How this Indian CA Dweep Mehta started his finance career from scratch after Immigrating to Canada
- Hi, I am Dweep Mehta a Chartered Accountant from India and a CPA Canada.
- One of my biggest dreams was to immigrate to Canada from India and become successful and established in my career as a chartered accountant.
- Within 2 years, I fell in love with this strange city, so much that it felt like home.
- When I came to Toronto, my goals were very clear, and now that I’ve achieved them.
- Here is my story of immigrating to Canada from India and achieving most of my goals in less than 1000 days.
Why Did I Immigrate to Canada From India?
Just like many other young people, my reason for immigrating to Canada from India was to look for greener pastures.
I was born and raised in Mumbai, India. My life in Mumbai was good. I had a nice job, amazing friends, and a great family. However, the everyday commute to and from work was getting on my nerves.
The traffic, the crowded trains, and the buses all seemed to be getting too much for me to handle (I am sure most of you reading this would have experienced this). This was tiring, and it was beginning to affect my health negatively. Somewhere inside of me, I wanted to move out of Mumbai to live a better life.
In 2012, my cousin, who is like an elder brother to me, told me that he was migrating to Canada.
Once he moved to Toronto, he kept updating me about his life there. He was really happy and had progressed greatly in Canada in just a year.
So even though I was kinda fed up with my hectic life at home, I had never thought of moving away from India; from my family, friends, my home country, and settling abroad. However, my cousin’s continuous encouragement inspired me to think of moving away from India to Canada.
Around that time, I was engaged to Radhika (now my wife!) – I told her about my plans and she willfully agreed to immigrate to Canada if it meant a better quality of life and a better future.
Of course, we would miss our family and friends, but the difficult decision had to be made if we actually wanted to live the life of our dreams.
Canadian Permanent Residence Visa
This is what we exactly did:
- We got married in December 2013 and immediately approached an immigration agency and inquired about the process of migrating to Canada from India, and then we started processing the paperwork for becoming Permanent Residents (PR) of Canada.
- There was a long list of documentation that we had to collect before we could actually apply for our Canadian Permanent Residency.
- Both of us were working then. We had to take certain days off from work to gather the documents.
- It took us almost 6 months to finally submit our application. So you could say by mid-2014 we had submitted our application.
- In early 2015, our application was approved and we received our PR visa for Canada. It took us 10 months to get our Canadian Permanent Residence Visa. I still can’t believe we actually went through all that hard work!
Once we got our visa and it was time to move to Canada we were going through these weird emotions. Though we were overjoyed to begin a new life in a new country, we were still sad to leave our family and friends!
Now the next big question was which part of Canada do we move to?
Deciding to move to Toronto
Once we got our PR, we decided to move to Toronto, Ontario.
I selected Toronto because my cousin was in Toronto, specifically Mississauga. (However, just before I could move to Toronto, he had to move to Edmonton, Alberta for career reasons. Luckily, I had my uncle and other relatives in Mississauga and nearby cities, so I did not think of moving to Edmonton.)
Also, there are lots of job opportunities in Toronto for Indians and other foreigners. Selecting the place of residence depends on the individual’s preference, spending capacity, and place of work.
If you take my example, I live in Mississauga which is comparatively less costly than the area in which I work in Toronto. However, I have to spend more on transportation. Alternatively, I could have lived in Toronto and spent more on rental but save on travel costs.
In my opinion, Toronto and the cities within the GTA have comparatively more scope for Accountants than other cities in Canada.
The next best city for Accountants to live in Canada would probably be Vancouver, British Columbia. In the last few years, even Alberta has had great opportunities for Accountants.
Starting our Life from Scratch in a New Country
Like millions of people around the world when I immigrated to Canada from India in September 2015, I brought with me some dreams along with my luggage.
When we first moved here, we stayed with my uncle and aunt for two months before we were able to rent our own place.
We were lucky to have them as they guided us through the basic knowledge we needed to settle down in this new country.
The immigration rules required us to bring INR 800,000 ($13,000- $14,000) which was sufficient to support us for 6 months (This was back in 2015! Now the amount would have changed).
We had a lot of things to get used to within that space of six months, especially the snowy winter.
