So you want to move to Canada, eh?

Published: March 31, 2013

Scarcely populated Canada is the land of dreams and opportunities. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

“It is not like they are welcoming you at the airport with a job letter,” says Hina Jawad*, who migrated to Canada from Pakistan in 2005 along with her family with high expectations but little in the way of preparation.

“I didn’t know anyone in Toronto and I had no social or professional base here.” There were hurdles on the way as she set out on a rigorous job search, sending out two dozen job applications per day and making cold calls at various offices to drop off her resume. As someone who had served as an Assistant Vice President (AVP) in corporate banking back home, she would constantly find herself being offered entry-level positions in Canada. “I was told that I will have to complete some Canadian accreditation course or else start from a bank teller position.” Eventually her hard work paid off and after being interviewed by a senior manager at the Royal Bank of Canada, she was offered a role in business development at the bank.  “Now when I look back and hear other peoples’ stories, I feel very fortunate.”

Hina’s story is typical of many Pakistani immigrants to Canada, who have to either struggle to find the right job, or failing that, settle for less. 40-year-old Anwer Dar*, who is a marketer by profession,  is back in Pakistan after spending six months in Canada, where he has also left his family. “I am not willing to settle for less than what I am qualified to do,” he says. “In fact, I applied for a particular category and now I can’t find the job for which I was approved. This country has a shortage of skilled labour, but this system is not tuned with the reality.”

Ikram Qureshi, a teacher at the Peel District School in Canada, agrees that settling down in Canada after immigration is not easy. “All that glitters is not gold,” he says.  “While settling down in Canada, professional expertise and educational compatibility were the main concerns. But when I landed in Canada, it was a totally different story.” Qureshi feels that he was wronged by the many ‘pseudo’ immigration consultants in Pakistan who didn’t give him a clear picture of Canadian requirements. “I think there are some major discrepancies in the immigration procedure.  None of my qualifications were acknowledged. The category I qualified for was supported by my documents, my professional experience and degrees,” he says. “I was told in most of the interviews that I didn’t have Canadian experience, even if a few of the employers considered my qualifications to be acceptable.” Eventually, after many fruitless job searches he figured out how the system works. “The solution lies in certification,” he concludes. “Get yourself certified from relevant institutions and then seek the required experience. Though it’s tough and time consuming there is no other way around the requirements.”

According to Sikander Lalani, an immigration consultant and the CEO of Karachi-based Lalani and Associates, “Opportunities are open for those who can fit into the developed world and can deliver what is new and unique and fruitful. After immigration, the biggest issue is of settlement, and this is possible only if one gets into their education system and tunes oneself according to the local standard skills.”

Disclosing the changing requirements for 2013 immigration to Canada, Lalani says that “laws are getting tougher and tougher.” Although 55,000 visas for skilled workers will be offered by the Canadian government this year, Lalani feels that there are some changes that will affect Pakistani applicants. Immigration applications are judged on a points system, and the weightage of language requirements (fluency in French or English) has now increased from 16 to 24 points. There is thus a greater demand for young people who are fluent in these two languages and are also well educated. Direct applications for Canadian immigration are also likely to reduce in the future and Lalani says that immigration processes will now look exclusively for experience in the country or some form of Canadian credentials. This may be obtainable through temporary work permits or by enrolling at post-secondary educational institutions.

Some of these problems are resolved by getting an approval from the autonomous accreditation bodies that are set up for each profession. These bodies endorse permissions to work in the country, and provide for a license to work in that particular field. Often, these licenses are difficult to obtain for immigrants. On the other hand, demand is gradually shifting to the provincial nominee programme, where Canadian provinces invite migrants on the basis of a working permit, keeping in mind the specific skill sets that province requires. Once the migrant finds a job, this permit can become a residency. The benefit here is that provinces are better able to judge which labour is in demand within their localities, and the chance of these migrants finding a suitable job is higher.

But getting there is only one part of the struggle. Being accepted into the larger community is quite another. Making matters worse are the increasing number of Pakistani applicants illegally entering Canada, or else using false information to burnish their credentials. This adds to the aura of suspicion around the Pakistani community, and often delays immigration procedures. “Illegal immigrants are the biggest threat,” Lalani says.

