After graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi in 2010, I started an R&D position at an American semiconductor multinational. As a designer, I’ve been involved in the development of 40nm, 28nm, 16nm, 10nm and 7nm chips. We’re now moving toward even smaller nodes for various foundries. It’s fascinating to work in this industry on increasingly complex issues that constantly push the boundaries of what’s possible.
Although I like my life in Bangalore, I’ve always had the desire to live and work in Europe or North America for a substantial number of years. That’s where technology decisions are made, and I’d like to be a part of that. Last year, amid the pandemic, I came into contact with the Canadian office of a leading company in my field. After several very positive conversations, I was told by HR that due to the international travel restrictions that were in place at the time, no offer could be made yet. This was a disappointment but understandable. Last spring, I was contacted again and I received an offer, which I accepted.
Since my contract was to start on 1 August this year, I set in motion the visa procedure with the Canadian authorities and canceled my contract with my employer by the end of July. According to my information, a job offer would allow me to get a temporary work permit within two months of applying and immigrant status within 18 months. At the end of July, however, the online status of my application still hadn’t changed. Since then, my new employer has become actively involved in the procedure and I’ve also submitted several requests for explanations. Now – a month and a half later – I’ve received a request to again upload the passport of myself and my wife and the birth certificate of my daughter.
Apparently, it’s being worked on, but it’s still unclear when my electronic travel authorization (ETA) will be granted. HR has now suggested moving my start date to 1 December. However, that would mean I would be out of work for five months and I don’t know if I can handle that financially. I had to pay back the signing bonus from my previous employer because I resigned within three years and I’m also having the expenses of moving to Canada. What to do?
The headhunter answers:
I can imagine the frustration of not being warned that the procedure in these (post-)Covid times takes considerably longer than usual. A few weeks longer would still be doable, but having to wait months is unbearable. I don’t think your new employer knew this either because you’re probably the first new employee without permanent residency receiving an offer since last year. How could you have known? Many countries are seeing these long lead times in government organizations – probably due to the increased refugee flows, staff shortages, absenteeism due to illness and other consequences of the pandemic.
What can you do? The most effective approach seems to me to involve your new employer even more. They’re much closer to the action and they should know the right ways to exert influence. They can also provide financial assistance to compensate for your expenses. Perhaps you can already do some work from India to reduce the time lost.