Immigrating to Canada was a decision that my husband and I made with a conscious mind. We knew that we did not want to re-live the life of my parents, who spent 40 years in Middle East. I was of the opinion that I want roots. I did not want to be told that I have to leave a country when my job ends. That said, I also wanted to live in a country where basic infra-structre was properly setup, and we had safety. A multi-cultural society would be a plus! For us, Canada had a check mark in all these requirements.
Immigrating is hard. There I said it. No need to sugar-coat it. However, being prepared and ready for it, will make your transition easier. That is why, I have compiled a list of 3 mistakes to avoid when immigrating to Canada.
1. NOT BUILDING YOUR CREDIT HISTORY.
When you come to Canada, anything from purchasing a car, to renting a house, may depend on review of your credit score. This is of course not possible for you, if you just arrived in Canada.
Be smart. You will get to a place where you have good credit score. Get a credit card and use it. I know initially as new immigrant, you may get a limited amount on your credit card. Simply use the credit card for all purchases, and pay it off the same day using online banking. This way your credit history will build, while you are still new.
On this same point, as females, please do not rely on just getting a supplementary credit card with your spouse. Having your own bank account and credit card is a key investment in your future. You do not need to have a credit card with all the bells and whistles to build your credit score. Having a basic credit card in your name, will also build your credit score. I cannot stress enough how this will help you in your job search, applying for lease or mortgage, or taking a line of credit.
( Yes, some companies check your credit score, as part of background check)
2. CREATING LIABILITIES BEFORE CREATING INCOME.
You may arrive in Canada with a huge chunk of savings, which may or would seem sufficiently lavish at time of immigration. However, a multitude of factors can impact your savings. I know you may think that getting a rental home and a car to match your lifestyle back home is the way to go. However, remember that the world is changing rapidly and so is the job market. Your expenses can easily become huge liabilities.
I cannot advise you on what is right for your family. However, for our family, we started from a decent house rental and a paid off car, so as to reduce liabilities. Once we had sustainable income, we bought our home, and got newer cars. This saved us from eating into our savings.
Canada is a land of opportunity. There are multiple opportunities to self-groom and grow. Take the time and explore them, and you will be rewarded.
3. NOT BEING AWARE OF YOUR PAYMENTS.
When we first landed in Canada, my husband went and bought a cable service in his name. Due to his job, he had to return to Middle East. Now, on my end, I called and cancelled the cable service. However, due to Privacy Laws, and my name not being on the service, I was not offered support. Coming from Middle East, I honestly did not understand Privacy laws. Long story short, my husband cancelled by calling in from over-seas.
However, there was a balance of $8.99 which was not paid! My husband did not get any notification, nor was the amount deducted from his bank account. We had missed the paperwork for this step. Little did we know that this payment will come back to haunt us! 3 years later when we returned to Canada to settle, that $8.99 had gone into collection with CRA! That meant, that anytime we wanted an approval for a lease, we were refused.
So people, when you come to Canada, make sure that any service you get has the name of both spouses for easy handling. Also, make sure you keep up to date with payments and inquire on your due amounts when closing any account.
These are the 3 mistakes to avoid when immigrating to Canada , in my opinion. Do let me know if you have any comments or suggestions, here below.