Ruairi is the founder of Moving 2 Canada, one of the leading websites to find the resources you need to move to Canada. Ruairi is originally from Ireland and moved to Canada in his 20s for a job opportunity for a company based in Vancouver. Despite his experience of moving across the ocean was very easy; in fact, the company he worked for took care of everything, many of his friends in Canada had to leave the country. Lack of planning and poor information on the immigration process available were the causes of so many of his friends leaving. Ruairi then decided to use his skills and knowledge to build a website and help his fellow emigrants move and stay in Canada.
Award-winning Entrepreneur / Recruiter / Leader / (eternal) Student / Adventurer. Grew up in County Kerry in Ireland. Educated in Business (B.Sc. with Accounting & Finance major) and Finance (M.Sc.). Ruairi moved to Vancouver in 2008. He’s now a dual citizen of Ireland and Canada. After a successful career in the fields of financial analysis and software sales, Ruairi followed his entrepreneurial calling in 2011 and started an online community for newcomers in Canada - Moving2Canada.com helps newcomers plan for success in Canada and currently attracts more than eight million visitors annually; and a recruitment service for the construction industry – Outpost Recruitment – helps connect leading global infrastructure contractors, national general contractors, developers and consultants with quality local and incoming global candidates.
There is a formula for success, right? It's just being aware and actually having this information at your disposal and you're not always ready to make some decisions as an immigrant, you say, hey, I've just booked my two year work permit. I don't want to think about permanent residency. But when you can get people into that mentality, that's what we tried to do with moving to Canada and it really helps people because he can have a huge impact on their lives.
Daniel De Biasi 0:32
Hi, everyone, and welcome to episode number 44 of the Emigrant's Life Podcast where we share stories of people who left their country to chase after their life. And through these stories you can find ideas, resources, a motivation to do the same. I'm Daniel De Biasi and my guest this week Ruairi is originally from Ireland and moved to Canada at 26 to work for a Canadian company. Leaving his country and moving across the ocean was quite easy for him. The company he worked for took care of all the ethics. Still he had to face some challenges. Ruairi is the founder of moving to Canada, one of the top websites that as you may guess, helps people moving to Canada. He started Moving to Canada as a side project after seeing many of his friends leaving the country because they couldn't figure out how to stay. He started sharing information on the immigration process and things to do to move and stay in Canada on a Facebook group, which then turned into a successful website. In this episode, Ruairi shares his stories on how he moved to Vancouver, why he quit his job to help other fellow immigrants and what the best visa to move to Canada is. If you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving a review and share this episode with your friends. It only takes a few minutes, but it will help our show turning into something bigger and help more people reaching their dreams or moving to a new country. And now without further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Ruairi.
Hi Ruairi. Thanks for being on the show.
Daniel De Biasi 1:56
I hope I pronounced your name correctly.
No, you got it right.
Daniel De Biasi 1:59
Sweet Ruairi. And you're an Irish, right?
I am. So I'm an Irishman living in Vancouver. So I moved here in 2008.
Daniel De Biasi 2:09
I was 26. So I'm 38 now so it was initially initially looking at a two year move, but I never left.
Daniel De Biasi 2:21
First of all, why did you leave Ireland?
To move to Canada kind of came all of a sudden for me. So in 2007, I was living in Dublin. It was a good setup, I was just three or four years out of university enjoying life but it was Dublin and the Celtic Tiger I was a little bit bored. I was always curious about living in another country but conscious that I needed to gain a little bit more experience because relocating as a graduate would be suicide. But uh, what happened was a job actually came about. It was a job offer a was a Canadian company in Dublin. They ended up offering me a role in Vancouver where their headquarters was, and I jumped at the opportunity.
Daniel De Biasi 3:03
So why did they offer like a position in Vancouver? Were you I guess you were working for this company for a while you had some experience too, before offering you a job across the ocean?
Not quite. It was actually a friend of mine was working with the company. So a friend of mine from university was working, he was basically thir IMIA, so their Europe, Middle Easte, and Asia office. So they had set up, they set up an office in Dublin to support their European operations. She had joined the company about six months later, she told me they need another derivative analyst. He was financial software. I applied but the thing I did well was I convinced a common friend of ours to apply against me. So long story short, we both run through three rounds of interviews, the executives flew over from Vancouver to Dublin for the third round. Greg, my friend ended up peeping me for the job. And in the same phone call, I found out I didn't get the job I desperately wanted. But the company had been advised by my friend Dawn, that I might be open to moving to Canada. So when you're basic- when you're analyzing the two candidates, one of them one of the Canadian executives said if only one of them would move to Vancouver and my friend Dawn said, well, Ruairi would go for sure. So both myself and Greg ended up flying to Vancouver in February 2008. We were put up in a hotel for a month of training. Greg returned to Dublin to his girlfriend and I stayed on in Vancouver. So I guess the moral of the story was always trying to help a friend out because sometimes it can pay off.
Daniel De Biasi 4:45
Oh, I mean, that's a big like risk for the company that take like somebody straight up from school, you say that you were pretty much not experienced, right?
Yeah, I had about three years of experience but, I suppose I was working in derivative valuation, it's quite a specialized area.
