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My story as engineer from Bangalore to Regina in Canada

Posted on January 21, 2021
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Saba Khan, engineer From Bangalore to Regina

Sabha Khan

Engineer From Bangalore to Regina

Why I decided to move to Canada

My story begins about 2-3 years ago. I had completed my engineering and was on the lookout for a good job opportunity where I could see my skills in the field translate to a good future for me. That time I wasn’t looking at work overseas to be honest.

I mean, why go overseas when you can do what you want here in India? That was how I thought about it. Then all that changed with a change in my family situation. My elder sister got married and moved to the US following her marriage. That was my parents began telling me how the best possible future would be for me to get a job in the US itself as I could live with my sister and also learn and earn.

Anyway, I did not at once start looking at US jobs. Frankly, I was more into looking at Australia or maybe New Zealand for jobs if I had to move abroad. But then I did try out my luck in the US after much family discussion with my parents back home and many video calls with my sister in the US.

While I did keep trying for the US, I also looked at Canada immigration. I had read many reviews online and talked to many friends and ex-colleagues that had gone abroad for better working atmosphere and higher pay.

Many of my friends also wanted me to try for Australia. But in my personal situation the better alternative for me was definitely Canada, as that way I could be closer to my sister even if I could not be in the same country.

I also found out that people with Canada PR could work in the US. Sadly for me, by the time I began applying for jobs in the US, the freeze on US visas and immigration had already begun. I got stuck there. I did a lot of online research that time. I then realized that even with my education and background it might be a bit more difficult for me to get a US visa.

That was the time when I began looking for jobs in Canada. I tried many online portals and forums. There are so many communities out there. I was very surprised to see the level of online support that any immigrant – prospective, planning for immigration, or immigrated – can find.

Canada immigration is the quickest

Talking to many online, I found that Canada immigration is probably the quickest immigration process of any country. The federal government of Canada has a standard time of 6 months for processing immigration applications through the Express Entry system. There are 3 different programs that come under Canada’s Express Entry.

For people with previous Canada experience, the Express Entry program applicable would be the Canadian Experience Class (or the CEC). For those skilled in trades the ideal Express Entry program to apply under would be that for the federal skilled workers – the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).

The third program under the Express Entry is the most popular of them all. This is for skilled workers. For most of the people, however, applying from various countries such as the third-countries the route to Canada immigration through the Express Entry will go via the FSWP, the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

Taking the FSWP route under Canada’s Express Entry system

The FSWP is for skilled workers from all over the world that wish to settle in Canada with their families after taking up permanent residence. Express Entry is the most easy to understand in immigration programs offered internationally. The documentation is very simple. I don’t think a job offer in Canada is compulsory, but I’m not sure.

For my part, I did first secure a job in Canada before beginning the processing of my Canadian permanent residence application. Today, in the digital age that we live in, finding a job online is very simple. All you must know is where to look. There are many job portals that are dedicated exclusively to overseas jobs.

I made my profile on many such portals. But I found my job in Canada through the official job portal of the Canadian government, Jobs Bank. I read up all I could find online about the best Canadian provinces for an immigrant engineer like me to live and work in.

As I was to go to Canada on my own, I could not claim points for the spouse for my Express Entry ranking. That meant I had to try and score the highest CRS points that I could manage. My English is decent enough and I was confident of getting a good Band score on my IELTS.

My job offer also got me another 50 CRS points. I was at a good enough CRS 450+ range. Express Entry draws have invitations sent to those with the highest ranking in the Express Entry pool. This ranking is based on different factors assessed as per the Comprehensive Ranking System [CRS].

Importance of getting it right the first time

Still because of financial issues I could not take the risk of going through full Canada immigration process one more time. I had to get it right the first time itself. For that to happen, I had to make sure that my Express Entry profile was the one that got an invitation from Canada government.

So I had to look for was to guarantee an IRCC invitation for Express Entry. I found out that the best and worthwhile way for getting an invitation from the federal government of Canada to apply for Canadian permanent residence is that of getting a province to back you up.

This provincial green signal could be got through something called a provincial nomination in which almost all provinces of Canada take part. I leant that there were also 3 territories in Canada but I personally did not find them interesting enough to settle down with family.

My priority was a province that could get me the best job opportunities in Canada for an engineer. Also, as I had planned on being close to my sister in the US too while I worked in Canada, the ideal thing for me would be to get nominated by a province that shared border with the US.

Among the Canadian provinces, I found 5 [from the west to east] British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario – shared their border with the US. Quebec also shares border but there was learning the French language problem with me, so I decided to focus on these 5 provinces only.

Other smaller provinces also share border with the US, but I did not want to go there for reasons of my own.

Why I chose Saskatchewan for PNP

Anyway, to come to the point, I short-listed Saskatchewan as the province best for me. Saskatchewan province in Canada shares border with the US states of North Dakota and Montana. My sister and brother-in-law live in Montana.

