Tuesday, July 8, 2008

More Details

I felt like the trip was a huge success. All our goals were accomplished and I am reasonably certain we made good decisions. We left Toronto, Ontario, Canada in great spirits knowing that we could look forward enthusiastically to our "permanent" return.

A few notes though, for those of you who might be considering immigrating to Canada on a work permit. Do your research. Working and living in Canada can happen much faster by means of a work permit than by the permanent residence process. There are several professions that do not need a positive Labor Market Opinion beforehand to acquire the work permit. If you are in these fields and meet the requirements and also have U.S. citizenship it is merely a drive across the border with the correct documents and a meeting with a Canadian Immigration officer to be issued one. You won't need to have the FBI check or the medical exam in most cases. In the short term this will save you time and money. Please keep in mind that:
  • the principle applicant's work permit must be issued for six (6) months or longer for the spouse and children to also receive one. All can apply on the same application.
  • Canada has a much more relaxed definition for spouse than the U.S. Canada recognizes common law and conjugal partnerships for both hetero and homosexual couples as well as same-sex marriage/domestic partnership/civil unions etc. Documentation or other proof is required.
  • for the principle applicant to be eligible for provincial health insurance their work permit must be issued for a period of at least six (6) months.
  • the Canadian employer must intend to employ the principle applicant for at least three (3) years for the spouse and children to also be eligible for provincial health insurance (OHIP). A written statement by the employer is the easiest way to do this. In Eric's case, the LMO and Work Permit were both issued for two years but the three year intent to be employed is stated in both the signed job offer and contract.
  • Employment can be terminated. The principle applicant must remain employed by the specific employer associated with the work permit to remain living in Canada.
  • Work Permits are issued for a specific period of time and can be renewed before expiration.
From start to finish the process has been an incredibly quick six or so months. Almost too quick. Though immigrating through the Permanent Residence process might seem to take forever, that time may be very well spent getting ones affairs and minds in order. Our experience with the Temporary Work Permit process was so quick that occasionally I felt there wasn't enough time to properly plan. Keep in mind, "Luck favors the prepared" (gobblegobblegobblegobblegobblegobble). Though we did plenty of research, we were caught off guard several times and, luckily, the Universe provided us with an equal number of "safety nets". And remember also that work permits are temporary. We now have to apply for PR status or renew the permits before their expiration in two years. The upside, of course, is we'll be living and working in Canada while we do so.


laura k said...

Hi guys, congratulations on a successful visit! It sounds like things are zooming along for you.

People ask me about work permits all the time, and I don't have the answers. Could I link to this post in another wmtc "advice" post, so people can find it easily?

Wmtc comes up easily in "how to move to Canada"-type searchs, and your blog probably doesn't yet, so it might reach more people that way.

Let me know if that's ok, or if you want to add anything, etc.

In the short term this will save you time and money.

Another thing for readers to keep in mind: if you go this route, you may have a harder time obtaining PR status.

It can take longer and be more difficult, because that's not really how CIC wants you to do it. You're supposed to be living outside Canada when you apply - if you're not, it creates issues.

The work permit may still be the way to go for many people, but this is something to keep in mind. With PR status, you're here legally whether or not you're employed.

Congratulations again, and let me know about the link.

Adam said...

Thanks for the good words. We are very excited and can’t wait to return.

Please feel free to link my blog wherever you feel appropriate. If we can help folks who are serious about work permits we’re happy to. I’d like to ask a favor. You have mentioned a couple times now that my partner Eric and I can expect a longer or more difficult time gaining our PR status because we went the work permit route first. I hear ya. I have honestly been receiving contradictory info pertaining to this. We’ll be apply for PR no matter what, but it might be good to connect to someone who also followed the same route. If you know anyone whose done this specifically. And if they are up for it. It’s your call of course.

laura k said...

I have honestly been receiving contradictory info pertaining to this.

I'm glad to hear it! Maybe my info is out of date. That's the trouble with any advice I have no - it's getting old. Things change all the time. (And of course the immigration rules are changing right now.)

We'll be apply for PR no matter what,

Absolutely. And I'm sure you'll get it.

but it might be good to connect to someone who also followed the same route. If you know anyone whose done this specifically

I've heard from a lot of people who have, but because of the volume of people who email me - and it's been several years - it's very difficult to remember who's who and who did what.

How about I write a post linking to this one and ask folks to contact you through your blog?

Adam said...

Fab-u-lous! Eric and I aren't worried about info for the PR application and process...we have all our current research, you, Tom and Emilio, Nick and Mason...just to mention a few - to bounce momentary issues off of.

