October 23, 2010

One of the reasons why I love my job

Image Credit: http://www.fotojens.se/

I received this interesting letter from one of my clients who landed in Alberta five months ago. With his permission, I'm posting his letter here. I figured this would be helpful to those moving to Canada.

Dear Sir,

It’s nice to hear that more clients have already received their visas from the Canadian government. But it’s also disheartening that Canada is limiting the number of applicants.

It’s been five months since we landed in Canada and this is how we fared so far:

The trip was very tiring and physically demanding. The flight by Canada Air from Hong Kong to Vancouver took 12 hours. We literally fell in and out of sleep the whole time. Add to that the many times we encountered turbulence in airspace shaking the plane on many occasions. The food was good, though. And plentiful compared to the usual meals given by PAL and Cebu Pac in our domestic flights.

Vancouver was another story. The immigration line was long on that day. There were both contract workers and immigrants. There were only 2 immigration officers to process some 50 new entrants on that afternoon. It was good there was some allowance of three hours to the next flight. Or else, we could have missed the next flight to Calgary.

When our time at the immigration officer came, we were asked where our permanent Resident card will be sent to. Since we have no address yet in our preferred destination, we gave the address of my sister in law in Calgary. We were asked too many questions that sounded somewhat annoying like “have you been convicted or tried of any crime”, and “have you been sent home to the Philippines by the Canadian government” and something like that. We were also asked about the settlement funds and asked for proof. When all of the asking was over, we finally heard the words “Welcome to Canada!”

This is it. We finally made it. We were asked to sign our papers in front of the immigration officer and he handed us a carbonized copy of our landing papers. We were told to always carry it with us until we receive the PR cards.

We arrived at Calgary on the same day, April 14 at 10pm. We were met at the airport by my sister-in-law and two of her friends. The luggage was many so that we needed 2 cars.

What impressed us when we finally stepped out of the airports was the vast landscape. The air was cold at 12-14 ˚C. Another thing that impressed us was the courtesy of the people, the clean surroundings, the orderly manner things are run. There was no baggage claims at the airports, by the way. You have to get your luggage from the conveyor. The queues are orderly.

The following day we went to the nearest Service Canada site and applied for the Social insurance Number (SIN). We cannot work legally in Canada without it. Then we applied for the Health card in the next block. In the afternoon, we opened a joint account at the Bank of Montreal. We got our ATM cards on the same afternoon.

The SIN came a week after. The health cards came two weeks after. Now we use the card whenever we go to the doctor. We don’t pay anything in a hospital or clinic. One condition of the card, though, is that you have to live in the province where it is issued for at least 180 days during the year. We found a family doctor after a month here. He is also a Filipino who has been here for over 10 years now. He was previously residing in Winnepeg MB the last 7 years but complained about the cold weather there. He found Calgary OK so he decided to be here.

What is also good about Alberta is the provincial sales tax of 0%. It is the only province to subsidize the PST. We only pay 5% Federal Tax on all purchases or services unlike the other provinces which have 7 8 or 9% PST.

I found a job after two months but held on to it for only a month. Something happened inside the company that the owner decided to have a long vacation. We were told to seek another employment. Some employees stole money, equipment and messed up the records. I have to do a lot of reconciliations but when the police came, we turned over what we have documented. I found another one soon and this one is much better.

The secret of finding work here? Have a Canadian work experience and/or Canadian credential. Since I was a CPA in the Philippines, I decided to enroll in a Canadian accountant designation. There are the Certified General Accountant, the Certified Management Accountant and the Chartered Accountant course. I also submitted my credentials to the International Qualifications Assessment office in Edmonton. The process took 12 weeks and now I have a Canadian credential. After my first employment, I have Canadian experience. So, Canadian experience plus CGA student credential equals more job opportunities. Landing a job is not that difficult even when the people here say Calgary is still in recession.

*** also found a job as cashier in a big company (Canadian Tire). You can take a peek at the website. She gave up the job because she will have a hard time scheduling work and studies the moment she attends classes. She now works in a law firm. Mind you, her salary is more than what I was receiving from my former job in the Philippines.

*** is now in grade 6. She has developed a curled tongue as what the Pinoys here tease. Speaks English with the Canadian accent. French is also taught in the schools and she can communicate in French. We applied for children’s allowance and were granted by the Federal government since our income was limited then. We receive a monthly allowance for *** about $300 Canadian. We will surely lose that after we file the income tax next year. Or maybe not yet if we don’t get over the minimum income tax level.

We are building credit history so that we can apply for a house loan. We were told that it can only happen after a year from arrival. Everything goes to our SIN records. Including purchases, employment pay, everything recorded.

Summer ends September 22 but outside temperature is from 1 to 10 degrees Celsius. Wait until winter comes. The temp plunges below zero and that is really cold!

A couple of days ago, I received another letter from the same client. According to him, he was now hired as Chief Compliance Officer of a securities firm. He is now registered with Canadian National Registration Database (NRD) as a securities worker. All that in less than a year in Canada!

His elder daughter is now working as Admin Assistant getting $15/hr. 7 hrs a day! When they received their visa, that daughter have just finished college here in the Philippines. How's that for a first job?

This is what I have been saying for the longest time. The Top 8 Reasons not to Immigrate to Canada by NotCanada.Com is not for Filipinos. Because Filipinos Rock! ;-)