Are you interested in immigrating to Canada from India, but not sure of what to expect?
Whether you want to live in Canada temporally or permanently, it is important to do a great deal of research, and know what you’re getting into before making the move!
So if you have questions on issues such as:
- How to immigrate to Canada from India
- How to get a PR Visa to Canada
- How to find chartered accountant jobs in Canada
- Where to Live, How to pursue CPA Canada
- How long does it take to find a job in Canada, etc. then this article might help you.
Living my Biggest Dream of Being an Indian CA in Canada
One of my biggest dreams was to immigrate to Canada from India and become successful and established in my career as a chartered accountant.
Within 2 years, I fell in love with this strange city, so much that it felt like home. I wondered about the reason. Could it be my exciting new job, my small apartment, or my independence? What exactly has this city given me?
Actually, the answer was right in front of me, but I could not recognize it.
When I came to Toronto, my goals were very clear, and now that I’ve achieved them, I have come to realize that the happiness and contentment of achieving one’s goals come only when one shares it with someone special. That special person has been my best friend, my companion, my dear wife – Radhika.
Below, I will share my story of immigrating to Canada from India. I hope it helps you guys!
Why Did I Immigrate to Canada From India?
Just like many other young people, my reason for immigrating to Canada from India was to look for greener pastures.
As a qualified Chartered Accountant from ICAI, I was hopeful to clinch a Chartered Accountant job in Canada.
I was born and raised in Mumbai, India.
My life in Mumbai was good. I had a nice job, amazing friends and a great family.
However, the everyday commute to and from work was getting on my nerves.
The traffic, the crowded trains, and buses all seemed to be getting too much for me to handle (I am sure most of you reading this would have experienced this). This was tiring, and it was beginning to affect my health negatively.
Somewhere inside of me, I wanted to move out of Mumbai to live a better life.
In 2012, my cousin, who is like an elder brother to me, told me that he was migrating to Canada. I was really happy for him but at the same time was upset as we were very close.
Once he moved to Toronto, he kept updating me about his life there.
He was really happy and had progressed greatly in Canada in just a year.
So even though I was kinda fed up with my hectic life at home, I had never thought of moving away from India; from my family, friends, my home country and settling abroad.
However, my cousin’s continuous encouragement inspired me to think of moving away from India to Canada.
Around that time, I was engaged to Radhika (now my wife!) – I told her about my plans and she willfully agreed to immigrate to Canada if it meant a better quality of life and a better future.
Of course, we would miss our family and friends, but the difficult decision had to be made if we actually wanted to live the life of our dreams.
How I got my Canadian Permanent Residence Visa
This is what we exactly did:
- We got married in December 2013 and immediately approached an immigration agency and inquired for the process of migrating to Canada from India, and then we started processing the paperwork for becoming Permanent Residents (PR) of Canada.
- There was a long list of documentation which we had to collect before we could actually apply for our Canadian Permanent Residency.
- Both of us were working then. We had to take certain days off from work to gather the documents.
- It took us almost 6 months to finally submit our application. So you could say by mid-2014 we had submitted our application.
- In early 2015, our application was approved and we received our PR visa for Canada. It took us 10 months to get our Canadian Permanent Residence Visa. I still can’t believe we actually went through all that hard work!
Once we got our visa and it was time to move to Canada we were going through these weird emotions.
Though we were overjoyed to begin a new life in a new country, we were still sad to leave our family and friends!
Now the next big question was which part of Canada do we move to?
Best Places to Live when you Immigrate to Canada
The southern part of Ontario is the most popular destination where foreigners who migrate to Canada settle. This is basically because of Toronto’s ethnic diversity, and because most of the expats work in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
With a little over half of its residents born outside of Canada, Toronto is the most prominent example of the multiculturalism Canada.
In recent decades, the northern parts of Alberta have gained increasing importance as a destination for both workers from other parts of Canada and expats from all around the globe.
Due to Alberta’s rich natural resources, especially the massive oil reserves, expats with skills in engineering are in high demand. While salaries for foreign specialists are exceptionally high, severe weather conditions make the region a less than ideal place to live, especially for expats with families.
