My Journey as a IT professional from Lucknow to Calgary
Posted on February 16, 2021
IT specialist From Lucknow to Calgary
Canada by chance
Canada. Too many Indians go to Canada anyway. I never thought I would be one of them.
Honestly, Canada was never on my mind. Australia was always my first choice for migrate overseas. Maybe that came from being a cricket fan all these years. The more cricket matches I watched, the more I wanted to settle down in Australia in any way that I could.
From whatever I could get to know from my friends and relatives, IT was the thing to focus on if you wanted to go abroad with family and earn a decent living. When I was doing my graduation, it was IT all the way. The MBA bug came much later.
Anyway, I even chose my pathway based on what would work the best for me for Australia immigration. I was so sure that I wanted to see myself settling with family in the Land Down Under that I was taking absolutely no chances at all.
After completing my bachelors’ degree in computer science, I was all set to take the final plunge. I began with a full-time job with a comparatively small company. But then, that time not many were taking on freshers anyway.
I was in a hurry to learn. I tried to know as much as possible in the 2 years that I spent with my first company as an IT specialist. Then with a stronger resume that had work experience, I decided to move on to a bigger company.
I also took a program certificate from Cisco in the meantime.
While I kept working at my job in India, I would also keep tabs on what was happening in Canada immigration. Trust me, the more you know yourself, the better it is. With proper knowledge of the process, it would be more difficult for you to go wrong in visa and immigration.
Express Entry, latest immigration updates, new announcements by the Canada immigration, provincial draws, I would read everything. After some time, I could say with some confidence that I had got a fairly good knowledge about how to migrate to Canada. But, honestly, I would still not confident enough to apply on my own.
I made sure that I was qualifying for Canada immigration as per the eligibility calculation required to get 67 points. I would be applying as a skilled foreign worker through the Federal Skilled Worker Program that is managed by the federal government of Canada through the Express Entry system.
What makes Express Entry the fastest immigration program
Launched about 5 years ago in 2015, the Express Entry system of Canada is one of the most straightforward and simple immigration programs across the world.
Applications that are submitted through the Express Entry system have a standard processing time of within 6 months. That is the fastest that any country will take you in as a migrant!
There are 3 different economic immigration programs that come under the Express Entry. But specific eligibility is needed for the other 2. Knowledge of a specific trade is a prerequisite for applying for migrate overseas to Canada through the Federal Skilled Trades Program. Also commonly referred to as the FSTP.
Then, the third program requiring Canadian experience is similarly named, that is, the Canadian Experience Class or the CEC.
Canada as a temporary worker?
One day, I read a first-hand experience of a recent immigrant to Canada. That person had explained in detail how he went to Canada as a temporary worker and then later applied for Canadian permanent residence. That person had taken the CEC route.
As per that immigrant to Canada, he recommended taking the route to Canada in a temporary manner, and later converting to permanent residence. Apparently, many more immigration options are available before a foreign worker that has some kind of Canadian experience.
Why professional help always ‘helps’
By this time, I was more confused than ever. On one hand I was looking at the FSWP as a skilled foreign worker. Then, there was also the option of trying out from within Canada.
This was when I finally decided to ask those who probably know the best. A friend’s sister was working in Hyderabad with Y-Axis. I talked to her to get to know my options. She told me to go to any of the Y-Axis offices in Delhi as I had relatives there.
As of now, Y-Axis does not have any office in Lucknow.
Many had told me that immigration consultants are very expensive and only “care about the money”. Some had even told me that “as soon as you pay the consultant, they will stop taking your calls”. The internet had many more horror stories. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I decided to simply walk-in for a Free Counselling session.
I took all my documentation along with me when I went to Delhi. I went to their Nehru Place office. It being a Saturday, it was quite crowded. But when my turn came I understood why and what was taking so long. The consultants actually take time to explain everything, even if it is only a Free Counselling.
My consultant was very nice and took the time to answer all my questions. Priya, my consultant, suggested I go in for a Country Evaluation, if I was interested. That would be for analysing my profile as per the specific demands of the particular country.