If you can't recall anyone specifically by name that first went the Work permit route before applying for PR then "all good", as they say here in California. But if you do, or if you want to do a post pertaining to it, great! I don't think my blog "gets around" as yours does *smile* but perhaps I will post one also.

I'm interested in knowing the additional difficulties and whether or not they were applicant specific or CIC PR process specific when one already is living in Canada and already has employment...as you had mentioned.

I am sure any answers will help you and I both in directing future applicants with these issues.

ErinOrtlund said...

Just saw L-girl's comment here. I can say I know many other Americans in my area who came here on a work permit and then got permanent residency. So doing it that way is fine--again, whether the process would have been quicker from outside of the country, I don't know.

One advantage of being here on a work permit is that we are already here and settled. We have a house, a mortgage, bank accounts, job, health cards, friends, etc. Seems like this could be less stressful than applying for PR, then having to move here and immediately deal with all that other stuff too. On the other hand, being here on a work permit means my husband has a temporary Social Insurance number, Canadian credit card companies don't like us, we have to renew the work permit/Health cards/SIN every year. Also if we were turned down for PR for some reason, we'd be giving up a lot now.

Adam said...

Ah, yes...temporary SIN numbers and the world of credit...I can't wait to navigate that one. I don't even want to contemplate not being granted PR status within the next two or so years...and you can not make me. Ha! I suppose we wouldn't be moving now if we had any doubts regarding permanent residency. But one never knows what is in store for them in the future...

ErinOrtlund said...

It's interesting, we had a harder time getting a credit card than a mortgage! Here's something to consider--Royal Bank of Canada told us that we could get mortages, however, we had to put 10% down. We didn't have much more than that, so we had to get mortgage insurance--apparently, the company that issues this (or the government, I'm not sure) will deal with people on work permits who have been here 2 years or less. But people here on work permits more than 2 years, but not yet permanent residents, may not be able to get it. Of course, things may have changed, and we were dealing with one specific bank.

We do have Canadian credit cards. One is through our bank--they know us, they know we pay our mortgage every month, so I guess that's why they approved us. Another is through a company that worked behind the scenes to approve us.

If you do need to renew your work permit before getting PR, they want you to do this through the mail. We went to the border instead, because of friends of ours who did it through the mail and did not receive their new work permit before the old one ran out. Hopefully you'll have PR by then as well. I wonder if the new immigration rules might actually speed things up for people who already have Canadian employment (per one of the comments on L-girls blog).

Adam said...

Such interesting information to consider. We will, of course, be applying for PR status during our two year work permits.

The mortgage issue won't come up for my Eric and I for a couple of years...hopefully we will have our PR cards by then. For now, we will happily rent. As for credit cards, we'll have to see what goes down. One of our bankers at TD didn't seem to think Eric would have any problems obtaining one of theirs considering his work situation. I have too much occupying my mind to worry about building up a Canadian credit history. Soon enough once I am there. Thanks again for sharing your experience. Keep documenting it - so helpful for those researching the move north.

TO is incredibly close to the border crossing in Niagara and immigration office in Buffalo. We actually received our work permits at the border (see my blog for more). I am sure the close proximity will be invaluable during the PR process. Certainly can't hurt if there turns out to be a snag.

laura k said...

You're right not to be concerned about details like credit history. That will all work out in due time.

I had fantastic credit in the US, and started over in Canada. TD Bank issued us secured credit cards, but the money is in a long-term, interest-bearing account, so we don't lose anything. We've been quickly building the credit back up.

We also still have a US-based Visa so we still have one credit card with a substantial line of credit in case we need it.

I have two new "advice" posts up, linked on my sidebar, and one of them links to your blog.

ErinOrtlund said...

Yeah, definitely good to keep a US credit card, bank account, etc.

So are you saying your work permits are good for 2 years? I've never heard of that before.

Adam said...

Here's the Canadian Credit strategic plan. If Eric gets an unsecured CC from TD he said he will co-sign on one for me. Will this allow me to build up my own Canadian Credit History? I will let you all know in the "Canadian Credit History Adventure" post. If I have to go the secured route then I will. ...And I have plenty of U.S. credit history and several large lines of credit on cards for emergencies until the Canadian history "kicks in".

And the length of our work permits were mentioned in a previous post...The short story - Labour Market Opinions can be issued for up to three years - which is what Eric's Canadian employer requested. He was granted a two year LMO for Eric and was told that the labour market was too questionable to issue one for longer (they said that longer than two years is rarely done ...and that two years would be sufficient for the employee (Eric) to apply for PR status OR renew the current work permit. We will, as previously mentioned, be applying for PR status during that time.