Kindly do your research well before selecting the place you want to move to. The above is just my opinion!
Why did we Decide to Move to Toronto?
Once we got our PR, we decided to move to Toronto, Ontario.
I selected Toronto because my cousin was in Toronto, specifically Mississauga. However, just before I could move to Toronto, he had to move to Edmonton, Alberta for career reasons.
Luckily, I had my uncle and other relatives in Mississauga and nearby cities, so I did not think of moving to Edmonton.
Also as mentioned above, there are lots of job opportunities in Toronto for Indians and other foreigners.
Selecting the place of residence depends on the individual’s preference, spending capacity, and place of work.
If you take my example, I live in Mississauga which is comparatively less costly than the area in which I work in Toronto. However, I have to spend more on transportation.
Alternatively, I could have lived in Toronto and spent more on rental but save on travel cost.
In my opinion, Toronto and the cities within the GTA have comparatively more scope for Accountants than other cities in Canada.
Next best city for Accountants to live in Canada would probably be Vancouver, British Columbia. In the last few years, even Alberta has great opportunities for Accountants.
How to Find a Rental Apartment in Toronto
- You can visit Kijiji to find a rental basement, apartment or condo in Canada.
- You can also approach realtors to help you with your search.
- I can only vouch for Ontario province and specifically the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
- The rental cost varies from city to city. It can range between $800 for a basement to $3,000 for a condo. For example, Downtown Toronto is more expensive than Midtown Toronto, Uptown Toronto, Old Toronto and cities like Mississauga and Brampton. However, Downtown Mississauga is more expensive than old Toronto.
Starting our Life from Scratch in a New Country
Like millions of people around the world when I immigrated to Canada from India in September 2015, I brought with me some dreams along with my luggage.
When we first moved here, we stayed with my uncle and aunt for two months before we were able to rent our own place.
We were lucky to have them as they guided us through the basic knowledge we needed to settle down in this new country. I knew that we had to get used to the culture as it was totally different from India.
The immigration rules required us to bring INR 800,000 ($13,000- $14,000) which was sufficient to support us for 6 months (This was back in 2015! Now the amount would have changed).
We had a lot of things to get used to within that space of six months, especially the snowy winter.
In the meanwhile, my uncle introduced me to his friend who connected me to someone at the Toronto Chapter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). This was to be my stepping stone for finding a chartered accountant job in Canada.
I joined the ICAI Toronto Chapter in October 2015.
It was then that I realized the importance of referrals and networking in Canada.
Actually, networking and referring is a part of the Canadian culture.
Luckily I found my first job within 4 months. It was a contractual job and not a permanent one.
So, when you first move here be ready to join jobs on a contract basis before getting a permanent one!
Pursuing CPA Canada
Soon, I also realized that in order to succeed as an Indian Chartered Accountant in Canada, I would have to get the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation.
I decided that as soon as my contract job ends, I would not take up another job. Instead, I would dedicate my time to achieving one of the greatest landmarks in Canada – CPA.
I am lucky to have a very supportive partner who encouraged me to focus 100% on my CPA studies. She worked and managed the finances for 6 months so I could give my best and study for my exams.
It is also possible to pursue CPA Canada while working full time. However, you need to find a balance.
I did enroll for CPA coaching as well.
Immediately after my CPA exams and before the results could be declared I took up another contract job.
Luckily, I qualified as a CPA in my first attempt!
Looking back at it now, I realize that I took a big risk of not working for almost 6 months. I am really lucky that the risk paid off well.
My wife and I were really excited after this success as I had achieved my first goal – the Canadian CPA.
Some CPA study tips:
- Revise/study ASPE, IFRS, NPO Standards, CAS, Canadian Taxation, Cash Flows, Costing, Financial Management
- Practice case writing
- Debrief cases
- Make your own notes
- Enroll for case writing courses offered by coaching classes and private tutors
- For more information, you can email [email protected]
Note: There is a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between CPA Canada and ICAI.
Because of this, there is only one Common Final Examination (CFE) which lasts for three days. Capstone 1 and Capstone 2 are now exempted for Indian Chartered Accountants in Canada.
You can get detailed information here.