Daniel De Biasi 5:02
And I guess, you know, we had a good education in Ireland. I studied business studies, had a master's in financial services. And but a lot of it really was I'm very grateful to my friend, Dawn, she's a genius and the fact that she was able to refer myself and Greg had a lot of clout in terms of creating the opportunity for us.
Daniel De Biasi 5:22
Okay, so the job, what you were doing was actually a pretty specific job and was not many people that were doing that job that's why they hire you from Ireland, and they flew you over to Vancouver?
Yes. So I was very, very lucky. So I was actually able to get sponsored by the company. So I didn't have to go through my own immigration process. And didn't you were able to actually process permanent residency done within a year. So I had a very easy transition to Canada, I didn't have to go through the uncertainty of job hunting or will I move or won't I move? So you know, when you have a relocation package, it's very, very easy to make that choice. It was just do you want to take this or not, and I would have been a fool to turn it down.
Daniel De Biasi 6:04
No. Exactly. Sometimes when you move abroad, a simple thing, like somebody pick you up at the airport can be like a game changer. You got a list of references over there. Like if somebody that pick you up at the airport and a place to go. When you move to a new country for at least for me, that's a massive advantage, a massive help.
Exactly. And that's why you find a lot of people will want to follow a friend or they'll have a relative and things like that. So it made it very easy for me. I actually got ended up getting offered a job in Vancouver and two of my friends that I was living with in Dublin had actually moved there. So it all just fell into place very quickly, where I was very jealous of my friends relocating there. And then all of a sudden a Canadian software company had offered me a role there so my friends left after a year to. They felt a struggle to stay which is the reality for most people when you're on a temporary work permit, but I was very lucky to be able to stay on.
Daniel De Biasi 6:59
So you were like a pretty lucky because you already have friends over kiving in Vancouver. So even then, like leaving your country knowing that your your mates are on the other side, it's even easier.
Exactly. So I count myself very, very lucky and how it all came about.
Daniel De Biasi 7:14
And why did you decide to stay in Canada to stay in Vancouver?
It was very, very easy for me. I needed a change. I got offered a change. When I came here, it was February 2008. I knew that the Winter Olympics were on in February 2010. And that to me was the milestone. I just said look, I'm going to join gonna give it two years and didn't reassess because I knew I knew things are going to be different. You're very far away from Ireland. But the key for me is I just I absolutely loved it. To me, it was in British Columbia, you have access to great outdoors. I always described Vancouver, it's a very average city, but it's in an amazing location. And it was just perfect for me. I can go snowboarding, hiking, camping. It was just a lot of things that I either loved or wanted to do. Right? I went snowboarding the first weekend I had in Vancouver, and 12 years later, I'm just still hooked in it. So it was very, very easy. The best way to describe why people stay in Vancouver is I think the list of things to do actually gets longer every year because you start getting into different activities, right? For example, I kind of get into backcountry camping and kind of planning now to get into more back countries, snowboarding, splitboarding, and things like that. So there's always a different layer. If you're kind of passionate about the outdoors. And you have a good group of friends, I just find there's always something to do here, in terms of challenging yourself is just so many activities between the water and the mountains at your disposal.
Daniel De Biasi 8:45
Yeah, that's true it's like a beautiful location right on the ocean. The mountains like right there you go both sides.
Daniel De Biasi 8:52
And sounds like you have a pretty easy experience of leaving Ireland and moving to Canada and get settled in Canada. But did you have to face any challenges?
Definitely. I think a lot of it is luck. It's all the biggest challenge we have is adapting, right? And that really comes down to mindset, right? So when you're 26 you're still young, you're relatively young, and you're kind of put into a different environment. But to me, it was all upside race. I just loved the idea of immigrating and being able to kind of reset your life and have different kind of create new habits. Like one of the things for me was I just gone through ACL reconstruction surgery so I was an absolute joy as a football or soccer fanatic, spent all of my time playing that and then I basically went through a 12 month rehabilitation and then I kind of knew this, you know, my soccer playing days were limited right? So being able to kind of make a fresh start in Canada and get into snowboarding was like a new lease of life. For me. It was very frustrating experience, right? You spend you know, you're basically rehabilitating your knee from the whole, like, completely waste. And I just loved the challenge and the timing was perfect for me.
In terms of adapting to Canada, it's pretty easy, right? It's a Western world I've moved from a western world country adapting in a new country. Canada is very welcoming for immigrants. It's very multicultural. So the pluses outweigh the minuses in so many areas for me, but I guess you know, one of the challenges is jumping away from friends and family, that's always a huge challenge. You miss your close friends, you missing your parents, you missing your close family. But I think Ireland has a pretty deep history of immigration. So I'm very grateful, I guess to my friends and family were very supportive of it, they know that you're happy. They know that you're, you can see life as a trade off or you can be happy for someone and realize that job, they're living their best self abroad. And I think that's the real nice thing for me, too, is you can you stay in touch with people and you still feel connected. Right? It's not like you're falling off the end of the year of immigration. Nowadays, we're very lucky that we have technology, we have global travel. So it's definitely not as tough as it was to immigrate 10, 20, even 50 years ago.
