When I first applied for migrating to Canada back in end-2006, I had neither kin nor kith there. I did not know anyone personally in Canada. Till then, I have only met one ethnic Chinese Canadian at work in Singapore some years back. But we did not become friends because I did not like him personally.
Some friends asked me this -- Why did I, someone known not to tolerate cold, choose Canada of all eligible places for migration?
It was a process of elimination.
First off, I am not rich nor particularly business-savvy. Thus business/investment migration was out of reach for me. That pretty much scratched out the many pretty island countries such as The Bahamas. :-)
I wanted to go to a first-world country where the rich-poor gap was not so great. I wanted a country with not so much poverty or extremely poor regions. I wanted a country with a mature democracy, press freedom, independent judiciary, more liberal outlook and great natural sights. That scratched out most of Asia. That also scratched out USA, South American and African countries, Russia and the previous Soviet bloc, the Arctic and the Antarctic.
I like some aspects of USA, but not its extreme capitalism and its health care system. So scratched USA. [Addendum on 18-Dec-2011: Click here for charts illustrating the rich-poor gap in USA.]
I also wanted a country where there would be respect for personal life/choices and policies that support work-life balance. Where people are not constantly under pressure to be cheaper, better or faster. Thus, Japan was scratched out because it was a pressure cooker at the workplace and its general demand for conformity.
I loved UK. But UK was part of EU. The policy of EU countries is to give priority to Europeans. With the flood of Eastern Europeans, my chances seem slim. So scratched all European countries.
That left me with Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Australia looked tempting. I have several people whom I know personally there. I've been to Sydney and liked the place. However, it is a huge piece of dessert (generalizing, of course!). I was concerned about how it would cope with its water resources given global warming.
That narrowed down to NZ and Canada. NZ had a glowing report on how global warming would be beneficial to its economy. However, I could not qualify for its skilled migration class back in end-2006. Given my petite size, my chance of being a seasonal farm-hand was slim. So say goodbye to the kiwis and the sheep. Baa baa! [Bye Bye!] :-P
That left me with Canada. The fact that Canada is officially bilingual interests me. I deduced that it would make the country more tolerant of diversity. I sent out my application with shaky hope. I was not sure if I would survive the cold here. But then, with global warming, it should get warmer, ya? Oops, it turns out otherwise. Today, a shop owner just told me that it is forecasted that this Canadian winter will be the coldest in 1000* years! What are the odds? So if I survive this winter, I should be here for good.
*Note: This is an exaggeration. Apparently Environment Canada, the Canadian weather office, had predicted that this winter will be the coldest in 15 years due to the effects of La Nina. The global warming trend still holds, just that the La Nina brings minor fluctuations to that trend.
If you're interested in coming to Canada, do check out the Federal Skilled Migrants list of desired skills. Do it fast! They introduced a quota in 2009
early-2010 for 29K migrants under this category for the next 12 months, but in June-2010 it was further tightened to 20K.
Ever got the feeling that you're in the right place, at the right time? I am feeling it now.