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Top things newcomers need to know about credit, finding jobs and starting a business in Canada

The initial months as a newcomer to Canada are an exciting time with many new things to do, explore and learn.

However, coupled with navigating a new language, culture and surroundings, it can also be an overwhelming time. As you settle into your new life, finding a job and creating a solid financial foundation are important steps in the right direction.

Building your credit. As a newcomer to Canada, it is important to build a credit history here. You may be surprised to learn that the credit system in Canada may not always take into account financial history in another country. So what is credit history and how is it determined?

In Canada, your credit history contains data gathered from financial institutions, retailers and lenders about how you have handled credit in the past. Canada’s central credit bureaus use your credit history to give you a credit score.

A credit score reflects your ability to borrow money and pay it back responsibly. It ranges from 300 to 900, with 900 being the most favourable, and is calculated based on following factors:

• Payment history – paying all your bills on time.

  • Credit utilization – how much credit you’re using compared to what your limit is.
  • Account history – how many years you’ve had a credit card or loan.
  • Credit variety – balanced mix of credit such as credit cards and loans, and how responsible you’ve been with each.
  • New credit application – how frequently you’ve applied for new credit

The simplest way to start a credit history and build a good score is by having a Canadian credit card and making regular payments on it.  At RBC, newcomers to Canada can get a card without having a credit history.

A good credit score helps you qualify and secure lower interest rates when you borrow money. This will help you buy a car, get a mortgage and more.

Find gainful employment. While employment opportunities for newcomers can be as diverse as the Canadian landscape, securing employment can feel like a full-time job.  To get your job search off to a strong start, it’s helpful to talk to someone who can act as a career mentor and provide insights into the Canadian labour market.

To help newcomers connect with career mentors and create a professional network, RBC and the Toronto Regional Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) established a partnership to provide job-ready immigrants with increased access to mentoring professionals, and help them achieve gainful employment across Canada. The program will match you with mentors who’ve worked in the same field as you. They can offer advice for resumé building, interview preparation and networking, among other areas, to help you succeed.

Start a business. If being a business owner is your goal in Canada, the right preparation can help you overcome challenges. Establishing a credit history would be helpful, and you’ll also need a business account and a business credit card specially tailored for newcomers.

Next, build you contacts. Start by joining relevant industry associations, reach out to complementary businesses or suppliers, and identify potential clients and ask them for feedback on your ideas. Don’t forget to also leverage the supplier/producer network in your home country – this is a big asset for you as a newcomer.

Creating a solid business plan is important for any prospective business owner and should include, among others, your vision of the business, how you’ll get there, your marketing strategy and the relevant financial projections. Your business plan will also help you to secure financing should you need it. This business plan template might be helpful as you create the roadmap for your business. .

If you are in the planning process of immigrating to Canada, information about applying for the Start-up Visa will be useful.

Canada is a country with much to offer and the right information will help you start your time in Canada off on the right foot.

                                                                                                                                                                           – Ivy Chiu


• Ivy Chiu is Senior Director, Newcomer Segment,RBC.

Posted: Jul 3, 2019

February 2020

Centennial College

Immigration Peel Canada

© CanadaBound Immigrant 2016