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Microloans help newomers get Canadian credentials

Abhisek Chatterjee emigrated from India and landed in Canada in November of 2015.

He had completed his Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calcutta in 2006 and his Master of Commerce from the University of Burdwan in 2008. He specialized in accounting and finance at both schools and was equipped with the skills and knowledge to launch his career.

In India, he began as an accountant with General Electric and Elsevier Inc. before taking on the position of Senior Financial Reporter with the Bank of America. Before immigrating to Canada, he was working at HSBC as an Assistant Manager, conducting financial regulatory reporting for over two years. 

With the sky-high prices of homes in Toronto, Chatterjee decided to settle in Mississauga, where housing was more affordable.

He also knew there was a growing South Asian community in the area, and with his wife planning to join him in Canada in the coming years, he wanted her to feel a sense of cultural identity. 

When he began his job search, he discovered that employers undervalued his abilities since he lacked Canadian credentials. “Employers in Canada do not generally value international experience,” he recalls. “About 5 or 10 minutes into every interview, call or consultation, the question of my Canadian experience and credentials would come up – it was a huge barrier.”

Despite eight years of accounting and financial experience in nationally-recognized banks and ped. 

He realized that having either a CPA or a CFA were beneficial, and Chatterjee had neither. With his extensive accounting background, he decided to pursue the Chartered Professional Accountant certification and enrolled in a Seneca College program that helps students acquire advanced knowledge and competencies in accounting to ensure they are well prepared to complete the CPA Capstone courses and exams.

Chatterjee first heard about Windmill Microlending through the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP). “Windmill Microlending has a significant role in helping me get back to my career in Canada,” he says. “Without Windmill, I would have had to spend a lot of money upfront to pay for my CPA. Funds were limited and I was focusing on applying for jobs.”

His patience and determination to re-enter his field of work, coupled with a loan from Windmill Microlending, enabled him to secure work as a P&L Risk Analyst with TD Bank. In addition to working full-time at TD, he continues to study for his CPA accreditation and plans to write his exams in the next few years.

Chatterjee encourages new immigrants to adapt to change and advises them to be patient. 

“From the moment I landed in Canada, everyone told me that immigrants do not get jobs equivalent to what they were doing in their home country. With years of experience in my field, that was very hard to hear. I listened to them and I tried to analyze how I could focus my efforts on my end-objective.

“Learning and understanding new things in Canada took me time. After a couple of months of applying to jobs and hearing nothing back, I realized maybe I was doing something wrong. I learned that updating your resumé for every job you apply for is important. Adapting to all the small changes is difficult.

“Simple things are done differently here. You need to understand that if you come to Canada today and expect things to happen tomorrow, that most likely will not happen and that can lead to frustration. Having the mindset of accepting change is very important when someone is immigrating to a new place. You need to give yourself a dedicated amount of time to restart your life in Canada and get back on track to what you were doing in your home country.”

Posted: Sep 30, 2018

May 2020

Centennial College

Immigration Peel Canada

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