Daniel De Biasi 11:15
No, absolutely not. Usually, you mentioned your parents, your friends, knowing that you're having a better life on the other side. And that's I think, what actually happened to me, my mom was actually pretty worried when I decided to leave Italy. But when she came and visit New Zealand, and saw my new life in New Zealand, she was like, I understand why don't want to come back. I know why you want to stay here.
Yeah. And my poor parents have two have their kids are living in Vancouver and very lucky that i have a brother did actually followed me here. He emigrated in 2010. So he had just returned from Australia. So I would say that immigration was, you know, part of my direct family as well. So, in 2008, when I moved, I actually had two brothers living in Australia. So I always knew that my parents were quite comfortable with us being abroad and weren't necessarily thinking those two, were choosing to be away from family, but they're all is very, very supportive. And I always Can I just I'm very grateful, I guess, to my general, your friends and family, you know, understand your decisions and don't think that you're choosing a different life away from them, right?
Daniel De Biasi 12:21
Yeah, no, not exactly. That's a great point. And another thing you mentioned, and when you move to Canada, after a couple of years, your friends couldn't stay in Canada, they have to leave because they couldn't stay longer in the country because the immigration process, because I think that's one of the biggest challenges. One of the biggest downsides of being an immigrant that you meet people from all over the world. But at the same time in this journey, you'll lose a lot of people because either you can't stay in the country, they can't stay in the country, or they move somewhere else, or you move somewhere else. So all these new people, the great friends you made all over the world, you're gonna somehow lose them.
Definitely the first few years. It's a war of attrition, right? Because you're constantly- you make friends, every- you know, in the summer, I guess when you're outdoors more often, it's a lot easier to make friends. We always found that you know, people come and go all the time, right? Especially the kind of the newcomers because newcomers find newcomers, that's the fun thing. Because I always say is, you know, if your locals have their own friend network, and they always tend to be come across as less friendly or newcomers in any one place, right? You've got hostile environment where everyone kind of wants to make friends and you hear an accent and you say, well, there's a good chance that this person needs more friends, right? It was very difficult thing for people to stay right? 12 years ago, if you were immigrating from Ireland, you could get a one year visa, but in that one year, you had to figure out how to become a permanent resident, and it was next to impossible. Unless your company were willing to go above and beyond for you. We're very lucky now as in the international experience Canada program for the majority of countries is two years. So that gives most applicants the chance to get here to find professional work. And once they can gain 12 months of Canadian experience, it's relatively easy to apply for permanent residency, right?
Daniel De Biasi 14:15
Yeah, exactly. We actually yeah, we covered the visa like pretty details with Joanna that appeared from Ireland. And she managed to come to Vancouver actually with the same kind of visa, which is the same visa actually, I used to move to Canada.
Excellent. And like that visa is and we're very, very lucky young Canada is one of the most open immigration systems in the world, I think behind New Zealand and Australia. But we're very lucky right? As in 60,000 young people get the opportunity to come here and sample life. So they always say that you should try at least a year living abroad in your life. So it's a great opportunity for people that Canada provides that benefit to up to 32 different countries right? And it's reciprocated as well. That's the beauty of it. So Canadian can also go to Ireland for two years to work and play as well.
Daniel De Biasi 15:03
When we met, you told me that you started moving 2 Canada, which is your business, your website that help other people moving to Canada, or you started it because you saw all your friends, they couldn't stay in the country, and they couldn't figure out a way to stay in the country. One of the reasons why you started this website to help other people to stay in the country so you don't have to lose more people more friends, right?
Yeah, there's so many combinations behind it, right? Because here I was in Canada, and everyone's talking about how they need so many immigrants to help the economy, right? We've had an aging population here. And here I am reading about why they need immigrants. But then I'm seeing my immigrant friends drop off like flies. So it made me very curious, I guess, and the success factors, right? Why were some people very successful. And I mean, success in terms of not in just staying, but in terms of long term as well, right? One of the great things about setting up my business was I kind of studied a lot of successful immigrants, whether they're from Ireland or various other countries in the world, but a lot of it really comes down to having good planning. So I was like, part of that as your personality, but part of it is access to information. So the key for me is you know, moving to Canada was born a was the idea was I realized there was too many gatekeepers in terms of immigration and employment information, right? You have immigration agents trying to sell consultancy services, or you have travel agencies trying to sell orientation packages. And I guess my idea was to make all that information freely available and come up with a different way to monetize it. So in 2011, I kind of set up a basic Facebook page, it was basic HTML data in the notes, in the old Facebook, just to test the market. And I realized there was a kind of thirst for information, right? In terms of general settlement, finding a job, how to execute on your visa. So we set up the initial Facebook page, and in 2012, I decided to quit my job in finance, and focus on building out the website. It was a lot of new things at once, my revenue model was actually focused around recruitment. So I mentioned my brother earlier, but he's a civil engineer working in infrastructure. So when he followed me in 2010, to Canada, I realized that he had three or four job offers within two weeks. So that really alerted me that there was a very specific labor shortage in construction and engineering. So at the same time, the Irish economy which had fallen apart in 2008, after the financial crisis, Ireland had to export a lot of our construction and engineering talent, just like my brother. So I realized, I want to try and help these people build a new life in Canada. So the idea of moving 2 Canada was to help all newcomers across the globe. And then I could monetize it by connecting construction and engineering talent with local Canadian companies.
