Big, beautifull open spaces, untamed wilderness, healthcare, jobs, first world amenities… Everyone has a different idea and dreamscape built up about life in Canada. Why did we choose immigrating to Canada, being already in Germany?
Germany is seen as the pinnacle of Europe, classic cities, well paying jobs, impressive cars, beer as far as the eye can see, lederhosen & dirndls, a country where everything “just works”. Regulated working hours, vacation that makes the rest of the world seem barbaric and overworked, parenting leave that seem to last forever, super low unemployment rates and even then a safety net for when you get fired or burnt out. Unfortunately this comes at a price. When I first arrived here, I was starry eyed and awed at what Bavaria would offer me. Converting my then salary back to South African Rand, I felt giddy at the amount I would earn. But as the saying goes, there are only two constants in life, death and taxes. Well, the salary was almost halved by the amount of tax I have to pay, insurance for the car, insurance for the dogs, third party insurance, healthcare, rent and the rest of daily life took another big chunk out of the salary. Don’t get me wrong, what was left over was still very decent, and our rent is well below Munich standards (as we live in the countryside on a farm), otherwise we would not be able to pay the Canada Immigration costs as in my previous post.
Germans love their bureaucracy, there are forms for everything and a bureaucrat to stamp and file them all efficiently. Quite the change coming from a third world country where everything takes its sweet time to be done, inefficiency at every turn and excuses as to why simple requests cannot be processed or forms cannot be found. Here atleast you can see your tax money being used for the greater good and safety of the populace and not embezzled away into corrupt politicians’ wallets and bank accounts.
So why leave and immigrating to Canada? Buying property here in Bavaria is close to impossible, and the security of the EU is tottering on the edge of the proverbial cliff. You also can’t go for a kilometre without passing through a town or seeing some people, who all seem to ensure that their neighbour does not disobey a bewildering array of rules and regulations. Want to mow the lawn on a Sunday, sorry no. Want to barbecue, better not let that annoying and foul smoke drift through their windows. Is your tv on too loud? Does the dog bark at inopportune times? The list is truly endless and is deeply ingrained in society here.
What other options are there:
New Zealand – All Work Visa types require you to have a job offer, so your first step should be to find a job. You can apply for jobs without having a valid visa, but you can’t start working until your visa is approved. Seems like a Catch 22 situation. Coupled with the fact that even their PR visa process is more daunting and complex than what CIC did for Canada and theirpoint systems only lets the cream of the crop through, you really need a visa consultant to help you. Plus being from Africa I am already suspect and could not even travel there, my German wife would need to be the main traveller and I could in theory then tag along. Beautifull country, friendly people, earthquakes and being at the end of the world everthing is expensive!
Australia – Poisonous animals.. Need I say more? Coming from Namibia where we have our fair share of poisonous animals, once you get used to not having to look for snakes or spiders life is way more relaxed.
That leaves the rest of the EU, Scotland and Norway… All options on our Plan B list, with immigrating to Canada our main goal. It took a year to get an ITA, no provincial nominations, no quick and easy route. Canada is not all roses and sunshine. Lower wages than America, Canadians themselves find job hunting an arduous task, astronomical property prices in and around the big cities. But there is space if you want it, untamed wilderness and wildlife to explore and less regulations regarding everyday life.
Lets see, immigrating to Canada so far has not been an easy process and the realist in me thinks the grass just looks greener on the other side. But life is what you make of it!