Unlike the mass exodus of Pakistani labourers to Britain in the aftermath of the Second World War, Canadian immigration rejects members of the working classes in favour of highly qualified professionals and academics. But notwithstanding this selection criterion, there are many who continue to persevere in their search for a new life in Canada, despite not being able to fulfill the criteria. Often using the services of non-licensed consultants in Pakistan, non eligible applicants create fraudulent documents in the hope of crossing the finish line. While some of them manage to make it, the majority end up losing both their money and the opportunity.

One such case is 33-year-old Farah*, who still believes she can find a niche for herself in the Canada. Despite being unable to find a job in Pakistan, she is driven by the attraction of a foreign land. When asked how she expects to achieve what she has not been able to do in her home country, she lists a number of possible occupations that she and her husband can take up: driving a taxi, opening a restaurant or being an attendant at a daycare centre. Farah describes her efforts to immigrate to Canada. “I did a beautician course and applied for that category in Canada. I had no experience and instead used a fake employment certificate.  We suffered when the investigation began and my supposed employer failed to answer the investigators’ questions.  It’s been almost 12 years my husband has been trying frantically for immigration. We have spent almost 20 lakh rupees but all in vain”

“It is usually believed that once the medical checkup has been completed it means that the case has been accepted and that visas will soon follow,” says Ameen* who had applied for immigration by using a fake certificate in which he claimed he was a chef. “I managed to get my medical cleared, but then the investigations began and that resulted in the failure of the process,” admits Ameen.* “I guess it was our consultant’s trick to get money out of us,” he adds as an afterthought.

In this scramble to emigrate, many such applicants not only end up inflicting monetary losses upon themselves, but also raise the bar for eligible applicants. “These people should realise that they are creating hurdles for the next generation of immigrants. Once they are rejected due to their fraudulent documents and misrepresentations, this will affect their childrens’ applications to any part of the western world as these countries do share data,” says Lalani.

It is not uncommon for Pakistani immigrants to feel that they are being wrongly associated with either the political context back home or the actions of their larger community. According to Lalani, the political upheavals in Pakistan, which are closely monitored by Canadian authorities, can directly impact the immigration procedures of Pakistani applicants. “The wave of terrorism, in addition to the bad press Pakistan gets, has added to the difficulties faced by Pakistani applicants,” he says.

“Around the time I immigrated,” says Hina Jawad, “Pakistan was in the media spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Soon after I started my job at a Canadian bank, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. There was a lot of political unrest in Pakistan, and I felt like I was scrutinised at all times.” But gradually Hina was able to make inroads into the Canadian community and gain acceptance as a qualified professional with good work ethics. “To many, it was also a shock that a Pakistani Muslim can actually speak fluent English, that she can be educated and well-informed,” she adds.

But Hina considers herself fortunate, acknowledging that her success story may not be representative of all migrants. “Through my positive approach and work ethics, I think I managed to change their views.  With time I progressed, got accolades and acknowledgement internally and externally in the banking network and was soon promoted to senior manager. In this role again I have made a place for myself within the bank and in the South Asian community and can feel the respect and acceptance from them as a professional. My story is a bit different from many others because today when I look back, I believe God has been very gracious to me, and I have adopted the right approach with persistent efforts.”

Canadian permanent residents of Pakistani origin have declined from 15,353 in 2001, to 4,986 in 2010, a drop of 67%

Canadian Immigration Programmes

Skilled workers and professionals

For people who want to settle and work in Canada (outside of Quebec)

Skilled trades

For people who want to immigrate based on being qualified in a skilled trade.

Quebec-selected skilled workers

For people selected by the Quebec government to settle and work in Quebec

Canadian Experience Class

For people who have recent Canadian work experience or have graduated and recently worked in Canada

Investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed people

For people who want to start a business in Canada

Provincial nominees

One of Canada’s provinces or territories can nominate you to settle and work there

Sponsoring your family

If you are a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen, you can sponsor a family member to join you there

Live-in caregivers

For individuals who are qualified to provide care for children, elderly persons or persons with disabilities in private homes without supervision

Refugees

For people in or outside Canada who fear returning to/ living in their home country

Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, March 31st, 2013.

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Reader Comments (41)

  • Mohammad
    Mar 31, 2013 - 1:38PM

    if you have a decent living in Pakistan, don’t bothered to think about migrating. Our Leaders have given us an education system which can work only in Pakistan or max in Middle East. I highly recommend to stay in Pakistan, go Sole proprietorship.