Daniel De Biasi 18:07
Sounds like you're like an entrepreneur mentality, just like of thinking about like, we got this problem. And there's like, so much demand for like these people, which probably started something where this like of mentality is coming from? Because you were working in a corporate world?
Good question. I was always fascinated with entrepreneurship, right. I think, you know, my parents were entrepreneurs. They were teachers, but they also run a guesthouse. Right. So that evoked a lot of my curiosity in travel and hospitality in different cultures. So I grew up sharing my living room with international tourists all summer long. So it was really eye opening to me. And I guess my parents were very industrious, and hardworking. And as I studied business, entrepreneurship was always the one, right?Reading success stories and people creating new business models was always what kind of tweak my interest. But the challenge I had was, I felt I had skills and the desire. But the idea wasn't there, you know? An entrepreneur is you're just a set of skills without that critical idea. So my mentality was always just to try and gain experience in a few different areas. So I worked in financial services for six years, I was lucky, I learned quite a lot about software, because there was a software company, but I found then I kind of transitioned to sales within that. So as all was focused on rounding my experience. And then, you know, from probably 2010 onwards, when my brother immigrated, and I started looking at the construction skills shortage, I realized, well, this could be a short term way to make revenue, where building a free information website really relied on building an audience, which was more of a long term. So as an entrepreneur, I realized I can't just quit my job if I don't have a way to pay the bills. So essentially, I had two ideas. I knew that the- I could monetize the traffic over time with advertising. But I really needed something in the short term. So it was a little bit complicated aiming two ideas at the same time. But it's worked well, right? I always say in terms of being diversified. We're in the midst of a pandemic. And I was very lucky that two businesses went through different cycles, right? When recruitment was going well, advertising wasn't necessarily and they counteract each other, right?
Daniel De Biasi 20:31
Yeah, no, exactly. Because you wanted to quit your job. After a year, you started this side project. Were you profitable after a year or was it just like a big leap of faith?
It was a leap of faith, I had realized that I tested the market that I knew there was the need for information, right? I had it actually, it started with a basic website for Vancouver to test the concept. And then I realized, wait a minute, I need to go a little bit broader because I realized the recruitment opportunities are typically outside of Vancouver, because everyone wants to live in Vancouver. So it was the companies in Alberta during the oil boom, from 20 2010 to 2014. That was actually where a lot of the opportunities were. So I think the key for me was, I realized I needed to make a change. But moonlighting wasn't the solution that I've really focused on, I think I saved up about $30,000. And I realized, this will help me true four to five months of being really, really lean if I need to. And in the end of the day just came down to betting on myself, because I knew that I couldn't really focus on a website if I had a 40 to 50 hour a week job in finance. So it was just a leap of faith, essentially. But when you have a following on Facebook, and you're going to realize you've researched the opportunity, I just realized that I need to pull the trigger and just jump off that cliff.
Daniel De Biasi 21:55
Yeah. So like for your experience, like helping people moving to Canada, what do you think is the biggest challenge for people to move into Canada, to stay in Canada?
It definitely comes down to planning, right? I talk about success factors and like part of it can be your personality. But if your personality isn't the planning mentality, you've got to force yourself. Because one of the travesties I see in terms of working with immigrants here for eight years now is people have generally have a two year IEC visa. They come here saying oh no, I'm just doing two years, I need to go back to my family. I've got my nieces and nephews at home and then the travesties, it takes about 12 months to settle here. And then sometimes people realize after 16, 17 months, they want to stay in, it's too late. So I always tell people that you know, prepare to stay because having permanent residency just allows you to stay whether it's a month longer, or whether it's three or four years longer. But unfortunately, a lot of people have to leave because true lack of planning, right? So I think the the idea is to always bear in mind that you will want to stay if you enjoy it, and you know Canada offers a fantastic lifestyle. So don't limit yourself in terms of time and just plan. You know, always expect that you might want to stay a little bit longer than you anticipate.
Daniel De Biasi 23:18
Yeah. Because sometimes it takes a while to figure out if you want to stay in the country or not. But the things you have to keep in mind and the process to stay in the country is much longer than you probably anticipated.
Exactly. And it's getting easier in the last few years. The immigration process is getting more streamlined. But in reality, you need to be pulling the trigger with permanent residency at least six months before the end of your work permit, right? So and that's Yeah, that's probably the most difficult parts in people who are really enjoying it here. And you're devastated because they just didn't think they'd like it that much, right? And that's a bit of an oversight that can be improved with a little bit more planning,
Daniel De Biasi 23:56
Oh, just like an example, when I managed to get my first work permit in Canada after my IEC visa, the working holiday visa, they gave me the work visa for two years. And the reason why they gave me the work visa for two years is because it takes about 18 to 20 months to get your PR so they give you enough time from the time you apply for your work permit and apply for the PR to actually get your PR. That's why they give you two years just because it takes that long to get a PR which is for me, it's crazy.
