I receive a number of emails from readers frequently related to life as an immigrant in the workplace. It’s really humbling to know that many of you find me worthy enough to share your stories with. What triggered my blogging journey was the need to have space where I could share challenges I was going through as a young person in the workforce.

I had always felt lost in the workplace for a long time and after deciding to pursue a career in HR, I thought it’ll be great to possibly share my discoveries and how I’ve learned to overcome several workplace challenges, as well as share HR tips I had come to learn.

I’m still finding my grounding in this thing called work-life. Every day is another opportunity to try a new experiment on me as the ‘lab rat’.

Sometimes I’m low and other times I’m high. Sometimes I’m of the opinion that my decisions aren’t good enough. On some good days, I’m happy and some days I’m not for countless understandable reasons.

But, I digress.

I receive a lot of emails from you and so many times these emails are related to immigration issues of workers. I also published a post on tips to get a job as an immigrant and so many of you loved it! I’m not sure why I may appear to be an immigration consultant, but I very well understand the reason for such.

I mean, I practically started my life from scratch in a foreign land. Everything I’ve done deviated from what I had imagined my life will be when I started working towards my career goals back in Nigeria.

I studied law in Nigeria, all my life I wanted to be a lawyer. Every decision I made while in my home country was with the intention of one day becoming a lawyer and possibly owning my own law firm or at least working as a commercial or entertainment lawyer.

That dream soon faded and reality dawned on me sooner than later. It so happened that that wasn’t the path for me and I had loads of confusion and frustration to deal with. Several people will later go on to tell me: “Zinny, I can’t believe you actually studied law. You don’t look like someone that should have studied law.”

The story can be better narrated. But the point is that I understand why I receive emails related to changing career as an immigrant, finding a new job, possibilities of success, how to settle into the immigrant country, and so on.

I’m a sincere person and I don’t believe in sugar coating things or living a false life. I thrive in simplicity and as much as I’ll love to live a fairly tale life, the truth is that I can’t just fake it.

So I always start out my response emails with something like this: “Thank you for sending me this email and believing that I may be of help. But please note that I’m not a career expert/ counselor…”

Because honestly, just like many other millennials, I never got it right from the start. I was scared of making decisions that’ll hunt me in years to come so I decided to rather go ahead doing what I thought was right at the time. I mean, better to at least have tried rather than regret not taking any step at all.

The candid truth is that I never planned to live outside Nigeria, I didn’t even have Canada on my list. At some point, my career confusion ate deep into me and I just wanted a change of environment so I contemplated leaving to the UK to further my studies. I was of the opinion that it’ll give me some time to possibly figure my stuff out.

But since my boyfriend at the time, now my husband, was in Canada, he made a case for himself that I should study in Canada instead. Well, for obvious reasons, I decided to choose Canada, and my family was very supportive thankfully.

What I’m trying to say is that very few people know the right career suitable for them. I don’t think anyone knows the right path to success in whatever dimension, otherwise, you wouldn’t even be reading this blog post, I presume.

Lately, I’ve made it a point of duty to read several books by successful people, and while they may give several life lessons they’ve come to learn, none of them knew at the time that that was the right thing to do. They just tried to do what they thought was best for their lives at the time which somehow turned into a success story.

Choosing to Relocate/ Becoming an Immigrant

A frequent question I receive is how to immigrate to Canada and how possible it’ll be to survive. Somehow, Canada has turned out to be a good peaceful place to live. I have days when I miss my home country, family, and old friends. All the same, I won’t deny the fact that Canada has made me grow up and become more independent.

I’ve become a better person in several ways just because I had to live alone and make decisions on my own with little or no external influence.

A few weeks ago, Aicha (one of the first few friends I made when I relocated to Canada for studies) sent me an article. It was at this point that I knew it was about time I published this particular post as I’ve had it in mind for quite some time now.

According to a new research from Statistics Canada:

“International students are increasingly regarded as an important group of young and well-educated individuals from which to select permanent residents. In December 2015, there were 353,000 international students with a valid study permit in Canada, up from 84,000 in December 1995.
Of the international students admitted to Canada in the early 2000s, 25% became permanent residents over the 10 years that followed. Of these, nearly one-half applied as principal applicants in the economic class”.

This study explored the experiences of international students, immigration and earnings growth, while also examining the earnings via three major groups: international students who obtained a university degree in Canada and then became landed immigrants (i.e. Canadian-educated immigrants); individuals who had a university degree from abroad at the time they immigrated to Canada (i.e. foreign-educated immigrants); and university graduates born in Canada.

The earnings trajectories of these groups were examined over 6 years for the cohort of individuals aged 25 to 34 in 2006, and over 20 years for the cohort of individuals aged 25 to 34 in 1991. The results of the study suggest that pre-landing Canadian work experience and earnings play an increasing role in differentiating the post-immigration labour market outcomes of university-educated immigrants.

In other words, previous experience from your home country and level of education are determinants to the success of your immigration into Canada. If you have some time on your hand, do read the article for a deeper understanding of the findings.

While reviewing the study, I couldn’t help but recall my days spent as a student in Canada,  a part-time worker, and past experiences I’ve had to encounter as a result of changing my location and calling a foreign place my new home.

I totally understand why I’d receive emails asking some of these immigration questions because I can understand the uncertainties one may have to go through as a result of making such big decisions that inevitably affect your life and career as a whole.

So if your dream is to immigrate to Canada, for study or work, then take out time to visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), now Immigrations Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to discover suitable immigration options best for you.

As an immigrant, I spent a lot of time on that website navigating and keeping myself informed, because the last thing you’d want to do is to be caught unawares when immigration laws change.

If you feel that you are completely overwhelmed, because I can understand that it can be a lot of information overload, then you may consider engaging the services of a registered immigration consultant. You can check out InfoPlace Canada, run by Florence Akpan to book a consultation.

I’m certainly not where I want to be in life yet because as humans our wants are insatiable, but we must always learn to be content, grateful, and to see the beauty in whatever situation. However, it’s been a roller coaster journey life as an immigrant and I’m still excited to continue on this ride. In the meantime, look out for more immigration inspired posts.

The summary is that I’ve decided to give you more articles that detail my chronicles as an immigrant and how it’s affected me in the workplace. I’ll be sharing more challenges in this area and how I’ve handled it. It appears you guys want to know more about this. I wouldn’t be a good blogger/vlogger if I choose to ignore this fact.

If you have other suggestions and tips on any immigration-related topic, by all means, please feel free to continue the discussion in the comment section.

Are you an immigrant or do you consider becoming one soon? Please share your experience below and let us know where you currently reside. Also, what immigration topic do you want me to write on? I love it when I hear back from you.

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