I started my journey as a graduate student with an advanced degree in Electrical Engineering. After three years of optional practical training (OPT), I had to obtain a work visa to remain in the United States. My employer helped me enter the visa lottery in my first year of OPT and each year after. Three times I tried, and three times I wasn’t selected.
I talked to the HR department at my company, and we started to look for options that could keep me working with them. I wasn’t very confident about my chances, so at the same time, I began to make plans to return with my wife and young daughter to China. I wasn’t happy about having to give up my career and our social circle that we had in the United States, but I didn’t think I had a choice. That’s when MobSquad entered the picture.
My employer had heard of MobSquad and thought their solution might work for me and the company. After asking a lot of questions and learning what MobSquad could offer, my company and I agreed that I could live in Canada and continue my work with them.
After looking at options offered by MobSquad, we chose Halifax, Nova Scotia as our landing point. There were definitely a lot of moving pieces, but MobSquad gave me tons of guidance and information. They answered my questions about what I could expect at each stage, including how long the relocation and immigration process would take. Even before I arrived, they introduced me to staff based in Halifax who started looking for housing for us and visited places in person to help me find a family-friendly community.
After all the paperwork was complete, we hopped on a plane to Halifax. We arrived knowing we would be picked up from the airport and helped to settle into our new community. We happily started our new life in Halifax In July 2019.
The process of blending into our new community was really smooth. MobSquad helped us with everything in the first couple months, like opening a bank account, discovering good places for hiking and recommending popular restaurants and local services, until we felt like we no longer needed handholding.
At first, we were worried that Halifax didn’t have a large Chinese community, but that turned out to be completely wrong. My wife started to build her own social circle with Chinese friends while trying to learn more English. I started to meet more people through engineering and other meetup events who have become my dear friends.
For my wife and daughter, Halifax has been a very positive experience. While I am working, they go to the public library for programs and to play. With the assistance from MobSquad, we also visit different parks and restaurants during weekends. My daughter is very young, but we were able to find a great daycare for her and now she’s also making friends. In the US I was working in NYC and lived in New Jersey. I had to commute to work, and my wife and daughter could only stay at home when I was away, because she didn’t have a driver’s license and there were no places like a public library in our area.
The cost of living in Halifax is so reasonable. As soon as we arrived, I started looking into buying a house for my family, something MobSquad CEO Irfhan Rawji greatly encouraged me to do.
The low cost of home ownership in Halifax was a pleasant surprise, and we quickly bought our first home. Even though MobSquad offered to assist us with introductions at the bank, with local real estate brokers and with their guidance about the local community, I was able to do it all myself. I’ve even managed to invest in rental properties in the time we’ve been in Halifax and they have all been amazing investments. We are truly loving our new life here.
One last thing I want to mention, MobSquad not only gave me and other engineers facing visa status changes a great opportunity to remain employed, build our social circle, and enjoy a quality life in Canada, they continue to give us an incredible ecosystem that literally helps us to do anything we want. If we want to become better engineers professionally, MobSquad has the resources to facilitate that; if we want to explore entrepreneurship, MobSquad has the connections; if we just want to enjoy time with our families, MobSquad knows all the fun places to go. MobSquad was there every step of the way for me, and they are still by my side helping build the best future for me and my family.