Exactly in that creates that buffer right? And you know, even on that planning topic as well as like the success factors- people that plan to get a great job when they arrive is in a job that will challenge your career always end up staying longer than the people who can have hazard move and they kind of say, well, I'll just come over to Vancouver or Toronto or Montreal, I don't really want to worry about getting a job. And the lack of planning on that part inevitably leads to panic because they run out of money quickly and then they end up taking an average job. When they started an average job, they rule out finding their dream job. And then a year later, they've kind of haven't really moved forward in their career. They love Canada, but they can't switch jobs because they don't have permanent residency, yes, and stuff like that. So it really comes down to just planning for success here is and you know, take on try to fulfill whatever aspirations you have in terms of two years is a long time to be in an average job. So plan to get a great job. Do a lot of work in terms of "Canadianizing" your resume as we call it here. And planning to stay longer than two years is the best advice I can give people.
Daniel De Biasi 25:39
Yeah, getting a good job is not just like for more money, but there's more chances to get a visa because probably the listeners know that to get a work permit in in any pretty much in any country, the company need to prove to the government,to the immigration that they picking you, immigrant, over other people in the country, in this case of Canada, because there's anybody else in Canada that can do your job. So if you're working as a waiter, it will be much harder to prove for the company to get you from abroad to because they can't find any other Canadian. That could be very challenging. That's why a good job can help.
And I think it's just maximizing your skill set, right? I've seen it firsthand, a lot of times you can have a couple and if one puts a lot of effort into maximizing your skill set and the other doesn't, the one who's unutilized often wants to return home, right? Because it's not ticking the boxes in terms of fulfillment, right? So, we've kind of lifestyle needs with employment needs. And I think the idea is you want to try and be your best person, even if it is for a two year period. So if you set yourself up for success with a lot of research and planning, it really helps you in the long term.
Daniel De Biasi 26:48
Yeah, you're totally right. Even though when I came to Canada, I didn't want apply for the PR, I had to apply for the PR because that was one of the requirements to get a work permit. But I didn't want to. And I'm glad I did it. Because now I have a PR I can do whatever I want. I can work for any company I want. I can stay as long as I want. So yeah, it's kind of like a forced me but at the same time, I'm glad they actually forced me to do it.
Exactly. And even through the last eight years, I've seen people decide to leave saying hey, they don't want to come back would but because they have PR, circumstances can change. People have often come back after two or three years and you have the option to do two people underestimate how easy it is to get permanent residency in Canada provided you have young and educated, right? That's really the demographic are looking for. But when you have permanent residency, it allows you you can maintain that by spending two years and every five. So you can theoretically come here for two years and then leave for two or three years and then come back because your circumstances can change over the years, right? Even in western world, we have booms and busts, right? So I've seen a lot of people actually leave and then come back because they have PR or due to a change in circumstances.
Daniel De Biasi 28:00
Or maybe sometimes because you I don't know, you go back and you realize how good was in Canada. I was like, Oh, you know what? I can probably go go back to Canada because yeah, I've missed that place that means beyond the ocean, whatever. And that's why you maybe you he moved back because you needed to have like a some kind of proof that the choice you made for the first time was actually a good one.
Daniel De Biasi 28:20
And do you have any regrets about leaving Ireland?
Not really think it's tough being away from your pair, friends and family. But I definitely don't regret while Canada as a destination, I don't regret or Vancouver as a destination. It's tough because you always feel you can't be in two places at one time, right? So part of the reason I set up my own business was, all of a sudden my lifestyle is great, but it's tough trying to fulfill living in two places at the same time when you've got 15 days of holidays in Canada, right? So part of setting up a business for me was to give myself the freedom of time and location to allow me to spend more time in Ireland. So I saw that as a means of solving the deficit I had in terms of the time I had with my friends and family. So I've been very lucky since 2012 is on average, I probably spend four or five weeks per year in Ireland, which is amazing because I still get to travel and do other vacations. But I get to sit at home with my parents and I get to spend time with my brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews and friends which is a lot more time than people get to fit in. That's the tough part of being an immigrant. It's you can't live in two places at the same time. And even though you're head and your heart can be at home. It's a very tough situation I think when you have limited holidays, right? And the trade off zone was, do I want to explore a shiny new place in the Pacific Northwest? Or do I want to go home for a friend's wedding? Or do I want to go home for Christmas with my family? So that was the trade off that really inspired me to set up my own business and just have control over my own schedule.
Daniel De Biasi 30:06
Yeah, no, I totally understand. It's actually the reason why I started, like trying to build my online business for the same reason. Because after I came back from Italy, I realized how much I was missing my friends. And I wanted to spend more time to my friends in Italy, because even though I don't want to live in Italy, I still miss all my friends. And for me, the reason why I started this online business is just because I wanted to be able to work from anywhere I wanted.
Yeah, it feels like you're having the best of both worlds, right? Because I always say, even if it's having two or three extra weeks in Ireland per year, if I was doing a nine to five office job, I always feel it's very fulfilling right to have that privilege.
Daniel De Biasi 30:44
But I guess you already had a PR when you started your own business, right?
