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Do you want to migrate to Canada? Read this first

by | EDITOR’S CHOICE, Lifestyle, News

It was during one summer in the 1980s that Ding Taruc first set foot in Canada as an immigrant. Back then it was not so difficult to adjust to his new environment, he told The Filipino Times, but he still felt the need to seek the support of relatives and friends who were living there.

A place to stay, offered by relatives and friends, along with financial resources and a good state of health, was crucial to sustaining him in that period of adjustment, Taruc emphasizes. And by not being too choosy, in just a few months he was able to get a job in a local hotel.

Taruc had completed a technical education course in his home province that qualified him for a teaching job there. He later got employed in Saudi Arabia, but he made a move to Canada where he felt better opportunities awaited him.

After shifting to two other jobs, Taruc eventually got hired as a building maintenance manager. The job, ensuring safe and orderly conditions for the building’s tenants and visitors, proved challenging and there were times he had to shovel snow in the company premises owing to personnel shortages. 

“When establishing new roots in another country, it is important for one to really take care in adapting to the new environment,” says Taruc. “In my case, I did not encounter any major problem in adjusting. With perseverance and patience I managed to secure jobs that, although ‘low-profile’ in nature, were instrumental in making my migration to Canada a rewarding experience.”

In another case, Lolita Canlas quit her job in the Philippines as a public school teacher and flew to Canada where a groom was waiting to marry her. Preparing for her migration to Canada was “relatively easy” and there were no complex procedures when she worked on her visa at the Canadian embassy in Manila.

Nevertheless, after her family life became stable, Canlas, a graduate of the University of the East in Manila, found time to take up a short course in Vancouver that qualified her for a job as caregiver. There was a big demand for that work, she notes, so she did not have a hard time getting employed in a local medical facility although she still found ample time to attend to her family.

As in the case of Taruc, he stresses the importance of “knowing people who can help you in times of need” when migrating to far-away lands like Canada.

“It can be very difficult if you don’t know anyone in Canada when you arrive for the first time,” Canlas says. “Having a place to stay, for instance, while you look for a steady job that can support you is an important consideration for a new migrant.”

Lolita Canlas in Canada

A newcomer must bring with him cash that he could use in the early days of his migration, both Canlas and Taruc suggest.

Canlas points out that housing rent alone could be at Can$1,000 a month. That’s equivalent to nearly P39,500 at the current exchange rate.

A prospective migrant, adds Canlas, must also keep in mind that there are areas in Canada where unemployment and crime rates can pose problems for a newcomer. A little research about living conditions will help, she says.

Even if a migrant arrives with a job offer, it would still take a few days before he gets his first pay check. Thus, a cash “baon” is a must for starting a new life in Canada.

For that matter, applying for a permanent resident visa to enter Canada as a skilled worker already entails fees of about Can$1,150 (or about P45,470), if traveling solo. If the applicant wants to take his wife along to Canada, the amount doubles. A married couple bringing two young children would pay total fees of around Can$2,380, equivalent to some P94,110.

Adding related expenses (including passports, copies of results of English-proficiency tests required for migration, work or study travel, medical exams, and economy-class airfare), total costs of making that trip to Canada as a migrant could run to some Can$10,500 (or about P415,200), according to estimates by Toronto-based immigration consultants IMMIgroup.

IMMIgroup’s Allard Keeley further calculates that a migrant family of four (two adult parents and two children) would need over Can$23,000 to cover expenses in settling down in the destination. Immigration authorities in Canada will require the migrants to show proof that that amount can be accessed and placed in a Canadian bank.

Overall total funds that a Filipino migrant family would need, based on Keeley’s computations, to secure all travel documents and tests, migration fees and cover initial housing and living costs could amount to more than Can$36,000—over P1.42 million at the current exchange rate.

On the IMMIgroup website, Keeley advises: “A well-managed savings plan is clearly a key part of any immigration application and should be started years in advance if possible. So, budget carefully and start saving those pesos as soon as possible!”

Taruc notes that in many cases a Filipino migrant would come to Canada only by himself. He looks for a job—initially even low-skill work—and saves up from his wages until he has resources that can sustain a small family. He then sponsors the rest of his family for visas to travel to Canada where they can live together.

Canlas, on the other hand, went to Canada, married her fiancé, and started a small family. As soon as the children were old enough, she enrolled in a caregiving course and eventually got a regular job.

In recent years, more and more Filipinos who migrate in search of greener pastures have chosen Canada as their destination. The Philippines is now consistently one of the top three countries of origin of migrants to Canada (it was even number 1 in 2016), according to Canada’s statistics office.

On the other hand, Philippine statistics rank Canada as the second top choice as migration destination, after the United States. This trend is expected to continue as more Filipinos looking for better economic opportunities abroad tend to take a more positive view of Canada’s policies and practices on immigration. – By Jose Galang

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THE FILIPINO TIMES is the biggest and most trusted Filipino newspaper in the UAE.

It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 1 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

THE FILIPINO TIMES. We are where the Filipinos are.

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