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  • Bilal Khan
    Mar 31, 2013 - 1:38PM

    I have spend some time in Canada. Its a weird country. They are extremly short of skilled professional yet they would not entertain workers who were trained abroad. Passing the accredition exams is tough – Canada needs a relaity check and should ease the process by which professionals can be accepted. I now work in US and found job that matches my credentials.Recommend

  • Sonia K
    Mar 31, 2013 - 2:41PM

    Some people are so Canadian that they can see all faults in Pakistan but fail to see any in Canada!!!! :)Recommend

  • Ali Baba
    Mar 31, 2013 - 3:18PM

    I have skimmed through the article and luckily I have an option to stay both in UK and Canada.

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  • holy me
    Mar 31, 2013 - 3:20PM

    @Bilal Khan, did not know that that USA really is much easier than Canada. So that means it is true, USA really is the land of opportunity if you work hard and have the correct skill set. Still if you are well settled in Pakistan and have a good job there, just stick to your homeland, persist, things will pick up as it takes alot out of you, moving to a new land, alot of stress, exhaustion and severe isolation. It is not as easy or rosy as they show on television and you are constantly scrutinised at work, social life etc. That’s normal anywhere it is just you have to prove yourself even more as you are a ‘new alien’ to a new country and plus you have to save more money as cost of living is far higher in western countries compared to Pakistan and also don’t forget, the Taxes.

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  • Ali Baba
    Mar 31, 2013 - 3:27PM

    I have skimmed through this article well I am not sure about others but at least for myself I would prefer Canada and luckily I currently have an option to either live in Canada or UK.
    I have been to Canada a few times now and found that Canadian are very welcoming
    Compared to UK.
    When it comes down to the expectations one should have a clear set of mind that it will be a constant struggle to live/move to another city let alone a completely different continent.

    I also blame the so called consultants who are there to con people out of their hard earned money by showing the grass is greener on the other side. (Which can be true for some?)

    In the end I would just like to add that hard work pays off one shouldn’t be hopeless and there are massive opportunities for entrepreneurs.

    All the very best to those who are in process of applying or are in Canada.

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  • Faisal
    Mar 31, 2013 - 4:14PM

    It may sound like Grapes are sour but in my opinion all they need is cheap labour for blue collar jobs not highly skilled or educated people seeking white collar jobs.

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  • Fedup Pakistani
    Mar 31, 2013 - 4:22PM

    @Bilal Khan:
    We shud not be entertained anywhere coz we guys are the worst when it comes to being loyal to the nation who is giving us food & shelter….we Pakistanis are the best at making a hole in the plate u eat….
    Check this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjR-vpjGLSA

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  • A. Khan
    Mar 31, 2013 - 4:50PM

    Its not all doom and gloom in Canada. Sure, people have found it difficult to find jobs. But these are people who came here with set expectations. And these people were seriously disappointed. Others have faced a language barrier as one immigrant related to me a few years ago saying after the initial pleasantries candidates just start sweating and are unable to project a confident and fluent message. A friend of mine started out in telesales and is now program manager responsible for a project portfolio worth millions of dollars.

    Point being that one should be ready to do anything in order to hit the ground running, If one expects to find an executive level position on coming here from Pakistan, then it might be a very long wait. Successful immigrants come here with an open mind.

    To be honest, I would rather go to Australia. At least the weather is much warmer.

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  • cautious
    Mar 31, 2013 - 6:55PM

    Authors points apply well beyond Canada. You can be a doctor, lawyer or whatever but often as not you can’ practice in the other country without being accredited in that country – few (if any) countries allow reciprocity to Pakistan professionals.
    .
    In the authors case – the title of AVP is readily given out in Canadian/USA banks and is only a step or two above teller – not something that is going to get much attention on a resume. Glad you found a suitable spot.

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  • Azhar
    Mar 31, 2013 - 6:59PM

    @Fedup Pakistani:

    Loyalty doesn’t come from shunning your religion, background, culture or values. It comes from being part of the economic engine, taking part in building Canada. Well if you listen to Tarek Fateh then that simply explains your comment. Be proud of your background and not ashamed of it. Immigration isn’t one way, the Canadian government is not running a charity home; they give people immigration because they get some value in return. So prope should get out of this mentality that Canada is doing anyone a favour by giving them immigration.

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  • Peace
    Mar 31, 2013 - 6:59PM

    First complete proper research before migrating to western country. No society or country is perfect it is as to how you adjust in the environment. Good luck.

