Migrating to Canada from Dubai? Here are some useful tips to help you through.

When we planned to migrate to Canada, we really had no one back here to help us with the required information. Since we were desperately trying to figure our way through the migration, we reached out to some friends of friends who gave us some information that has helped us with settling down in a new country a smoother process. The only way we could pay them back would have been passing on the useful information to a wider audience who is in the quest for it. We kept googling and researching on things but a lot of websites didn’t have the information we were looking for. So here are some tips, which helped me and hope that it will help you too.

Keep reading, I have covered everything from Driving license to stay to jobs to transportation.


1. Driving license: If you already have a driving license in Dubai, get an experience letter from RTA that will help you through the driving license application here. Often for new applicants, the waiting period could be longer from G2 to G if you have no experience letter. With a verified experience letter from RTA, you could skip G2 to G. Also, a driving class here costed my $25 per lesson and you’ll need a car to take along for the test (which costed me about $100) this is apart from the test cost.


2. Stay: Once we had zeroed in on the province, we started hunting for a place to rent. Basements are the cheapest option. But very rarely would you be able to convince a tenant over calls and messages or without seeing the place. Since we had chosen where we wanted to move to and we were pretty sure that all we needed was a one bedroom apartment that gave privacy, we managed to find a place on facebook marketplace which is really popular here, a lot of people use the platform for selling a buying. So, here are your options:

  • Stay in a hotel (may cost you a bomb)
  • Stay in Airbnb (one of the best choices you’ll have) but there are other websites that do homestays as well, do check them out and their reviews.
  • Find a place on the Facebook marketplace or Kijiji (A popular classifieds website in Canada)


3. SIM card: When we landed here, we thought the best idea would take a SIM card off from the airport, but don’t. You’ll need your SIN number (for which you’ll need to visit Service Ontario or most of the times, it is issued at the airport itself) to apply for a SIM card. Our criteria were data package and good coverage, hence we opted for Virgin which gave us 4GB data with unlimited calls and text Canada wide for 50$, while my husband got similar benefits for 50$ with 13GB data on Freedom network. The only issue with the later, I believe is the coverage issue and outage at certain times.


4. Transportation: To travel in and around the place until you get a car, use the public transport and depend on google maps for moving around. Plan in advance where you’d like to go and what bus to take and from where. Get a Presto card to make your commute easy. If you are not travelling alone, check the cost and compare it with an uber drive, if it falls cheaper, Uber is a better option. Public transport here is slightly on the pricey side and the connectivity is not always at its best unless you are moving around in the most prominent cities like Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga.
You could also get your International driving license from the UAE which will be valid for a year until you have your license sorted. You could rent a car for approximately 90$ a day with an international driving license.


5. Banking: After you get your SIN number, the most important part is to select your bank here. The facilities you’ll need to look out for are: the charge free period of having a chequing account (current account), can you get a tax free savings account, will they issue a credit card without a proof of job.
A credit card is an important factor here and it measures your credit score if you would like to apply for a mortgage in future. So, ensure on-time payments are made and the score isn’t affected.

If you are carrying money along with you, ensure you convert it into a managers cheque from your bank in Dubai and carry the necessary amount in cash as instructed in the immigration office.


6. Shopping: When you’re travelling from Dubai, ensure you shop for winter jackets and winter wear before landing here. Clothing here is slightly on the pricey side in comparison to what you’ll find in Dubai. So shop for all your winter wear. Don’t bother getting any electronics from Dubai here, because the adapter pins are different and are not compatible with the ones we use in Dubai. If you do get electronic items, get a travel adapter to go along with it and you should be fine. Also, get one or two cooking utensils to use here while you arrive.


7. Jobs: Most popular job sites here that helped us find a job are indeed, glassdoor and the company career pages itself. Linkedin is good to have recruitment agencies reach out to you in person, but to find a job on Linkedin is almost impossible. For a lot of people, it takes about 6 months to settle down and so don’t get disheartened. Be open to take up any jobs that may come your way keeping your ego aside or you could keep waiting for the best opportunity to come along.

An interesting tip is that companies prefer recruiting people who have some experience in Canada or have done some course relevant to the job here in Canada. So, register yourself for free at the Brampton library to enjoy a wide array of courses, also there are government funded institutions that’ll help you with free courses to help you find jobs.

You could work on an hourly basis, full time or contract basis. While job security is higher with permanent full-time positions, contract jobs are well paid and usually the contract periods are extended. One of my reference points was glassdoor while checking out for salary expectations and company reviews.

These were some of our major queries and some queries we got from people who wanted to migrate as well. If you have any more questions, drop a line in the comment field and I will get back to you guys the best I can. I am still trying to figure out things, but if it wasn’t for the strangers who were willing to help, I’d probably struggle.

Photo by Owen Farmer on Unsplash


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