We have all heard about the difficulty of recognizing foreign credentials that new immigrants experience upon coming to Canada. Many professions require newcomers to seek further education upon arrival; and many employers are looking for the Canadian education or work experience before hiring.
The Canadian government has recognized this issue and pointed out that a discussion will be raised on the provincial level. Meanwhile, the question remains: what can the newcomers do to ensure that they have an easier and faster way of starting a new life in Canada?
Vitoria Correia, RCIC and an Immigration Consulting instructor at Ashton College, has shared a few simple tips for the newcomers to look into.
Take a Look at Your Diploma
One of the first tips of advice from Vitoria is to look at how your education compares in the Canadian system. “Unfortunately, reassessing your education does not mean you get a job faster,” says Vitoria. “But it does give you a base for understanding where you stand at in the Canadian market and what the Canadian equivalent of your diploma is.”
“Knowing what the Canadian equivalent of your degree is can helps you better understand what your options and plan what to do next.”
Are you going to go back to school? For how long? Or will you decide to pursue a new direction in your career? These are good questions to ask yourself before landing in Canada.
“Since the implementation of the Express Entry, most newcomers go through the reassessment of their diploma before their arrival,” shares Vitoria. “I believe it to be a positive improvement.”
“As an immigrant myself, the best advice I can give is to stay open to learning. Coming to another country often means starting from scratch, so it is important to look into different opportunities, to challenge yourself and to continue to learn and grow.”
Take a look at what skills, experiences and knowledge you need to gain to successfully settle in Canada. “People nowadays put a high value on education and lifelong learning, and many would want to pursue a degree or a diploma in Canada as soon as they arrive.”
Of course, not everyone has a desire or opportunity to go back to school for another degree; but that does not mean that you should abandon the thoughts of learning altogether. “You can always look into improving your English (or French) skills to make you more compatible in the workplace,” notes Vitoria. “There are also various options to take short courses or to update your knowledge through CPD [Continuing Professional Development] activities.”
“With the growth of online education, people can even start taking courses prior to their arrival to Canada, be it academic courses, language training, or even simply looking at the videos about Canadian lifestyle to prepare themselves for their life in Canada.”
“Also remember: you can switch occupations much easier in Canada, because there is less stigma associated with going back to school in your late 20s, 30s and 40s,” adds Vitoria.
Planning Ahead is the Key
“Immigration is a big step, and being prepared is the key to be successful,” points out Vitoria. “For instance, it is important to do research on the province you are immigrating to. The experience can be very different depending on where in Canada you are settling in, so do your research ahead of time.”
Vitoria also emphasizes the importance to have goals, both short-term and long-term. “Not everything goes according to the plan, and you should not expect perfection,” says Vitoria. “But you should have a plan for the immediate necessities (such as housing, insurance, job search) and a vision for your future career, education and lifestyle.”
“Have in mind that it usually takes a few months for immigrants to find a job,” notes Vitoria. “So bring money, because you will need it!”