Moving to a completely new environment can be both exciting and challenging at the same time. If this is your first time traveling out of your home country, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed.
The Canadian Working Holiday Visa offers you a great opportunity to work in one of the best countries in the world. But to make things easy, you’ll want to get some of the hurdles out of your way as soon as you get there.
Here are six important things to get done on your first day in Canada as a WHV holder:
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Apply for Your SIN
A SIN is a 9-digit Social Insurance Number that permits you to work in Canada during your stay. If you don’t have this, you can’t work for any employer. To obtain your SIN, you need to visit your nearest Service Canada Office. You can use the Service Canada website to help find the closest branch to you. They will need three documents from you to issue your SIN:
Work permit (issued by the CIC or IRCC)
Government-issued supporting documentation from your home country (like a marriage certificate or driving license)
You’ll get your SIN in 10 to 15 minutes unless there’s a long queue. The process is hassle-free and at no cost to you. When it’s done, they’ll give you your SIN printed out on a piece of paper. Be sure not to lose it; it’s very important!
Open a Bank Account
If you’re planning on sending money back to your home country and vice versa, you’ll need to open a bank account. It will also be important for your job in Canada to receive your salary, pay bills, etc. Some banks will require you to make an appointment but it’s not always the case.
Now, it’s natural that you might not know anything about Canadian banking and where to open an account. After all, there are a lot of banking practices that are very specific to Canada.
The best course of action is to gather information about what packages different banks are offering. Make some appointments and get to talking so you can make an informed decision.
There are a few banks that offer to waive the fee for the first year of opening an account. These include CIBC, Scotiabank, and BMO.
Purchase a SIM Card
You can’t just go about your day without having set up your cellphone. If you’ve never been to another country before, you’ll definitely cling to it. The “Big Three” in Canada’s telecom industry are Telus, Bell, and Rogers. There are a few other small companies as well that are geared toward the “younger” audience like Koodo, Fido, and Freedom Mobile (Canada’s fourth-largest cell service provider).
So, how do you choose one? The first thing to consider is which providers operate in your current area. For example, Freedom Mobile, owned by Shaw Communications, does not offer extensive coverage. You should only consider it if you don’t plan on stepping out of Canada’s main cities.
Bell is a rather expensive cell service option. But the good part is that their cell coverage is excellent. If you intend to move around Canada a lot, you won’t need to keep changing your phone number just to use your cell in different cities.
Helpful tip: If you bring your own unlocked phone with you, you’ll have to pay a lot less.
Get Your Provincial ID
Having your Canadian ID on you is a good way to be let into different places without a hassle. You can’t do much without it. But don’t worry, it’s a very easy process and it won’t take much of your time. Keep in mind, though, that it can differ depending on the province you’re in. Here are the general steps to getting your provincial ID:
Figure out where your nearest service office is.
Make sure you have these with you: your passport, work permit issued at the airport, SIN, and proof of your permanent address.
Visit the branch and fill out an application form.
Wait a few weeks to receive your ID at home via mail.
And you’re all done!
Search for a Place to Stay
You’ve landed in Canada, but where are you staying? If you didn’t arrive with everything pre-planned, you can use your first day to find a decent location.
Do you know any relatives or friends in the vicinity who would be happy to have you over for a while? If yes, then you don’t really need to stress about accommodation on day one. But if you’re all on your own, finding a place that fits your needs and budget won’t be a piece of cake.
Airbnb is a good way to find what you’re looking for. You’ll be provided with a diverse range of options to suit your needs. If you do plan to rent through this platform, it’s better to choose a month or longer stay because you’ll get a much better price for it.
You can also ask around the city or try to spot adverts for any vacancies with long-term rental deals. If you’re still out of luck, you can always try hotels or hostels.
Find a Job
Another challenge you’ll want to take care of ASAP is getting a job in Canada. There are many ways to find a suitable occupation as the country’s job market has many vacancies. You can also go on social media pages that post job adverts. Other than that, job portals like LinkedIn can also open you up to many opportunities.
You’ll feel a lot better knowing that you’ve gotten these hurdles out of your way. There’ll be much time to enjoy the city and go sightseeing once you have this peace of mind. If you haven’t applied for your WHV yet, Great North Visa can help you out! Our expert RCICs are ready to make your dreams a reality!