Are you interested in immigrating to Canada and finding a job opportunity as a new immigrant?
There is no one better than real immigrants in Canada who can share with you how they went about with the entire immigration process to settling in Canada and making it their new home.
Today I want to introduce you to – Ivy Anigbogu who not only immigrated to Canada in July’18 but also found a Finance job within one month (in Aug’18) of moving to Canada. This makes her pretty much the person to teach us the same process.
Ivy presently works as a Finance Project Coordinator at Caldic Canada Inc. She is a qualified ACCA and CPA Canada.
Before deciding on immigrating to Canada I had 3 years of experience as an Accountant and Auditor in Nigeria (my home country).
I completed my graduation in 2007 in B.Sc in Public Administration (2003-07).
I was married to the love of my life at the age of 23 (that is 2010). We had our first child when I was 24 years old (a year after getting married).
After my graduation (in B.Sc in Public Administration), I worked for 4 years (2008-2012) as a customer service officer and then as an administrative officer. However, I always had the desire to pursue a career in Accounting.
In 2012, I decided to QUIT MY JOB and pursue my studies in Accounting. We also had our second child in 2013.
I then moved on to pursue ACCA in 2015 and started working as a part-time Accountant in the same year. By the time I started my ACCA studies I was 28 years old and had two small kids to manage.
I also enrolled for B.Sc in Accounting ( a 3-year course from 2015- 18).
Now I was working part-time while attending lectures for my ACCA exams and studying almost all through the night.
On days when I did not have to go to work (As I was working part-time), I studied during the day after I dropped my children at school. My study time was limited because of my kids but I had to make it work.
All my efforts paid off and I completed 13 papers in ACCA within 2 years.
ACCA Prep Tips
Why ACCA and not CA from ICAN? ACCA is a global professional body and owing to the fact that I had always nursed the idea to immigrate to another country was the reason I chose it over ICAN (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria).
I studied at night and through the day when I had the time.
I also practiced a lot of questions in the revision kit and watched lecture videos for the professional exam papers.
My advice for future students is to retake exams immediately if they fail a paper because that way your memory is still fresh and you can learn from your mistakes.
Also studying at night is very helpful because it is very quiet and calm especially if you have kids.
I literally didn’t have a social life for the 2 years of my study because my time was on a tight budget.
I had no house help or baby sitter while I was studying and coming from a Nigerian background I had to do most of the household tasks for my family. However, I was very lucky to have a very helpful and caring husband. He helped with the kids and house chores when I had to study.
I wasn’t earning much but my husband Henry Chuka Anigbogu single-handedly took it upon himself to train me through my ACCA and B.Sc in Accounting studies. He believed so much in me. He is my greatest cheerleader, I call him my RARE GEM.
My advice would be:
- Don’t make excuses – I was a mother of two kids when I decided to start studying all over again. I was taking care of them, studying and working part-time as well.
- Cut down on the number of friends you have.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people who are focused on going to the top.
- Prayerfully open up to your spouse about your dreams and aspirations because his / her support would go a long way in helping you achieve success.
- The greatest advice is to believe in yourself. If people have achieved it, you too can.
Why Did I Decide on Immigrating to Canada?
Now coming to the important part – My journey immigrating to Canada. Let’s get started.
I belong to the South-South region of Nigeria, Delta state to be precise. Life was going on great. However, my husband and I always wanted to immigrate to a developed country for better career prospects and a better life for our kids.
We had no plan as such to immigrate to Canada in particular and were open to other countries as well. However in 2016 when my spouses’ cousin (who was studying for her Ph.D. at the time) told us about the Canadian Express entry process we got excited about the opportunity.
I researched the process and actively started preparing my documents in June 2017 so we could immigrate to Canada.
One main reason I decided on immigrating to Canada was that ACCA has a Memorandum of Understanding with CPA Canada.
Also unlike the immigration requirements of other countries, Canada has more realistic requirements for immigrants to attain Permanent Residency. That was a bonus for us to consider immigrating to Canada.
