Feb 18 2011

Canada eh?


Let’s start with a quick geography lesson!

Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories.

So, Where exactly is Canada?

Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west and northward into the Arctic Ocean. It is the world’s second largest country by total area. Canada’s common border with the United States to the south and northwest is the longest in the world.

What makes Canada?

The ten provinces are Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan, while the three territories are Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon.

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Feb 17 2011

The challenges in preparing our application

We had to get these key documents ready for our application.

2. Birth certificates
3. Updated passports
4. PCCs from UK and India
5. Proof of funds
6. Employer documents
7. Transcripts from universities
8. Travel History list

The IELTS wasn’t a difficult one, but time consuming. But first time, Prab just got a moderate score, with which we still had more than 67 points. So we were confused if he should reattempt IELTS at all.

Birth Certificates:
This was the worst part! In India, we do not really care about having a proper birth certificate, as the school certificates work anywhere. We did have old birth certificates, which did not even indicate our names. All they had, was a boy/girl was born for so and so here on this date, and thankfully our parents registered our births. Else it would have been a nightmare for us. So, I worked on this first, went to the respective offices, filled up all the forms and requested to include our names next to the registration numbers in the birth registers. The application was accepted and the time line was 15 working days.
I received the birth certificates, only to know my parents’ names were not spelled correctly. So, again, I had to give a correction application and that took another 15 working days’ time.

Updated Passports:
My passport always had a wrong place of birth (they indicated my native place as my birth of place). The reason was i did not submit my birth certificates while applying for a fresh passport. I only submitted the school certificate and that was sufficient to provide a new passport. So, they assumed my place of birth to be my hometown and added that to the passport. I had to leave for UK in 10 days after I got my passport and didn’t really have time to get it corrected. Further, my UK visa was through, so, I was confident I don’t have to worry about that conflict.
Now, this conflict was very clear as they also ask for the birth certificates. No other go, but to get my passport corrected. For this I needed an updated birth certificate. Referring to the above, back and forth on the BC issues, I had to visit the passport office 5 times in less than 40 days. And yes, I got it done, and received a fresh passport with accurate details just in time.

We applied for the UK PCCs and got them in time. It took about 15 days for us to get them. But closer to our application launch, CIC amended the rules that PCCs are not to be submitted now. At that time, we haven’t procured the Indian PCCs, which we thought we can do later when they ask for it. So, we did not include PCCs with our application.

Proof of funds:
This was a relatively easy task for us. We just had to get a current bank balance certificate, attested by the branch manager. I had this done in 3 days.

Employment documents:
This again was relatively easier to collect. We already had the employment contracts. All we had to get is updated reference letters with job duties and other details of employment. I drafted the letters and got them signed. Not to mention, the business cards were the easiest documents to gather. Prab also had his professional registration and so, that document was handy too.

Transcripts from universities:
Prab has his bachelors in India and Masters in UK (while the university is in US). I had a hard time contacting the university folks in US and arrange for the university sealed transcripts. They sent them in about 25 days to India by courier.
For his bachelors, I approached the university in person and requested for the transcripts. All I had to do was photocopy his degree certificate and all mark sheets (there were 8 of them semester wise for a total for 5 years study) and get them verified against originals by them. They attested every page of the set and put them in a plain envelope and sealed it with the university seal.

Travel History list:
For this I had to spend a couple of hours and research the passport pages to ascertain the dates of international travel. Although I did not have much to report, Prab had considerably traveled across Europe.


Indira Prabhakaran.

Permanent link to this article: http://indiraprabhakaran.com/blog/the-challenges-in-preparing-our-application/

Feb 15 2011

That’s how it started!

So, why Canada?

I’ve lived in India all my life except for the 2 years stint in UK post wedding. We moved back to India and started a new life in Chennai. We chose Chennai for two reasons. It’s a big city with opportunities and most of our friends were settled there. Initially it was a struggle for us to adjust to Chennai life, but then we started loving it. It was a 8 hour drive from our home town and so we are not far away from people! Although we loved Chennai life, there was something missing. The climate(Read it HOT!) was awful and pretty hot ALL the time except for the few days in a year when it rains cats and dogs. Just then we were thinking why not move to somewhere else?

A couple of our friends had moved to Canada by then and we were hearing good things about the life there. We decided to give it a go. I did a bit of research on Canada and immigrating there and started to realize 3 key things.

1. The easiest way to immigrate is FSW, but the current wait time was 5 to 8 years from India
2. The next easiest way is to have some relatives to sponsor you, bang – all we had is a couple of friends there
3. The next possibility is to have a job offer in hand, but that looked next to impossible, being in India.

For about 3 years the idea was on hold, while I did some online research on immigration and about whether or not this is an option for us. Recession came in and yes we were all the more unmotivated, heard really bad stuff about the job market there and so the idea was still on hold.

In the end of 2008, We came across an update on the FSW system. They introduced 38 occupations as in demand with a promise that the applications will be finalized within a year and we qualified for that. But that good old hesitation, as to whether or not to move still haunted us. Endless number of discussions and we thought it wasn’t the right time may be!

One more year passed, and we decided to give it a go. By then we heard things are changing and they amended the system again and introduced a new list of 29 occupations in demand. Believe it or not, we qualified again and somewhere inside we felt, ‘Yes this is it! The time has come!’. We started to prepare our application and noticed that unlike before, we had to include the entire documentation with our initial application to the CIO. Prab was not very convinced, but agreed that we should give this a try to see how things work. I started my full-fledged research on this and found a very useful forum – http://www.canadavisa.com/canada-immigration-discussion-board/index.php. This forum is a God-send to me, I found a LOT of friends in the same boat and it helped me with our entire application process.

I will share my experiences in preparing our application in the next post.

Indira Prabhakaran.

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