BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The lure and allure of living in a foreign country – especially one that offers a promise of earning more, or of better, brighter prospects – has been quite strong especially among Filipinos.
Reasons for migration might vary: to earn more, to avail of better health services, the lack of opportunities in the home country, to have a means to pay their financial obligations.
For Gerardine “Daydine” Alcalde, her own migration story is a combination of excitement, uncertainty, and patience.
Daydine said that when she decided to migrate to Toronto, Canada, she had to hire her own immigration service consultant. Her agency had a tie-up with another agency in Toronto.
The Toronto agency was the one that helped her get acquainted with the Toronto landscape from transportation, to landmarks.
She also managed to get her own health insurance card, the Ontario Health Insurance program card or the OHIP card, which is made available for permanent residents so they could avail of free health services.
“With the OHIP card, you don’t have to carry money with you; you can go in and out of any hospital without paying anything,” she tells DNX.
Her agency, she adds, was also the one that introduced her to employment agencies to ease her transition into the job market. Five days after setting foot in Canada, she already had a job albeit a clerical one.
Deciding to settle in Canada entails extra funds.
When Daydine was undergoing her own migration process – that was year 2002 – she had to shell out P15,000 as down payment to facilitate her journey.
For anyone who wishes to migrate in Canada, Daydine advises anyone to have on hand what is called as “settlement fund”, which is around Can$12,000 (or roughly PhP432,000).
“This is a requirement for immigrants,” she says. This also applies even to caregivers, who were previously exempted.
This has to be carried by the immigrant as “proof of funds”, so the government will know whether the migrant has enough resources to support himself/herself during his/her first few months of stay.
Entire families who also wish to migrate have specific fund requirements. Spouses of the migrant, for instance, has to have proof of fund of CAN$4,000 (or roughly PhP144,000), and CAN$3,000 (or PhP108,000) for each child.
Having a family already living in Canada would also be a big advantage, Daydine says.
Employment: Blue collar vs white collar
Canada prizes their skilled workers, Daydine reveals.
Skilled workers include electricians, plumbers, carpenters, or any other trade that requires a special skill set. These workers are invariably paid higher than, say, bank tellers who earn minimum wage.
Daydine says if you do not mind the job, you can really earn more.
“Bus drivers can already retire by age 50, because their pension is enough to support the whole family,” she says.
Because of that, people in Canada can have enough money saved for trips, travels, and vacations.
It is, Daydine stressed, a matter of persistence, and patience.
Quitting will not lead you anywhere.
(For our next article, we will discuss about how to survive in Canada, and the services offered by Access Pro, a Filipino-owned immigration services agency in the Great White North).
(READ also: Life, love, and the Great White North – Part 1)