More than 21.9% of the entire population of Canada is foreign-born, which is anticipated to stretch out to 50% by 2031. And if you did not know this about Canada, let me give you great news, YOU DO NOT NEED a job lined up to immigrate.
If you see Indian History, Gujaratis have always been a ruler of their country, starting from the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi to present Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. And, yes, how can we forget Mr. Mukesh Ambani, the richest man in India is also a Gujarati.
The Top Challenges by Gujarati Immigrants When they Come to Canada
However, immigrating to a completely new country is a tough task and everything at first may turn into a vicious cycle. I carried out an extensive research on the woes Gujarati families face when they come to Canada. Here are some of them.
Language Barrier for New Gujrati Immigrants
“I know all those words, but that sentence makes no sense to me.” – Matt Groening
A different English accent leads to a problem of communication. Add to it the fact that Canada has two official languages – English and French. If you are living in Quebec, knowing French becomes more important.
To communicate with Canadians, you must know the Canadian slangs, eh! Canadians use a lot of words in their sentences which is considered a Canadian slang, they use words such as, “Eh!”,which basically means, “Don’t you think?”, “Canuck”, which means Canadian, “for sure”, means “definitely” and such other words. And the new Gujarati immigrants are not aware of Canadian slangs, hence they fave difficulty in communicating with other Canadians. Most of the time, companies refuse to hire immigrants because they have a different accent, there are a lot of classes which make you learn a proper Canadian accent.
Job Oriented Issues for New Gujarati Immigrants
While Canada does have some favorable immigration policies, most Canadian employers favor Canadian work experience. New Gujarati immigrants have to start slow, and work their way through, no matter what their experience is.
Although, there is adequate space for people willing to work but zero work experience could turn out as a big disadvantage in this country, having so many foreign-born people around. So, when do Gujaratis have an advantage?
- If you are graduated from a University of United States of America, you are more likely to get hired, according to many immigrants.
- If you are looking for work in an on-demand skill, where there is no local talent available.
- When they are looking for survival jobs – which do still happen to be in plenty. The downside? They often pay minimum wage.
Weather Can Get Challenging for New Gujarati Immigrants
You wouldn’t feel any worry when you are in your house, at work or in commute. When you are walking down the road during winters though, it can get challenging. Canada is one of the coldest countries, yes, lowest temperature drop ever recorded was -63°C, in 1947. Temperature can go as low as -30°C to -40°C. On the west coast, the average temperature during the month of January is 3°C which rises up to a maximum of 18°C in July. I am sure a lot of Gujaratis are already on the verge of changing their minds.
Gujarat is one of the eight states in India that experience the typical temperature of Tropic of Cancer. Gujaratis are habituated with mild and pleasant climate. Winter in Gujarat gets dry with average temperature like, 29°C in the day and 12°C in the night, which is the summer temperature for Canadians.
Canadians are habituated with a smaller family, but Gujaratis are always in a pack, most of them come from joint families, every one of them is highly attached to their families and family is their priority.
Almost all of the states of India have their own traditional attires, Gujarati men have their kediyu and chorno and Gujarati women have chaniya choli, as their own traditional attire. Gujaratis have their traditional folk dances like Garba, Dandiya Rass, Bhavai, Tippani and Padhar. Indian culture is not as open as Western culture, with many Indians pretty conservative. Although Canadians are very polite and helpful, they do not tend to open up about their personal life too soon like Indians – and unless they consider you close, may not get into chit-chats.
Food Can Be A Major Issue As Well
Many Canadians love meat but Gujaratis are often vegetarians. Canadians prefer food like maple syrup, Nanaimo bars and poutine.
Gujarati immigrants, on the other hand, don’t like the lack of spice in most Canadian foods, being used to spices all life long. While there are many Indian restaurants in Canada – with a growing number of Gujaratis and Punjabis – it’s costly. Plus, there are only a few shops selling Gujarati traditional favorites like dhokla, thepla, and fafda – with that spicy tangy taste Gujaratis and Indians crave for. The easiest way to get hold of these is perhaps at your local Walmart, but you will find frozen ones.
Additionally, in India, people are more habituated with small shops everywhere, including grocery. You just need to step out of your home. In Canada, people do shopping once or twice a week since they only have big retailer shops- often far.
Common Problems faced by new Immigrants
It is pretty natural for new immigrants to have a lot of problems, so these are some of the problems that I gathered, faced by new immigrants for settling down in Canada.