CPA Canada has an MoU with other professional bodies as well. You can check the same on their website.
Starting my Own Venture in Canada
They say, in order to survive in Canada, you should not rely completely on your job; you need to have alternate sources of income.
A lot of friends and friends of friends moving to Canada from India sought guidance from me about CPA Canada. I always shared my experiences with them as I did not want them to make the same mistake I made.
It was then that I realized that I could actually start coaching Indian Chartered Accountants who want to pursue CPA Canada.
I approached a few of my friends to discuss the idea. Luckily, they were willing to team up with me and start this new venture.
My objective was to help and guide others to achieve the same goal I achieved – qualifying as a CPA.
I always say – CPA is not difficult, it’s different!
With the help of the Toronto Chapter of ICAI’s Board, we started the CPA Helpline. Here my friends and I provide help and guidance to Indian Chartered Accountants living all over the world aspiring to become CPA’s.
Sometimes we also help finance professionals from other professional institutes.
By doing this, I had achieved another goal – Starting my own business while working full time (though my full-time job was on a contract basis).
Finding a Permanent Job in Canada
So now my next goal was to find a permanent job.
I knew there were many opportunities for Indian Chartered accountants in Canada, and I couldn’t wait to get one- a permanent job, unlike the contract jobs I had done previously.
To celebrate my CPA success, my family flew down to attend my convocation ceremony.
It was a proud moment for all of us.
Surprisingly, for almost 2 months, I was at home, unemployed, searching for jobs, even after getting the CPA designation.
Everyone advised me to be patient. They all said Canada has a habit of testing one’s patience!
A few days later I came across a job opportunity but again it was a contract job and not a permanent one!
Instead of just waiting for a Permanent job I took up this contract job to get that ‘Canadian Experience’. But the search for my Permanent job was still on.
I contacted various recruiters and approached many people.
One day I got a call from a recruiter saying that I had an interview scheduled at an organization. I went for the interview all prepared. Luckily the interview went quite well.
They called me for the second round of interview which again went pretty well.
I could feel the positivity and felt that something good was about to happen.
After a few days, I received a call from the recruiter. My heart was pounding when I saw the recruiter’s number flashing on my phone.
My only wish at that moment was to hear a yes and that’s what happened. The recruiter mentioned that the interviewers were very happy and that I had “GOT THE JOB.”
Finally, my persistence paid off, I landed a permanent job in Canada.
Achieving this goal was a big success.
You can apply for jobs in Canada at the following websites:
Buying my First Car in Canada
They say it takes 1000 days for one to settle in a new country. At this point, it had been just 750 days since I immigrated to Canada from India.
People feel that they are settled if they have a permanent job, own car, and own house. I also felt the same to some extent.
So now my next goal was to have my own car.
After almost 2 months into the new job, I felt the need to have my own car and finally, I got one.
Another feather in the hat!
Do you really need a car in Canada?
Buying a car depends on an individual’s usage, place of residence, place of work, proximity to bus stop/bus terminal/train station, and proximity to the grocery store.
In my case, we bought our first car only after 2 years as we lived in Downtown Mississauga where everything was very accessible. We could manage everything even in the harsh winter.
The GTA has very good connectivity via bus, train, subway, and streetcar.
Almost every city in the GTA has its own transit system.
For example, Toronto has Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Mississauga has MiWay (Mississauga Transit), Brampton has Brampton Transit, Oakville has Oakville Transit, and York Region in North Toronto has York Region Transit (YRT).
The transit system which has the largest connectivity is GO Transit. Each of these is well connected to each other as regards timing and distance from each other.
Obtaining Driver’s License in Canada
Obtaining a driver’s license in Canada is not as easy as it is in India. You can obtain a driver’s license in Canada in 3-steps:
- G1 – This is a computer-based multi-choice questions test you’d take at a test center. There are various test centers across the GTA. One needs to study the rules and laws for this test. There are books and guides available online including mobile apps.
- G2 – This is the first road test. This can be exempted if an individual brings along a record of its License Information from India. This test is comparatively easy to pass as it does not include the highway. It is only within the city and internal roads and streets.
- G – This road test is comparatively difficult to pass as one needs to go on the highway and the examiners are comparatively strict with regard to safety and following the rules.
