On 10 March 2018, representatives from the Canadian province of New Brunswick came to Dubai to hold an information and recruiting session.
To attend the session, you had to first go to the registration website (NB Recruitment Events) and register for the session in your country. Usually, you would get an automated reply and then, nearer to the time of the session, get a confirmation email and the details of the venue and time. We received our confirmation email just 4 days before the session took place.
This can be a bit difficult for those who are travelling from their home countries to the countries the sessions are held in, as you have to consider the cost of the air tickets, visa, transportation, and accommodation and meals (if required). Also, if you require a visa, this can take several days to get. Remember you can’t book your tickets until you have your visa, which can leave you very little time to book your flights. So be prepared for this. This will probably be the first big cost you will face when you step onto the road to Canadian immigration.
Earlier, they had said that employers from both the IT and Food industries would be present at the Job Fair which would be held concurrently with the info session (usually these two things happen separately), to hold interviews and maybe offer jobs. But nearer to the time of the session, we were informed that unfortunately, employers from the IT industry would not be attending this session. It was a blow to Z and me, as we both work and have years of experience in the IT sector, and we had hoped, that by attending this session, and perhaps getting an interview with a prospective employer, we would get our foot in the door to entering Canada.
Z was immediately all for not attending and finding some other way of making the immigration dream happen. He said, New Zealand was still an option, so why not try that again? Or even Australia, since the process is pretty similar to immigrating to Canada. But I can be a stubborn mule as well, when I want to be. We were going to attend the session, and that was that.
So on a sunny Saturday in March, we showed up at the Novotel Hotel in Al Barsha, bright and early. Along with at least another 100-120 people, most of whom were also IT professionals. And many people who worked in the Food industry. Some had already had interviews the previous day, or were scheduled to have interviews after the session. Great. What chance did we have? Didn’t look like there was much of a chance for us, but, although my optimism had taken a knock, my stubbornness would not allow me to turn back until I had at least seen this part through.
Z chose to sit out the session. Sometimes, he can be really frustrating in his insistence on “being realistic”. Anyway, I went and signed in at the registration station, where they checked my ID against their registration list. We had been told to print out and bring along the email that we had been sent as confirmation for attending the info session, but the guy at the table did not look at mine. But please don’t count on this. The other officials who were there did check the confirmation email, and a few people were turned away because they had just showed up and hoped for the best.
After signing in, I received some New Brunswick memorabilia and pamphlets, walked into the hall and took my place with the rest of the crowd. While waiting for everyone to complete registering, we watched standard videos showing the beautiful vistas in New Brunswick and the opportunities available there. (If I don’t get to immigrate there, I hope I can at least go on holiday there some day, because NB is absolutely gorgeous.)
Once the information session started, we were given facts and figures about New Brunswick, and the 3 most important cities there: Fredericton (the capital), Moncton, and Saint John. Other smaller towns like Miramichi, Edmunston, St. Stephens, and Dieppe were also mentioned. The presenter was interesting, charismatic, and knew his business. He pointed out how New Brunswick was now becoming the IT capital of Canada, with many companies having moved their operations there, based there, and/or started there. He mentioned there are great opportunities for start-ups and people who want to invest in NB. He talked about the quality of living, the lower costs of practically everything as compared to places like Toronto and Vancouver, and how New Brunswick was a great place to start and grow a family with provisions for healthcare and education. Then he spoke about the process for Provincial Nomination, as well as the Express Entry process.
He also mentioned the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project (AIPP), which was a Nomination program launched in 2017 and used by designated employers from the 4 Atlantic provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland Labrador, to recruit Foreign Nationals and give job offers. No list was provided as to who the designated employers were, though.
After the information session came a half-hour Question and Answer session. Many people had questions regarding their own situation, whether they were planning to immigrate as a family or singly. And the IT people mostly also asked questions about the chances of finding jobs as IT professionals. Answers were slightly vague and optimistic, but then, that is what marketing is. And these people were here to market New Brunswick to us. Yours truly had no questions to ask, since 1. I hate public speaking, and 2. I actually had not researched much about New Brunswick before attending the session. Sad, but true. Despite knowing that of course, the representatives would not mention anything bad about NB, I felt my optimism return at the end of the session, and once again felt really excited about starting the actual process of immigrating.
So now we had attended the information session. What next? According to the NB people: Check the official website for more information about the Provincial Nomination Program and also how to submit an Expression of Interest or EOI, the first step in our pathway to Canada.
Update: for all those wondering exactly what happens in the information session and Job Fair, here is a summary:
The information session is compiled of 2 parts, with an optional 3rd part (which is the Job Fair part, if it’s being held in conjuction with the information session).
Part 1: NBPNP representatives talk for around an hour about NB and the cities/towns of NB. They talk about the way of life, cost of living, job opportunities, healthcare, education, etc. They explain the process for the NBPNP, also mention the AIPP process, and then the CIC process once you receive nomination. This consists of videos and PowerPoint presentations.
Part 2: Question and answer session, about 30-45 minutes, where you can ask anything regarding the process, jobs, healthcare, etc.It helps if you have specific concerns that you want to bring up. Just make a list of questions that you may want to ask. The representatives are very friendly and approachable. Some of them are even willing to stay and talk with you after the session has ended.
Part 3: Interviews by designated employers. This can take place before the session or after the session, or both. It depends on which employers show up for the Job Fair section.
PLEASE NOTE: The Job Fair sessions are different to the Information Sessions, and cannot be used as a Connection to NB when sending an EOI. Job Fairs are mainly to recruit Foreign Nationals for specific NOCs that are in demand in New Brunswick. The great thing is that should you be lucky enough to get a job offer at one of these job fair sessions, you can apply for PR with Employer Support, which eliminates the need to show settlement funds.