How Did I Apply for my Canadian Permanent Residency (PR) Visa?
Once we decided on making Canada our new home we straight away started collecting the documents needed for this.
Anyone who googles and joins this forum will have the same access to unlimited resources which was most beneficial to me in successfully completing the Canadian immigration process.
The forum hosts Nigerians worldwide who are currently in the process and those who have already immigrated.
Interested persons are encouraged to read the forum from page 0 and questions which have not been previously answered can be asked with responses obtained almost immediately.
At this forum I learned about all the required documents, which included:
- Transcript from my universities (My institutions directly forwarded my transcript to World Evaluation Services (WES) and obtained a report stating the equivalent of my degrees in Canada)
- Writing IELTS general exam
- Valid International Passport
- Police report
- Medical report
- Employment letter
- Proof of funds (mine was a term deposit letter which I fixed in the bank for 3 months at the time of application).
With the support of this group, we processed our application from start to finish without ENGAGING THE SERVICES OF AN AGENT.
The entire process from – Submitting my transcripts to my universities to sending my passport to get it stamped with the PR Visa took me 10 months (June 2017-March 2018).
Elaborate the Immigration Process to Canada
STEP 1: The immigration process starts with checking eligibility for the process which can be done online on the Canadian government website.
STEP 2: Next is to begin gathering documents needed to enter the Express Pool. This is a point-based system where rating depends on certain factors such as – Age, English score, education, and the likes. Details about this can be found on the website.
For the education – It is advisable to have a Masters degree / two or more certificates recognized by the evaluation body. This could help boost the candidate’s points.
STEP 3: The next step is to send transcripts to an evaluation body in Canada. When the report is received, the individual can enter the pool with a favourable IELTS result.
When an individual enters into the Express entry pool he or she is allocated a score based on a few factors and age is one of them. Every birthday that the individual remains in the pool, the score for age reduces by 5 points. The only time a person’s age is locked-in is – When the Canadian government sends an Invitation to apply for Permanent Residency (PR).
I failed the listening section of the IELTS test twice before I finally passed in the 3rd attempt. I felt really pressured to get a high score because I was the principal applicant and my birthday was drawing close (as my birthday was approaching my score for age would reduce by 5 points if I stayed in the pool). However, I did not let this weigh me down.
What did I do after failing IELTS? Once I viewed my result online and saw I had fallen short of my target point by a few marks I immediately logged onto the British Council website and registered for the next exam. I did this the first and second time when I failed until I finally got the score I wanted in the listening section on my 3rd IELTS attempt.
Don’t be discouraged, failure is an opportunity for you to get better and to obtain your visa at the right time.
STEP 4: If the individual’s score reaches the cut-off point when the draw happens, they will receive an invitation to apply for Permanent Residency (PR).
I submitted my final application to apply for the PR status and the processing of my application took 1 month (29th Jan’18 – 28th Feb’18).
At this stage, you will have to submit all the hard copies of the information submitted when entering the pool including additional documents such as Police Check report, medical report, and proof of funds.
Although when I entered the Express entry pool my point still dropped by 5 points as my birthday was around the corner. Luckily I still met the cut-off points to apply for Permanent Residency.
The amount you need to settle in Canada is listed on the Canadian government website based on your family size. We had savings which we had put aside from our employment income and business ventures. We also sold all of our land, property, and car.
STEP 5: After the individual submits this final application it’s a waiting game from here on – Awaiting the grant of the Permanent Resident status by the Canadian government.
From when I started gathering my documents to enter the Express Entry Pool till when I was granted Canadian PR status it took me 10 months (June’17 – March’18).
On the 1st March 2018, I received an email from the Canadian government stating I had been granted my PR.
I moved with my husband and kids mid-July 2018. I had 3 years of work experience as an Accountant and Auditor in Nigeria.
What Research did I do Before Immigrating to Canada?
I arrived in Canada with my family in mid-July 2018 and it has been a wonderful experience since then.
I did a lot of online research before I could move to Canada.
