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The Challenges and Rewards of Immigrating to Canada for Work: A First-Hand Perspective from an Employer & an Employee

Clock5 min. read
byJulie Rempel, VP Marketing & Partnerships, Vexxit & Tony Zhu, B2B Marketing Specialist, Vexxit

Read the first-hand perspective of a Canadian immigration story written by Vexxit's Julie Rempel, VP of Marketing & Partnerships, and Tony Zhu, B2B Marketing Specialist. Tony's story gifted us all a reminder to be grateful for what we have here when he received his Permanent Residence status this summer.

Julie’s Perspective

While every country has its strengths and weaknesses, in Canada, there is a lot to be thankful for. Over time, it can be human tendency to take these things for granted. Fortunately, a member of our team at Vexxit gifted us all a reminder to be grateful for what we have here when he received his Permanent Residence status this summer.

Here’s a bit of background for you.

Almost one year ago, Vexxit was going through its first significant hiring spurt. We were looking to fill multiple positions at the same time. We were also incredibly conscious about finding not just the right skills, but also the right personality that would complement the existing team.  

Along came Tony.  

There was little to no discussion regarding his skills and acumen for the role – he was a slam dunk.  But, he was nervous when it came to the interview process.  We learned later that it was because he thought his English skills were not up to par. In reality and with full transparency, we talked about it, but we knew he would be a huge asset to our team and language was only a minor barrier. He was hired. 

English is Tony’s second language, actually it might be his third. He has had a diverse career. He has lived in a few different countries, but China is where he immigrated from with his two young children. As a single father, he was determined to give his children a life that was full of choice and uninhibited opportunities. So, he left all that was easy and all that was familiar to him. He came to a place where he felt cold like never before, where he had to learn how to navigate buying a house, a car, getting a license, medical cards, enrolling his children in French immersion school, cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving, managing isolation through the pandemic, and perfecting a new language. So, when the day arrived, and he was notified that he was now a Permanent Resident of Canada – we celebrated. 

We know that thousands of people in this country navigate the process of immigration every year. It is a life altering decision that impacts every facet one’s life. It is a decision that likely brings with it loneliness, trepidation and challenges every day.  

Through Tony, we, at Vexxit, have front row seats to the process. We watch him triumph over the big and small things that come his way - like when his car died on a -35℃ day and he had to figure out how to pick up his kids from school - or spur him on when we teach him new slang phrases such as ‘shout-out … why are we shouting at people?’ This country has given him hope for a better future for himself and for his children. That reminder is valued by our team every day.  

We are a diverse team at Vexxit. We celebrate our differences, we ask questions of each other, and have conversations when challenges arise.  We don’t shy away from the tough stuff.  

We want to encourage you to do the same with your team. If you need help navigating through some of the challenging aspects of immigration – seek help from a lawyer or one of our many HR consultants.  Take it from your team at Vexxit.

Tony’s Perspective:

Can a person be happy and sad at the same time? That was me at the exact moment I received my Confirmation of Permanent Resident (CoPR) Letter. 

I was happy because the efforts I had made for three years to immigrate to Canada were finally realized. I was sad at the same time because no one could share my happiness with me - my two children who were sleeping in their own room, were too young to understand (someday they will) why their father went through all the difficulties to bring them to this country.

Actually, it's not just three years, but seven. I had this idea seven years ago when my first kid was born. The journey of moving to another country is not easy. It’s full of challenges all along the way.

The first, of course, is the DIFFICULTIES IN EVERYDAY LIFE.

Julie is right, this is a place that I felt COLD like never before. The COLD wasn't so much about the -35℃ climate in Winnipeg - although that was cold enough - but it was the fact that I had to live in a new city as a stranger.

When I moved here, it had only been four years since I became a father. Even though I had more than ten years of experience in the workplace, as a father, I was a totally unqualified rookie. All of sudden, my life changed - I had to take care of the lives of three - me and my two children - all by myself.

I had to coordinate my schedule with theirs. One very memorable chapter was when one of them was in Kindergarten and another was in Daycare, while I was still studying at University of Manitoba. Every morning, I needed to get up at 6:30am to prepare breakfast and lunch for them; then wake them up, get them dressed and eat, and drop them off at two different places before going to my own class at 8:30am.  After class, I had to go home to make dinner and then drive to pick them up again. In the evening, after they both went to sleep, then came my own time - I could do my school homework or write my thesis.

As soon as I graduated, I started to look for jobs. During that time, I didn’t have an income and I wasn’t eligible for any Child Care Benefits or daycare subsidies. However, I still kept paying the daycare fee of $850 per month to keep my kids in school, so that I was able to work on my resume, cover letters, and prepare for a bunch of job interviews.

Regardless of time or finances, it was the most difficult time.

The second challenge I needed to face was LANGUAGE.

I took the IELTS test three times for immigration purposes in different stages. Luckily, each time I reached the required score. But the work is different, especially when I joined Vexxit, a fully Canadian company. 

Julie mentioned that I had been assigned a project called shout-out. Shout and Out are both easy to understand, but when they come together, I was aware that it might have a different meaning than what it looks like. Just as I know kidnap, apparently, does not mean a kid taking a nap.

So, I was the one who always brought up such language questions. I’m so glad my colleagues were all patient and explained new terms and slang to me.

When I totally got into the work over the next few months, I learned a lot of authentic English expressions from my colleagues, such as ‘my plate is full today’ (being busy), ‘it'll be on my radar’ (put it on the list and keep watching), and even ‘that's music to my ears’ (when expressing gratitude for another person's help). There are so many examples of this. It truly helped me to grow and to quickly adapt. 

The third challenge was the JOB itself.

To have a job, I would say, is a key part, not only to me, but to everyone’s immigration journey.

Having a job is proof that you are capable of living in Canada. As long as you are working, you are paying taxes and contributing to society. Though there are different streams for MPNP (Manitoba Provincial Nomination Program), the requirement for getting and maintaining a job is always there.

Canada is a place full of opportunities, where you will not be restricted by age, gender, race or anything else. It's all about your capability. If you're willing to learn and work hard, or you have a dream to fight for, you should come to Canada. 

You can choose to do it on your own, or you can find a lawyer or immigration consultant through Vexxit to help you accomplish your dreams.

Vexxit helps. Professional team helps. This country helps!

While it's been a challenging journey, it's been a very rewarding one. It's been a life-changing experience and I am so grateful to share this new chapter with my family and my work team.

Connect with a Lawyer or HR Consultant

If you need help navigating through some of the challenging aspects of immigration – seek help from a lawyer or one of our many HR consultants

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