there for a few more years.



Blogger The wildwoods said...

Good piece of information for ICT people and to those who believe in the "work abroad " myth ... Luv your style of writing .. Keep blogging ! ❤️

1:19 AM  

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