This is our new feature where we say hello to someone who — although they may not be a Brit — has made an important contribution to the life of Brits in Toronto somehow.
Hello Nick Noorani!
You’re probably most well-known for starting Canadian Immigrant magazine. What made you realize there was an outlet for that kind of subject matter when you founded the magazine?
From the time I landed in 1998 (from Mumbai, India), I was intrigued with the lack of information for immigrants … and so was born Arrival Survival Canada — a handbook for immigrants written by an immigrant!
The idea for the magazine came to me in a 3:00 a.m. dream in March 2003. I wrote down the idea and later that year when I was laid off I started the magazine. By that time I had been in publishing for five years and with a background in advertising and marketing, I felt well equipped to start the magazine.
I did extensive research with immigrants and saw a very clear niche — a magazine for all immigrants — not any one ethnic group. Something that would reflect Canada!
The magazine went on to change the media landscape as well as the information and motivation that immigrants needed, but I felt more needed to be done in the pre-arrival area so in 2010 I left the magazine (that I had by then sold to the Toronto Star) and started www.prepareforcanada.com.
We conduct monthly webinars in various countries including the U.K.! Check us out!
A lot of highly skilled immigrants come to Canada and end up in survival jobs, doing security or driving taxis. What advice do you have that can enable them to realize their true potential?
For the love of God please do research your profession before you come here! Most immigrants search jobs before they come, not their profession, and then find that they have years of studying to do in order to get their degree recognized!
Secondly, be prepared to start one or two rungs lower. Remember it did take you years to reach where you are in your home country … it may just take a few in comparison.
And lastly, have a cheerful disposition and the challenges will seem easier to deal with!
If you could go back to 1998 when you immigrated to Canada and give yourself some advice about what to expect in the years ahead, what would it be?
Again, I would say the things I said before: research your profession, choose the location based on labour market information, be prepared to start one or two rungs below, be flexible and go out and make lots of friends!
What’s your thoughts on the new Express Entry system being introduced in January 2015?
Express Entry will move the process to a demand-based one rather than a supply-based one. When immigrants come to Canada with jobs in hand, the settlement process is much faster and everyone benefits.
Open question: this is your chance to share some wisdom on being a successful immigrant to Canada.
Get involved. This is now your country, and sitting on the sidelines will always make you feel a stranger who is, well, sitting on the sidelines! I volunteer, mentor and am involved on several boards where I continue to try and make a difference in my new adopted home!
Favourite pub in Toronto?
Excellent advice, Nick, and keep up the good work you do to help immigrants to Toronto/Canada!