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The Expatriate Mind on LoonLounge - Landing as a Permanent Resident

Posted on Aug. 15th 2011 by expatriatemind
views: 820, comments: 3
I landed as a Permanent Resident of Canada in Toronto (at Pearson, YYZ) on Friday the 12th of August.

The flight in from Seattle, all 4-1/2 hours of it, was quiet and uneventful. I was nervous from the get-go. While I had brought some snacks to eat and entertainment to read and watch and listen to, I wasn't hungry and I couldn't focus long enough to read or listen or watch anything but the landscape passing by 38,000 feet below and the cycle of information presented by the in-flight map in front if me: altitude, speed, current time in Seattle, current time in Toronto, distance to destination, time to destination: over and over I watched as it ticked down and I closed in on the moment my Love and I had waited for for the better part of the last decade if you count all the time we've spent pursuing our immigration case.

I landed at Pearson and after a long walk with other passengers through Terminal 1, snaked through the long quay at Customs and Immigration. I let the officer there know that I was immigrating to Canada as a Permanent Resident and he made lots of marks on my customs declaration form, then directed me behind him and to the right where the Immigration office was located. This is where the actual "landing" process takes place.

I stood in line again with people from all over the world and who were there for a range of purposes. Some with tears in their eyes had been refused entry; some were going through a secondary check because they were entering for business purposes; and one other person, like me, was there to immigrate.

When my turn came and I was directed to an officer, the process itself was very straightforward. I handed the officer my passport, which contained a special immigrant Visa and a form called the "Confirmation of Permanent Residence" (COPR). The officer asked a handful of questions regarding the information on my COPR form, whether I was immigrating alone or if others were following, how much money I was bringing with me into the country, whether I had been in trouble with the law in any country (including my own). The questions were straightforward and I answered them easily. The officer wasn't there to trip me up, simply to confirm information on my application and the visa issued.

Next the officer reviewed a record of my file on her computer. This took awhile because my Love and I had a big file. You get one of those when you are conjugal partners and your case takes years to process. After she had reviewed it, she had me sign my COPR in a number of places, then she detached my copy and stapled it to my passport. She let me know that I would have a Permanent Resident card mailed to me within about six weeks at my Toronto address and that while I could travel out of the country, I could not return to the country without it.

With the first of two interviews complete, I moved to the area where I would declare the goods I was arriving with and those I would be importing later (remember the forms I've been mentioning - the B4 and B4a? This is where these came into play). The officer doing this review was as nice as the first officer I encountered. He took my lists of items (you need to have a copy for Customs and one for yourself) and generated the official forms for me to sign. The only mistake I had made was that I didn't calculate the total value of my lists. But he handed me his iPhone and in a flash, I was done.

"Welcome to Canada." He said with a smile. Those words were music to my ears.

Despite the stress I had in anticipation of this process, because I was well prepared, it went very smoothly. The officials I encountered were all thoughtful and professional. I think they realize how stressful immigration is for people. They see it every day - they are on the front lines.

I pushed my cart of a couple suitcases (I saw families bringing in literally dozens, so I felt pretty efficient) thorough two sets of doors and there was my Love waiting for me on the other side. We embraced a long time, my head sinking into her embrace. "We made it," I said.

"And now we can think about the future," she said.

Follow The Expatriate Mind at http://expatriatemind.blogspot.com

The Expatriate Mind on LoonLounge - The beginning of the end?

Posted on Feb. 15th 2011 by expatriatemind
views: 1077, comments: 7
My Love and I heard from the CIC a few days ago. What we heard moved us to tears.

The days in your life when things change are rarely dramatic within themselves. They are just another day: work, chores, errands, meals. I was tending to my day when the phone call came and everything changed. Wonderfully changed.

We were informed that CIC has approved our (my) Permanent Residence application. After a couple routine (hopefully) final steps, we can expect that I will be a landed immigrant, reunited with my Love in Toronto! Those of you following this blog know how long we have waited for this day.

So starts what we hope will be the beginning of the end of a long immigration process. So starts what we hope will be the adventure of leaving the U.S. and relocating in Canada. We are excited and overjoyed with the possibilities.

I'm also excited to migrate this blog away from issues of the immigration process and onto the logistics of moving to and getting settled in Canada.

I hope you will remain with me as we start this new adventure. God willing, this is the beginning of the end. We won't be ending our prayers until I am standing on Canadian ground; until I am on the other side of that silver door at Pearson. But we have great faith, and God has been faithful to our prayers.

I'll continue to pray for all of you who are involved in this process, and wondering if you will be able to make it through. Have faith, have patience, believe.

Please pray for my love and I that the final steps go smoothly and quickly.

Thank you all for your support.

Follow The Expatriate Mind at http://expatriatemind.blogspot.com

The Expatriate Mind on LoonLounge - The Star - Immigration waiting times cause frustration

Posted on Oct. 24th 2010 by expatriatemind
views: 1064, comments: 4
I guess I'm not the only person frustrated by long wait times. The people in the article by Nicholas Keung of the Toronto Star, are seeking to bring parents and grandparents into the Canada. For some overseas applications, the process can take 15-33 months as reported.

