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New Immigrants: Steps to Take

Written by Nathalie Bernard

Friday, August 31st, 2018

This is the remarkable story of a fellow Tangerine employee named Fahd. Fahd bravely decided to leave his home in Pakistan, where he, his wife and daughter were faced with concerns for their safety, to emigrate to Canada. They arrived here in August 2015.

After many immigration formalities, Fahd applied to a federal work program, was recruited right away, and received a one-year work visa in April 2015. He is now a permanent full-time member of our team at Tangerine.

But it wasn't an easy journey, and he's learned several lessons that may be helpful to other recent immigrants.

Finding Work

Finding employment is a top priority for any newcomer. Fahd enrolled in a Leadership Connections program at ACCES Employment, a non-profit organization that helped him prepare for his interviews and provided coaching. He also did some employment research long before he left Pakistan. The Federal Government has a wide range of programs based on different criteria like proficiency/level of language (English or French), age and area of specialization. For Fahd, his level of English, his finance background and experience and his involvement on LinkedIn® allowed him to network and familiarize himself with the Canadian employment market. His positive attitude and transferable skills were an important part of building an impressive profile. Fahd's advice: “Don't apply randomly to jobs. Research postings that match your aspirations and skills."

Housing and living expenses

Toronto is huge. And expensive. Without knowing where to even start, Fahd resorted to Airbnb® and found a place for a couple of weeks. To put down first and last months' rent on an apartment, he had to withdraw a big chunk of his savings. Transferring and withdrawing money internationally is expensive, so to cover immediate expenses, Fahd realized he'd need a Canadian credit card quickly. As a newcomer, his bank approved him for a card with a limit of $1,000 to establish his credit here in Canada. This small credit limit doesn't go very far. On top of that, his newcomer bank account charged a hefty fee of $30 per month.

What made everything affordable for Fahd was that he came from Pakistan having saved up a year's salary. This made it possible for him to buy a used car, which he'd be able to drive once he re-qualified as a driver by passing a road test. Fahd's advice: "Save!"

Community connections and resources

Fahd didn't know anyone here, so he joined a group of immigrants through WhatsApp®. These connections helped him discover some important resources like specialized grocery stores, a community centre and support groups (which he now volunteers for) to help him and his family form social and cultural bonds. Fahd's advice: "Get social, it's important."

A year later

Fahd has overcome the challenges of settling in and accumulated small financial victories along the way. He's a great saver, a wise spender, and he's determined to pursue his career and his life here. He's happy, has made some friends and plans to get his Canadian passport as soon as possible. Fahd began working at Tangerine on a contract. Within a few months, he was offered a permanent full-time position and he's quickly become a valuable member of our team.

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