There are many ways to immigrate to Canada. Some people do so through a job offer, others through studies and/or business. There have been many changes when it comes to immigration so if you spoke to a friend who immigrated even two years ago to Canada, the process may be entirely different now than it was two years ago.
One of the biggest hurdles for immigrants seeking to immigrate today is the emphasis on language skills in at least one of Canada's official languages: English or French. However, let's assume that you have met all the program eligibility requirements and you are about to move to live permanently in Canada, what to expect?
If you break it down into plans, the first five year plan will likely be working very very hard. Most people do not settle into a high paying job with regular hours regardless of their professional and academic achievements in their home country. The jokes you hear about former doctors being taxi drivers is not too far off base. Many take two or three jobs and work overtime to make ends meet. Immigrants are unlikely to be able to get credit with no past credit history in Canada. Therefore, their upfront expenses are significant. Once they have earned enough to cover those expenses, they usually work to save money for a downpayment on a home. While rent is not a bad option, many want to build equity by purchasing their own home.
The ten year plan is usually when people begin to stand on their feet financially. They may have found or be close to finding their ideal job or be pursuing academics in order to upgrade their qualifications. They may have purchased a home at this stage, if that is their intent. Some begin to plan longer holidays back home or to travel overseas as a tourist. Things begin to look positive and many settle into some sense of comfort and adaptability. Language becomes less of a barrier to those coming from non-english speaking countries.
Towards the end of ten years and into the fifteen year plan, many show significant signs of improvement. Not only are people well adjusted to life in Canada but also they begin to work less hours, make more money and to save.
Although the Canadian dream may be different for some, my timeline is representing typical families with children who immigrate and do not have perfect language skills or loads of settlement funds ($). They may have arranged employment, but this does not alter the timeline. For young people with strong language skills and especially those who studied in Canada in a professional career or designation, things tend to move much faster.
I have seen so many immigrants and immigrant families become so successful in Canada. People tell me that they can work their whole life in their country of origin and not achieve what they achieved in Canada in a matter of a few years. Life is fast paced here and one can expect to work hard. But the payoff is improved quality of life. Air and environment is clean by comparison to many places, the territory is vast and salaries are competitive so land and home ownership is tannable. Vehicles are cheap by comparison and most people drive in order to get around. Food is abundant and the word delicacy is practically non-existent in Canada because everything is affordable for most people.