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Old 03-12-2008, 06:36 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, BC, CANADA
24 posts, read 155,729 times
Reputation: 31

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I am an American-born citizen (Atlanta, GA) who has decided to become a permanent resident of Canada, and I would like advice on the best places to live, find employment, major employers, or anything that you would like to add.

I have already applied to the Consulate under the Skilled Worker Program. However, without an employment offer, this process will take at least 2-3 years. I am familiar with the requirements that companies must have approved arrangements with the HRSDC to hire non-Canadians. However, my skillset falls under the NAFTA-exempt professions (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/special-tech.asp - broken link) for Information Technology professional (software developer). I have applied for numerous positions and posted my resume on job sites like Monster, Workopolis, and JobBank. But, I have had few responses. I realize that this is an uphill battle, but I wanted to know if my expectations of finding employment before landing are realistic.

Of all the cities in Canada I've visited, I like Vancouver the best. However, the expensive cost of living there concerns me. I am afraid if I move there without employment, I will use up my life savings quickly. Also, employment seems harder to find there compared to other areas, especially in my field.

Many of the jobs in my field seem to be located in the GTA or in the Southern Ontario corridor between the GTA and Windsor. I like Toronto as well, though not as much as Vancouver.

I do not know much about Alberta as I've never been, but I'm willing to consider Calgary or Edmonton. However, I do not care for Winnipeg; too cold in the winter, too hot in summer with mequitos, and the residents are much more reserved (despite their "friendly" license plates ). Likewise, I don't know much about SK, the Maritimes, or the Territories. I don't speak French so Quebec is probably not an option.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 03-12-2008, 07:39 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Canada
19 posts, read 154,190 times
Reputation: 25
For the job hunting part I can't help you because I'm not familiar with all the details. I work in IT too but I know the other way around (how to go work in the US).

But for a person that doesn't speak french it is easy to live in Montreal, especially downtown or in the west island. According to Wikipedia, 19% speak english at home and out of 4 universities, 2 are english (McGill and Concordia). Half of my friends speak english only. It depends of what you want, if you want really big cities there are 2 in Canada, Toronto and Montreal but I consider Toronto being just too big, went there and the commute time is just awful. Vancouver is beautiful but I don't know much about it except the cost of living is high.

Of course the bigger the city, the better chance of being employed but the cost of living is proportional to your wage so if you work in Toronto it will cost you more even if you get paid more and probably have to live far from your workplace while Montreal is cheaper and the nightlife is as good. In the worst conditions, I can go from the suburb to downtown in 30 minutes, pretty hard to do in Toronto.
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Old 03-12-2008, 08:45 PM
 
354 posts, read 1,077,781 times
Reputation: 62
I'm a Canadian living in the US. I'm on the West Coast (Seattle). I have made many trips to Vancouver since living here.....and I can tell you....it's not a city I would personally want to live in. The cost of living and the crime are not typical of most Canadian cities....(Toronto is close though).
Vancouver is overpopulated, lots of crime and the same weather as Seattle........rainy/gloomy for 8 months of the year!

I don't personally see the attraction other than the physical beauty of the city (which is only visable on clear days) and possibly an exciting nightlife for a single person. If you are single....it might be fun for a while, but if you marry......you might change your mind, especially if you have or plan on having children.
Canada has much more to offer than just Vancouver.
That is just my opinion!

You might find lots of work in Calgary. It's a nice place to live from what a lot of my friends who live there tell me.......but it's getting overcrowded and the price of housing is crazy compared to Eastern parts of Canada.

I've lived in Montreal (West Island) and would choose that area any day over Vancouver. Some areas outside of Toronto are also very nice, but depending on where you work.....commuting can be a problem. I would never live in the city of Toronto......but I'm married with 3 kids.....not for me! LOL

I've also lived in Winnipeg.........and it was the WORST year of my life! LOL.......too flat.......very lonely feeling. I'm orginally a Maritimer and love being near water.

The Maritimes provinces are beautiful and have a wonderful quality of life but not many jobs. If you could land a job in Halifax, NS (I'm from the province next to it.......New Brunswick) then I'm sure you would LOVE it!! It's a beautiful city on the ocean. A small/big city feel, if you know what I mean "eh"......LOL
Housing prices aren't outrageous, you can BREATH the air, and the people have a great sense of humour!! Lots of fun things to do.....lots of land and places to see.

