An immigrant to Canada who had a rough start to his experience has found new footing, community and success in Penticton.
Shalindra K.C. is originally from Nepal. Before moving to Canada, he and his wife Laxmi lived in Dubai for eight years. He worked in the retail sector, at a large Spanish chain of grocery stores. As an administrator, he supervised over 90 employees, coordinating multiple business aspects from human resources to finances.
“Everything was good. The job was good. But everything is temporary there. You cannot apply for a permanent residency. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you have lived there for one year or a hundred years. One day you will have to go back to your home country,” said Shalindra.
The couple decided to move to Canada. An immigration consultant promised Shalindra that he would have a job in retail, which would lead to a permanent residency. However, when he came to Vancouver in April 2013, the job was not available.
“There were about a hundred people like me brought by that immigration consultant. I was jobless for two months. I came with only $1,000 hoping that I will start working right away. I had no accommodation, no food. There were 10 or 12 of us living in one basement. We were sleeping on the floor, surrounded by cockroaches. When it rained the basement would get flooded, and we had to move our luggage somewhere to save our belongings,” Shalindra said.
He was sent for training to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories where he stayed for four months. When he returned to Vancouver, the job that was promised to him was still not available. The immigration company sent him to yet another two-month training in Surrey, without pay.
“I had no money for the bus fare, so I had to walk to work, which took me almost two hours one way. We used to go to a Hindu temple to get food. It was not the happiest time of my life,” he recounted.
Finally, he was offered a job at Mac’s convenience store in Summerland. He had to rent a two-bedroom house, because nothing smaller was available. His salary barely covered the rent. When his wife Laxmi joined him and started to work, they were able to make the ends meet. Shalindra worked very hard, and was promoted to a store manager position.
“Everything was good but then we found out that our work permits were expired and our Provincial Nominee application was declined. Luckily, we received our permanent residency through the Express Entry program, as we were already working here. My store manager, Scott Gillespie, helped me with this.”