My Canadian Experience
Victoria Day


Since my last report I have been working rather hard on getting my immigration application together and boy is it time consuming.

Clearly you need to provide proof of everything you claim in the application forms of which there are four of them to complete.  It's not complicated but you have to gather together so much information and then try to organize it all into a package that hopefully will make it easy to use for the immigration folk.

I think I've re-done my covering letter about a dozen times so far :-)

At time of writing I only have to get proof of the formation of the USA company which hopefully will come tonight as the paperwork is down with Steve in Kentucky. I will also need to get the check tomorrow for the application fees.

One of the problems I had was that they want to know the addresses of all the places you have stayed since aged 18 and that was a real problem.  I couldn't for the life of me remember where I lived in Coventry.  I could visualize it but couldn't remember the address.  Then I remembered it was next to the "Chestnut Tree" pub so looked for that on the web and found it and of course as I was just next door I got the address.

The same kind of problem applied to where I had worked.  Of course I remembered every place I had worked but seeing as I am now 54 years of age I was having to try and remember all the dates back to aged 18.

They do want you to provide proof of you having worked in your various jobs over the past 10 years but as I was the owner and MD of all my companies over the past 10 years it seemed a bit daft to sign my own letter and so I simply had to provide some proof that I did own them.

Another problem I had was to provide the birth and death dates of my parents.  While I remembered the days I couldn't remember the years of their birth.  So it was another scramble to find those.

You also have to show your job codes so that immigration can see the work you have done and while you only need to complete the first 10 years on the form another one indicates it wants to know every job since 18.  So it was off to their web site to figure out all the jobs that I've had and capture the codes for the reports.

In my case the covering letter, which is some 9 pages, also includes lots of links to pages on the web site to try and explain the work that I do. I felt it might be an idea to produce a web page version of the letter in case it would help them to check everything out.  It's no fun having to type in lots of web addresses.  So am hoping this idea might be of some help to them and earn me some brownie points :-)

You also need to produce proof that you have enough funds to live in Canada and on the immigration guides they give you tables which show the minimum funds you must have to come into Canada. Of course it is helpful if you can also show that you also have enough income to live here and so some proof of income is useful. A letter from an employer in Canada is perfect but in my case being self employed I really needed to show some income so I sent them some recent bank statements. Be warned that they are really looking for funds in Canada so it is helpful if you can have the minimum level of capital here in Canada and it in any event it does need to be liquid capital and not tied up in a house.

So my total presentation is quite large with all the supporting information.  I've found a plastic binder to cover it all and I went and purchased dividers to put everything into sections.  Have not found a way to keep it all together so looks like it will have to go into a jiffy bag and just hope they don't spill it all out when they open it. I might head back to office depot to see if I can find another way of keeping it all together.

I must have gone through half a ream of paper getting everything together.  I've always had this problem that when on the screen all looks to be fine but when printed out you notice mistakes and have to print them out again. 

You also have to get police statements saying they don't have any record of criminal activity about you and that can take around 6 weeks. In my case I also didn't have a record of my school certificates so had to order these up as well.  In all cases there are fees to pay for these items.

You also need to provide 4 photographs of yourself and you have to ensure they comply with the standards they supply on the appendix of the application.

In my case I delayed everything so I could get all my addresses changed from Toronto to Chatham and I decided to put all my cards together and take a photocopy of them all although I'm not sure that was really needed.  These are my SIN card, OHIP card, Canadian Driving License and my credit cards. I tend to work on the presumption that if they might want it then include it.  I was told that if I didn't provide some information then they would need to write to me for it and thus delay the process.  And so I feel it's more a case of if they might need it, send it.

It's also important that when listing jobs and addresses that you don't leave any gaps or if you do leave gaps then you need to explain them otherwise they will simply write to you asking for an explanation.

The whole idea is to present as complete a case as you can so that they don't need to get back to you for any additional information which would just delays things.

I also got a form from the meeting I had in the Canadian Consulate in Detroit and that is supposed to give you a bit of a fast track on the process.  You are told to put this right on the top so it is the first thing they see when they open the package. In my case this was only good if I got my application in by the end of May 2005 and hence my needing to get a move on with all this.

You also need to keep checking everything and once all has been checked and pulled together you really need to do one final check that everything is there.  You need to ask yourself - "If I have said this how do they know it's correct?". They are not going to take your word for things so you need to be able to prove anything that you claim.  For example, I said I'd done a column in the Family Tree Newspaper so I went and printed a couple of issues to show that I had really done that.  I said I wrote a weekly email newsletter so I printed out one for them to see. I said I'd spent 2 years moving around Scotland, USA and Canada so I gave them the urls of my travel journal.

So when in doubt include the information as if they need to clarify anything it will just add to the waiting time.  In my case I was told that it could take up to 18 months to approve my application but thanks to the form from Detroit it might take just 6 months but you never know for sure. I am told that I shouldn't have a problem in extending my work permit for another year if I haven't heard by the time it expires although I suspect I'll need to get in touch a good month before it expires just to make certain.

I had intended to make a self employed application but was advised by Larry at the Toronto Business Immigration office that I'd be better to do a Federal Skilled Worker immigration application. He felt I had the required points total for this and that it would be a lot faster. So taking his advice this is what I have done. You do apparently get 10 points if you are on a work permit and a further 5 points for adaptability. So this certainly helped.

Should you want to see if you quality for skilled worker immigration you can take the test online at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/skilled/assess/index.html

And all the information about immigration to Canada can be found at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/

And so this is what I have been working on these past few days :-)


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