To live in a country with rich resources and opportunities such as Canada is a dream of many young people wanting to prosper and secure a bright future for their families. Many would jump at the chance of immigrating to North America if they were just guaranteed a visa and a job!

The past few years have seen a great influx of skilled immigrants from the Indian subcontinent to Canada. Many of them are coming in on PR (permanent resident) card via the point system, while the younger generation comes in through the study visas. All of them are being lured to this land by promises made by the “immigration agents” across India.

The typical story goes somewhat like this: If you’re qualified, you can go on PR card or pursue higher studies via student visa. Free education (K-12), free health care benefit (doctors visit and hospital stay), low crime rates, high security, and best cities to live in the world (Toronto, Vancouver). In addition, Canada has lots of Indian population and many companies are hiring (unemployment rate 7.2%) within a few months.

What they don’t fill you in on are the finer details. First of all, they don’t tell you Canada has one of the highest income tax rates in the world (almost 40%), and a very high sales tax (13%)! Secondly, health care is funded by a majority of State and federal taxes. What it doesn’t cover is the cost of prescriptions (you must buy a drug plan). They can run you up to $150 a month for your blood pressure and cholesterol medications if you don’t have the drug plan.

I personally know of several families, who after being showcased of this dream life, were repenting on their decision. Within a few days of migration, they realised the reality was something else. Yes, it’s true that the unemployment rate is low. But that doesn’t mean everyone gets the job in their field! I’ve come across many doctors, engineers, MBAs, accountants working in factories, McDonald’s and driving a taxi to get by initially.

What most people don’t realise is that the Canadian job market is highly saturated for professionals.

First of all, you’ll have to be licensed, an exercise which can take up to two years in some professions. And when you do become eligible to apply, most companies shy away from those without “Canadian” experience. I came across a paediatric surgeon who had practised in Japan for seven years but was working in Canada as a sleep lab technician because he couldn’t find a spot for residency .

I’m not trying to de-motivate all who wish for an American lifestyle. I’m just trying to paint a picture of reality. It’s up to you to weigh your risks and benefit and make the decision for yourself. If you are willing to struggle initially for a few years, there is nothing hard work and persistence cannot accomplish. But if you already have a secure job/business with family in India, think twice before making your family go through a drastic change in their lives. Think of what you are about to give up, and how long it will take for you to get “settled” in a new country.

You might be wondering why the government allows such agencies to run across India that paint a distorted image for the hopeful middleclass! It’s simple. It’s a huge marketing scheme to act like a stimulus to the economy. And in doing so, many middlemen (agents) are making their fare share.

At the end of the day, the decision should be entirely yours. Don’t blame anyone else if you have to do two jobs, at McDonald’s and a petrol station, for at least a year. It’s true that efforts never go in vain, but it’s also wise not to be blinded in greed by the power of the dollar. The grass is not always green on the other side.

(The writer is a medical doctor. He can be reached at cshah19@gmail.com)

Don’t blame anyone else if you have

to do two jobs,

at McDonald’s and

a petrol station,

for at least a year

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