There comes a time in every adult’s life when they consider moving out of their country of residence, either in search of greener pasture, love, a new life or even just to experience a new culture. And that is great.  For most Africans who fall within the 47% percent living on $1.90 or less a day, however, migrating to any other country with the promise of a better life is a dream they actively strive for. They trek deserts, swim oceans and pay to be smuggled via air cargo to some of these other countries, most dying on the way. Most who succeed, find that their expectations are not equal to the reality, as some of the “green pasture” countries, especially in North America are not friendly to illegal immigrants.

Not too long ago, however, Canada, a country in North America, initiated an immigration programme which has made migration into and becoming permanent residents of the country easy for people all over the world. There are currently more than 60 programs available for immigration to Canada, including a programme that provides a safe haven for refugees. According to their government, they aim to give immigrants the chance to contribute to Canada’s economic growth and keep the country competitive in a global economy.

As you would imagine, a majority of Africans, especially those of the middle class and below, have queued up to seize this wonderful opportunity. The promise of job opportunities, excellent medical healthcare and retirement benefits, high-tech infrastructure, social security benefits, access to all government programs, is one to miss.

But while these benefits stand, a couple of Africans who have succeeded in moving to Canada and living there for a while, do not give good testimonials to give. They believe that moving to Canada is indeed a bad idea. The most common complaint is that contrary to what is believed, finding a job in Canada is not as easy as most of the Canadian businesses prefer people with Canadian work experience. In that regard, experience already gained in Africa will not count for much and at most, the immigrant will have to start at a much lower level, if they are lucky. For instance, a large number of highly qualified people who were doctors, engineers or lawyers scholars in their country of origin, become security men/women, cab drivers.

According to Bisi Onadipe, a 31-year-old lady who traveled three years ago to Canada from Nigeria:  “Unless you have an outstanding professional status, you will struggle…maybe even fall into depression. You have to have a strong entrepreneurial spirit to get a chance of making life in Canada a comfortable one. In fact, you might have to wait for up to a period of 3–5 years before you find yourself having a steady income from a stable job in your field of expertise”. Other mentioned that fact that the tax rates in Canada are quite steep, so much that if you earned anything close to CAD 100,000 a year, you would have to pay tax at a marginal tax rate of over 43%. And there is the other issue about the cold weather being almost sublime.

Certainly, migrating to any country has its pros and cons, but considering these points made, is moving to Canada really still a great idea? Is there any point in Africans migrating with their life’s saving, only to find that it is not the dream they seek?

Please share your thoughts with us. Are you an African living in Canada? What is your experience? What advice do you have for those still planning to move?


Image Source: Moroccoworldnews



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