Immigration in general lies somewhere between high risk investment and gambling. The more informed your decision is, the closer it gets to a high risk investment and the lesser informed, the closer it gets to gambling. But, in either case there is a risk associated with it (and to some extent luck).
The following points may help you make an informed decision:
- Expectations and Attitude: Canadian permanent residency is not a magic wand. Canada is cleaner, you can make good money and your life in general can be better (or different) than average Indian life. But none of this will come without a struggle. Set your expectations low when (if) you move and be ready to hussle until you succeed.
- Reasons and factors to move: Think carefully of all the reasons that are motivating you to move. Just remember, grass on the other side always seems greener. If you aren’t mortally endangered in India (since India is not such a risky country I doubt you are), have a decently good job and have opportunities for career growth, have responsibilities like wife and kids etc. then moving to Canada won’t be worth it at all since you will have to restart your entire life from scratch. If you are not ready for it then it can quickly become demoralizing.
- Jobs: Canada doesn’t have a lot of jobs, period. No matter what your neighbour says or that immigration consultant says. Canada has a population of 35 million in an area of 3,854,085 sq mi while combined population of NCR and Mumbai (two metropolitan areas, not even states) is 34 million in a combined area of 21,414 sq mi. It’s a numbers game. Secondly your degree/education from India is pretty much null in Canada unless you have a proven record of doing extremely good work and a lot of recommendations and a good network. University education is very different in Canada as compared to India and university students have to work extremely hard and do a lot of projects before they enter job market. So the best way to enter the job market is go for higher education. If you have skills which are in demand then you might be able to make it more easily but even that doesn’t always help.
- Culture: North America in general is a more closed culture. You can live for years in an apartment without even knowing who your next door neighbour is. People here like their space and privacy. Getting to know all this and getting used to all this can take time. Unless you already know some good friends here, you will have to make a certain effort to socialize and meet similar minded people (even with people from Indian community). Even work culture is different, and you need to be more assertive to succeed. Assertiveness is encouraged and promoted in Canada while in India it’s still not a common trait where work culture is still very hierarchical.
- Age: And the most important point, the younger you are the easier it will be for you. The reason why I kept this point as the last is because all the challenges I mentioned above are easier to overcome if you have time on your side. Thats why those who came to Canada as students are able to succeed and integrate more easily. They get Canadian education, it’s easier to socialize when you are in university and you can get used to the culture and integrate into it. Also, as a student you have lesser responsibilities and after university struggle in Canada is comparatively less than India.
Life in Canada is not better but different if you already have a decently good job in India and a decently good lifestyle. There are a lot of pros to Canada (which I can get into if you would like me to) but there are a lot of challenges as well.
Pros of living in Canada: (in comparison to India specifically) :
- Basic public services:
- You have a police complaint to make? Do it and you will meet nice and respectful police who will do their job without expecting any bribe.
- Someone accidentally set fire to their garbage dump outside their home? Within 5 minutes you will have 3-4 firetrucks around that block.
- Well connected inter city transportation with metros, trams, buses etc. This one can differ for other cities but in Montreal, if it takes me more than 20 minutes to travel somewhere, I consider it far.
- It snowed terribly over night? No worries, by the time you are going to leave for work, most of the snow would be carried and transported away by trucks (especially from major highways).
- Government offices are not always quick to do everything, they do take time sometimes, but equally for everyone. No one can get his file moved etc.
- Want to watch that specific movie from 70’s which you cant find anywhere, or want to play that new PS4 game, or read some books over the next week? You can loan all these and so much more from your local library. If you are a resident, library membership is free of cost of course.
- Anything and everything is accepted, embraced and promoted.
- So you want to eat beef/porc/chicken/scorpion? Feel free without having to worry about offending someone.
- So you are a homosexual? No worries, feel free to come to Canada and get married to your partner.
- So you are a girl who wants to wear anything she wants at any time of day without worrying about her safety. No worries, in Canada no one cares how you dress up.
- Approachable politicians:
- I remember being in a dilemma once with some work permit documentation issues that were taking a lot of time (> 6 months) and I was not even able to get through call centres and get decent answer on how much more time would it take. In frustration (and after someones suggestion) I wrote an email to my local MP and voila, quite surprisingly I get a reply back next day from his office asking for my file details. He checked it up through his end and gave me an estimate of time left which was very accurate. It was quite surprising for me since in India, the only time you hear from a politician is during election time and then they disappear.
- The day after Justin Trudeau became prime minister, he spent next morning at a metro station here in Montreal thanking people for believing in him.
- Events & Activities:
- There are amazing number of things to do and select from. There are bars, sporting arenas, startup conventions, meetups, dance classes/school, music, painting, concerts, open air movie theatres, swimming etc.
- Civil society (except Toronto):
- People will open the door for you or keep it open, if they are passing before you.
- Queues are respected. Everywhere.
- It’s cheap if you a resident.
- University education in Canada is more methodical and challenging in comparison. Unless you educated from some top tier Indian university like IIT, ISB etc., Canadian education is definitely better.
- Canada is pure beauty:
- Free Medicare. Not so much.:
- I personally don’t see this as a pro, since you are paying for this with taxes.
- Secondly, the wait line at clinics is huge, which means unless you are in an emergency you will have to wait for hours before seeing a doctor and months before getting a treatment. Even if you are in an emergency, sometimes they make you wait for an hour or so before doctor is free.
- Doctors are more conservative and due to limited resources, tests are not that easily recommended. I had a friend who suffered from some nerve issue. No local doctor was even able to diagnose what was wrong with her, she had to go back to Mumbai to get herself treated (after which she was fine).