Vishveshwar Jatain, who was born and raised in India, moved to Canada with his wife, Sugandha, in January 2020.
Their application and moving experience was seamless thanks to their organized and methodical approach to the process. Since Vishveshwar retained his job with his Indian employer after moving to Canada, that helped provide financial security during their first six months. Here he shares how he and his wife prepared for the move, adjusted to life in Canada, accomplished a major milestone, and overcame obstacles along the way.
I grew up in India, living in many different cities throughout my childhood because my father was in the army. I eventually settled in Delhi and had been living there for about six years before moving to Canada. My wife and I had been married for about a year when we decided to leave India. Our conversation was kind of hilarious. We were sitting on the balcony after work and one of us—I don’t remember who—said ‘hey, do you want to try moving to Canada?’ The other one said ‘yes.’ And then we just rolled with it!
We both had our own reasons for wanting to move, and some disillusionment with our home country. There is also a lot of industrial pollution in Delhi that we didn’t like. We were confident we would find better opportunities in Canada. There is the tech corridor between Waterloo and Toronto which is known as the largest hub for tech and engineering jobs outside of Silicon Valley. I have worked in tech-adjacent jobs so I knew there may be opportunities in this market.
Organization is key to planning and preparing your move
My wife and I reviewed all the different immigration options and pathways that were available to us. We chose to apply through Express Entry. We found the application process straightforward, and the required documents clearly laid out. I know some people who immigrate from India to other countries hire an immigration consultant, but we didn’t feel the need for that. One month after submitting our application, we received an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. We spent the next two months gathering the documents that were required and submitted our PR application.
We then had to figure out the logistics of sorting and eliminating everything we didn’t need to bring to Canada. My wife is much more organized than I am, so she took the lead on this. We had an Excel spreadsheet that divided our tasks by months, including the paperwork, the application documents, what we needed to sell, and any other business we had to wrap up before the move. That is something I would recommend to anyone—organize all your tasks pertaining to your move so you don’t miss anything. When our Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) arrived, we had clear a game plan for our move and were able to land in Canada less than three months later.
My wife and I arrived in Toronto on January 30, 2020. One of my friends from university picked us up and dropped us off at the Airbnb we had booked in North York. It was snowing when we arrived. Although I’d seen snow before, it was back when I was a child. I hadn’t seen it as an adult and it was magical. When we arrived in our neighbourhood, it felt like I was in a Christmas movie.
Over the next few days, I saw different animals – a raccoon, a skunk, and rabbits. This was unique to me because Delhi has a very high population density, and it’s almost impossible to see wildlife inside or around the city. This was a special time; we were both really excited about our move. I was also pleasantly surprised that the cold weather didn’t bother us as much as we had feared. I learned early on that if you layer properly in the winter, it’s not that challenging.
Moving to Canada with a job adds financial security
I was fortunate that the company I worked for in India decided to continue my employment in Canada. It was the parachute we needed, and I’m thankful for that. My advice to someone moving to Canada is to try to secure an internal job transfer before moving here, rather than quitting your job and trying to find one here. That’s the most seamless way to do it. It helps to have your income strategy finalized before your move, if possible.
Even still, during our first six months as my wife searched for a job, we were anxious about our finances with only one income. Compared to India, the cost of living in Canada is much higher, and although we had planned for that and brought some of our savings with us, we still had to be frugal. After Sugandha started working, I began my search for a job that fit my skills, and got hired by a Canadian company in the same industry that I’d been working in.
One of my fears was whether I would fit in once I started working in a Canadian workplace—not just in terms of communication, but also culturally. That’s something that anyone moving from a different culture or country worries about. The people I work with, however, have been very welcoming.
Finding accommodation without credit history
Our initial plan was to rent a shared Airbnb for a few months, but shortly after moving in, our landlord decided to sell his place. He refunded part of the money that we had paid upfront, and gave us two weeks to move out. It was always our plan to rent our own place, but that accelerated our timeline.
We chose an apartment near Liberty Village in downtown Toronto. The streetcar stop was right in front of our building which was amazing. We didn’t have a car, so public transit was important. When we did the paperwork to secure the place, we ran into a challenge. We were so new to Canada that we didn’t have a credit history yet. In lieu of that, I provided my income statements and provided bank statements to prove that we had enough savings to pay our rent. A few hours after submitting all the financial documents, we got the place.
We lived there for about a year during the pandemic, so most places were closed in the city. I remember we would step out and notice how empty the roads were. But we enjoyed walking to the Liberty Village market every day and walking to the nearby Tim Horton’s for coffee. The lake was also close by and we would head there regularly, too.
Reaching a major milestone
One of our financial goals was to purchase our own place. After living in downtown Toronto for about a year, we started looking at condos in different Toronto neighbourhoods. We found a condo unit in North York, which was close to public transit and within the price range we had in mind.
Our earliest memories of coming to Canada were shaped by North York, so we were happy to return to the same area. We bought the condo a little over two years after arriving in Canada. This is a big milestone for us as it’s the first home we’ve ever purchased as individuals, or as a couple.
I feel like we’re fully entrenched in Canadian life now. We recently got a puppy, which is a second milestone for us. Overall, it’s been a positive move. No question, our lives have improved and, for the most part, it has been seamless. I think it helped that we’re fluent in English.
Since moving here, we’ve travelled to Alberta, driving the Trans-Canada highway from Jasper to Banff. We’ve also visited Prince Edward Island. Once our puppy grows up a bit, we want to continue exploring different parts of the country. Canada is so big and full of natural beauty and there’s still so much to see.