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A Journalist’s Diary: India to Canada Amidst the Pandemic

Posted on February 22, 2021
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A Journalist’s Diary: India to Canada Amidst the Pandemic

“Journalism is what maintains democracy. Its the force for social progressive change”- Andrew Vachss

This quote struck a chord with me early on in life. Since childhood, I have been attracted to media in its varied forms and knew that someday I wanted to pursue a career in the same field.

For Those Who Dream, Life Never Comes Easy

Yet, everybody I met had only one opinion about me. You have such an easy-going life. It doesn’t take any effort to form an opinion, isn’t it? Ever since my teenage years, I have been receiving marriage proposals.

My extended family has already decided my future. Get married! What will you do with a career and further studies?

Life has taught me many brutal lessons early on. Even though I am relatively young, I think like a middle-aged person, I am told.

My parents never let me get de-motivated. They always encouraged me.

When I told them about my dreams, instead of belittling me, we discussed various aspects of a journalism career. My dad suggested we seek help from a career counsellor.

Upon discussions and assessment tests, the counsellor echoed my thoughts. Your daughter is fit for a career in journalism, the counsellor announced.

Upon graduating in Mass Communication, I joined a television news channel company. I learned the ropes slowly and steadily, sometimes burning my hands in the process.

There were both easy and tough days and days sometimes so rough, that I wanted to give up the profession.

This is when I constantly reminded myself about my goals and ambitions. Over the next seven years, I worked my way up the corporate ladder.

I took up journalism to be as close as possible to the heart of the world.
It’s My Life

I take my own life decisions, which my parents respect. They have complete confidence in me. Hence, once I decided that I wanted to move abroad to gain global work experience, they whole-heartedly supported the idea.

I had let my job consume me. There was no work-life balance.

Sometimes, me and my colleagues slogged for days on end. Our loved ones saw us mostly just once a year.

Is this the life I wanted? I questioned myself again and again. When I spoke to my friends abroad who were in the same profession, they suggested that I get some international experience under my belt. Working at international media houses would broaden my horizons.

My family loves researching on any topic of interest. Therefore, when it came to my moving to another country far, far away from them, how could they keep quite?

Every day, we discussed and debated every new piece of information a family member had researched about. We debated upon which country to move to and why, where is my profession respected and recognized, etc.

On a regular work day, I overheard my colleague preparing a news piece on overseas and immigration consultants in India. All the lightbulbs inside my tiny little head lit up at once.

Three days later, I walked into a Y-Axis branch. I outlined my case to the consultant; family background, work experience, my work interests, skills, and certifications, et all.

We discussed my expectations from them in terms of process and visa guidance, countries that I could move to and after careful consideration zeroed in on Canada.

About the Profession

Journalism industry is highly competitive and hence, graduates tend to branch out in related fields such as advertising or public relations. Compared to UK,Europe and Asia, journalist jobs in Canada are better paid.

Canadian law understands and honors the work-life balance. Canadian Association of Journalists is the industry body of journalists in Canada.

Journalists conduct research, investigate and communicate current affairs and other news through multiple channels like digital media, newspapers, television and other media. They can also work on freelance basis.

A career in journalism is in demand across Canada. One might be able to secure a Canadian permanent residency visa with or without a job offer.

Journalists who can write/ already write about scientific or technical subjects also have an advantage in the labour market.

Below is an illustrative list of designations that a person can apply for in Canada:

  • Book reviewer
  • Broadcast journalist
  • Columnist
  • Correspondent
  • Cyberjournalist
  • Investigative reporter
  • Journalist
  • Television news anchorperson

There are separate codes for:

  • Announcers and Other Broadcasters (5231)
  • Authors and Writers (5121)
  • Editors (5122)
  • Photojournalists

Do a thorough research before you apply. Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island regions in B.C rank amongst the highest in terms of employing the majority of journalists.

Few roles and responsibilities that a journalist performs are:

  • Through interviews, investigation and observation collect news from around the world
  • Write unbiased reviews (literary, musical, and others) based on judgement, experience, and knowledge
  • Conduct thorough research and prepare reports and news articles in fields such as medicine, science, and technology
Express Entry Visa Category

Canada Express Entry visa category is simply an option via which the Canadian Immigration selects candidates for permanent residence visa. Journalists looking to migrate to Canada can do so through the Federal Skilled Worker visa and Provincial Nominee program.

The Express Entry program curated for professionals immigrating for work is streamlined and transparent. Some of the program highlights are:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Traders Program, and Canadian Experience Class Immigration Program; are the programs covered under this category
  • This online program is open throughout the year and there isn’t a cap on number of applicants
  • An Expression of Interest needs to be submitted. The applicant has to specify job type under skills 0, A and B
  • Your profile is examined based on points and placed in applicant pool
  • Invitation to Apply (ITA) for PR is sent to highest point holders
  • ITAs issued is related to the Annual Immigration Level

Under the Express Entry for Canada Immigration points, your points are determined using the Canadian Comprehensive Ranking System.

The system’s goal is to identify candidates who have the highest probability to succeed after they migrate to Canada. The points scale has a maximum score of 1200 on which the candidate and their spouse (if any) are evaluated:

  • Age
  • Education
  • Language skills
  • Canadian and other work experience
  • Skills transferability
  • Online registration CAD: 300 non-refundable (4 weeks)

An important point to remember is that once you receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) from Canada Immigration, you have only 60 days to file an application.

So, get your skills assessment done beforehand. This doubles as your red seal qualification, meaning you are eligible to work as a journalist in Canada from day one.

Learn more about the Canada Express Entry visa category and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
Testing Times

COVID-19 has tested our limits. As the target date that I had set for myself to move abroad inched closer, there was no clarity on when Canada would start allowing immigrants again.

On a regular basis, the Y-Axis consultant contacted me and kept me up-to-date with the developments. Being in my profession, one gets the latest updates beforehand.

But, I was surprised at the minute details this two-decade old overseas immigration consultancy firm gave out to its clients. Their adeptness at detailing was amazing.

My Dream Job

During these difficult days, when people are staying at home as much as they can, essential services continue to function. My job also falls under this category.

As I stepped into the network’s office, I had goosebumps. All the hustle-bustle around me made me nervous. A new country, different work environment, a melting pot of cultures is an entirely new experience.

I go around talking to my colleagues and love breaking the ice. My co-workers have been very helpful. They resolve my queries, cover my minor goof-ups and cry with me when I miss my loved ones back home.

What puzzled me and took me time to adjust to is the egalitarian culture. We are used to a hierarchical workplace structure. In Canada, although employees have to follow manager’s directions, they have to take up initiatives and define solutions. In a way, the employees are their own mini-boss.

Multiculturalism and cultural mosaic are key elements of Canadian identity. Canadians dole out negative feedback mixed with positives. So, you have to learn to read between the lines.

Given the ethnocultural diversity, soft skills are of great importance. Soft skills like integrity, open-mindedness, patience, positive attitude, time management, presentation skills, leadership qualities, etc., weigh higher in comparison to technical skills.

Networking helps in both finding a job and career advancement.

Have Any Questions?

I hope my experience helps you answer any unanswered questions that you might have. Having been in a similar situation once, I can imagine the excitement, questions, apprehensions that you might have. Y-Axis has been very helpful in guiding me in the right direction. Check Work in Canada to know more about work permit visas, eligibility criteria, documents required, etc.

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