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  • Singh
    Mar 31, 2013 - 7:03PM

    Refugees: Tahir Qadri

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  • Saad
    Mar 31, 2013 - 7:59PM

    Interesting article. Everywhere its hard to make a start. In pak we live in the comfort of our homes which we normally get through courtesy of our parents. The thing is anywhere you go you need to work hard to climb up the ladder. Ideally I would suggest to 40-50+ folks to not move there for a better job most people in that age bracket move for a better future for their children then they stick around for another 3 years to get their passport and then most of them come back. For me I studied there and then the day I graduated I had a job I worked there for couple of years with some of the top companies in Canada. I moved back without applying for my PR. Was working on a post grad work permit. Now its been over a year I have been jobless in Pakistan in pak you need good contacts to get a job nd you dont get jobs on merit. So if youre out there to tell people that they will eventually be unlucky and have a hard life in canada i have one honest suggestion for all new immigrants please take a professional 6 month or 1 year course. I cant guarantee you will get anAVP position straight out but trust me within couple of years you will get there or atleast close not bad of a bargain for abetter life in almost all spheres. Dont become lazy when you reach the shores of north america. Be productive. Try to integrate into their society. Even copying a bit of their accent would help you a long way. Study if you have to dont live off government welfare its not for able people like you. For me. I chose to stay in pak for personal/family reasons. Anyhow i do miss my adopted home. Hope you all wana b migrants would take note of my little suggestion and make your lives worthwhile. Good luck in your newly adopted home!

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  • FF
    Mar 31, 2013 - 8:05PM

    Most Pakistani’s that are disappointed with Canada feel that way because they don’t understand the reality of the situation. Canada is not their fathers country, nor was it built for them to come live in. You are a guest at best in a foreign country.

    Stop whining about having to certify yourself to local Canadian standards when YOU are the one looking for a better life and at the same time recognize that the Pakistani educational system is largely awful.

    In true Pakistani form, I see people come here like its their God given right and then complain about their inability to get a job. The only thing worse than that, is someone who isn’t willing to take a step down professionally to prove themselves. Do you think that when our parents were immigrants that they refused jobs because they were “overqualified”? Get real.

    Before you file those immigration papers, just know this. You aren’t special. There are 10,000,000 equally or better qualified individuals just like you that would settle for less money and the same position you want, just in exchange for the peace and security Canada provides.

    If you don’t want to work hard, stay in your host country and improve your lives there. Ask yourself, who wants to welcome with open arms into their home, a whining adult with a “mera izzat peh haath nah lagao” complex?

    No one does.

    Know this though. No one can defeat someone that is a hard worker and is consistent. If you want to be successful, keep your head down, practice your faith but keep your beliefs to yourself and work hard. That is the price of freedom.

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  • A. Khan
    Mar 31, 2013 - 9:11PM

    @Ali Baba: You will find salaries are higher in UK but then so is the cost of living.

    @Faisal: It definitely is sour grapes. There are plenty of successful immigrants in Canada. But as I stated elsewhere you should be ready to work hard to achieve your goals. And come with an open mind.

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  • Bacon
    Mar 31, 2013 - 9:30PM

    as someone from Canada

    be completely truthful and honest, 1 lie will be found out and cancel your application, false documents will not work each case is appointed a investigator to check each person. your application should be complete and flawless and even then there are no guarantee.

    dont be expecting to get a high level position when you step off the plane if you arrive, there is heavy competition with the local citizen for jobs as well – work to learn the country, language and credentials.

    you have arrived in a new world, just as a foreigner arriving in your country will have a tough time and not be provided any tools – Canada is a fair place that will give you a opportunity which is more than I can say about the country you are or will have left.
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  • Ali K.
    Mar 31, 2013 - 10:27PM

    Living in any rich country is better than living in Pakistan. Not only focus on Canada but countries like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Turkey, Finland, Sweden, Norway, etc. are worthy places to immigrate to and live. I love Pakistan but it is now clear to me Pakistan will unfortunately keep on getting worse due to corrupt ‘elites’ who run the country like Pharaohs of Egypt.

    Flip side of reality of life in Canada: You may not get the job you were doing in Pakistan but living in Canada, even as a factory worker is better than living as a Manager in Pakistan. Extremely low crime, low pollution, low fraud, top class education for kids and top class and free healthcare are worthy things in life to pursue.