So, I had to make the changes in my Express Entry profile to mark that I was interested in a provincial nomination from Saskatchewan. They have the option of either selecting ‘all’ provinces or marking a particular province.

By this time, it had already been over a month that I had made my Express Entry profile. But I edited it easily on my own.

Then I had to inform the Saskatchewan government that I was looking at relocating to their province by taking the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program’s [SINP] International Skilled Worker: Express Entry path.

For this, I had to register myself with the SINP and also find out if I qualified for their eligibility criteria. This registration is known as the Expression of Interest [EOI] profile. There is no charges or costs at all for creating an online EOI.

What many people do not know or realize is that the EOI is not an application for visa for immigration. It is only how an immigrant tells the government of the province that they would like to settle there. The visa and immigration application runs separately and does not involve the initial EOI as such.

The EOI I created was valid for 1 year. I managed to secure the required 60 points on the points-grid for the SINP. As I was unmarried and would be travelling alone to Canada for work overseas in Saskatchewan, I could not claim points for the spouse or partner. But I made it up elsewhere.

Canada job offer, not compulsory but useful

Job offer might not be necessary for Canada immigration in general, but it sure helps to have a genuine and verified job offer in Canada if you plan on immigrating there in future. Job offer helps in many places of the entire journey as an immigrant from India to Canada.

Right from the 67-point FSWP eligibility for Express Entry to the ranking in the Express Entry pool that is based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of the candidate, a job offer in Canada increases your chances at getting a Canada PR Visa.

Don’t get me wrong. You can always get a Canada permanent residence visa first and then look for a job from inside Canada when you reach there. Many of my friends and ex-colleagues have done just that, getting a PR first and a Canada job later.

Online forums

I focused on getting a valid and good job in Canada first of all. There are many ways of doing it online. Many job portals are for international jobs only. Take the time to research the right ones. Always register and apply to as many Canada jobs that you can find. A majority allow you to apply free of cost. 

Go through the online discussion forums also. There are many that you can find online. Many of them are immigrants that have come to Canada recently and are settling down in the country. Others are those like me in India or other neighbouring countries looking at tips for quick and easy immigration to Canada. 

Many of such forums are very active. They give practical and useful advice. 

Post-research

Following long research sessions online, and also asking people I knew personally, I came up with some sort of a roadmap for Canada immigration that could get me Canada PR through the province of Saskatchewan. 

My expression of interest profile had been made with Saskatchewan PNP. All that I had to do was to wait for an invitation to apply. As far as I know, most of the PNP streams are by invitation only. An individual can begin the process by creating an EOI profile with the specific province and then wait for an invitation. 

Seeking professional help from Y-Axis

I had made my EOI profile on my own. But I came to Y-Axis Whitefield branch for helping me submit a complete application, if I got an invitation. 

Luckily, I got my invitation. Maybe engineers are in demand in Saskatchewan. I remember it was on September 25, 2020 that I got my invitation from the SINP. I had my occupation classified as National Occupational Code [NOC] 2131 for Civil Engineers.  I was among the 404 Express Entry candidates invited that day.

I think 365 were also invited from SINP’s Occupations In-Demand category.  I was an Express Entry candidate with my profile in the pool of Canada immigration candidates managed by IRCC. IRCC stands for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. 

Candidates that are not Express Entry are eligible for the Occupations In-Demand line. All other things and requirements are usually the same between the 2 categories of the SINP. 

Submitting a Decision Ready Application

All the time that I waited for my invitation from Saskatchewan, I was getting my documentation ready and complete for prompt submission. I actually submitted my application within a week of getting my SINP invitation!

I did secure a nomination. Thank god. They sent me a nomination certificate in my online IRCC account. I also got 600 CRS points for a provincial nominee. IRCC did send me an invitation in Express Entry draw held on September 30, 2020. 

I remember the minimum CRS cut-off that time was 471. Mine was in CRS 800+ range with my provincial nomination. I realized PNP is a sure way to Canada PR. 

Submitting Canada PR application

This time also we submitted my Canada PR application within the week. I soon got my COPR from IRCC and will be travelling to Canada within a few days if all goes as planned. 

Before I end my experience from Bangalore to Regina, I would like to give my honest advice to others like me that might try or be in process of Canada immigration. 

One of the best ways of making sure that Canada government takes notice of you as a prospective immigrant with the right potential is to go the PNP way. Better still, I would suggest that you submit your EOI profile to each of the provinces under the PNP. 

Creating an EOI profile is free of cost. You can always deny an invitation later if you change your mind later on for any reason.

Also, please take professional assistance for immigration if you have any doubts in your mind. You can always complete the process on your own. Only a basic knowledge of English is needed in most cases. 

Still, professionals know what can go wrong and at what stage in the process. They are the best judge of the situation. A good consultant will tell you right away if your profile has a good scope for Canada immigration. 

Be cautious. Take time to do your own research. Always ask questions and get the terms explained to you. Immigration is an investment of money as well as time. Make both count with the best guidance.

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Canada PR pathways available include

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