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My Journey As an HR Professional From India to Canada During Pandemic

Posted on February 19, 2021
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My Journey as an HR Professional from India to Canada during COVID

You Want to Move to Another Country?

This is the reaction I got when I broke the news about my decision to move abroad to my family. Being the youngest in the family, I was always the pampered child.

Growing up in a public sector township, life was secure. I lost my father while I was still young, and my mother brought us all up single-handedly. My elder brothers- two, are quite protective and very affectionate.

Hence, I never thought about settling in another country. My friends describe me as a positive thinking individual who is always contented with life. This despite all the hardships I have experienced.

As my work responsibilities grew, the work-life balance took a hit. Added to that was family pressure to get married. I wasn’t getting any younger, they reprimanded.
Fast Forward to 2021

Here I am, sitting in Canada’s capital city – Ottawa, narrating my experience to you. As they say, life happens. I work at a boutique recruitment company as their recruitment head. I confess this has been the best life-changing event.

I worked for ten years in India in talent acquisition. Seven years out of those ten, I dedicated to a leading MNC. In my last role as an Assistant Manager – HR Business Analyst, I learned different dynamics of the business by analyzing HR data and providing insightful reports to help businesses.

As my work responsibilities grew, the work-life balance took a hit. Added to that was family pressure to get married. I wasn’t getting any younger, they reprimanded. I wanted to explore life and wasn’t ready to settle down yet. My elder brother lives in Canada with his family, and over the years, I had visited him several times. My love for the country grew each time.

As the family pressure grew, I had to make a decision quickly.

Work or Education?

I am a fine arts aficionado and always wanted to pursue either a degree or diploma course in the same. Hence, I contemplated hard whether I wanted to go for higher studies or work purposes to Canada. After thorough research about Canada’s immigration process, I decided to immigrate to Canada for work.

The Preparation

I put my foot down and announced to my family about my intentions. Reluctantly, they gave in.

My office work schedule was hectic. Juggling work and preparing for my IELTS exam didn’t seem practical. I decided to quit my job and focus on my current goal. My mom and I stayed together and I took care of all the expenses. Hence, financially, it was going to be tough.

Seeing my determination, my loved ones started supporting me. They advised me to seek guidance from an immigration consultant. I researched a few overseas placement firms and asked around. Y-Axis was one name that constantly resonated.

I called Y-Axis and upon hearing my query, gave a brief overview of the process. That is when I realized how little I had gathered from my research online and how disastrous it would have been if I had tried to complete the process by myself.

When the Y-Axis consultant asked whether I was interested in taking the process further, I immediately consented. She asked me to come down to their office to discuss further. During our face-to-face interaction, the consultant understood my objectives. She also talked about Y-Jobs, their separate division, which helps job seekers find jobs.

They help you understand how the Canada job market functions, thus giving you tips on how to modify your resume. Through their job website , they float your resume. In short, they help jobseekers and organizations connect via their website.

Since I had quit my job, I suddenly had all the time in the world. Step-by-step, I started to tick off all the milestones from my checklist.

Canada Work Visa Category

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issue Canada work visas under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).TFWP helps Canadian employers employ foreign workers in case of labour market shortages. It also ensures that foreign workers get the rights they deserve to be employed safely in Canada.

TFWP is made up of:

  1. High-skilled workers
  2. Low-skilled workers
  3. Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
  4. Live-In Caregiver Program
  5. Global Talent Stream
  6. Foreign Academic

IRCC along with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) ensures that foreign workers aren’t taking up jobs that can be filled by either Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Canadian employers must apply for Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in case they plan to hire a foreign worker.

Employment and Social Development Canada/Service Canada issues the LMIA document that allows an employer to hire a foreign worker through the TFWP. Your application might qualify for two-week processing if your employer receives a positive LMIA.

Remember that before you submit your work permit application, you must get the following documents from your employer:

  • Job offer letter or contract
  • Copy of LMIA

Depending on the province, sometimes foreign workers might qualify to apply under the non-LMIA programs such as the International Mobility Program. Under this program, number of temporary worker options exist which allow employers to hire workers without requiring an LMIA. The LMIA exemptions are based upon certain conditions like:

  • Economic or other competitive advantages for Canada
  • Mutual benefits enjoyed by Canadians and permanent residents

Given my profile, I qualified under the work visa category. Thus, once I secured a job offer, Y-Axis initiated my visa process.

To know more about Canada Work Visa Categories and how you can apply, you can refer to the Y-Axis article on Canada Work Permit Visa.
Mini Disruption

The world goes into a lockdown! Screamed the newspapers and news channels. My heart sank. I got a reassuring call from the Y-Axis consultant the very next day. None of us knew when things would go back to normal. Hats off to the organization that left no stone unturned. They could have simply stated – when we receive an update, we will let you know. Instead, they were constantly monitoring the situation and keeping me posted regarding the same.

Free At Last

As I prepared for my new journey, I kept adding goals to my bucket list. I kept dreading how my loved ones would throw advises my way on all the do’s and don’ts. My defense mechanism was at an all-time high. With two days left to fly, I was surprised as to why no one was advising me on how to conduct myself in a new country, how to plan my day, what to watch out for in a new organization, etc.

When I asked my mother about this, she laughed and brushed it aside. She said we have seen you grow into a mature individual over this past year while you were preparing for your new stint. So we know you can take care of yourself anywhere.

Life In Canada

Canadians are known for their maple syrup, work-life balance, and ice hockey. When it comes to sustainability, cultural influence, entrepreneurship, economic influence, and quality of life – Canada is ranked second-best country in the world behind Germany. Their unemployment rates are lower compared to other countries.

Canada is one of the leading contributors when it comes to quantum computing, space science, and medical discoveries. The country has been celebrating inclusivity for years.

I am really excited that to be a part of a great country. My colleagues have been quite supportive in terms of making me understand the work, the office culture. Given the exceptional circumstances, working remotely in a new job and in a new country has been quite overwhelming. But both my employer and co-workers have been quite supportive.

I have slowly started to tick off items from my wish list. During my free time, I paint and spend time with my extended family. Thanks to COVID-19, our movements are still restricted. I am even planning to pursue a part-time course in Arts.

Have Any Questions?

I hope my journey helps answer questions you have been asking yourself for a long time. I will be more than happy to help you with all your doubts/ queries/concerns regarding the country in general. I can imagine your excitement and curiosity to gain more knowledge about working overseas. Thanks to Y-Axis and their consultants for holding my hand every step of the way.

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