Yes. So I actually had my permanent residency processed. I think it was within a year. So that's why all I say is I was very, very lucky, like, Canada just seemed to really work for me. Well, in terms of the lifestyle in terms of things being set up, I thought, my career lifestyle, all of these things were all kind of dovetailing together. And, yeah, I definitely had a very lucky experience. But that's why I'm kinda proud to help otherer immigrants, because there's so many moving parts, in terms of what you're giving up, and what you need to adapt to in a new place. And I kind of keep focusing on the planning element and anything you can do to help because there is a formula for success, right? It's just being aware and actually having this information at your disposal, and you're not always ready to make some decisions as an immigrant, you say, hey, I've just booked my two year work permit, I don't want to think about permanent residency. But when you can get people into that mentality, that's what we tried to do with moving 2 Canada. And it really helps people because it can have a huge impact on their lives. And they realize, well, I'm actually glad you asked me that question early.
Daniel De Biasi 31:55
One question about like moving to Canada, because you said you are not monetizing on the content you're putting out there. Did you find that maybe people are kind of, they are not trusting your content, because it's free, some time your value some content more than others? Because by paying for the content, you can't give a value? And when it's free, it maybe it's hard to give a value to the content or trust the content? Did you ever find that problem or not?
Not really, I think it's an interesting perspective. Because I always say, the challenge I had was when you're offering free information, or even free consulting, as I do with like my recruitment business, is you know, we never charged a candidate. So you're essentially offering free consulting and the bonus that you will be able to place that person with an employer, going back to the content side is I realized that there was a huge opportunity, because everyone was trying to monetize the content in different ways. We realized that this is a huge market, and Canada has huge immigration plans. So I think the fact that it was free helped us get to that point where you know, we have 700,000 sessions per month now and half a million users on our website per month. So I think there's definitely a value in having free content. The beauty for us was that it was free, independent and trustworthy. Right? So it wasn't Ruairi telling you how to immigrate or actual content writers have all worked with immigration firms. Right? So they have that professional experience. You know, our team live all across Canada. You know, we're actually coast to coast at the moment right now. So I think a lot of it was it was very easy to build credibility, because people will always read your content, and they act in the content. And we always expect that people will verify any content we produce elsewhere. And I think when it passes that validation test, it really really helps us because we grew very quickly through the content, right? We didn't have huge, it was all bootstrapped. We didn't have a big, we actually never paid for traffic until 2016. So we knew by 2016, we're onto something with just organic growth and even right now is in would have a million users per month is I think it's 70% of our actual traffic is organic.
Daniel De Biasi 34:14
And pay for traffic, you mean having like an advertisement on Google or something like that, right?
Exactly. So like search engine marketing and actually advertising and things like that. So we actually a lot of it is either it's referrals, direct traffic, which is just people finding hearing about us , you know, recommendations, and then organic growth traffic to Google is actually our main driver.
Daniel De Biasi 34:39
Okay, now wants to clarify that it's not that you pay somebody to come visit your website.
No, not at all. Sorry.
Daniel De Biasi 34:48
Do you feel lucky to be an immigrant?
Definitely. I think it's great like to live like the immigrant experience can be very different and very different countries, right? Canada is extremely welcoming, I think it's very multicultural, it's diverse. The immigrant experience can be very, very different, you know, like, I always kind of felt part of the reason that I wanted to immigrate was Ireland was very monocultural. When I left in 2008, it was changing very quickly. But over the last 12 years, it's transformed completely. And then I love seeing you know, like, we have Polish and Lithuanian people with Irish accents and seeing how Metropolitan Dublin is becoming because we've taken people from all over the world. So I love kind of seeing those changes happen. But I think immigrant life in Canada is particularly rewarding, because it's just multiculturalism is part of our actual culture, right? So when people always ask me, what's Canadian culture, and I says, it's probably to be multicultural, right? When you look at their cross section, even our politicians, you see people from all different ethnicities, and it's really celebrated and respected in Canada, which is a really good expos. It's a really good cultural experiment for the world. Because Canada is very lucky in that it's a new country. In my opinion, what creates racism is history. History and history creates a lot of racism because everyone's arguing we were here first, right? Where in Canada, only Vancouver's only 130 years old. So the idea is, everyone is somewhat new here, right? And people tend to just get along much, much better. And I think that's one of the benefits to Canada as as a country. And you when you don't have that deep history, it's a lot easier for people to respect each other and respect each other's cultures and differences.
Daniel De Biasi 36:46
Yeah, but it comes down to like, the mentality of like, the whole country, because there's other country there, they maybe they having I don't know if you have the same kind of opinion, but for me, I like Europe, for example, is having a new wave of racism that wasn't there before. It wasn't like in the United States that racism come from history, from the beginning of the country, is actually this is a new racism to come from. And I think that's kind of racism, which is a topic, that I'm gonna talk to a future guest, we're gonna go deep into racism. But I think that most of the time, racism will come from the government or how the government manages the people come into the contrary, because as I see is like you are, for example, the child of your parents and your parents adopt another child, and they treated the other child better than you, they treat you differently. It's not that you don't like the second child that the child they adopted, but you don't like the they treat you different. They treated that other child better than you. I think that's where it comes racism comes from, like, how your parents, your government treated you.