But wait - that's AFTER the standard prescreeneing period. And how long does that period last? According to the CIC,there is a 38-month standard prescreening of the sponsors at immigration’s Mississauga processing centre. So now we are talking about wait times ranging from 53 to 71 months.

For those of you without immigration math skills, that's 4-years and 3-months to 5-years 11-months.

It also means at least two medical exams will need to be submitted (they are only good for a year) and other reports, like police clearances, may need to be submitted at least twice.

The Star article is just another tale of a poorly run ministry. What does Jason Kenney have to say about it? “Canadian visa offices from one country to another can vary significantly in regard to the size and nature of their respective workloads and it is impossible to provide the exact same level of service at every visa office,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s office wrote in an email to Zhang’s group, according to The Star article.

Nonsense - Kenney could work to insure that the levels of service were comparable at Canadian visa offices. He chooses not to use his budget that way, however. Instead, he uses it for more important things - high profile globetrotting to preach the Tory line on illegal immigration.

The more you know about the current state of the CIC, the less you want to know.

Read the entire article here - http://www.thestar.com/news/investigations/immigration/article/879401--immigration-waiting-times-cause-frustration
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The Expatriate Mind on LoonLounge - Landed immigrants and the right to vote

Posted on Mar. 23rd 2010 by expatriatemind
views: 512, comments: 1
Interesting article in the Star's "Your City, My City" column regarding landed immigrants and voting rights. While the article makes it clear that non-citizens make a huge contribution to the city (including paying taxes), they are not recognized in the same way and with the same rights that citizens have.

The author, a landed immigrant since 2004, writes, "In an upcoming election where the same old tired complaints of voter apathy, disconnected wards and the lack of new faces among the political elites are loud and true, I can’t help but wonder if that would be mitigated by allowing the strong and active immigrant population to vote for changes that they deserve in the Toronto that they call home."

I can see his point on one hand - but on the other, "citizenship" with its hard-won commitment to the nation, is a reasonable requirement in my mind to instill voting rights. Yes- it's a long process. You have to spend three out of four years resident in Canada. but if you want to impact the nation, then you need to be part of it. A permanent resident has made one level of commitment to the country. A citizen's commitment is a whole other level.

Read the editorial here. - http://thestar.blogs.com/yourcitymycity/2010/03/your-city-my-city-not-so-much-if-youre-just-a-landed-immigrant.html

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New Permanent Resident Cards

Posted on Aug. 27th 2009 by Loonie
views: 1799, comments: 5
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has announced that it is issuing new Permanent Resident Cards as of this week.

The new cards have more enhanced security features, and Canada's Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, says that this will help prevent the fraudulent use of Canada's immigration documents and protect the integrity of the immigration system.

New Permanent Residents are being issued this card starting August 24, 2009, but people who have the old card won't be issued the new card unless their current card expires and they apply for a new one.

Credential Evaluation for immigrants in Canada

Posted on Feb. 22nd 2009 by andy30
views: 1031, comments: 2
Before you come to Canada, it is very crutial to have your academic documents such as diplomas, transcripts and certificates evaluated. As an immigrant, you may need to evaluate your credentials for the following purposes:

1- Immigration, for skilled or Economic categories.

2- Employment.

3- Licensing with Professional Association.

4- Entry to Apprenticeship training programs.

5- Higher Education and/or Continuing Education.

The process for getting your credential evaluated will depend on whether you want to enter a regulated or not regulated occupation., or pursue continuing education. As a general rule, if your chosen occupation is regulated, the recognition of qualifications will be determined by the appropriate provincial or territorial regulatory body, while for a non-regulated occupation, recognition is normally at the discretion of the employer.

You can find out more about the specific requirements for recognition of your qualifications in your profession/trade by doing the following:

1. Contact the professional association governing your occupation in your own country to find out if there are any links with similar associations in Canada. Consult the publication entitled National Occupational Classification at the closest Canadian diplomatic mission to find out more about employment requirements for your occupation.
2. Find out the name and address of the professional regulatory body governing your profession/trade in the province or territory where you intend to settle by enquiring with CICIC.
3. Write to the regulatory body and ask about the specific requirements and costs for licensing, certification, or registration, as well as the recommended procedure for an assessment. The regulatory body will advise you concerning the required documentation and the fees for assessment.

You should be aware that the recognition process is different in each province and territory and for each profession/trade. It can be a costly and time-consuming process; so it is important that you obtain all the information you need to know about the process and specific requirements before undertaking an assessment.