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  • The Khan-Waterloo,Ontario
    Mar 31, 2013 - 11:03PM

    Canada is only a disappointment if you have high expectations. Start from scratch and work your way up through. If you have talent then although you might face severe hurdles at the start but in the end it will be you who will succeed

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  • Abdullah
    Mar 31, 2013 - 11:44PM

    Good peace Ms. Tazeen but what are actual facts people willing to migrate.
    “The living standard”. Majority individuals are willing to migrate and work below their credentials because the earn much better life in-terms social ,economical and security terms. In our country though we have much potential but now living is for rich and corrupted people.

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  • Indian
    Apr 1, 2013 - 12:31AM

    Very informative article. However, I have a question. If I pursue my higher studies in US/UK/Canada and take a degree in law or engineering or management, will that provide me a high skilled job in Canada ? Or still they would require a Canadian job certification ?

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  • Asad M
    Apr 1, 2013 - 1:54AM

    don’t understand why people go through immigration consultants and lawyers….the Canadian immigration websites are very detailed and there should not be any need to let consultants do what one can easily do oneself

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  • Gp65
    Apr 1, 2013 - 6:02AM

    @Azhar:
    So please tell me why the Gulf countries never give citizenship even if you live their for 30-40 years. In fact even kids born in say UAE or Saudi Arabia do not get those citizenships. Not just that you can marry local women in US or Canada. Could you do that in Saudi Arabia even though you share the religion? No.

    @Author : good tips for people considering any kind of emigration to Western countries.

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  • The Khan-Waterloo,Ontario
    Apr 1, 2013 - 11:36AM

    @Indian:
    Yes. Not even Harvard university can get you a good job here if you don’t have Canadian experience and education

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  • Shamshad Zareen
    Apr 1, 2013 - 11:54AM

    I am really very much interested for Canada immigration,Canada is the only place where people live in peace and dignity and make their bright future

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  • shamshad Zareen
    Apr 1, 2013 - 12:18PM

    I belive Canada is the place where people live in peace and dignity.I really want to migrate to Canad As I read all the above information but I sure that I will get any suitable job,

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  • Osman
    Apr 1, 2013 - 3:34PM

    If you are an educated white collar professional in Pakistan it is highly doubtful you will find an equivalent position in Canada. There is no shortage of those here, any information to the contrary is false. There are shortages of blue collar skilled trades such as tool and die makers, truck mechanic, brick layers, not bankers etc.

    There are some shortages in health related fields like nursing as well.
    There is also a perception that Pakistani and Indian professionals have an inadequate education. Only Canadian experience and education count. In health professions there is an unstated opinion amongst Canadians involved in regulating them that the only reason we even entertain these people’s qualifications is because we are too polite to tell them to get lost.

    Ask yourself why you want to come to Canada or anywhere in the West. Is it to secure a better life for your children? Be warned it takes only 1 or 2 generations to completely lose your culture here. Can you stand the idea of your daughter having sex at age 16? Can you stand the idea of your son smoking marijuana and telling you that he hates you? You won’t even realize that these things mattered to you until they happen and its too late.

    Finally, if you do come here, don’t come to Toronto. This city is overburdened with disappointed immigrants and their frustrated dreams. Try Calgary.

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  • SurelySure!!
    Apr 1, 2013 - 4:10PM

    nice and helpful article

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  • Dreamland
    Apr 1, 2013 - 4:17PM

    Well here’s reality from someone in Canada already , I read someone said Top Class education .. The level of school education is pathetic in Canada. I don’t know about Pakistan but i assume it has same kind of education as India atleast in better schools, so What they teach here in grade 10 is already known by kids in grade 5 from kids in India and Pakistan.University Education is certainly better but its very expensive and i doubt kids of a migrant can afford it. Now employment situation , very grim if your name don’t sound like Christians you wont be even called for interview. Free Health facilities ? not at all, a family of 4 has to pay $133 as health insurance each month and acute shortage of doctors, many die while waiting for their turn to get operated. For that amount I’m sure you can get very good health insurance in India and Pakistan(?) . Certification easy said than done , you will feed your family or get certification ? So question is how Canada benefits ? 1. very suitable country for illiterate and unemployed migrants, you will make much more than your country and no pain of being underemployed . 2. If you come here , marry Caucasian girl and live like them , you have real chance of having happy life . why ? because you will be contended with small flat, learn to live carefree life and taking care of your kids till 19. Many will ask then what I’m doing here ? Many unfortunates cannot go back to their countries as they have already left their jobs there but I’m lucky that I’m on leave for 3 years , so currently I’m taking my last shot at finding job which is not equivalent to what i was doing back home, but atleast some job suited to my level of education. So , try your luck if you want but keep backup plan ready . only .1% succeeds and rest 99.9% they don’t tell real picture.

