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Top ten must-dos before getting on the plane

Stepping onto the plane to your new life in Canada should be the final step in your pre-departure planning.

Here’s what you should do before getting onto the runway.

Find a job 

Securing a job before you land in Canada ensures a much smoother arrival and will help you to be granted a Canadian visa.

How to find a job:

  • Search for jobs and even apply online before arriving in Canada.
  • You may be in the enviable position of being able to transfer to the Canadian office of your current company – have you investigated that possibility?
  • Keep an eye out in any industry magazines you may subscribe to, like the NCE (New Civil Engineer) – Canadian companies may advertise for skilled professionals via these type of magazines

Investigate your visa options 

Canada has recently overhauled its entire migration system with a wealth of opportunity’s available now.

Find out more about Canadian visas at Citizenship & Immigration Canada.

Sort out your living arrangements 

If you’ve secured a job, you’ll already know whereabouts in Canada you’ll be based. However, you may still need to sort out accommodation for the few weeks (although your employer may arrange this for you as part of a resettlement package).

If not, and you don’t have any friends or family you can stay with for a few days, you can check out short term accommodation options online.

Longer-term, if you don’t know where you’ll be living, research where to live in Canada or get stuck straight into renting a new home.

Get all your important documents together 

It may take a while to locate all the important paperwork you need to collect for your move – better get cracking.

You’ll need the following as originals, not copies. If they’re not in English, you’ll also need to bring a certified translation with you:

  • Your birth certificate
  • Your marriage certificate
  • Your academic qualifications/transcripts
  • References from previous employers
  • An international driver’s licence

Arrange your banking 

You’ll want to be able to access some money in your first few days in Canada so take some currency with you (rather than travellers cheques).

You can open a bank account before you land in Canada.

Research the cost of living in Canada so you know how much money you’ll need to live on until that first all-important pay packet.

You can also transfer some funds.

Research language requirements 

You’ll need to have a good level of vocational English or French in four areas (listening, speaking, reading and writing) to work in Canada. Evidencing your language ability differs according to which visa program you’re applying. There are different requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Sort out your stuff 

Now’s the perfect time for a long overdue spring clean – give away or throw out anything you no longer need or want.
Then you can decide what you want to ship – research international removal companies – or what you want to pop into storage.

If you’ve got a furry family member you’d like to bring with you to Canada, find out more about pet relocation.

Get telling people (lots of them) 

We don’t just mean friends and family either – there are a lot of people that need to know that you’re moving overseas.

This includes:

  • Your current employer – check your contract for the minimum amount of notice you need to give.
  • Your bank – if you’re closing your account rather than transferring it to Canada (if that’s an option). If you’re still keeping some accounts open, provide them with an alternative contact address (this can be your parents or parents-in-law if you don’t know your Canadian address).
  • Utilities companies – settle up your final bill with your electricity, water and gas providers and let them know you’re no longer living at your address.
  • The Student Loan Company – if you’ve got one, you’ll need to arrange to continue repaying this even if you’re overseas.
  • Post re-direction – let the Royal Mail know you’re moving and provide an alternative address for them to deliver post to (again, this could be your parents or a sibling – if they’re happy to, that is!) This is a good opportunity to check your recent mail and work out what companies need to be told you’re moving.
  • Your doctor and dentist – let them know you’re leaving their practice and request your medical notes to bring with you to Canada (it’s handy for your new medical practitioner to know your full medical history).

Say goodbye to your home 

If you’re renting, make sure you give your landlord plenty of notice.

If you own your own home, consider whether you want to rent your home own or sell it. Get chatting to your mortgage provider if you wish to rent your home out and research estate agents who can handle the renting or selling of the property.

Stay in touch

Consider how you’ll stay in touch with everyone back at home in those first few days and weeks – it’ll be reassuring to have a chat with your mum or best mate when you arrive.

The best way to keep in touch these days is Skype. If you don’t have an account, sign up and make sure your friends and family are on Skype too. Treat your parents to a webcam if they don’t have one so they can see you regularly.

Pack your laptop so you can use Skype or make sure your smartphone or electronic gadget is all set up and ready to go. Check that your accommodation in the first few days/weeks has internet access available.


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