Buying my First Home in Canada
I still had 250 days for the next goal – Buying a house in Canada!
I was working hard at my workplace to prove my worth, participating in my organization’s events, and developing strong relations with everyone.
Meanwhile, the Creator showered His blessings upon us with a little bundle of joy. Our shining little star – Nivaan proved to be a lucky charm.
My hard work paid off and I was promoted within 6 months of joining the company.
I had proven myself and was motivated to work harder for the next goal.
During that time, the real estate market in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was booming. Price of properties was on the rise, so it was challenging to find a house within our budget.
We had made up our mind to not to leave the area where we currently resided, so checking for properties in relatively cheaper locations wasn’t even on the plan. There were only a few options to choose from, and we weren’t impressed by them. However, we did not lose hope.
It became a daily routine to check out 1-2 houses after work for almost two months.
With the newborn and the snow, it was challenging but we were determined to start living our dream.
As soon as we liked a house and decided to put an offer, it would be gone, SOLD!
But finally, the day arrived – we liked a house, put an offer, and it was “NOT SOLD”!
After a few negotiations, we agreed on the price – March 29, 2018, we can never forget this date. This is the date when we became the proud owners of a house in Canada.
I do not have words to describe the feeling of joy and the sense of satisfaction of owning our own house.
I was happy, contented, thankful, emotional – all at the same time.
I achieved my goal well within the stipulated timeframe of 250 days.
I thank God for being with us through the ups and downs. I thank our parents for their blessings and support. I thank my wife for being the pillar of my life.
And most importantly, I thank my little bundle of joy for being a blessing in disguise. They say a baby brings a stroke of luck, and my little star surely did!
Getting Canadian Citizenship
Days passed by quickly and within no time, I reached the milestone of residing in Canada for 1,000 days and became eligible for Canadian citizenship!
We have applied for citizenship and awaiting confirmation.
At present, I am striving towards my next goal – Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), and I hope to achieve it this year 2019.
Joining the Board of ICAI Toronto Chapter
It is not only important to concentrate on your goals; it is also important to follow your passion. I have always been passionate about playing Cricket, and the summer of 2017 allowed me to play the game to the fullest.
The Toronto Chapter of ICAI came up with the idea of forming a Cricket Team and I willingly became a part of it.
Along with playing cricket for the Chapter, I started playing baseball for my employer’s team. This is one sport which I had never imagined I would play in my life. Canada is indeed a land of opportunities!
I continued serving the Indian CA community in the GTA through volunteering at the Toronto Chapter of ICAI.
The elections were fast approaching and looking at my dedication and hard work, certain senior Board members encouraged me to contest for the elections and come on the Board. At first, I was hesitant.
A number of thoughts crept up in my mind – Will I be able to manage my job, my family, and the Chapter? Will I be able to balance the three and do justice to all? Do I have the leadership qualities to run an organization?
I discussed with my wife several times as I had to have her full support. And she agreed!
I put forth my name for the elections and got elected on the Board at the Chapter’s Annual General Meeting held in June 2018.
It was such a joyous and proud moment for me and my family.
Today, I serve as the Vice Chairman of the Toronto Chapter of ICAI.
I sincerely thank the senior Board members who saw the potential in me, had faith in me, and pushed me to go beyond my limits.
What lessons learned as a Vice Chairman of Toronto Chapter of ICAI
- At first, it was quite challenging as I had no experience of managing a not-for-profit organization with over three hundred members. However, with time, I learned how to manage people, delegate work, assume responsibilities.
- I started developing and strengthening my leadership skills.
- I realized the potential within me and was determined to do my best for the Chapter and its members.
- I had a lot of new ideas which I wanted to implement for the betterment of the Chapter. I shared those with the Board; some were accepted, some weren’t.
- Running an organization requires team effort; it is not a one person’s job. We created a Portfolio Team to help and support the Board. I drafted responsibilities for individual Board and Portfolio members. We continued organizing professional development events for members and providing mentorship services to newcomers.
- We continued our strong relations with existing sponsors and partnered up with new ones. I managed to get my employer as a sponsor.
