A move to Canada may be the right thing for you and your family, but before you pack your bags take note – immigration can be a long and complicated process. In addition to being granted admission into the country there will be other hurdles and stress points you’ll need to face. The good news is that if you’re prepared and know what to expect, you’ll be able to face them head-on and anticipate potential barriers in your early days in the country.
TSome Professions Aren’t Easily Transferred
A lot of Canadian professions are highly regulated. This means that a degree or experience as a professional in Mexico may not apply when you arrive in Canada. Often, depending on the profession, educational and professional credentials need to be assessed by a local regulating body, followed by a possible need to upgrade your education and/or take a series of exams to be able to practice your profession in Canada. This is particularly common in healthcare. It may take months or even years to meet Canadian standards and get working in your chosen field. Those with internationally recognized designations may be able to set to work right away. Either way, you’ll need time to determine when you can start working and have a back-up job in mind should you need to take time and have the funding available to get certified in Canada.
Healthcare Isn’t Exactly Free
Many people talk about Canada having free healthcare but the reality is, not everything is free. Yes, people who are new to Canada can enjoy a top-notch and publicly funded healthcare system, but some money is needed. A lot of coverage won’t begin until someone has been in Canada for as long as six months, so it’s recommended that you get some private insurance to cover you in the meantime. It’s also worth noting that some health services like prescription drugs and dental care are not covered under the healthcare system, so once again purchasing comprehensive insurance is a good idea.
Learning the Language
Canada has two official languages: English and French, and you’ll need to be able to prove that you can speak at least one of them fluently. To prove you can speak in either English or French you will need to take a skill testing exam in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The exams that are accepted for this are called the IELTS and TEF exams. The exams are a time commitment of just under three hours and will cost $320 for an IELTS exam. Be sure to add this item to your checklist and timeline. The results from these exams take approximately five to seven days to be released when taken in Canada.
Driving In Canada
Being able to use your driver’s license in Canada may not be an option. Each province has its own rules and regulations which means you’ll need to pay to have your license issued in a Canadian format. You also may need to take some testing before you are permitted to drive. Thankfully, if you are unable to drive for some time, Canada is known for having many excellent public transit options available, particularly in larger cities.
We can’t talk about Canada without mentioning the weather. The Canadian climate is very different than the temperate one in Mexico. Winters can be long and cold, whereas summer can be quite warm and even feel tropical. Plan on living in the Prairies or interior provinces, get ready for a lot of snow, for as much as six months of the year. Many find it best to plan their transition to Canada in the spring where they can experience some transitional weather, the summer, and most of the year before facing winter.
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