I went for a Country Evaluation for Canada only. By this time, I was no longer thinking of Australia.
Somewhere in all this time, my mind had shifted from Australia immigration to migrate to Canada. Maybe it was because I realised I had better chances of being granted a visa for Canada.
I did think of trying for an evaluation for Germany as that would open the entire European labour market for me, but I decided to focus on Canada only for the moment.
My online research work on immigration had told me that Germany had big demand for IT professionals, but there was a problem with getting the interview slot booking for the visa. I was not willing to wait for a long time for something that may or might not even be worth it, so I began working out all the finer details for my working in Canada.
Levelling up with an International Resume
The first thing I did was to get my resume made as per the international standards. I had recently updated my resume and according to myself made the most competitive resumes of them all. I happily and proudly showed Priya my updated cv when I went for Free Counselling. Even though she did not say anything negative, she suggested that I consider getting it remade by a professional.
International Resume is the big in thing nowadays. I did not know that. But then I had never applied internationally in the past until then anyway.
So I got a professional at Y-Axis to work on my International Resume. That is a small product and a stand-alone thing, so you need not bother about taking the complete immigration package or anything.
Now, I had my global cv. What next? Here again I took the assistance from guys at Y-Axis for pushing my CV on LinkedIn to people that really matter. With a CV that stands out from the rest, you are more visible than ever to international employers.
Finding a job in Canada from India
Here I did it on my own. With so many options available at the click of a mouse button, finding a genuine job in Canada from India is indeed possible. Even with the pandemic situation the world over, technology companies in Canada were still hiring.
To be on the safe side, I sent off my CV to almost 20 different employers. The official employment website of the government of Canada was a big help. They give you the job profile in detail, the responsibilities expected to be carried out in that position, the expected salary [overall in Canada and also in each of the specific 10 provinces], the job trends and prospects etc.
With a fairly good idea of what to expect working on the same position within Canada at different locations, it is much easier to come up with a do-able road map for Canada immigration for IT specialist, in my case.
In the Express Entry Pool
Anyway, my profile by this time was in the Express Entry pool. I would be applying under the FSWP as I would not qualify for the other 2 Express Entry programs. As I had no trades knowledge, the FSTP was out for me.
Similarly, the pathway of CEC required Canadian work experience that I did not have. CEC works for those that have been in Canada for some time as a temporary worker. These people can then make use of their Canadian experience to be able to apply through the Express Entry under the CEC.
With my profile in the Express Entry pool, all I could now do was to wait for my invitation by Canada’s federal government.
The wait for an invitation
This is probably the longest time of them all. That of waiting for an invitation from Canada for formally being able to submit a completed application for Canadian permanent residence.
After a wait of some months, I was lucky to get an ITA from IRCC. That was around the second half of 2020. After coronavirus restrictions were put in place by Canada, there was a temporary halt on issuing invitations to FSWP.
The focus that time had shifted to people already in Canada, that is, those either eligible for the CEC or those who were provincial nominees. I got my ITA. Soon I submitted my Canada PR application. By then, I had got my documentation together and had almost a prepared application. All I was doing was to wait for the green signal from Canada.
First time international
Finally, the day came for me to board my plane to Canada. I was surely scared. As it is, it was my first international journey. Then, it was the dreaded corona time.
After days of waiting for being able to board the flight, I finally managed to fly to Canada in January 2021. I know, most of the people were unable to take the flight that time. I guess I got lucky. My employer in Canada got some kind of special permission for me that made it possible to travel to Canada from India in COVID-19.
With due precautions taken – both at airports in India and Canada – my journey was quite smooth enough. Once I reached Canada, I had to undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days. But then, that is applicable for all that travel anyway. So, no complaints.
I’m still in the process of settling down. New job. New country. New friends. But I think it’s easiest for a migrant to settle in Canada. There is no language barrier. The people are quite friendly. The best is that you will find many Indians in Canada! I made so many new friends in the few days that I’ve been here. Many of them are fellow Indians. It sure feels like home in Canada.