Sir/Madam: I was once like you in the same situation, my wife and I came to Canada, with landed immigrant status. It was early 70 s, and we both were at the beginning of the twenties. I like to say we both are authentic Punjabi from India, and so that you fully understand the identity to correlate your SEA, I am not sure what it means. India/Pakistan/Bangladesh/Nepal/Sri Lanka/Bhutan/? This identity says something, for example, Indians have their community then there is further diversity South and North. This precise background makes a big difference, for example, some communities are very well established than the others. In some cases, it may be helpful to the new immigrant, if nothing else at least solid advice. Regardless, that is your decision to keep this identity SEA.
I like to put this disclaimer. Also, I am not an expert in this field to advise you or give directions. My suggestions or these writings are based on my thoughts, observations what my family and I went through in Canada. In case you find it useful take it otherwise no harm done.
We are here, and soon it is 50 years in this country.
A short answer to your question (Is it worthwhile emigrating to Canada? : It depends on the individual and his/her circumstances. No one can answer this question for you, except you. Nothing is cut and dried, we all are different and our objectives and goals are different.
A long answer with explanations:
Once again I am writing my observations and my first-hand experiences.
1. I had one. from U of Punjab, and three years experience in my field, my wife had excellent credentials.
2. In those days these credential meant nothing unless you get Canadian degrees/credentials. I vowed to do that, and I did another., then I became overqualified. First . from U of Punjab, was meaningless but with the other first also became meaningful, now in the interviews, I was told this job is for . you have two . degrees. They continued: You have good credentials, but lack “Canadian Experience”, since you are over qualified, you will enjoy this job. I was willing to do anything, but sure my “ happiness” to the interviewer was prime importance. Sure, it was very thoughtful.
3. My wife and I did almost every single job in this country, to survive. At the same time two little monkeys came along, as if we were rolling in the money. At the same time pressure from back home was there too. The cousin you never knew, his parents were writing to you: Please do not forget “ your cousin” do something for him too, besides he misses too. When in India, we never had one meal together, now sure he misses me.
4. My wife also went back to college to reinvent her entire career. Some days we were totally pessimists, for the opposite winds (failures) and some days we were optimists (with ray of hopes) and some days we adjusted sail on boats in the wind direction(accepted the fate and moved on for better tomorrow).
5. In those days, India was weak, and for us going back or even to think about it was not an option.
6. It was a long haul and struggle to rise inch by inch. Finally, we both reached the height of our careers; it was bittersweet successes. I did get the keys to the executive suite; my wife also found her decent place in the Sun.
7. Now the “ Canadian Experience” it is a catch-all phrase, it is a very sophisticated code word for Fresh off the Boat people, it is popularly called FOB. It applies to all new immigrants, especially from economically less developed countries. We were called Pakis in the early 70 s (Blanket term for SEA in fact for all brown people). Please do not stress, all people have/had names even Europeans, no one was spared. Everyone paid a good price to settle in a new country. This “ Canadian Experience” is in fact is the ability to work with others, to speak and write proper English without accents and there is some other aspects of it. Yes, after working all our lives here, indeed Canadian Experience is different than our country. You will find out when you work here for a few years, of course it is experience, no matter how much I try, you have to “ experience it yourself.” We all have different interpretation to this term, BTW it is not new it was there at least I know close to 50 years. My predecessors also mentioned this term but like me they could not articulate enough for me. I made my own interpretations, and adjusted myself with wind. You will too, learn this term and adjust your sail as per the wind.
8. Canada is one of the very best places on the earth, but for us, it was very hard and long journey. We raised two boys, they did very well in education and opportunities. The question I ask today: Will we do it again? Answer: Most likely not. But when we see our second and third generations our two sons, and now Grand Kids, then we both(my wife and I ) say may be.
9. In a layman terms, no matter what credentials you have, moving to another country, establishing yourself is a long journey. In case one is looking for extreme challenges, cut throat environment, failures and struggles, for those paratrooper any country, any place is good.
This is 50 years of hard work, sometimes back breaking, sometimes very emotional (Both parents passed away one by one, without I being there serving and taking care of them). Nothing comes without a price now each and every new comer has to weigh how much he/she is ready to pay.
10. Also: it is not unusual to see/meet very qualified people doing almost anything to survive, regardless of new immigrant. It is not new thing at all, now due to huge availability of internet/email/blogs/social media, more people are aware of it.
11. Some immigrants did not achieve anything, they are far worst than they came here. They do not have any hope from their next generation, they lost that too due to so many wrong attractions.
12. Please keep in mind, at the turn of the century the west was cracked open to the Asians (Chinese/Indian) for straight back breaking labor jobs. Then as the time progressed, the west needed semi skilled laborers, and as the time progressed further now they needed workers in the IT. I do not believe they are looking for manager/directors/VP s levels and to reach to those levels will be a long journey.
13. Well, all new immigrants must think this way, the power structure and keys to the boardrooms are secured in some hands. To reach to the doors or to get keys it is very hard work, and some do make it. In case you are darn good and hard working, at that stage color/religion/caste/creed/ accented and grammatically wrong English has no bearing. At that stage, so far a cat kills the mice, color of the cat does not matter anymore. However, it may take very long to reach that level, but it does not hurt to dream.
14. No matter where you go, favoritism, nepotism and preferences or selection processes with bias, regardless of country/company/region it is alive and well around the world. In olden time it was vocal and open and now it is all subtle, politically correct and very polite. Nothing you can do about it, except to work hard and out shine the competition to survive.
Here is the summary of more than four soon be five decades: As said earlier, nothing comes without price, everything has a price tag. All it depends what do you want to pay for it?
Back row: The author, younger son, B.E.(EE), LLB, sitting, Amy Seth Arora MBA(Harvard, University, HBS, batch of 2008, Ajay Arora (Son), B.E.(EE), M.E.(EE), MBA(Harvard, University, HBS, Batch of 2008, Ayan Arora(Grand Son, future double Nobel Prize Winner most likely in pure physics/nuclear physics for peaceful application and mathematics, future Alma mater, MIT/Stanford/Harvard, we wish) Wife (R.N.)
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