When we decided to immigrate our first options were Australia and New Zealand.
It was the year 99 or 2000 and I remember going to a conference organized by an Immigration Consultant office in a Hotel in Buenos Aires. It was a Saturday morning and the room was almost packed. It was the typical PowerPoint presentation: economic figures, geographic data and everything illustrated with pictures of smiling couples and families running in the beaches of Adelaide (similar to the pictures of those smiling couples under the snow at the Ville de Quebec). But it worked. I was excited, we had a good profile, we knew the language … we just needed the courage to start the process. But I did not dare.
The week after that conference I started “googling” for Argentinians living in the region. I wrote them asking: “I am a Systems Analyst, blah, blah, blah. Do you think I can get a job there?”, “But… is life really good?” “But… Will I be able to live like I’m living now in Buenos Aires? ” (You can read the last question as something like “Can I still be part of the middle class making ends meet?”)
Everyone told me yes, there are no issues, that everything was great. I only had to start. It was not going to be not be simple, eh? We were going to have to sell everything, to spend money we had (and did not have) for the process, settlement and other expenses. It was going to be complicated, time consuming and, above all, expensive.
However, over time, I realized that all I had to do was to overcome the barrier imposed by the big question “Is it worth the effort?”
To finish the story: I missed the train. Instead of going to the beach I ended up going to the North Pole five years later (which in Argentine times is an eternity… especially with everything that happened between 2000 and 2005!)
I don’t have he answers to the big question. Neither he. Not anyone but you.
A few months ago I received an email asking me “I have to start from scratch and is very hard, is it worth it? Please tell me the truth!” I left that email marked to write about it. Just when I was thinking what to write about for today, I received another email saying “G, I am a professional in my country (by that read” I am someone who is doing well. “) Tell me if I really can improve my standard of living there and at what cost? ” I think it was time to write my thoughts on the subject and give my readers, as usual, my starting point to help them think and reflect on this matter.
These emails to which I refer above are just two examples of emails I receive quite often. At least two or three a month. For me, the bottom line for them is: “G: I have fear, I don’t have the courage to start my immigration process. I need you to tell me everything will be okay. Please.” Simple as that. We want the other, who is already there, to reassure our fears. As I did with those unknown Argentines in Australia and New Zealand that answered me those emails back in 2000.
Today, several years later, and with enough time pondering over the immigration issue, I am sure that the answer to the question “Is it worth it?” is in each of us. Let us pause the reading, reflect on this and, if you have a twitter account, I invite you to send this to your timeline:
Ready? Let’s move on!
Now, getting to the point: Not me nor the dozens of readers who already live in Canada and participate daily on this site, are able to give you the answer you want. We could easily tell you “Read my blog and see how well I’ve done!” and that would be as wrong as saying “You will never know how bad this can go for you and your family!”
Both would be harmful and incorrect answers. What authority do we have to tell anyone they will do well (or bad!)? We do not know who he is, where he comes from, what their skills are and seven hundred more things from their profile that, after all, make him/her a person who will have a unique and personal experience.
What I do believe is that we can give general guidelines that will help this people consider and determine whether they are willing (or ready) to meet the challenge.
11 Questions that will help you find the answer
For those who still do not know what to do, I ask you to sit with your partner (or alone, whatever) and reflect on the following:
- What does it mean for you the term “standard of living”? What things are part of it?
- Make two lists: the things that you are no longer willing to deal with in your country and the things that you are not willing to give up (those that you will not never let go, even in Canada). Find out about these things in Canada and evaluate the results to see what list “won”
- Do you want to come to Canada? or Do you want to run away from your country? There is a subtle difference. Look for it.
- What are you looking for in Canada? Write the first three things that come to your mind before continue reading.
- Are you looking for money? In Canada you may never be rich. You will pay a lot of taxes. Would that be ok with you?
- Do you just want to look for a job in your profession? You may never be able to practice again. Will you be willing to face that reality?
- Are you coming to find another way of life? You may never get settled. What will you do then?
- The first year is always the fastest to pass but is also the most complicated and hardest. What if things do not go as expected and you run out of money? What will you be willing to do?
- Have you ever thought about your tolerance to frustration? Think about the last time things did not go as expected and try to remember how you reacted to that event. What happened?
- Maybe you’ll do well but your partner not. Think about the last time you had to support him/her during a crisis or depressions. How did it go?
- It may take you five years to reach a quality of living similar to what you have now in your country. Is it a term you’d be willing to endure? Think about it.
Here are some questions I would do to myself if I were you. They are just triggers to help you think about this.
Immigration (to Canada, Australia, wherever) is an endurance race. It takes time, you get tired, sometimes you want to give up and sometimes the result does not arrive when you would like to. Some of us did fairly well. Others have done fantastic. And some others have done very badly and have or are thinking of returning to their countries. Without naming those who have are stuck here without any chance of returning to where they came from!
We all live in Canada, but we all live different things. We are all different and our experience is not yours. It may be similar, maybe not.
For you, that you’re here … Was it worth it so much effort? Why?
For you, that are thinking of immigrating to Canada … What would make it worth it?