Hope this helped a bit.......Sorry I can't help you with HOW to get the job......but at least maybe some insight on where you might want to look.
Good luck!
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Old 03-13-2008, 12:06 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, BC, CANADA
24 posts, read 155,729 times
Reputation: 31
Thanks to both of you for your advice. I have researched Montreal and it seems like a really nice city. My only concern is that my odds of finding a job as a newcomer will be very slim. A 19% English-speaking population is greater than I would have guessed but I would feel more comfortable if it was something like 50% such as New Brunswick. I also understand that Quebec has "unique" rules that discourage non-French speaking immigrants to settle in the province. I understand that the objective is to preserve the French culture (and language). Please correct me if I am wrong. I definitely will not rule out Montreal though as I understand it would be a nice city to live.

I agree with you completely on Winnipeg. I visited there in December 2006...BITTER COLD!! What makes the cold so extreme is the constant wind that blows directly from the North Pole, making the wind chill unbearable. The skywalks/tunnel networks were nice but they only cover a few blocks downtown and do not connect to other areas of the city such as the university and Corydon Avenue neighborhoods. Also, I found the people there to be very unfriendly and reserved. People were not very approachable and everybody seemed to just keep to themselves and unwilling to engage in conversation. Plus, Winnipeg seems to have a high crime rate. There was a shooting a block from the hotel and there seemed to be many thugs and questionable people in the downtown area. Maybe I just had a bad experience, but I felt lonely and depressed there after only a few days.

I actually considered relocating to Halifax since Nova Scotia has a very open Provincial Nominee Program. However, the job market there seems very weak, especially in the tech sector. Due to the job market in the Maritimes, it seems that many residents are opting to relocate to the GTA and Alberta for better opportunities. I was afraid that I would not be able to find a decent job in Nova Scotia but I would be bound to stay there because of the Provincial Nominee Program. I definitely want to visit Halifax and would consider locating there if I could land a good job. I like the fact that it is by the ocean (great seafood), has little traffic, beautiful scenery, decent weather, and nice people.

I also understand that Calgary is becoming crowded and the cost of living there is now higher than Vancouver. Calgary also seems to be very similar to Houston or Dallas, only colder...spread out, suburbia, SUVs & soccer moms, traffic, conservative mentality, etc. Again, I would consider it but it would not be my first choice. If the cost of living there is so high, I might as well consider Vancouver but maybe I should focus my job search on Calgary.

I don't mind the rain and cloudiness of the Pacific NorthWest. I actually appreciate it because it makes the landscape so green and beautiful. Growing up in the American South, I have grown to hate the constantly hot, humid climate. Right now, we are in the middle of a long drought which makes the heat worse and the vegetation is withering.

I found the people in Vancouver to be very friendly, even more so than Seattle. If there was a crime factor there, I didn't notice it, but again, I am from Atlanta. I found people in Toronto to be nice as well except when they drive. Toronto seems to have the typical problems of a big city...sprawling suburbs, traffic congestion, and I did notice more of a crime factor there although not as bad as many American cities.
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Old 03-13-2008, 02:05 PM
 
207 posts, read 748,693 times
Reputation: 109
Default Crime in Toronto

Toronto Near The Bottom In Ranking Of Most Dangerous Cities In Canada:
CityNews: Toronto Near The Bottom In Ranking Of Most Dangerous Cities In Canada
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Old 03-13-2008, 05:45 PM
 
354 posts, read 1,077,781 times
Reputation: 62
You might really like Vancouver then. If you don't mind the rain/gloom and enjoy a big city....it might be the right place for you. LOTS to do and see. A lot of Asian influence which is not typical of Canada but it's not good or bad.....just a fact.
We have friends in Vancouver who we just visited a couple of weeks ago and they live in a nice house outside the city a bit (Delta area) and love it. It's just not for me. I grew up in New Brunswick......I'm of Acadian decent but don't speak French. (go figure)....I didn't have a hard time growing up.....but the jobs certainly require or at least would like you to be able to speak French. Sometimes that can be solved by saying you would be interested in talking a French Course at the Local University or Community College. It really isn't required in New Brunswick for daily work.......because TRUST me......someone in your office.....will be able to speak French if the need arises to communicate with a French speaking client.

