Immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident (PR) is a long and demanding pursuit, which unfolds in several steps. Candidates must follow the prescribed process diligently, in order to obtain the Canada PR Visa Holder, which authorizes them to live and work in the country. However, the real challenge of immigration – that of integrating into the local community and job market as a foreign national – begins after arriving to the destination.
Upon landing in Canada, newcomers might be overwhelmed by the uncertainty of building a new life for themselves and their families in a foreign land. In order to address these fears, it is advisable to approach public institutions for assistance, and follow certain initial steps for adapting to a new lifestyle:
• If permanent accommodation is not already secured, arrange temporary accommodation for the initial house-hunting period, before moving to Canada.
• Carry all required documents for oneself and accompanying family members, including the Confirmation of PR, PR visa, passport and other travel documents, proof of settlement funds, immigration form, etc. These documents will be verified by a Canada Border Services agency officer, upon arrival.
• Arrive in Canada before the expiry date mentioned on the Confirmation of PR issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
• Visit the Service Canada office at the airport, or the closest Service Canada centre, to obtain a Social Insurance Number (SIN). The SIN is mandatory while applying for a job, availing government benefits, or opening a bank account in Canada.
• Send an online address notification to the IRCC, which will then send a Canada Permanent Resident Visa card to the immigrant’s local address.
• Immigrants whose children (under 18 years of age) are accompanying them to Canada should use the SIN to apply for the Canada Child Benefit, if eligible. The payment will be transferred to the mother’s bank account. So, the mother of the children must already have an operational bank account.
• Open a bank account and apply for a credit card for oneself as well as an accompanying spouse or partner, if any. Banks in Canada can issue credit cards with a limit of up to $2,000 or $5,000, without checking the credit history.
• Purchase local sim cards for phone communication.
• Apply for the public health insurance scheme to the registry. In some provinces or territories, there is a waiting period of three months before accessing public healthcare cover. In this case, immigrants should secure private health insurance for this duration.
• Understand how to use the public transport system, and begin the job search process, if employment is not already arranged.
The Canada PR Visa is simply a document that allows the individual to reside in the country indefinitely. It does not guarantee financial security and professional success. Ultimately, facilitating a smooth transition to Canada is based on sustained efforts towards finding affordable housing, seeking employment, settling down along with accompanying dependents, and availing social benefits.