My previous blog was for the newcomers to Canada on what to bring with you when you are coming to Canada for immigration and plan to stay here with your family.
Once you have decided on what to take with you, there are a few things you need to decide about your days after landing. Before I begin getting a phone connection or a sim number is basic. So try going to the nearest mall and evaluate the connection packages per month and get one that suits your budget.
People plan in it 2 ways. Some people just do the landing take the PR and go back to home country or so to wind up the work and home stuff. Some people do it all before landing and come here with a mindset to settle. Whatever scenario you pick up you need to check off the following from your list.
- Find a place to stay for initial days (Hotel / Motel or with a Friend/Family): Moving from one city to another is a transition that one needs some time to adjust to. Moving to another continent is not a piece of cake to make it smooth it’s important to decide where are you going to stay for initial days as soon as you book your flight. Most of the people prefer to live with family or friends to have initial support but some prefer to be on their own in a furnished apartment or a hotel paying rent on a daily basis. Taking help from friends and family to move around for important things like house search etc. We also did the same. We stayed in an apartment for the initial 10 days until we found an apartment to lease for rent. You can find it on booking.com. Try finding one closer to the city center so you have access to grocery and stuff on your own.
- Apply for SIN Card for Work and Benefits: Once you land at the airport the immigration officer will direct you to new comer’s side you can apply for the SIN right there and you get it right away. If not, you can always do that going to the Service Canada office near you. Here is how you can apply in person or through email.
- Open Bank Account and Locker: Securing your money safely should be your first priority. All banks have special programs for newcomers however we found the program by Bank of Nova Scotia the best with a free locker/safety box for 1styear. Here is the detail. You can always take advice from friends and family but make sure you don’t sign up for an account with heavy minimal balance and monthly maintenance fee as it will be an expense for you. In case you are traveling with foreign currency Demand drafts just deposit it right away as it a few business days for the funds to come into your account.
- Visit a Newcomer Information Centre: You can visit a newcomer information center near your location. Or you can go online www.settlement.org or call 211 community information to learn how to. They will guide you about the initial stuff you need to do in terms of Resume tailoring, Job banks, and additional skills if required.
- Apply for Government Benefits: You need to apply for the Govt Benefits that you and your family can receive. Do it right away as it takes 6 to 8 weeks at least to process. Most important are your child benefit and HST. Here is how you can apply.
- Apply for OHIP Card: Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) starts after 3 months from your date of landing however you need to apply it at earliest. Here is how you can do it. It gives you the detail of the documents you need. In the meanwhile, you should know your alternative options and can buy health insurance that can cover you until OHIP benefits kick in.
- Test English Skills: In case you have a very high score in IELTS or so you might not need the English classes. It’s always good to get it tested because you may need it for college, universities in case you have a future plan for the study. Here is where you can do it. There are many Govt Funded Language programs for adults for free where they can learn. So, try making use of that.
- Find a place for rent and Contact Schools: As you will be on a look for the place to rent consider the school ranking as one of the most important variables in that scenario in case you have Kids. Because the school allocated to your child depends upon your address. In case you don’t have kids but plan to study then its time to contact schools to know the requirements and admission dates.
- Transportation and Learning About Public Transport: To commute is one thing you can’t avoid initially you will have to learn about public transportation, fares, routes, and services. You can also rent a vehicle on a daily rental basis and drive on your international license when you land for the first time.
- Find places to shop: Explore to find the places to shop daily food items, clothing, furniture and medicines as you will need to know all this in settling phase.
I hope it helps. As we didn’t have a clear checklist to go through once we landed. With suggestions and research, we got all of the stuff done in time but I thought a checklist can really help a newcomer to know what needs to be done in the initial 10 days.
In my next blog, I will be focusing on Settlement Checklist that means all you need to in the first few “Months” to settle in new Land.