Those of us who live here know that London is really great. Middlesex County isn’t bad, either. However, no matter how good a city is, it’s still a challenge to move. There are so many things to consider: housing, work, schools, transportation, shopping… And you haven’t even packed your stuff and loaded the truck yet!
For those who are crossing borders during the move, things are even more complicated. What are the immigration laws like in your new home? Will you be able to work right away? Are there language barriers you need to face and overcome? Will your foreign work experience be recognised in Canada?
There are so many questions and uncertainties. Fortunately, in most regions you can find services to help you find answers to these questions. Here are some of the settlement services available in the London region.
Before you even move to London, you might want to start at movetolondonmiddlesex.ca. On the Move is, as the site says, your guide to living in London and Middlesex County, Canada. It’s a planning tool that starts with a questionnaire and provides checklists to help you sort out what needs to be done. Coming to London to study? Why wouldn’t you, with Western and Fanshawe right here, and lots of other post-secondary options nearby? The On The Move tool can help you with checklists, reminding you what needs to be done over six months in advance of your move.
The city itself has a list of resources at immigration.london.ca. The Immigration Portal offers links about nearly anything you can think of when it comes to settling in London in over a dozen languages. They’ve also partnered in the creation of a website at yourlondoncalling.ca, a well-designed site to help you with Settling In, Getting Around, Earning Money or Having Fun.
If you’re coming to start your own business, there’s www.startlondoncanada.com to help you out. It provides links to Statistics Canada, stats specifically about London, sample business plans, help with business registration and more. If you’re ready to go, you can contact the London Small Business Centre for ongoing support.
If you’re coming to London for education, your school will have services for immigrant students. Western’s International & Exchange Student Centre has information on visas and immigration, ESL programs, and information on student loans to help with emergencies. Fanshawe’s services for international students include help with finding housing.
There are also various other organisations that offer help to newcomers to Canada. You can start with WIL’s website, and that provides links to Ontario’s Immigration Portal, London Urban Services Organization, the Cross Cultural Learners Centre, and to other services.
Finally, there are fee-for-service companies that also help people get settled in the region. They’ll help with school registration, real estate, and lots of other things that you may need and not think of when settling in a new city.
With so much help available, and so much opportunity around, why wouldn’t you settle in London or in Middlesex County?