- EXPENSE –The most challenging thing for new immigrants especially, if they are unemployed is the expense. Canada is 2.2 times more expensive than in India. Transportation is expensive, food is expensive. Sandwiches often cost $4 – $5 or more.
- LOAN- New immigrants may have problems with transportation. To add to it, if they are looking to get a new car or a second-hand car, they will probably not receive loans, since they have to make a good credit score.
- RENTAL PROBLEM- Then comes, rental problems, apart from the fact that it is expensive. New Gujrati immigrants often don’t have a good bank balance or a long term job that landlords want to see. They might not have the guarantors too who can sign a lease on their behalf – which can make it difficult to get a place.
- HEALTH CARD – Depending on the province you are going to, it can take a while for your health card to become active. For instance, in BC, the process can take up to 90 days. Although, there is an option of buying medical insurance, they can cost about $300 – $400/3 months for one family, which is pretty expensive.
- PART-TIME JOB –Another problem faced by new immigrants – especially students – is to get a part-time job. University students look for a part-time job in order to pay their bills. With the stringent working hour conditions on student visas, they can barely work 20 hours a week. For other immigrants, getting a part-time job that pays well can be a challenge.
New and skilled immigrants have to face a lot of challenges in the market, like unemployment and low wages than non-immigrants. Immigrants earn about 48% lower than the non-immigrants. Employers need people who are aware of the Canadian culture, a reason they prefer Canadian experience.
Plus, there may be a preference to avoid hiring people with foreign-sounding names, a subconscious bias, according to reports. Even if new Gujarati immigrants make a resumé sent to higher companies in Toronto or Vancouver, many tend to select employees based on English sounding names, who are from reputed universities and having language skills, leaving Indians, Chinese and Pakistanis unemployed. So, if Matthew and Mukund go for an interview for the job of a big company in Toronto, “Matthew” has a higher probability to get a job. That being said, there are equal opportunity players, and it’s not difficult to get a good job if you keep applying for work – and back it up with Canadian experience.
Canada has tons of scams going around – over $95 million was lost in scams last year. New immigrants are easy target for scammers since they aren’t aware of Canadian laws. Some popular scams involve around tele marketing, phone, internet, job, rental, catfishing and MLM type scams in Canada.
For instance, scamsters may target rich immigrants who are searching for work by saying that the immigrant needs training in English or the job they are looking for. Then they charge the immigrants around $1000 for services that they offer. Another way to scam new immigrants is, by offering them loans, and by asking money upfront. In this particular type of scam, over $1.5 million was lost, last year.
The easiest way to scam new rich Gujarati immigrants is by CRA Scamming. CRA stands for Canada Revenue Agency, it is the administering tax law for the Government of Canada and a few other territories. If new immigrants receive phone calls or e-mail messages from the CRA, they will possibly not think of it as a scam rather they will just blame it on themselves. By this CRA scamming process, income tax lost over $5 million, last year.
Then, there are even instances when fake police arrive at your home and get you ‘arrested’ – supposedly on behalf of the CRA. You are asked to pay to them in gift cards for you to get ‘released’, only to realize it was all a scam later on. Sounds about scary, right?
Safety Awareness For Gujarati Immigrants
The crime rates in Canada are not hugely discussed but it did increase in 2018, which includes frauds, shoplifting, robbery, and sexual assault. Reports also say that in every 2-3 days, one girl or woman is being killed in Canada, at least 148 women were killed in 2018. Women in Canada mainly becomes homicide victim, in family cases mostly, either because of their spouses, parents, other intimate affairs or other family members. Men become homicide victims because of a casual acquaintance, criminal relationship and strangers.
While the numbers are not significant, especially if you compare it to cities like New York or New Delhi, it’s still something that will be on the back of your mind.
The Question of Healthcare
How do you find a good family doctor? Family doctors are hard to come by in Canada today. You can go to a walk-in clinic, but that could eat up your entire day. Worse, some of the waiting times can be as long as a year or two, and seeing private doctors can be expensive. Depending on the province you are in, you could be better or worse. A person who posted here, for instance, had to wait for over 1.5 years to see a neurologist because of a car crash that resulted in severe migraines and neck whiplash.
Immigrating to Canada is a rewarding experience and one that will change how you think about life. However, as a new Gujarati immigrant, you are sure to face a few challenges in the initial years, and you need to be able to take them head-on!