Thursday, September 8, 2011

Immigrating to Canada - Hopes & Frustrations

I had mentioned in my last blog that we have a Canadian immigration application on file.  We filed it back in March of 2005, after finding out on the internet that I was eligible in the skilled-worker class using my previous work experience.  We didn't go through an agency and I did all the research over the internet.  I know of people who have gone through agencies, but I believe that if you are resourceful enough and find the time to search and read what's available on the official Canadian immigration websites, you don't have to pay the extra fees for someone else to do what you can easily do yourself.

That said, I know I'm not in a position to say that my applicaiton has passed, but at least it got filed successfully, meaning my documents were complete and the file is "In Process".  During which time there is nothing that can be done but to wait and hope that the laws don't change in the process.

A good starting point for Filipino citizens who wish to immigrate to Canada or just plan on travelling to the country is the Canadian Embassy website.  You will find here all the required links and other resources specific to the Philippines and Filipinos.  When you click on the Immigrating to Canada link, you will be directed to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website, which will give you information on the qualificaiton and application process.

The Canadian immigration system goes by a point system and points are accumulated by adding the points in the different categories, such as age group, work experience, educational attainment, language proficiency, etc.  Aside from this you must show that you have enough assets to settle successfully in Canada.  This is assuming that you may not find employment as soon as you land in Canada and may need to rely on your own savings.  The Canadian government will not provide monetary support to new immigrants.

There are many other websites on the internet that provide assistance for those interested in immigrating to Canada, but they are mostly agencies and lawyers/consultants that requires a fee for additional help.  You may email some of these sites and get help online, but most of them will just give you vague responses and then ask you to call or visit them for additional assistance, for a fee, of course.  If you find that you really need help or cannot find the time to go through the resources on the internet yourself, then by all means you can try these agencies.  But be wary of them and the fees that can accumulate with each visit.

Additional advise:
- Make sure all your documents are complete before submission.  Review documents before submitting.
- Make a photocopy of all the documents you submit for your own personal copy. 
- Gathering the required documents is the bulk of the work.  Organize your files in separate folders (labelled or colored to easily distinguish the documents), example IDs, passports, police certificates, employment references, bank account certificates.  Our application is for the whole family - husband and two kids, so it was helpful to file the documents in separate folders.
- When you do receive your file number from the embassy, make a photocopy and keep it in a safe place along with the photocopies of your submitted application.
- Regularly check for updates on your application online.  Make sure to update the embassy in case you change address.
- Never give up hope.  The process is long (more than 6 years for us) and we're still waiting.  But do not rely on immigrating to Canada as your only hope.  The Philippines is still a wonderful place to live in and opportunities abound (trying to think positive here).  We just have to step out of our comfort zone and learn to take risks.  (This is me giving myself a pep talk).

One of our frustrations is the waiting.  I had put in a lot of hope in this new opportunity when we first received the answer back from the Canadian embassy about a month after we submitted our applicaition.  It said on that first correspondence that we should be hearing from them within the next 36 months (that's 3 years).  Which seemed so long then but then time went by so fast.  The 3 years came and went and I read that the application process would take longer, as long as 5 years and all previous dates (like the 36 months promised) was no longer valid.  Then I keep looking at the processing times for Manila and currently it is at 76 months (that's 6 years and 4 months!).  Then there are the changes in their jobs in demand list, which took out the IT field where my application falls under.  Though I realize this pertains to new applicants, I still wonder how this would affect how my current application is viewed by the embassy staff.

So here I am still waiting.  But I will not wait in vain.  Whatever the result (and I hope it does come out soon), I will not let it stop my dreams from being fulfilled - here and now.


Anonymous said...

We share your yearning in this regard, Eileen. May light blink at the end of the tunnel soon.

Eileen Apostol said...

Thanks for the support. It was a long endeavor and one that came with a closure. That closure being getting a full refund on our application fees just this past month. The Canadian immigration commission cancelling our specific category, Federal Skilled Workers with a given date range(don't have the specifics on hand). In other words, due to their backlog, they cancelled this given category and if applicants wanted to continue with their immigration process, would have to re-submit a new application. So unfair ha? After all that time they had us waiting. The positive side is that they gave a full refund of the application fees, the least they could do. Btw, this process of getting a refund took almost a year. Some applicants though have opted to not get their refund and file a lawsuit against the Canadian Immigration commission. I haven't read of any successful outcomes to those who have chosen this option.

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