To Immigrate or Not to Immigrate
A disciple asked his Zen master: “Shall I get married or not?”
“Whatever you choose you will regret it!”, answered the Zen master.
So the answer to our question would be the same.
But I have read something else – that’s the problem of being an avid reader, it’s difficult to come with something original and whatever I think it is original I might have read it somewhere and I forgot that I read it, but I digress so I’ll just start with a new sentence for a better impact.
It is better to regret you have done something than to regret you have not done it. So simple and powerful, it would make a good article for one of the self-development blogs.
As you can already imagine the answer is to immigrate – as you’ve noticed I have not said ‘my answer’, I preferred something impersonal to deflect future ‘accusations’ of ‘you said so’, even if I am not a self-development guru and no-one should base her/his decisions in life on an article even this one :).
The Canadian immigration points system has the advantage that is fair and whoever fulfills the criteria can immigrate in comparison with the American visa lottery, that is a … lottery. The issue is that people who fulfill the criteria more often than not are well off at home, so they leave what they’ve achieved so far for a dream (I wanted initially to write ‘the unknown’, but ‘dream’ better describes it, not to mention that some emigrants would already have relatives there so they would know what to expect not to mention the Internet with numerous Canadian immigration forums that would paint a picture very close to the reality).
At home the immigrant has as standard of life higher than the average and now they find themselves below the average. If they find a job and they do what they like (or not dislike) everything will be fine. The integration has already started and they are becoming part of the system. But if the job is well below their qualifications and more important expectations, problems will appear and the immigrant will start seriously thinking of going back home. Only the fact that they spent so much money coming here and somehow the shame of ‘not making it’ would make them postpone the return.
Of course if the immigrant was back home a manual worker, taxi driver, janitor, nurse, construction worker, tradesman, etc. it will better for them to come as the wages will be higher but – perhaps wrongly – the points system does not allow this.
I had initially landed to only get the PR card as I could not bring myself to make the big step. 10 years before it would have been a different story but my standard of living was higher and perhaps as important of the country as a whole (nobody wants to live in a country, where most people are getting poorer and poorer, and the country is falling apart, even if one is well off).
And as it happens as I really did not want to immigrate (I was reading too much of the ‘horror’ stories in forums with people who had to accept menial jobs in order to survive) I got a job offer too good to turn it down (quite a hefty lump amount of money as a relocation package, reimbursed air tickets and paid hotel). People were paying to go to Canada, I was paid to come. It was the first time and still the only time I did not spend countless hours trying to find the most affordable air fare to the place I wanted to travel to.
The relocation bonus was in fewer than 3 years lost in very bad stock investments. As they say: easy come, easy gone. I should have bought a car and furniture like others did but no, I thought I was smarter. You know the story that if instead of buying an Apple Computer in 1997 one would have invested in stock, one would have had some $300k now. So why buy an ordinary car when I can wait a few more years and buy a Porsche or even longer and go for a Ferrari. However, that’s a different story and I digress too much and it is about time to cut a long post short.
I know people who could not accommodate and went back but also people from Western Europe that came here and I think more people from the developed world immigrate to Canada rather than the other way so perhaps there is something about Canada, perhaps it has something to do with the vast open spaces.
What if the world ends in 2012 according to the Mayan calendar (I can’t believe I am writing this, and it would not really end but go through calamities on a scale never seen before comparable only with the Flood). This might (will) not happen but some paint an apocalyptic future with the world falling apart because of climate change, world financial collapse, great 2nd recession, people rioting for food, wars started for access to resources (read water). If this happens it will be better to be in a country like Canada, as the government could take better care of its citizens than other countries could do and also, one perhaps would be in a better position to help their families back home.
Come for your children and/or experience if not something else and do not forget you can always go back (if you are not from a country like North Korea or Cuba where you would have not come out in the first place).
Again, it is better to regret you have done something than to regret you have not done it.
And more importantly: Follow your heart!
First Published: April 29th, 2010