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  • Stan
    Apr 1, 2013 - 4:48PM

    @Osman:
    Stop exagerrating, boys also smoke weed here in Pakistan and it isn’t true that you lose you culture completely.

    The truth is South Asian work experience and qualifications aren’t enough you need to upgrade your degree by enrolling in community college and then intern to break into the market.

    Once you get a white colar job or start a good business in Canada, there’s no looking back.

    The quality of living, public education, law and order situation, traffic, enviorment, ‘real’ democracy and justice is what makes Canada a great place to live.

    Even in Pakistan there are very FEW service sector and industrial jobs and most people get underpaid here, you can only find a job in Pakistan if you have a refrence .

    In Canada once you’ve found a job you can buy house easily whereas Pakistan home ownership is very low.

    People in Pakistan can’t even imagine to buy their own apartments here let alone a house.

    Most middle class people drive one care here whereas over there you can 2-3 cars.

    Only the rich elite Pakistanis in DHA and Clifton don’t want to leave Pakistan because they can afford to live here and enjoy the perks by manipulating the system.

    Another factor is that rich Pakistanis have servants here but when they move to Canada they have to do everything themselves, so when they whine about life in Canada it’s usually because they’re lazy

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  • Dreamland
    Apr 1, 2013 - 6:03PM

    @Stan: you can only find a job in Pakistan if you have a refrence . References(sifarish) are also needed in Canada. In Canada once you’ve found a job you can buy house easily whereas Pakistan home ownership is very low Yes, true no questions asked , just later on you will be figuring out how will you pay mortgage amounting to 30 years. Every Indian and Pakistani owns big houses and all of them live hand to mouth while paying mortgages and renting illegal basements . Most middle class people drive one care here whereas over there you can 2-3 cars. Yes that’s true too , but you can easily buy 2-3 cars in Pakistan too by taking loans.
    Not even South Asian degrees but degrees from U.K , U.S.A are also not recognized in Canada.It’s easy to break into employment market in U.S.A than Canada. There is hidden racism at every level . Its very systematic , you wont even feel it till the moment you are victim of barriers to entery in any field. I think people have right to know truth .

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  • 3rdRockFromTheSun
    Apr 1, 2013 - 6:49PM

    The author has presented a very realistic picture of the situation – I am a first generation immigrant here from the sub-continent and have gone through these experiences myself. The application process gives importance to one’s qualifications and experience (hence white collar workers qualify, but not blue collar workers), but it is disappointing to come here and find out that the same qualifications and experience do not really matter in the workplace – most of the times. Then there is the chicken and the egg situation of “Canadian experience” – no experience, no job; no job, no experience! The reality is that there is a shortage of blue collar jobs – but Canada is looking for educated, white collar immigrants.

    Now having bashed the system, let me talk for the system. The author talked about the influx of uneducated, unskilled workers to the UK after WW2; the social effects of that are visible in the today – uneducated immigrants with a very narrow world view, not able / willing to assimilate into the local population, which then increases their isolation and ends up in the kind of radicalization we see among the 2nd/3rd generation not just in the UK, but also France, Germany etc. Canada is looking for educated immigrants with transferable skills who find it easier to integrate with the locals; though there are still pockets who still refuse to give up old, antiquated values and prefer to remain isolated.

    If you are choosing to migrate here, do your research and be wiiling to pay the price and persevere. Every place has its pros and cons – and everyone has their priorities and aspirations; it is simply a case of whether the pros outweigh the cons for that person. The best age to apply would be from mid-20s to mid-30s. And never, never lie on the application/resume – you can be spotted a mile away! As a new immigrant, one has to be flexible with regards to their career choices. One may have to start at a level lower or even have to completely change their line of work (as I had to); but through perseverance and dedication; in the long run, it is worth it. Today I have a work-life balance and a quality of life that I could never have in my home country.

