Getting a Canadian immigration visa is no mean feat. The whole Canadian visa application process takes months and requires a lot of hard work and some investment. Finally getting an approved entry visa is definitely a great accomplishment and something worth feeling excited about and celebrating.
But once you land in Canada and get off the plane, you need to curb your enthusiasm a bit. Although there are a lot of interesting places to visit and activities to do in nearly every part of this country, you need to concentrate on doing some important things first.
Attending to all of these once you arrive in Canada will help you have an easier time establishing yourself in the country as well as dealing with your new life abroad.
Must-Dos on Your First Week in the Great White North
Here are some of the important things you have to do as soon as you arrive in Canada:
1. Apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) card
The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number that you need to have to legally work in Canada. It is similar to the Social Security number (SSN) in the USA and the National Insurance Number in the UK. If you don’t have this number, you cannot get a job and be eligible for any government assistance or credit.
To get a SIN card, go to any Service Canada office. If there are not that many applicants, you can get your card in half an hour. Just make sure you bring your passport with visa and/or work permit when applying for your SIN.
2. Obtain medical coverage
Canada’s universal healthcare system provides free public health insurance to permanent residents.You can go online to check if your current visa or status qualifies you for this privilege.
In many provinces, Medicare is totally funded by the local state. However, in some provinces, everyone has to pay medical insurance premiums to help fund the program. Employers in these provinces often pay the medical insurance premium on behalf of their employees as part of the employment package.
Certain provinces have a waiting period before newcomers can apply for public health insurance. If you are living in such an area, consider applying for temporary private health insurance first.
3. Get a local number
As a newcomer in a foreign land, you will undergo frequent bouts of homesickness. You can alleviate your feelings of loneliness and sadness by being in constant touch with your loved ones and friends. You can do this easily when you have your own local number.
Having a local number is a must for anyone who will live and work in Canada. Once you have a local phone, you will avoid costly roaming charges from your home provider. You can also use Wi-Fi to make voice and video calls and send messages to your family anytime. You get to talk to them whenever you want for free and feel better after your conversations with them.
4. Open a bank account
It is important to open a bank account as soon as you can so that you can manage bills and debit card payments easily. Having a personal bank account will also allow you to keep your money safe and easily accessible.
It is best to open an account with a bank that has numerous branches in convenient locations and with longer banking hours. Make sure the bank also has a wide network of automated bank machines (ABMs), products, and services that you may need.
5. Look for a job you like
Lastly, if you do not have any guaranteed job offers yet, start looking for work now. You can begin your search online. You can also get help from local and online job consultants so that you can have more options to choose from.
But don’t immediately accept any job offer you receive. Do some research about the company and scrutinize the job offer. Make sure you will be receiving a fair compensation and benefits package.
It is also important that you have some idea about an organization’s company culture so that you can be sure your values won’t clash with theirs if you work for them. This will also enable you to feel happier and even excited to go to work and fulfilled at the end of each day.
Don’t forget to have fun and make new friends during your first few days of stay in Canada as well. It’s a great way to forget about your worries and all the stress that comes with moving to another country.
Bevan Berning is an Immigration professional and owner ofPathway Visas, an Immigration Agency dealing mostly with skilled immigration to Canada and Australia. Bevan’s enthusiasm for the industry has kept in the Immigration field for the past seven years. Bevan is South African by birth and has been residing in Dubai for the past eight years.