Prepare for your move to Canada: Get help with pre-arrival services

People often ask Tanya Pynadath, 31, a newcomer to Canada, how she managed to land a plum job within weeks of her arrival, and that too without any Canadian experience.

Her answer? Professional networking, research and a growth mindset. Pynadath stresses that she put in the bulk of hard work during the pre-arrival stage of her immigration.

Months before she landed in Toronto, from Mumbai, India, the consumer insights and analytics professional planned for her settlement in the new country diligently. She carved out time from an already busy schedule to reach out to professionals, organizations and settlement agencies in Canada.

“It wasn’t easy to sit in India and network, given the time difference,” Pynadath says. “Most days, I would be up late sending requests for informational interviews and asking people to spare me 10 minutes to talk. I was repeatedly told (during the calls) the job market in Canada wasn’t great, and that there was a freeze on hiring in many companies because of the pandemic, but I kept at it.”

At this time, Pynadath also began to sign-up for webinars and online courses. She also took French classes, and corresponded with career coaches. Instead of becoming disheartened by the bleak economy and grim prospects of finding a job, Pynadath packed her bags and landed in Toronto in August 2020. Once here, she continued with virtual networking.

In September 2020, Pynadath, during an informational interview with the marketing director of a well-known company, learned that the company was hiring. A month later, and approximately three months after her arrival in Canada, an ecstatic Pynadath started work in a managerial position.

Her advice to prospective immigrants is to start planning for the move before arrival.

“Do your homework before you arrive in Canada,” Pynadath advises prospective immigrants. “You should be willing to put yourself out there and be ready to step out of your comfort zone. I got turned down by many people that I reached out to, but I didn’t lose hope. Rather than start my job search, apartment hunting and other settlement issues until after my arrival to a new country, I did a lot of pre-planning before-hand.”

Stephanie Santos, a bilingual youth information and referral specialist with YMCA of Greater Toronto’s Next Stop Canada program, endorses Pynadath’s meticulous settlement approach.

As part of a team offering pre-arrival settlement services to about-to-land immigrants, Santos has helped hundreds of clients access her agency’s pre-arrival services while still in their home countries. The result?  Newcomers to Canada are able to transition seamlessly after their arrival because they are already aware of the networks, resources and connections that they can tap into.

“Since our launch in 2016, we have served more than 18,000 clients from 100 countries with their pre-arrival needs,” says Santos. “My suggestion to prospective immigrants would be that they do adequate amount of research beforehand, and secondly, to make sure the information they’re seeking is from reliable sources.”

Next Stop Canada’s pre-arrival services

Next Stop Canada a free online pre-arrival program that is delivered by the YMCA of Greater Toronto and funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Prospective immigrants can reach out to Santos and others in her team with their Unique Client Identifier — a number on their landing document.

“We help immigrants adapt and integrate by creating individualized plans for each person,” Santos explained. “This includes providing clients with information on housing, employment, education, as well as mentorship opportunities. Pre-arrival resources and programs such as Next Stop Canada eliminate the stress of ‘what now’”.

With the help of pre-arrival services, immigrants without an idea of where or how to start planning for their imminent arrival to Canada can confidently take the first step in their important journey.

For more information, visit the Next Stop Canada website.

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