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  • Osman
    Apr 1, 2013 - 7:37PM

    @Stan I don’t disagree with you. You are right about the need to get Canadian certification but for many it is a demoralizing shock. People should start this journey with no illusions.

    And your point about better social, legal, political and educational infrastructure is also true. My comment is directed at the idea that you can glide over to this country and achieve career success simply with hard work. Its just not that straightforward.

    Finally it would be nice if some of those Pakistanis yearning to live in a land that affords dignity, opportunity and prosperity did not simply run away but instead fought for a better country.

    I know the elites are rotten and the overall situation makes people despair. But there is so much potential in Pakistan, in its land and its people.

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  • Mirza
    Apr 1, 2013 - 10:09PM

    Tody the job situation is that people with local degrees do not get jobs easily without the experience. Many start with free or almost free internship at various places to get experience and consequently a job. This is just like medical profession where every doctor and nurse has to go through intense internship with little money.
    With fake and weak degrees good jobs are hard to come by. Also lack of knowledge of local language (accent) and culture is a big problem. Most Pakistanis live in groups and do no acquire the local culture even in years. However, with good local education, culture and hard work many people become successful. One has to start from the bottom on the way up.

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  • A. Khan
    Apr 2, 2013 - 12:50AM

    @FF: Well said !

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  • A. Khan
    Apr 2, 2013 - 12:55AM

    @The Khan-Waterloo,Ontario:

    Please do not mislead people. I know people who don’t have a degree from US/Europe but from Pakistan and were able to find a job within 1 month of landing there. Its important how you present yourself at interviews and how your resume portrays you that is key. Needless to say some people will be disappointed when they cannot make it but as the writer of this article states you have to keep at it.

    Patience and perseverance are key. And don’t be afraid or shy of starting at a lower step than you did back home.

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  • bla
    Apr 2, 2013 - 2:29AM

    @Sonia K
    I have lived in Canada, and felt way better than living in pakistan altough I belonged to an upper middle class family, you tell me why is that?

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  • littlegiant
    Apr 3, 2013 - 2:00AM

    I’ve lived both in Canada and u.s. and I can say easily that Canada is a far better place to live than u.s. – the crime is non-existent, the healthcare is excellent (lot of people who whine as they want urgent service like they are used to getting at demand in Pakistan) as the system is not designed to catter to people’s small medical needs at a higher priority than more urgent ones. The education is very good – in fact the stereotypical American dumbness that you see in u.s. cities is not the case in Canada – the infrastructure is better in most cases and the govtment at most levels is much more responsive to the needs of its residents. The negative is that Canada is smaller so less work opportunities as in u.s. even a relatively low-performing employee can find work whereas in Canada you have to be performing at a fairly good level in order to land a good job. Otherwise, even if you make less, you still can live decently given the healthcare, education and child benefits.

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  • Cool Dude
    Apr 3, 2013 - 10:32AM

    @Saad:
    Sorry, to hear that a person as qualified as you are is jobless since a year. If you have degree/experience in finance industry, i’d like to have your resume, as our well-reputed Pakistan based company is currently in search of talent. You can email me ur cv at my email adress, if you are intrested. coolerdude202x@gmail.com.

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  • Rahman
    Apr 8, 2013 - 2:55AM

    Canada is a much better Country now than it was 10 years ago. Due to oil and resources wealth there are opportunities now that didn’t exist before. I repent why I decided to move to US although I had a solid job, house and a great life and all this within 10 years. Sponsored all my family etc. I have my own company in US and am employing Americans but I miss Canada. In 2001 the Canadian dollar was worth half; now it’s equal to US dollar.

    There are tremendous opportunities in Canada be it in Ontario or else where. For folks with low income you get free house, $1,500 in child benefits every month, free health care and a lot more. In case, you don’t have a good job. They give you loans for studies. With $50,000 in your pocket you can buy a $350,000 house and also get a nice new car.

    People on the forums who are complaining may not be lucky ones, my friends and family all immigrants since 1998 onwards are successful professionals, business leaders and are quiet well off people within a decade. Smart person is smart be it in Pakistan, Canada or Middle East…… Nothing comes on a platter

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  • Alistair
    May 3, 2013 - 2:52AM

    I am a reporter at an American newspaper and I’d be interested to hear any stories of Pakistani immigrants to Canada who have struggled to find the place they wanted. Please email on alistair.macdonald@wsj.com

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