Immigration Consultant shares 10 Tips for Nigerians Relocating to Canada

10 Tips for Nigerians Relocating to Canada

A Nigerian X user (formerly known as Twitter) living in Canada has shared his experience on how he arrived in Canada nine years ago from Nigeria and some important lessons he learned over the years that will be helpful for Nigerians relocating to Canada.

According to @TundeTASH, a licensed immigration consultant by the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC), those planning on traveling abroad this year or soon will come closer. Here are some 10 important lessons I have learned over the years that can help you with your journey.

Before I begin, it is important to clarify that not everyone will travel abroad, and not everyone will travel to Canada or abroad, and this is in no way persuading anyone to.

See, when I was preparing to travel back then, there was no social media group to join. There weren’t WhatsApp, Telegram, or Facebook groups. There is no Nigerian YouTube video to watch for orientation. The only orientation I got was from the man who helped with my admission back then. A family friend also gave me a short orientation. But he only spoke of how intense the cold can be. You had to navigate your way. Learn from the few you meet and also from the source of information yourself. It’s been a journey, really, and I am grateful for all I have learned all along. 

Here are some key lessons from someone who has attended two different schools in Canada (studied Human Resources Management and Immigration and Citizenship Law);

  • worked his way up in Corporate Canada as the Head of a Unit and Tech Manager in a Fortune 100 company
  • run a startup that has been at the forefront of immigration technology in Canada
  • startup accepted into Google Accelerator as part of the North American cohort 
  • received VC funding and other grants for the startup
  • assisted hundreds of other aspiring international students to find their path and provided resources needed to actualize their dreams

10 Tips for Nigerians Relocating to Canada

Below are ten (10) important lessons for Nigerians relocating to Canada:

1. Understand the Canadian Workplace Culture

Learning the nuances of work etiquette in corporate Canada will contribute to your professional success. One thing I learned quickly is that the power gap here is relatively low. This of course can be because of the typical way of life. 

At my first professional job, the Director I reported to called me to her office one day to lecture me on the power gap. In her words, “I know I am the boss, but you make it very visible there shouldn’t be any power gap between us. Only my title makes me different as you have as much input to the team as I do”. 

At that moment I felt like a child who had been ‘power gap molested’ and had to immediately find a way to cure my bruises. From that time, I approached every role like I deserved to be there and polished my leadership skills. 

Walk the talk. Show up. Speak up. Collaborate more. When you do this in corporate Canada, you’d thank yourself. People always said my growth in Corporate Canada was so quick. I can tell you, it’s simply because I didn’t cower anymore after that simple advice from my first Director.

2. Financial Literacy is a must

Managing your finances is important. Your finance and credit score can influence the house you buy, the car you drive, and the financial access that you have. Let me simply put, understand the Canadian financial system as early as possible.

3. Healthcare Awareness is quite Important

There’s been debate on whether the healthcare system here is good or not, but my advice would be to understand your health needs. Start from there. It is also important to know how to navigate the system to be able to get early access to needed healthcare services. 

For many international students, they aren’t even aware they have access to medical insurance through their schools. Please look it up and check with your international office so you don’t pay out of pocket.

4. Weather Adaptation

Canada is a cold country. Know this and know peace. Winter will always be winter. The amount of snowfall might defer, but the cold will always be the same. I almost lost two fingers in my first month of arrival because I went grocery shopping without taking my gloves.

Always prepare yourself for the weather. It’s as simple as that. Over time (although no one loves the cold), you get used to it.

5. The Hidden Job Market

Canada, like many other countries, has a hidden job market. You crack this hidden job market through:

  • Speaking up
  • Meeting new people in your field
  • Networking
  • Joining professional networks
  • Joining job search groups
  • Working with recruiters

6. Transportation 

If you don’t drive, then it’s a different ball game entirely. Also, depending on where you live, you might need to carefully time the buses or trains needed for transportation.  Traveling by air within Canada is quite on the high side. In some cases, it’s even cheaper to fly outside than within the country.

7. Visa, Work Permit, and PR Requirements

One thing to never forget is the expiry date of your status.

8. Cost of Living

Depending on the city, the cost of living can be high. I have done several threads on different cities and what you should expect in terms of the cost of living.  Quite important to plan and prepare to avoid or minimize surprises.

9. The Bi-Lingual Advantage 

There are some jobs you can only get if you are bilingual. Canada is both English and French. If you put an effort into learning French, it’d come in handy in Corporate Canada.

10. Investing in Your Education 

You don’t have to be educated in Canada to get jobs, but having a Canadian education on your resume could go a long way. Even if it’s a short course at a University or College, try adding it to your resume to increase your chances.

Source: The article was written by Tunde Omotoye.