Meanwhile, my uncle introduced me to his friend who connected me to someone at the Toronto Chapter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). This was to be my stepping stone for finding a chartered accountant job in Canada.
I joined the ICAI Toronto Chapter in October 2015. It was then that I realized the importance of referrals and networking in Canada.
Actually, networking and referring are a part of the Canadian culture.
Luckily I found my first job within 4 months. It was a contractual job and not a permanent one. So, when you first move here be ready to join jobs on a contract basis before getting a permanent one!
Pursuing CPA Canada
Soon, I also realized that in order to succeed as an Indian Chartered Accountant in Canada, I would have to get the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation.
I decided that as soon as my contract job ends, I would not take up another job. Instead, I would dedicate my time to achieving one of the greatest landmarks in Canada – CPA.
I am lucky to have a very supportive partner who encouraged me to focus 100% on my CPA studies. She worked and managed the finances for 6 months so I could give my best and study for my exams.
(It is also possible to pursue CPA Canada while working full time. However, you need to find a balance.)
I did enroll for CPA coaching as well. Immediately after my CPA exams and before the results could be declared I took up another contract job.
Luckily, I qualified as a CPA on my first attempt!
Looking back at it now, I realize that I took a big risk of not working for almost 6 months. I am really lucky that the risk paid off well.
Finding a Permanent Job in Canada
So now my next goal was to find a permanent job.
I knew there were many opportunities for Indian Chartered accountants in Canada, and I couldn’t wait to get one- a permanent job, unlike the contract jobs I had done previously.
To celebrate my CPA success, my family flew down to attend my convocation ceremony. It was a proud moment for all of us.
Surprisingly, for almost 2 months, I was at home, unemployed, searching for jobs, even after getting the CPA designation. Everyone advised me to be patient. They all said Canada has a habit of testing one’s patience!
A few days later I came across a job opportunity but again it was a contract job and not a permanent one! Instead of just waiting for a Permanent job I took up this contract job to get that ‘Canadian Experience’. But the search for my Permanent job was still on.
I contacted various recruiters and approached many people.
One day I got a call from a recruiter saying that I had an interview scheduled at an organization. I went for the interview all prepared. Luckily the interview went quite well. They called me for the second round of interviews which again went pretty well.
After a few days, I received a call from the recruiter.
The recruiter mentioned that the interviewers were very happy and that I had “GOT THE JOB.” Finally, my persistence paid off, I landed a permanent job in Canada.
Achieving this goal was a big success.
Buying my First Car in Canada
They say it takes 1000 days for one to settle in a new country. At this point, it had been just 750 days since I immigrated to Canada from India.
People feel that they are settled if they have a permanent job, own a car, and own a house. I also felt the same to some extent. So now my next goal was to have my own car.
After almost 2 months into the new job, I felt the need to have my own car and finally, I got one. (In my case, we bought our first car only after 2 years as we lived in Downtown Mississauga where everything was very accessible.)
Another feather in the hat!
Do you really need a car in Canada? Buying a car depends on an individual’s usage, place of residence, place of work, proximity to bus stop/bus terminal/train station, and proximity to the grocery store.
We could manage everything even in the harsh winter. The GTA has very good connectivity via bus, train, subway, and streetcar. Almost every city in the GTA has its own transit system.
For example, Toronto has Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Mississauga has MiWay (Mississauga Transit), Brampton has Brampton Transit, Oakville has Oakville Transit, and York Region in North Toronto has York Region Transit (YRT). The transit system which has the largest connectivity is GO Transit. Each of these is well connected to each other as regards timing and distance from each other.
Buying my First Home in Canada
I still had 250 days for the next goal – Buying a house in Canada!
I was working hard at my workplace to prove my worth, participating in my organization’s events, and developing strong relations with everyone.
Meanwhile, the Creator showered His blessings upon us with a little bundle of joy. Our shining little star – Nivaan proved to be a lucky charm.
My hard work paid off and I was promoted within 6 months of joining the company. I had proven myself and was motivated to work harder for the next goal.
During that time, the real estate market in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was booming. The price of properties was on the rise, so it was challenging to find a house within our budget.
It became a daily routine to check out 1-2 houses after work for almost two months.
With the newborn and the snow, it was challenging but we were determined to start living our dream. As soon as we liked a house and decided to put an offer, it would be gone, SOLD! But finally, the day arrived – we liked a house, put an offer, and it was “NOT SOLD”!
