November 8th, 2016 was the day everything changed. I went to bed thinking that when I woke up we would have our first woman president. OH HOW WRONG I WAS! I was angry, sad , hurt and utterly disappointed. I ranted on Facebook, I argued with friends, I strained relationships because I just did not understand how this happened. But it didn’t matter now HOW it happened…it happened and we are currently still living the nightmare that is 45. To be completely honest the outcome of the election is not the ONLY reason I decided to move but it was for sure the catalyst. Once my partner and I decided to move with our daughter, I started reading everything I could about Canada. I read blogs, asked questions on Quora but the one thing missing was voices from black people who made the move. There were other people of color such as Indians immigrating to Canada but I did not personally know one black American who had moved from the US to Canada. So from there I decided to chronicle my experience so that maybe I could help others in some way. Today is January 2, 2018 and I hope by the end of this year I can successfully call Canada home.
Canada’s immigration process to apply for permanent residency is pretty straight forward and less convoluted than the US immigration process. The immigration process is a points based system and you get points for things such as your degrees, if you have family there, do you already live there, do you have a job offer, have you worked in Canada before etc. Canada favors young, educated people and even have a fast track if you meet a certain criteria. I am not that young but I still have about 30-40 working years left before I have to retire.
Why Canada you ask? Well I feel like it has all the pros of the US with much less of the cons. I plan to live in or near Toronto, where it’s culturally diverse with a similar weather climate to my hometown of Philadelphia, PA. Canada has great schools, universal healthcare, clean air, performing arts and more. It’s a 2 hour flight, 8 hour drive, and 10 hour train ride back to home. I’ve always considered living outside the US and it’s not too far from my family. My family and I are extremely close and even though I will miss them…I have to do what I feel is best for myself and my family.
This blog will help me stay on track as I make my trek to start a new life amongst our northern neighbors.
So before I even begin to apply I will need a certain amount of money in the bank based on this chart below:
(in Canadian dollars)
|For each additional family member
The funds must be available both when you APPLY and when/if they issue a permanent resident visa. I am only a family of three so 18,825 Canadian dollars is roughly $15,000 USD. Split between my partner and I that’s about $7,500 a piece. I wanted to move by the end of 2018 so I figured I wanted to be able to start the application by June at the absolute latest. That meant I had 6 months to save up an extra $7,500. Now I could penny pinch myself to death and cutback on some things but to be honest that never really works for me. I save better by getting a second job and having that be the sole income source for my Canadian savings.
I am also going to try and cut out unnecessary expenses where I can in addition to finding other ways to get money. I sold one of my businesses last year but that money is tied up in other things. They also don’t want to see a lump sum deposit of $15,000 in your account. They want to see that you’ve had it accumulating over a period of time. If you have a valid Canadian job offer you don’t need the proof of funds but it’s hard to get a job in Canada without already living or working there.
Even though my current job is remote and has an office in Canada I am still not sure if my job qualifies as a valid job that doesn’t require me to have the proof of funds. At any rate, you should never move to another country without savings in the bank anyway so I will be saving up the money regardless. The main issue is that I have to have the money in the account when I apply and I want to apply as soon as I possibly can. So whether it’s another job, Uber, Lyft or coming out of my current paycheck….I will get the funds required.
This is a serious and legit question. I plan to move to Toronto where the winters there are similar to Wisconsin or Minnesota in the US. However, I currently live in Philadelphia and even though we get snow, we will close our schools if it’s over 3 inches. I heard places like Chicago NEVER close their schools and their kids go to school and adults go to work in a foot of snow. So that had me thinking about Canada…I wonder if they ever close schools for inclement weather. Canada is known for being cold and snowy so I would doubt that they would be scared of a little snow. In my current position I work from home so I never have to go outside my house but if I can’t keep this job then I will have to face the brutal cold and I am not looking forward to that.
I did a little research and found that according to https://www.minus40.info:
The decision is usually focused on expected traffic problems during a major ice or snow storm rather than giving much consideration to the wind and cold temperatures.
Here are a few situations:
- When it is not safe for teachers to drive their vehicles to work resulting in high staff absenteeism then schools will probably be closed.
- When it is not safe for school buses and school taxis to follow their routes picking up students then school bus routes will be cancelled.
- When it is not safe for parents to drive their students to school in the family vehicle after discovering the school bus did not pick up their children then schools may be closed.
- Rather than deciding to close schools an attempt might be made to contact parents and guardians by radio stations, Internet or robot telephone calls to advise them that attendance is optional that day. (See parent’s discretion above.)
- Schools may be closed early and school buses may take the students home early if a major storm is predicted to arrive before or near the normal school closing time.
This list is only for Southern Canada like Toronto but for Northern Canada they may close if the temperature drops -40 degrees Celsius or the wind chill drops to -40. I can’t even fathom that type of cold! Anything below 20 degrees and I don’t want to even look outside when that’s cold. I also found a Twitter exchange from the Toronto District School Board that said they haven’t had a weather related closing in over 10 years so yea….my baby will be going to school everyday until she graduates!
Since I plan to immigrate legally through the permanent residency application there are about 10,000 steps that have to be completed in order to do so. In order to create my Express Entry profile on the CIC website I have to first gather some documentation. The first thing I need is my Educational Credential Assessment results. If you want to gain educational points for your degree(s) you have to have all of them assessed to make sure they are equivalent to Canadian standards. So if you graduated college a long time ago this may take a few weeks so the earlier you start the process the better. If you don’t have transcripts you need to get them and if you no longer have a physical copy of your diploma you’ll need to get that as well. Again this is needed if you plan to apply for permanent residency through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) under Express Entry.
So OK fine, most schools allow you to get your transcripts digitally so that shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. You can check with The National Student Clearing House to see if your school lets your purchase your transcripts through them. You will then have to choose a designated organization who will process your assessment. That will depend on if you are in regulated or licensed field such as medicine or pharmacy or if you have a standard bachelor’s/master’s degree. There are about 7 organizations to choose from with the most popular being World Education Service (WES). The cost is about $200 for all of them but still check them all out to see which one best fits your situation.
I then find out I have to take a test to asses my English since I will get points based on that as well. My immediate thought is: “But I am coming from America! Of course I speak English!” but then I check myself and realize my Ameri-centric views and understand that it’s just part of the process. But it’s still a test and I HATE taking tests! Is it like the SAT?? I mean I have a pretty good grasp of the English language (or so I think) but I still get nervous when taking tests. I will be going through The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) because they have locations all throughout the US. The tests in my city only happen about once a month and can be sold out up to 2 months in advance. The cost for this test is $240, so including the education credential assessment that is almost $500 I have to spend and 2 months I have to wait JUST TO CREATE THE PROFILE.
But again….it’s all a part of the process….