Moving to a new country can be scary. Here’s what you need to know!
Moving to a western country is probably the dream of most people living in developing countries. While you can find many resources to help you with the immigration process, you might want to brace yourself for some other practical difficulties that others might not have warned you about.
Confused? Let’s clear that up, shall we?
In this blog, I will cover everything an immigrant should know before moving to a different country. Now I might not be an expert on this, but one of the perks of being a blogger is that I get to meet and talk to experts from various fields.
Charles Osuji is one such expert. Born and brought up in the Eastern part of Nigeria, now one of Canada’s Top 25 most influential lawyers, among other accolades, and the Managing Partner/CEO of Osuji & Smith Lawyers, one the fastest growing law firms in Calgary, Alberta www.osujismith.ca. And he opens up about the difficulties immigrants face and also gives some advice to people who want to move to a new country.
“Immigrants face a plethora of challenges upon relocation as moving to a new country is a hard reset on the life of a newcomer,” Osuji says. While the majority of the challenges are determined by a variety of factors, like the province of entry, family size, credentials evaluation and transferable skills, there are some struggles commonly shared by all skilled immigrants.
Unemployment, Recertification, and the Job Market:
“Skilled immigrants to Canada continue to experience a high level of underemployment and unemployment. A lack of recognition of foreign credentials, requalification, language, and communication barriers are amongst the issues,” Osuji says.
New immigrants, who are skilled professionals with considerable years of foreign work experience, find it extremely difficult to break into the Canadian labour market and land their first job, as they are rarely given the opportunity for employment.
“This is a classic case of a chicken and egg situation,” he says. “If these new immigrants do not get a fair shot to showcase their transferable skills and abilities, then there is no other way to gain the Canadian work experience. It is a never-ending cycle, in my opinion, unless something is done about it,” he further adds.
Osuji feels that some sort of training or course should be established by the government to enlighten new immigrants about the expectation around the Canadian workplace.
“I was forced to take up other jobs outside the legal field while I processed and sat for the NCA examination. Those were truly challenging times, but determination and focus enabled me to pull through,” he says reminiscing about his past.
Later he realized that networking beyond one’s immediate circle (tribe) goes a long way towards breaking the barriers to employment. Mentorship also plays a key role.
Advice to immigrants:
- Have a plan, set a goal and be proactive. Research is the key. Consider your point of entry, opportunities, and cost of living in a province and the recertification process for professionals. These days, the process towards recertification can be done long before a new immigrant arrives in Canada. For instance, the NCA assessment and examination can be attempted online, outside Canada.
- Determine your transferable skill and, where applicable, be ready to rebrand yourself. Determine what you possess and how it can be best suited in your new country. Hiring decisions are largely based on what is known about you. Always remember that relocation is a learning process.
- Attitude is also vital, be ready to stoop to conquer. Be persistent because you cannot afford to fail, as you have come a long way. Step out of your comfort zone, do not be intimidated.
- Build on your existing network; have an online persona. Your LinkedIn profile must be up to date, as that is the starting point for most hiring managers.
- Be accessible. Visit the right places. In this Covid-19 era, have a virtual chat, join networking WebEx seminars and build your network from thereon. Connect to the right people as information is key for new immigrants. You are always auditing for your next role, whether you are conscious of it or not. Spread the word, expand your network, and be prepared.
Life is full of challenges. While we obviously cannot avoid them all, learning about these challenges beforehand can help you prepare for what’s to come. After all, the challenges are what make our life interesting.
Source: Three Best Rated