When I arrived in Canada I had a lot of knowledge on – how to settle down, where to register for government services and search for employment.
The forum Nairaland- Canada Express Entry helped me a lot to figure things out. It gave me lots of information and I got to meet like-minded people who were immigrating to Canada.
While still in Nigeria, I participated in some Canada preparatory programs such as CanPrep, Access employment, PrepCan, and the likes. We were opportune to also attend Planning for Canada session organized by the Canadian Government while in Nigeria.
How did I find these programs? Google. These programs are also listed on the Canadian government website under – How to Immigrate.
Also, my employment search actually began in Nigeria.
While in Nigeria I got some contact information about recruiters from a LinkedIn friend.
When I arrived in Canada, I sent emails to the various recruiters with my resume explaining how I obtained their contact information. I also mentioned to them that I was a Chartered Accountant who recently immigrated to Canada.
I attached my resume with these emails. I received some responses from the recruiters and an appointment was set up so they could meet me in person. I also spoke to some of them via Skype and telephone.
While still in Nigeria I got an interview call for a job in Canada, however, the interview date was before my arrival date in Canada. I emailed the company to let them know but they told me to reapply for the position when I land in Canada as they cannot reschedule the interview for me.
So my advice is research about recruiters and jobs before landing in Canada however do not expect to find a job before landing in Canada. Some people do get jobs before they leave their home country but if it doesn’t work out that way, don’t be discouraged.
Importance of Networking in Canada
I also learned from these programs about the importance of social media and networking in Canadian society especially with LinkedIn.
When I went through those pre-arrival services in Nigeria I was told that social media is a big part of the North American system especially LinkedIn for professionals.
Networking on LinkedIn has helped me a great deal when immigrating to Canada.
While still in Nigeria, I proceeded to clean up my LinkedIn profile. I started sending out strategic connect request to people in and out of my profession. I also mentioned a brief note of who I was while sending these requests.
That is how I also met Dweep Mehta, an Indian Chartered Accountant who had immigrated to Canada a few years back. He advised I focus on networking and told me to connect to recruiters in Canada. This advice helped me greatly.
I also got past and present colleagues to write reviews about my work with them and this boost my LinkedIn page.
My advice is to start small by sending a connection request to people in your field and grow your network from there.
Now I have over 500 connections on LinkedIn and it has been the most helpful. You can have a look at my LinkedIn profile here – Ivy Anigbogu.
What Did I Do When I Arrived in Canada?
My first week in Canada – Registered for various services
As soon as I landed in Canada, the first week was used to register for most of the government services or book appointments.
I googled Service Ontario and settlement agencies near my location. There I was guided on the government offices to visit to complete the below registrations.
I registered for:
- Childcare benefits for my kids at a Settlement agency
- Driver license
- Kids school
- Health insurance card.
- Also the day we landed at the airport itself we registered for Social Insurance number.
My second week in Canada – Finding a job
The second week was spent visiting recruiters and distributing my resume.
When I landed in Canada and attended the interviews I was asked about my goals and what I aimed to achieve. These recruiters have links with various organizations and it was through one of them I secured my present employment.
By the second week in August I attended an interview organized by a recruitment agency and got the job. I resumed work on September 4, 2018.
I also did various applications for jobs on LinkedIn and other job portals at the time. Everyone’s case is peculiar and I advise anyone to try all available avenues to secure a job including applying through job portals or making use of recruiters.
To make use of recruiters you can search them out on LinkedIn and send a connection request with a short pitch about your person and profession. I also subscribed for LinkedIn premium service so that I could send Inmails to the job poster after I apply for a job.
CV Preparing tips
Having a proper CV with a cover letter is very important in Canada. I obtained the format for Canadian CV and cover letter from one of those online preparatory programs I attended before coming to Canada.
During the program, you have the opportunity to send your CV and cover letter to have it be reviewed by a professional who will access it and give guidance on how to correct it.
Interview tips for jobs in Canada
You can find a lot of videos on YouTube about job interviews in Canada.