- I feel that building and maintaining relationships is extremely important in this part of the world. This skill has helped me a lot in reaching where I am at present.
- We had a successful Annual Gala of the Chapter in November 2018wherein I got the opportunity to meet and connect with established and successful professionals, industrialists, businessmen, and politicians.
- Most importantly, I got the opportunity to speak in front of an audience of almost 400.
I got this recognition and respect because of my profession.
It feels really good when people look up to you as their mentor, approach you for guidance, reach out to you for networking.
There was a time when I used to send out LinkedIn requests to connect and network with people and schedule coffee meetings.
Today, I receive LinkedIn requests! I think this is what success is to me. It does not always have to be in monetary terms.
My relationship with CPA Ontario has given me the opportunity to be a mentor and a keynote speaker at their events.
My Advice to those Immigrating to Canada from India
If you have the aim of immigrating to Canada from India or any other part of the world, here are some valid points I want to share with you for free.
- In Canada, you can expect to have a wonderful work-life balance and spend quality time with your loved ones.
- If your ONLY goal in life is to make money, then this country might not be for you.
- If you wish to succeed in life and have a good quality of life, then Canada is the right place.
Move as a Couple:
- Going by our experiences and looking at others’ experiences, I feel that if you migrate as a couple, you are better off than those who migrate alone or as singles.
- Reason being, you get the mental support from your spouse which is very crucial when you are away from your family and friends.
- Living by yourself has its own pros and cons.
- You have less responsibility, fewer expenses compared to married couples. However, you earn comparatively less than married couples.
- Even if one partner does not work, the other can support the family. But singles have to work to sustain themselves.
Have a second source of Income:
- The other thing I have learned is that one should try to have a second source of income.
- Having a job will pay your bills but having a second source of income will help you fulfill your dreams.
- We all have heard the sayings “Patience is the key to success” and “Time is money”.
- I had never experienced these earlier in my life but after coming to Canada, I have actually lived them. This country will test your patience, but you should be strong and wait for time to do its magic.
- My suggestion to the readers is to continue networking as much as you can, even after being successful in life. You do not know how, a person you met a few months or years back, would be helpful in the future.
- More importantly, maintain contact with people you network with. Just a simple text or a message on LinkedIn– “Hi, how’s it going?” helps and goes a long way.
- Networking is a two-way, give-and-take relationship. It not only benefits others, but it also benefits you!
Lastly, I would like to say that no matter where you go, no matter where you live, the most important thing is to be a good person.
A good person will always be successful in life.
BONUS: Here are some actionable advice from Chartered Accountants Who moved from India to Abroad:
“Jital (my wife) and I had been to New Zealand just after our wedding in 2016.
As we traveled around the country we realised we wanted to explore more in life. We both love traveling and experiencing new cultures.
We searched for a country where our skills are Transferable and Acceptable, and where a visa isn’t an issue(where a country wants and appreciates immigrants i.e. not the USA).
We could earn well in Singapore or UAE, but only Canada and Australia gave us what we really wanted and Canada is COLD…..so we decided on immigrating to Australia. ”
“I immigrated to Canada from India (Kolkata) a few years ago. I am a CA from India and a CPA Canada.
Personally, for me, the whole process of becoming a Chartered Accountant is a kind of Marathon and it is up to us (the Marathoner) to keep the momentum going.
Make a study plan, indulge in positive self-talk, trust my own inner voice, and ignore comments from people. Enjoy the path and don’t compare yourself to others.”
“I was a CFO at a leading bank in India when I decided to immigrate to Australia.
Most of the companies in Australia DO NOT HIRE without a Permanent Resident (PR). So you have to get your PR even before applying for jobs.
Networking plays a very important role to get a desired job and Linkedin can be your mate to connect with recruiters in Australia.
The cost of living is high and you can find it very difficult to save and send back as childcare is very expensive here so take everything into consideration when moving here.”
Now It’s Your Turn
Have you moved to Canada or any new country? Or do you have any questions for Dweep?
Comment below and show us your support!
Dweep also provides guidance and mentorship to students who intend to pursue CPA Canada.
You can connect to Dweep on LinkedIn – Dweep Mehta.