Definitely. And I think that that whole we were here first mentality or like our policy in, in Ireland, when the economy was booming, we're more than happy to have high immigration because it was lower jobs in society in the economy that people didn't want to do or didn't have time to do, or they felt were beneath them. But you'll see this over and over with economies, when things tighten up, everyone starts looking around, and they realize they're here's somebody who's new, or someone who looks different to me, and now I'm competing with them, right? So that's where I think Canada is very lucky, you know, has this very deep history in immigration, right is in general, a lot of even the railroads here were actually built by Asian immigrants, right. And they didn't just come here for labor, they stayed. And, you know, when you have those kind of fundamentals in place, and you allow time and you celebrate multiculturalism, instead of telling people that you have to be Canadian, this is what's Canadian. So going back to the question is how would you define Canadian culture? It's like, everyone is Canadian, right? Whether you're an Indian or Chinese or European descent, right? And then to that point, is in you look across to politicians in Canada, it's amazing, the inclusiveness, right? Where if we go back to Ireland, the same people that rise up in politics are the people who never went abroad. They never got to live and live other cultures where what's exciting now I think, in Ireland is we're starting to see immigrant representation in politics. And it's part stages of growth, I think, right, but when you have that representation at higher levels, right, we could have the same conversations about women in the workplace. But when women do rise up, they will rise other women up right? And it creates a model for people that this is how things are meant to look right? That this change is important.
Daniel De Biasi 39:38
Yeah, like example h you said a woman the distinction between women and men can be the same way of racism. Because woman has been through the same situation that immigrants are going through that they couldn't vote at the beginning. They were never seen like a woman president. All of these kinds of things. They just discrimination was pretty much racism in the sort of discrimination.
And history or Fear of change is the barrier to death, right? It'd be great if you just had a reset, and you had, you know, equal representation for women and immigrants, right and kind of thing. So that's where I always say is, it's kind of like resetting your own life as an immigrant is in Canada does benefit that they don't have that deep culture that easily in Ireland have where you have challenges with, hey, these people look differently or act differently and things like that where Canada's huge benefit was that it was new to the game, right? So you have the benefit of a reset almost like a fresh start.
Daniel De Biasi 40:36
We went quite deep in that conversation.
Sorry about that.
Daniel De Biasi 40:41
I like it. And imagine if you have like a time machine that you could go back in time. Let's point like, if you could go back in time, from the time that you left Ireland, what would you say to your younger self?
I would probably say do a winter in Whistler. That's probably it is and I felt bad that like I came to I came, I think I'm just trying to get the timelines, right? Yeah, I think I came out of university at 22, right? So I have four years of experience, I guess, when I emigrated. But I think the best advice I would give young people is don't go and travel take a year off. I was always off. In Ireland, we have this mentality that here you need to work and build a career that every 12 months you spend traveling is 12 months, he could build security, right? So we're very risky in Ireland. And I studied around subjects for the wrong reasons, right? I was very passionate. I was studying business. And I was very passionate about marketing. But I was told by friends and family that don't follow a career in marketing that accounting and finance is much better for job prospects. And like, I just felt like a bit of a sheep working in the financial services sector in Dublin, I felt like I'd made I've made very safe decisions, right? Where I think you need to do what serves you. And I think having a year abroad, either before university or after university should kind of almost become mandatory for people to test to figure out where they belong in the world. And actually, you grow up very fast when you live away from home. So that would probably be my one regret that I kind of felt that I fell into the kind of career thing when I got offered a job. It didn't allow me to have kinda three or four months to kind of just be a new immigrant somewhere or figure things out that I kind of stayed working. You know, I've been working full time since I came out of university. But I've been very lucky that I've been I tend to be working from interesting places over the last few years, right? That I've, I created a life for myself in 2012, where I said is look, if I'm going to work, I want to be able to combine it with travel. And it was probably compensating for that regret that I hadn't taken a year off to travel and experience the world as a young adventurer. But then, there's also so much merit experiencing the world as you're older as well and more mature right? As traveling as a young 20, early 20s person and traveling as somebody in your 30s can be a very different experience. You're looking for different things, right?
Daniel De Biasi 43:19
Yeah, but even the way that you live, atleast for me that if you live a year, because you are you know, you're going to be away for a year, you get like a working holiday visa somewhere in Australia or Canada, whatever, you know, you got this like a window of a year. I think for me, that has a different approach them somebody that lives for good, like Okay, I'm gonna move, I'm gonna leave my country we're gonna move to Canada, I'm gonna figure out a way to stay in Canada, I think it's a completely different approach.
Yeah. And I think that's the really cool thing again about having a two year work permit because you can actually create that buffer to kind of travel right? And that's probably as passionate as I am about traveling. I've never traveled for more than two months at any one time, right? So I would have loved to put a backpack on and travel a whole continent right? Where I've been lucky enough to get to a lot of places, but there's a different mindset. I think when you've spent a month or two away, and you're kind of just completely decompressed from the working world, right?
