When I first made the decision to immigrate, one of the things that frightened me was the idea of rolling up in a foreign country without much knowledge.
Not sure why since when I moved to Dubai, I rolled up here without any knowledge either.
In fact, I was pretty foolhardy about it back then but that’s a story for another day.
I started conducting research and kept coming up against stories of terrifying experiences, each one more ghastly than the next. I didn’t let that stop me though.
I’m a pretty determined person and when something is in my way, I don’t back down.
I figure out a way to get around it, over it, or make it work to my advantage.
I went ahead and submitted my application. When it was at the end stages of being processed, I received an invitation to access pre-arrival services from IRCC.
I had never heard of pre-arrival services before that invitation and was absolutely elated at the information.
What Are Pre-Arrival Services?
Pre-arrival services are programs funded by the Government of Canada to prepare immigrants for a life in Canada.
These pre-arrival services assist with living and working in Canada, education, experience, licensing, connecting with the local community and much more.
The best thing about pre-arrival services is they are funded by the Government of Canada and you are free to access as many of them as you like.
Colour me delighted when I clicked the link and was taken to this wonderful page for getting help before arriving in Canada.
There are over 20 service providers to choose from. I have contacted four of these service providers so far.
The help and information they provided are invaluable and helped answer a lot of lingering questions I had about moving to Canada.
They also provided tons of information in one place, which would have taken me forever to Google and compile together on my own.
I discovered a lot of people don’t utilize these pre-arrival services and I don’t know why, or maybe they do but don’t share online.
Either way, pre-arrival services are free and are there to help you before you move to Canada.
If you receive an invitation for pre-arrival services, utilize it, please. These services are beyond helpful. And free.
As an intending immigrant who is spending a lot of money right now, anything free sounds good to me.
Invitation to Pre-Arrival Services Letter
You can only access pre-arrival services when you receive an invitation letter from IRCC as you will need to provide your UCI number, a copy of your COPR, or other relevant documents.
The invitation is usually a one-pager with your UCI number at the top and all the relevant information for accessing the services.
Pre-arrival services can only be accessed from outside Canada so the sooner you get on it, the better.
The service providers are usually specific to regions so you have the opportunity to explore if you’re still undecided where you want to go.
Are Pre-Arrival Services Mandatory?
Not at all. Choosing not to access them has no bearing on your application approval or future PR status.
However, as I mentioned earlier, they are immensely useful, free, and help you better prepare for your move.
Yes, even if you have relatives or friends in Canada, it is still useful. I have both and I’m more interested in getting up to date information from IRCC.
Advantages of Pre-Arrival Services Before Moving to Canada
A few of the things I’ve been able to do via pre-arrival services include but not limited to the following:-
- Decide where I’d like to live
- Reliable and updated information regarding the local career market
- Other free services are available for newcomers. Yay!
- Learn more about Canada as a whole
- Information about post-arrival settlement services
Point of note, access to a computer and high-speed Internet is required to receive these pre-arrival services as well as a comfortable IELTS score starting from 5.5.
I will be discussing tips on taking the IELTS exam in my next article as well as why I took the IELTS exam a second time even though I didn’t really need to.
Taking advantage of pre-arrival services is a no brainer. Once you receive the invitation, access the service providers you like and link up with them.
There is nothing to lose and everything to gain by utilizing pre-arrival services once you receive your invitation.
Pre-arrival services are available in-person or online and in multiple languages.
In case you’re wondering how much time passed between receiving the invitation and receiving my PR, you can check my application process story HERE.