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Home Settlement Planning for Canada? Arrive with confidence with this pre-arrival service!

Planning for Canada? Arrive with confidence with this pre-arrival service!

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Holly Skelton, director of Planning for Canada, tells you all about its offerings for immigrants.

In the immigration journey of a newcomer to Canada, the phase between getting a visa and moving to the country is crucial in shaping their eventual settlement and integration experience. Pre-arrival services play a huge role here. But what do these services comprise? How can one sign up? Are the sessions free? 

In this video, find out all about Planning for Canada, one of the few and unique pre-arrival services funded by the Government of Canada to help immigrants learn about life in the Great North. Director Holly Skelton shares how Planning for Canada’s globally-accessible services help immigrants prepare for their move, settlement and employment in Canada right from when they are still in their home countries. Their online and on-location teams understand each immigrant’s specific concerns, provide answers and resources, connect them to local agencies and give them a glimpse of the Canadian culture. Watch this interview to find out more.

Video transcript

Shruti Dargan:
On New Canadians today, we’re joined by Holly Skelton, Director of Planning for Canada, a pre-arrival service for those moving to Canada, welcome Holly.

Holly Skelton:
Thanks so much for having me, I’m delighted to be here.

Shruti Dargan:
So let’s start talking about Planning for Canada and introduce it to those who might not be aware of the service.

Holly Skelton:
Terrific. Planning for Canada is an information service for new immigrants destined to Canada. The goal of the program is to provide key pieces of information, but really to help reduce stress and anxiety and help people prepare effectively, we’ve we like to say that we help new immigrants arrive with confidence.

Shruti Dargan:
I understand that one can avail these services from their home countries, but when’s the best time to start?

Holly Skelton:
I’m so glad you asked that question because that’s quite a source of confusion for newcomers. So, it’s called a pre-arrival service and it’s meant to be taken before leaving the home country. So, this is for eligible newcomers, so they have to receive a letter from Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada (IRCC), telling them that they’re now eligible for pre-arrival services and at that point they can sign up. When we talked to our former clients, they say the best time to take our service is roughly three months before leaving for Canada. We have people signing up anywhere from six months before they leave to right up the same week that they’re leaving, we’re happy to serve people any time, whenever they’re ready and whenever they’re available, but to get the most out of it, somewhere between three months and six weeks is the ideal timeframe.

Shruti Dargan:
And what would you say are some of the steps in the process?

Holly Skelton:
There are three steps in the process. It starts from broad general information that is given in a go session or group orientation session, then it goes to individual in the personal planning session, which is step two, which is an hour one-on-one with one of our skilled experienced facilitators and then the final step is with a connection or one of our partners located in provinces and cities across Canada to answer very specific questions about housing and healthcare and schooling in the city where people will land once they arrive in Canada.

Shruti Dargan:
So, how’s Planning for Canada and its services different from any other program out there?

Holly Skelton:
Well, we’re extremely fortunate to have an office in India in Delhi and also an office in the Philippines. This allows us to provide live services in the same time zone as the newcomers coming to Canada so we’re very fortunate that we can provide services in several cities in India. Right now, we’re regularly offering services in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chandigarh, and occasionally in Hyderabad Shehnai and some other cities. In the Philippines, our office is in Manila and we regularly go to Sabu, but we can also go to other locations so, for clients that are based in those two countries, they can benefit from in-person services. In addition, we have highly trained staff that are familiar with Canadian culture and so in particular in step one in the group orientation, which is generally on average 30 people together, whether it’s in person in India or the Philippines or online where we deliver our services in a Canadian style.

Holly Skelton:
So, it’s providing a little taste or a little introduction to what clients will experience once they arrive here, it gives a lot of insight around expectations and just the way that Canadian society operates. So, we find that can be very eye-opening experience for the people that take our services and very beneficial as well because these sessions are done in a group, there’s a really wonderful opportunity to network with the others that are also in that go session. So in a group of about 30, there’s a very strong possibility that someone will be going to the same city or in the same occupation and a great opportunity to network and learn from each other’s experiences and build friendships that may last for many, many years.

Shruti Dargan:
And lastly, how can prospective immigrants to Canada avail your services?

Holly Skelton:
The services are both in-person in those two countries I mentioned in India, in multiple cities and in Philippines, in several locations, and as well, they’re available online from anywhere from any city, any country in the world, we have we have our staff in or our team in India in the Philippines that do both in-person and online, and we also have other staff that are based in different times zones so, they’re able to complement one another and offer quite a robust variety of times and days of the week, so we’re confident we’ll be able to have services available to meet any client’s needs and schedules.

Shruti Dargan:
Thank you, Holly, for sharing all of this information with our viewers, and thanks so much for your time.

Holly Skelton:
Oh, wonderful. It’s such a pleasure to talk about the program.

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