You’ve decided to move to Canada. You’re not alone; Canada has one of the highest immigration rates in the world and it’s one of the top four relocation destination countries in the world (2013 Employee Mobility Survey, Canadian Employee Relocation Council).
Now that you’ve made the big decision to move to Canada, you’ll need to prepare for your journey to the land of maple leaves and Rocky Mountains.
Follow these six steps to start your excellent adventure:
- Research, research, research. The Canadian Immigration & Citizenship website, cic.gc.ca, is a good place to start to learn about Canada. You’ll also find lots of valuable information on moving2canada.com or justlanded.com/english/Canada. numbeo.com can give you an idea of how much it costs to live in Canada.
- Contact your area’s Canadian embassy to start the work permit/visa process. Different countries have different requirements. For example, workers from NAFTA countries may not need work permits, while others may require a visa to enter Canada. For more information, visit cic.gc.ca/english/work/permit.asp.
- Booking your flight has never been easier. There are some good tips and a list of flight search engines at moving2canada.com/planning/flights-to-canada/. You can also check out our article on finding great flight prices.
- Many people find temporary accommodations such as hotel or furnished apartments (vrbo.com/canada). These are good for your first couple of weeks and help you look for a permanent residence. If you have children, you may want to find a permanent house or apartment close to their school. Go to moving2canada.com/living-in-canada/finding-accommodation-in-canada/ for some more information.
- To understand what you need to do to set up a Canadian bank account, research the five Canadian big banks: Royal Bank of Canada (royalbank.com); TD Canada Trust (tdcanadatrust.com); Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (cibc.com); Bank of Nova Scotia (scotiabank.com); and the Bank of Montreal (bmo.com). Some banks offer credit cards geared to the needs of new residents, to help establish a Canadian credit history.
- Even though Canada’s unemployment rate is low compared to other countries, it’s still not easy to find a job here without Canadian experience. But don’t get discouraged, there are plenty of online resources (cic.gc.ca/english/newcomers/work/look.asp, ca.indeed.com/, canadavisa.com/canada-immigration-career-zone.html) and networking is a good way to find a job and meet people.
Once you make it to Canada, there will be many other things you’ll need to do – get a social insurance number, apply for health coverage, find a doctor, get to know your neighbours and make local friends. But for now, the steps above will get you started.