Many times we don’t realise the need for something until it is high time. If you are planning to immigrate then you need to save for at least 3-4 years if not more. Fortunately, in our case, we had visited a financial advisor and started saving money even before the thought of immigration occurred to us.
2 years in Mumbai were enough to make me realise that I couldn’t do a corporate job in the given work environment. The demands and pressures were unreasonable as compared to the creative freedom. To be self-employed, we had to ensure certain financial stability to cover the regular pay cheques.
When we started looking at our expenses consciously we realised that our cost of living goes on increasing as our earnings increase. The trouble is our aspirations are always 10 steps ahead of our earnings and there starts a never-ending race.
The first rule of financial planning is to understand the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’. The first thing our financial advisor made us do was to write down all the monthly expenses (no matter how trivial) on a paper. They also made us stop using credit cards and pay for everything in cash.
At first, not using credit cards sounded weird. Not to mention, the discomfort of having to write down every single rupee spent from ‘our hard earned money’! But as we persevered through it, we started making discoveries. The unnecessary expenses we were doing, the impulsive hotelling, impulsive shopping. We could even identify all the unnecessary things we would buy on our grocery trips.
With this new insight, we started cutting down on unnecessary expenses. With the financial advisor’s help, we also invested some money in Mutual Funds (though initially, we were sceptical about the Mutual Funds) and we realised that it was a good decision in the longer run.
Here is a list of expenses for the complete process (please note some of them may vary depending on your individual situation and country)
Application & Visa process –
Before receiving the Invitation to apply –
1. IELTS – Rs. 11,300 per person (excuding children)
2. Educational Credentials Assessment
a. University fee to obtain transcripts – Depends on the University & no. of degrees to be evaluated
b. ECA fee to be paid – Ranges between CA$275 – CA$300 depending on the institution
After receiving the Invitation to apply –
3. Police Clearance Certificate – Depends on the countries you need certificates from. It is Rs. 550 for India.
4. Medical Exam – Rs. 5,900 for India
5. Express Entry application fee –
CA$ 1,040 per person for the primary applicant and spouse/partner
CA$ 150 per dependent child
(Refer – http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/fees/fees.asp for the latest fee)
6. Visa fee – CA$15.14
7. Fund Maintenance – You need to maintain funds for 6 months before applying for a visa (i.e. after receiving the Invitation to apply). You better deposit this money as early as starting the ECA process and applying for IELTS since in the best case scenario you don’t want to be in a situation where you receive the Invitation to apply but do not satisfy the minimum period of funds maintenance at the time of applying for a visa.
The total amount depends on no. of people in your family.
Refer – https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada/express-entry/become-candidate/eligibility/proof-funds.html for the exact amount depending on your situation
After receiving the visa –
8. Flight ticket – This depends on many factors so it is difficult to put a no. here.
However, remember one thing – The travel document (Visa) is valid only for one year from the date of medical tests taken. Every person in the application is expected to land in the country before that date.
So in case if you are planning for only one family member to arrive in Canada and the rest of the members to follow after he/she lands a job, depending on your situation, other family members may have to travel at least for a shorter period to complete the landing formalities within the validity period of visa. Ensure that you consider these factors when calculating the flight cost.
9. Travel insurance – When you come to Canada on PR, you may have to wait to be registered with their health system. This waiting time depends on the province you will be landing in. You will have to buy insurance to cover any unforeseen medical expenses for every family member for the duration of their respective days in Canada.
10. Shopping – This completely depends on your needs but below are the things you must take into consideration.
a. Winter clothes and jackets – Don’t buy too many of those if you live in a warmer part of the world. Just make sure you have enough to protect yourself for the initial 1-2 weeks till you find time to go shopping. We had brought our winter jackets and clothes from UK trip, I found my jacket insufficient while my hubby found his jacket good enough. So we had to buy one jacket for me here. Don’t spend too much money back home unless you are confident that it will survive the Canadian cold + wind + rain + snow.
b. Clothes – Again, don’t buy too many of those. Buy enough to attend interviews and some casual clothes. Every country has its own style and with time you realise that the clothes you bought from your country may or may not go well with that. It is a good idea to buy some neutral colours, simple clothes to cover for initial weeks till you land a job.
c. Footwear – Make sure you carry formal footwear for interviews, casual footwear (preferably sports shoes suitable for walking in snow). We bought skiing shoes from Decathlon and they turned out to be the best decision. They have good grips, keep our legs warm even in -10c and are ankle length to stop the snow entering inside.
11. Initial accommodation – You will have to book a hotel, hostel or AirBnB for at least a month or two. You may be able to find a shared apartment/house through www.kijiji.ca, https://www.craigslist.org, Roomster or through various Facebook groups.
12. Money to cover your initial months – Grocery, commuting etc. But ideally, this should come from point 7 above. The funds maintained in your account for 6 months are to cover your initial expenses till you find a job. My advice is – Keep all of it for this purpose only. Don’t use any of it to buy flight tickets or shopping. Trust me, you may need it all or at least a significant portion of it. On an average, you may need anywhere between CA$1500 – CA$4000 per month depending on the number of members and various other factors.
Please note all of these expenses are based on the times during our application from India. It may vary from person to person depending on the individual situation, country etc.
I hope you found this post helpful.