There are several evaluation services that can help you in assesssing your credentials in comparison with the canadian educational standards.Some of the organizations that perform credential evaluations in Canada are:



Alberta

Alliance canadienne des services d'évaluation de diplômesInternational Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)

Alberta Employment, Immigration and Industry

9th Floor, 108th Street Building

9942 - 108 Street

Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2J5 Canada

Tel.: +1 780 427-2655

Toll-free in Alberta: 310-0000 ask for 427-2655

Fax: +1 780 422-9734

Web site: http://employment.alberta.ca/cps/rde/xchg/hre/hs.xsl/4512.html



British Columbia

Alliance canadienne des services d'évaluation de diplômesInternational Credential Evaluation Service (ICES)

3700, avenue Willingdon

Burnaby, British Columbia V5G 3H2 Canada

Tel.: +1 604 432-8800

Toll-Free within North America: +1-866-434-9197

Fax: +1 604 435-7033

Email: icesinfo@bcit.ca

Web site: http://www.bcit.ca/ices/



Manitoba

Alliance canadienne des services d'évaluation de diplômesAcademic Credentials Assessment Service - Manitoba (ACAS)

Manitoba Labour and Immigration

Settlement & Labour Market Services Branch

5th Floor, 213 Notre Dame Avenue

Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 1N3 Canada

Tel.: +1 204 945-6300

Toll-Free within North America: +1-800-665-8332

Fax: +1 204 948-2148

Web site: http://www.gov.mb.ca/labour/immigrate/work/recognition/acas.html



Ontario

Comparative Education Service (CES)

University of Toronto

315 Bloor Street West

Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A3 Canada

Tel.: +1 416 978-2190

Fax: +1 416 978-7022

Costs for service

Site Web : http://www.adm.utoronto.ca/ces/



International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS)

Ontario AgriCentre

100 Stone Road West, Suite 303

Guelph, Ontario N1G 5L3 Canada

Tel: +1 519 763-7282

Toll-free: +1 800 321-6021

Fax: +1 519 763-6964

Email: info@icascanada.ca

Fees and Services

Web site: http://www.icascanada.ca/



Alliance canadienne des services d'évaluation de diplômesWorld Education Services-Canada (WES Canada)

45 Charles Street East, Suite 700

Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1S2 Canada

Tel.: +1 416 972-0070

Fax: +1 416 972-9004

Toll-free: +1 866 343-0070 (from outside the 416 area code)

Email: ontario@wes.org

Web site: http://www.wes.org/ca/



Québec

Alliance canadienne des services d'évaluation de diplômesCentre d'expertise sur les formations acquises hors du Québec (CEFAHQ)

Ministère de l'Immigration et des Communautés culturelles

255, boulevard Crémazie Est, 8e étage

Montréal (Québec) H2M 1M2 Canada

Tel.: +1 514 864-9191

Elsewhere in Quebec (toll free): +1 877 264-6164

Fax: +1 514 873-8701

Email: renseignements@micc.gouv.qc.ca

Web site: http://www.immigration-quebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/education/comparative-evaluation/index.html



Saskatchewan

Alliance canadienne des services d'évaluation de diplômesInternational Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)

Alberta Employment, Immigration and Industry

9th Floor, 108th Street Building

9942 - 108 Street

Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2J5 Canada

Tel.: +1 780 427-2655

Toll-free in Alberta: 310-0000 ask for 427-2655

Fax: +1 780 422-9734

Web site: http://employment.alberta.ca/cps/rde/xchg/hre/hs.xsl/4512.html

* The Government of Saskatchewan provides this service through an interprovincial agreement with the Government of Alberta.



Territoires du Nord-Ouest

Alliance canadienne des services d'évaluation de diplômesInternational Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)

Alberta Employment, Immigration and Industry

9th Floor, 108th Street Building

9942 - 108 Street

Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2J5 Canada

Tel.: +1 780 427-2655

Toll-free in Alberta: 310-0000 ask for 427-2655

Fax: +1 780 422-9734

Web site: http://employment.alberta.ca/cps/rde/xchg/hre/hs.xsl/4512.html

* The Government of the Northwest Territories provides this service through an interprovincial agreement with the Government of Alberta.





The government’s Foreign Credentials Referral Office website (www.credentials.gc.ca) features a useful search engine called” Working in Canada”. You can type in your occupation and the search engine will bring up a comprehensive report that tells you whether this occupation is regulated in Canada and whether you need to be licensed by a regulatory body. Then it will tell you where in your region of choice you can get licensed.

The Expatriate Mind on Loon Lounge: Immigrants pass Toronto to follow money West, study finds

Posted on Jan. 29th 2009 by expatriatemind
views: 466, comments: 2
Interesting article that came across in my Connect2Canada email newsletter (unfortunately archived now, so you'll have to pay for it if you want the whole thing). Seems that immigrants (defined as all foreign born Canadians) are saying "show me the money" and the West is responding. What I found most interesting about this article was the additional information at the end from SHIFTING PATTERNS OF IMMIGRATION IN CANADA'S URBAN CENTRES BY JACK JEDWAB.

Here's the trends for immigration growth and decline in the following cities.

Growing:
Charlottetown: +50.2%
Halifax: +44.8%
Moncton: +74%
Edmonton: +52%
Calgary: +32%
Montreal: +36%

Declining
Toronto: -20.8%
Vancouver: -1%

It's also interesting to note that the report states the average immigrant family income in Canada prior to 2001 was in the $90K range. After 2001? Try just $45-60K per family. Have opportunities for immigrants in major Canadian cities really dried up this much?

I'm going to be cautious and take it as simply one data point - not the whole story.

Follow The Expatriate Mind at http://expatriatemind.blogspot.com/
 
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