But from ‘my little’ experience I have some interview advice for you:
- Study about the company and use this knowledge in answering your interview questions
- Study the job description and practice how your skills match the job,
- When asked how much you want to earn just answer that ‘you are confident the company offers a competitive package’ (If you give an amount you might be too high or low and this might disqualify you for the next interview stage).
- Visit www.payscale.com to get a salary range for the position you are applying for. You can mention this range in the interview and state your source so the interviewer would know you have done your research.
Where Did I Live When I Immigrated to Canada?
I decided on a city by researching where my profession had more scope.
I also researched a city with a warm climate and affordable accommodation.
I landed in Toronto and stayed at Mississauga in an Airbnb apartment which I researched online when I was in Nigeria. I also made payment for the apartment for 3 weeks from Nigeria online, the site charges in USD.
From Mississauga, I moved to an apartment in Brampton where I currently reside. These places are all within the Greater Toronto Area.
Airbnb is a site where individuals put up their homes for a temporary period of stay and the advantage is that most of these apartments are furnished serviced apartment where you can prepare your own meals and do your own laundry.
I came to Canada knowing no one so I had to stay in an Airbnb apartment. As most landlords are hesitant to give you an apartment when you are not yet in the country as they want to physically access who they are renting their place to.
Also, you have to come with more than enough settlement funds because some landlords require advance payments of about 6 months from newcomers since they have no job or reference.
If you have a friend or family already in Canada, you might want to engage their help in helping you view and secure an apartment before you land.
ACCA has an MoU with CPA Canada where its members are only required to undertake Canadian Tax and Law course to be considered for CPA membership.
I started the process of CPA Canada in February 2018 while still in Nigeria. I did the Tax and Law course online and submitted my certificate to CPA Canada.
I self-studied for CPA Canada for about 1 hr per day.
- The immigration process is a conscious decision that must be made with all seriousness, focus, and determination
- The amount of money indicated on the Canadian website as the minimum for each member of your family should be the least you should bring when landing. This is because many landlords would not rent out their houses unless you can pay at least 6months of rent in advance.
- Use as much as YouTube videos as much as possible when preparing for IELTS exams. Depending on your age (32 or less) you should aim at obtaining a minimum score of 8 in listening, 7 in Speaking, 7 in Reading and 7 in Writing.
- Aim to have a Masters Certificate or a B. Sc + Advanced Diploma before entering the Express pool. This will give you higher points.
- Even if you fail the IELTS exam, apply immediately to write the next time. Do not be discouraged. I failed the listening test and passed other sections of the test 2 times and was only able to pass it in the 3rd attempt. I needed 8 in Listening but in my first and second attempt I scored 7.5, I wasn’t discouraged I immediately registered for the next exam and today I am in Canada with my family by God’s grace. Life is not without challenges.
- Do a lot of research about where you would want to settle in Canada depending on your profession.
- If you are from Nigeria Read through Nairaland Canadian Express entry forum from page 0 before you ask any question on the forum because almost all of your questions would have been answered previously.
- Make accommodation arrangements before you leave Nigeria for at least one month. If you are like me with no relatives or friend in Canada then book an Airbnb apartment before you arrive. It is cheaper than a hotel because it’s serviced apartments (you can cook your own food unlike a hotel).
- Read through cic.gc.ca thoroughly for all the information and benefits for new immigrants, there is a lot of information that will guide your decision making.
- You don’t need to apply for a Government photo card when you arrive, simply apply for a driver license and take the knowledge test for a G1 license. You will get a temporary license paper and the original one will be sent to you by mail.
- At the airport when you land please provide a valid address where your PR card will be sent to. In case you are using an Airbnb apartment be sure the person will deliver the card to you once it is sent because the card might take two months to arrive.
- Please do not lie on your application. If you have been denied a visa previously into any country give the details because investigations are carried out into the information provided.
- Lastly and most importantly, PRAY PRAY PRAY and seek God’s face before making the decision to immigrate.
Now It’s Your Turn
Do you have any questions for Ivy? Has this article helped you?
Let us know now by leaving a comment below.