Striving to be permanent
Introduction: I wrote this two years ago and re-reading it, gives me flashbacks to all the anxiety and stress that comes from “will I get it?”
So why Canada? Why do we stress ourselves and spend a small fortune to come to Canada?
More than a fifth of Canada’s population is made up of immigrants. That percentage increases as you drill down the generations. Canada is a melting pot of cultures and languages. Similar to Australia and New Zealand, it's a land of opportunity.
I’ve been in Canada for two-and-a-half years. After 18 months of processing, I received my permanent residency on Jan. 5, 2019 and started the march towards citizenship. In 2021, I will be able to take my citizenship test and officially call myself Canadian.
I was lucky. Being an Australian and New Zealand citizen I am entitled to temporary work visas to Canada and many other countries. Many are not always so lucky and the process can be daunting, time-consuming and expensive. I mean, I had to do an English exam (yes, I know I have a funny accent, but my mother tongue is still English) that cost $300 and is only valid for two years.
Did you know 21.9 per cent of Canada’s population is made up of immigrants? How about that 12.6 per cent of Yukon’s population is made up of immigrants? We are the ones with the funny accents, working, living and adapting into our new home Canada.
If you know an immigrant, then you know the process isn’t easy. It’s extremely stressful.
There are so many options, from being sponsored by a spouse, to being sponsored by your work, to coming in on your own merit. I arrived on a highly skilled immigrant visa.
How does that work?
Everything about me was allocated a number of points. For example, my age gave me 98 points. My education, my work experience, my adaptability, my funds, they all added up to a certain number of points.
It doesn’t matter I’m from Australia. It doesn’t matter I’m already in the Yukon. It doesn’t matter that I volunteer, or made a life, or any of the things that make me, me. I scored 447 points out of 1200. Every piece of paper had to prove I was 447 points.
What’s my worth? 447
I think about that number a lot and how defining it is.
Every fortnight and month the government updates that number 465, 448, 489, 449…
I spent 12 months sitting and waiting to find out if I reached the threshold to be invited to apply. For others, it can take longer. You sit and wait and the only consideration is your number.
Once invited to apply, you have a certain number of days to prepare all your documents and submit them to the government. This includes any trip you’ve ever taken outside your country of residence and a police certificate from every place you’ve spent more than six months. For me that was nine police checks and I actually capped out Canada’s Immigration system for trips outside my residence.
Then you submit and wait.
Express entry has a six-month turnaround and poof!
You have your permanent residency.
Next was a hop skip and jump across the US border, whereby I had to be given a notice of rejection to enter the United States, to prove to the Canadian border guards I actually left Canada and was re-entering as a Permanent Resident!