Tunde Omotoye: Changing the Canadian immigration experience, one African at a time
Canada is fast becoming a relocation centre for many Africans seeking better opportunities outside their home countries. In 2019, Nigeria – the most populous black nation in the world, located on the coast of West Africa – was named the fourth-leading source of new immigrants to Canada. Expectedly, the numbers have been on a swift rise since then, mainly due to gross economic decline in many of the African countries. Despite stringent measures being put in place by Canadian embassies, thousands of young and skilled professionals yearly apply for visas, hoping to find better economic opportunities for their skills and knowledge in Canada.
Unfortunately, the increase in migration from Africa to Canada has evoked a sense of desperation in many people’s minds, providing a perfect opportunity for swindlers to cart away with hard-earned money. Roadside agencies sell sweet migration experiences to intending migrants and disappear into thin air immediately money changes hands. The continuous observation of these deplorable acts has inspired goodhearted individuals like ’Tunde Omotoye.
In this article, we look into Tunde’s trajectory in pursuit of his goal, the birth of his start-up HumanSquad, and his thoughts on what the challenges, and future of migration to Canada for Africans are.
In 2018, when Tunde decided to champion the cause for better immigration experiences for the African community in Canada, he never foresaw that tens of thousands of people would later benefit, directly and indirectly, from that decision. For him, he just wanted to share his personal experience as an African in Canada through his Twitter where he used threads and short stories that overlap both locations.
It was just a decision to help Africans experience a better way of migrating to Canada, a decision that was primarily fuelled by his personal experience of not finding enough information and mentorship after he moved to Canada in 2015. As with many other African immigrants at the time, it was pretty arduous to figure out everything on his own.
“Even after I got to Canada, I neither knew where to go for pointers on what to do nor had anyone offer to help. I was not particularly clueless, but my experience at the time would definitely have been better if I had pointers from the right people”, ’Tunde recounted.
It has been four years since Tunde made that decision, and he has impacted lots of lives ever since. In one of his threads on Twitter, Tunde painstakingly did a thread on how to make study visa applications from outside Canada. This single act alone saw a number of Africans processing their visa applications themselves hence eliminating the risk of being defrauded by roadside agents in their home countries. His hard work and determination to avail intending migrants with helpful resources ease the stress that African migrants go through to come to Canada.
“When I started to actively pursue this goal and share information primarily on my Twitter – @TundeTASH, I never expected rewards, and so I was happy when I got contacted for ambassadorship awards from the World Education Service (WES) and IELTS West Africa. It was enough proof that I was on the right course, and I might have started something that touched many lives. I am most grateful for the support I got from them”, he added.
What started as a mere decision in 2018 through sharing information on Twitter by ‘Tunde has metamorphosed into something valuable for Africans looking to migrate to Canada today. In June 2020, Tunde launched the start-up, HumanSquad, which has provided helpful information about relocating to Canada to over 30,000 people since its launch. HumanSquad has brought together a team of brilliant individuals committed to rewriting the immigration experiences of Africans as they migrate to Canada.
“Personally, I think the most fulfilling feat about HumanSquad was its acceptance into a leading incubator in Canada, Ryerson DMZ. We also won the first edition of the Black Innovation pitch competition with a grant prize of $20,000 to help the start-up grow its operations. The impressive feats that have been achieved in such a short time would never have happened if I did not have a result-oriented team.”
With Tunde’s vision and the incredible people on his team, there are no limits to what impact HumanSquad will make in the coming years.
“HumanSquad is committed to easing the migration stress of Africans coming to Canada. From the point they apply for their visa to when they land in Canada, I am happy with what we have achieved so far. I think there’s a lot more to achieve. We’re constantly going back to the drawing board and deliberating on innovative ways to enhance better migration experience for our clients. Most importantly, I think the most exciting part for me is the fact that we’re leveraging tech to get better results. The future looks promising!”, ‘Tunde added.
One of the problems that seem to be common in African communities is the unwillingness to know or accept legitimate ways of relocating to “greener pastures”. It is a challenge that continues to open doors for fraudsters to carry out their nefarious activities. At HumanSquad, lots of free resources have been provided through Twitter at @humansquadCA, emails, consultatations and even webinars to answer basic questions asked by immigrants. One other area covered is providing adequate aid for new immigrants until they can find their feet in their new country. It is not enough to help them migrate; HumanSquad aims to help them stand their ground by availing them of relevant tools and resources until they settle.
On a personal level and part of sharing his experience, Tunde published his first book “Adelaide Street” (and other short stories) back in 2019 where he documented his experience as an African immigrant in Canada and how he was able to weather the majority of the storm he was faced with when newly arrived in the country. The book which is listed on Barnes & Noble is Tunde’s first published work.
For Africans, migrating to a new country like Canada comes with a lot of stress; however, Tunde and his start-up – HumanSquad is making intense efforts to ease the entire process for Africans. The future is promising, and gradually, Tunde and his team at HumanSquad will change the African Canadian immigration experience.
’Tunde Omotoye (@TundeTASH), who started his career as a HR Professional, is a Certified Human Resource personnel who is passionate about the African diasporic immigration experience in Canada. He is the author of Adelaide Street and also the co-founder of HumanSquad. He currently resides in Canada with his family and delights in helping African immigrants who migrate to Canada. When he is not busy with his team at HumanSquad, he provides relatable information to his Twitter community of about 300,000 followers. You can follow Tunde on Twitter: @TundeTASH.
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