I can almost guarantee you would LOVE Halifax if you can get in through there. It's such a nice speed for a city. Jobs are more plentiful there than other parts of the Maritime provinces and you might be surprised what you could find. If you are coming from a city like Atlanta.....you might be in for a bit of a culture shock!
Maritimers aren't too worried about "keeping up the Jones". It's actually a nice refreshing change if you are a down to earth person who just likes to enjoy life, laugh and have fun. You will meet some of the friendliest people in your life in the Maritimes.......(but I'm a little biased!) haha
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Old 03-18-2008, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Raleigh NC
123 posts, read 611,599 times
Reputation: 82
Northern Alberta is booming and very well paid for skilled trades. May want to look there. Friend of mine is making a whole lot of money working as an electrician up there. Oil industry may start to boom as well since the oil prices are so high it makes it worthwhile now to extract from the tar sands...from what I hear.
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Old 03-23-2008, 09:40 PM
 
19 posts, read 132,193 times
Reputation: 16
^^ He's talking about working as a software developer though, not a trade. Also, Northern Alberta is a pretty extreme climate. People get paid a lot to live there because it's purgatory most of the time. Its a reverse penalty tax for fringe living.

Quote:
NAFTA-exempt professions (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/special-tech.asp - broken link) for Information Technology professional (software developer)
I can't say for certain about Americans coming to Canada, but I know how the system works in reverse. If you want to get a job in the United States as a Canadian in this way, you need to apply for a TN visa which is renewed every year, and can be renewed an unlimited amount of times, but it is NOT supposed to be a permanent visa. They can deny you any year you need to re-apply, and you need to leave the country and re-enter to re-apply in most cases. You cannot apply for a green card on a TN visa.

The visa is issued at the border port of entry, costs 56 dollars and to get it you have to have a job OFFER letter, a letter from the employer explaining why they hired you instead of a local, your salary needs to exceed 60K USD, you need your university degree papers (degree required to even apply under this category), company quarterly report, etc. There is a lot of paperwork involved. It is not under any circumstances possible for Canadians to move to the United States, and then seek work. That is illegal and explicitly screened for at the border (this is exactly what the border guards are trying to prevent). I would be surprised if the system were much different in reverse, you should investigate further. I think it is very likely you will need a job offer before you can move.

Moreover, why not consider one of the more developed areas of the United States. There is more opportunity, the weather is better, and you are guaranteed to be offered much, much less for the same work in Canada (and pay loads of tax!). A fresh computer science graduate can easily get 75K annually in the US for their first job. The same person would be lucky to get 50K in Canada, and I know a couple people who are working for LESS. Brutal.
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Old 03-23-2008, 09:52 PM
 
19 posts, read 132,193 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
I also understand that Calgary is becoming crowded and the cost of living there is now higher than Vancouver. Calgary also seems to be very similar to Houston or Dallas, only colder...spread out, suburbia, SUVs & soccer moms, traffic, conservative mentality, etc.
You basically hit the nail on the head here. Everything you said is spot on except I wouldn't say it's really Like Dallas or Houston though, those towns are much larger and more cosmopolitan. I know the Dallas-Ft Worth Metroplex is at least x4 the size of Calgary. It's extremely "white" here, sunny often which is nice, but very pretentious. A large portion of the population think Alberta/Calgary is the greatest place on earth to be and they look down at BC / "Americans" / etc.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:35 PM
 
493 posts, read 637,101 times
Reputation: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by youppi69 View Post
For the job hunting part I can't help you because I'm not familiar with all the details. I work in IT too but I know the other way around (how to go work in the US).

But for a person that doesn't speak french it is easy to live in Montreal, especially downtown or in the west island. According to Wikipedia, 19% speak english at home and out of 4 universities, 2 are english (McGill and Concordia). Half of my friends speak english only. It depends of what you want, if you want really big cities there are 2 in Canada, Toronto and Montreal but I consider Toronto being just too big, went there and the commute time is just awful. Vancouver is beautiful but I don't know much about it except the cost of living is high.

Of course the bigger the city, the better chance of being employed but the cost of living is proportional to your wage so if you work in Toronto it will cost you more even if you get paid more and probably have to live far from your workplace while Montreal is cheaper and the nightlife is as good. In the worst conditions, I can go from the suburb to downtown in 30 minutes, pretty hard to do in Toronto.
Wouldn't you say Montreal is the best city in Canada for an American to check out...as it would be more exotic and less culturally like America than say Vancouver or Toronto (Not that I wanna hate on those cities or My American Culture)...but when you go into another country, you're probably thinking, hey, why not try something new, right? Doesn't Montreal have a cool Public Transport Network?
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