After a few negotiations, we agreed on the price – March 29, 2018, we can never forget this date. This is the date when we became the proud owners of a house in Canada.
I achieved my goal well within the stipulated timeframe of 250 days.
Getting Canadian Citizenship
Days passed by quickly and within no time, I reached the milestone of residing in Canada for 1,000 days and became eligible for Canadian citizenship!
Questions I get asked most often:
"Best Places to Live when you Immigrate to Canada."
The southern part of Ontario is the most popular destination where foreigners who migrate to Canada settle. This is basically because of Toronto’s ethnic diversity, and because most of the ex-pats work in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
With a little over half of its residents born outside of Canada, Toronto is the most prominent example of multiculturalism in Canada.
Montréal, the largest city in Québec is in high demand among ex-pats as well. Other popular ex-pat destinations include Vancouver (British Columbia) and Edmonton (Alberta).
In recent decades, the northern parts of Alberta have gained increasing importance as a destination for both workers from other parts of Canada and ex-pats from all around the globe.
Due to Alberta’s rich natural resources, especially the massive oil reserves, ex-pats with skills in engineering are in high demand. While salaries for foreign specialists are exceptionally high, severe weather conditions make the region a less than ideal place to live, especially for ex-pats with families.
(Kindly do your research well before selecting the place you want to move to. The above is just my opinion!)
"How to Find a Rental Apartment in Toronto?"
- You can visit Kijiji to find a rental basement, apartment, or condo in Canada.
- You can also approach realtors to help you with your search.
- I can only vouch for Ontario province and specifically the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
- The rental cost varies from city to city. It can range between $800 for a basement to $3,000 for a condo. For example, Downtown Toronto is more expensive than Midtown Toronto, Uptown Toronto, Old Toronto, and cities like Mississauga and Brampton. However, Downtown Mississauga is more expensive than the old Toronto.
"What you need to know about obtaining a Driver’s License in Canada?"
Obtaining a driver’s license in Canada is not as easy as it is in India. You can obtain a driver's license in Canada in 3-steps:
- G1 – This is a computer-based multi-choice questions test you’d take at a test center. There are various test centers across the GTA. One needs to study the rules and laws for this test. There are books and guides available online including mobile apps.
- G2 – This is the first road test. This can be exempted if an individual brings along a record of his License Information from India. This test is comparatively easy to pass as it does not include the highway. It is only within the city and internal roads and streets.
- G – This road test is comparatively difficult to pass as one needs to go on the highway and the examiners are comparatively strict about safety and following the rules.
"Job Websites in Canada."
You can apply for jobs in Canada at the following websites:
Are you Immigrating to Canada from India? Here is my advice.
1. Work-Life Balance
- In Canada, you can expect to have a wonderful work-life balance and spend quality time with your loved ones.
- If your ONLY goal in life is to make money, then this country might not be for you.
2. Move as a Couple
- Going by our experiences and looking at others’ experiences, I feel that if you migrate as a couple, you are better off than those who migrate alone or as singles.
- The reason being, you get mental support from your spouse which is very crucial when you are away from your family and friends.
- I have come to realize that the happiness and contentment of achieving one’s goals come only when one shares them with someone special. That special person has been my best friend, my companion, my dear wife – Radhika.
3. Have a second source of Income
- The other thing I have learned is that one should try to have a second source of income.
- Having a job will pay your bills but having a second source of income will help you fulfill your dreams.
4. Have Patience
- We all have heard the sayings “Patience is the key to success” and “Time is money”.
- This country will test your patience, but you should be strong and wait for time to do its magic.
- My suggestion to the readers is to continue networking as much as you can, even after being successful in life. You don't know how a person you met a few months or years back, would be helpful in the future.
- More importantly, maintain contact with people you network with. Just a simple text or a message on LinkedIn– “Hi, how’s it going?” helps and goes a long way.
- Networking is a two-way, give-and-take relationship. It not only benefits others, but it also benefits you!
Lastly, I would like to say that no matter where you go, no matter where you live, the most important thing is to be a good person. A good person will always be successful in life.
Now It's Your Turn
Have you moved to Canada or any new country? Or do you have any questions for Dweep?