Daniel De Biasi 44:17
Yeah, but like silly thing that if you have stayed there for a week or so, you don't even like a try to learn maybe a new words, new sentences just to say I don't know, if you move to, I don't know, to China to I don't know India for a week, you're not going to try to spend time to say to communicate with the people with the locals. But if you're planning to stay there for longer for two months, in that case, you probably want to just list or maybe it just automatically pick up some words. Like how to say thank you, please, and the basic word for for the language. It's a different approach completely.
Daniel De Biasi 44:46
And even more if you're planning to stay in the country, because the case you have to make it work.
Yeah, exactly. And like that's why I always enjoy I still love traveling and I feel like you'll a different mindset but just going back to my older self, I probably would have said, Hey just take a chunk take six months to go to South America or spend a season in Whistler. Right? That would have been the advice that I would give to my younger self.
Daniel De Biasi 45:10
And for the listener that are thinking to move to Canada, do you have any other particular advice that you want to give them?
Get on to moving 2 Canada. No, I think a lot of it is what we focus on doing is just trying to figure out what you want to do, because there's so many options now as in some people their motive is career improvement or lifestyle or things or some people just want to change. But it's really handy right the you know international experience Canada, if you're one of the lucky 32 countries, it kind of gives you that window, right? If you're not one of those countries, there are other ways right? I mentioned earlier as in you know, Canada's immigration system, it's the third most open country in the world. There is over I believe there's over 75 different programs. So it can be very overwhelming for people. But what we do at moving 2 Canada is we try to simplify, we try to add this layer of simplicity on to the Immigration Canada website, because immigration websites by nature tend to be very bureaucratic, and non user friendly. So we try to connect create tools for people to kind of learn and try and figure out as an immigration is typically a very technical executional thing, but why you want to immigrate or where you want to immigrate to is often a lot more important to the person than the actual processing of the work permit.
Daniel De Biasi 46:32
And there's any particular city you will recommend or why people will move to either Vancouver or Toronto or Alberta?
There's so much to it really depends on your circumstance, right? As in I would generally, if your motive is lifestyle, Vancouver is a great place to be at the expense of cost of living, right. It's a very expensive place to be. But it really depends right? As in what I find with immigrants is they will always validate to choice over the end up, right? And here I am talking about how amazing Vancouver is, but I never aspired to live in a huge city, right? If I aspired to live in London, I would have moved to Toronto because Toronto, London, New York, have a very similar vibe about them, right? I think what I love is just having the access to nature is and living having a dynamic city, but honestly, it's average compared to London or Toronto, but having access to nature on your doorstep was important to me. If you're a family immigrating to Canada, you're far better off looking at places like Calgary or Ottawa, or even you know, the likes of Hamilton in the Toronto GTA. So they offer a lot more affordability in terms of family costs and kind of family lifestyle, right? But it really depends, I guess, I ask people don't what's your career? If work is important to you, different locations, different factor. The weather is a huge one, right? That's why it's easier for a lot of people to live in Vancouver because everyone forgets that you know BC is, is are going to say Vancouver is actually kind of like the California of Canada, right? Because it's a very temperate climate here, we only get we typically get two weeks maximum of snow per year. But we kind of have the four seasons. You have snow in the mountains where it matters, and you can slide on it. But you get warm, dry summers. So the rest of Canada tends to be get more harsher winters and warmer summers. But there's obviously exceptions. People forget Canada is the second biggest country in the world. So there is a huge variation in terms of climate between the Atlantic provinces between the prairie provinces in the middle of Canada, and being in BC as well. So it's very hard to kind of give a one size fits all recommendation for people. But invariably, as you know, an international recruiter, I have those conversations a lot, but you can typically subscribe options to people, but then it's really up to them to kind of learn and figure out well, what do I like, because every location has pros and cons. But a lot of it is you know, information paralysis can be a factor as well, you got to figure out what appeals to you. Some of my colleagues are living in Montreal and in Nova Scotia. And they would always tell you that I wouldn't change this for the world, right? So it's always about making the most of where you are.
Daniel De Biasi 46:49
Awesome. And if people wants to get in touch with you want to know more about you, where people can find you?
They can contact me through my website moving to Canada, if they're a construction engineering recruitment, they can look at outpost recruitment. I don't mind people contacting me on LinkedIn as well. I just always say, give me a reason. I don't answer blank requests, but I'm pretty open. If people are curious about learning more about Canada or business side or have any random questions. I'm very happy to help them.
Daniel De Biasi 49:57
Awesome and everything as usual all the links and everything we discussed will be in the show notes. Sweet. Thank you so much Ruairi to take the time to share your story and share your knowledge.
Thanks for having me on your show, Daniel.
Daniel De Biasi 50:09
No worries. It was my pleasure.
Thank you so much for tuning in this week. You can find the show notes with everything we discussed links, topics, insights and much more at emigrantslife.com/episode44. And if you're planning to move to Canada, I highly recommend visit Ruairi's website moving 2 Canada, you can find a lot of free information there. But if you still need some help, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com we can schedule a call and I'll do my best to help you out. Thanks again for listening. Talk to you in the next one. Ciao!
Aeron's story proves that your circumstances don't determine your future.