Canadian permanent residence: 7 years since the beginning
Our dream of becoming permanent residents in Canada took 7 years from the moment the idea was born to the landing in Canada this year, but actually it took 3 years from the moment we submitted the file.
In this article we will tell you the complete process so you have a reference guide, although we know that each case is different, if you are thinking about Canada it might help you to know our times, steps, and details, this article is for you. If you want to know about the most common myths when migrating to Canada, we invite you to read the post in this link.
Beginning of the migratory process as Skilled Workers for Quebec
We had already paid a company in 2011 to take our process, but things did not go as expected and we lost a lot of time and money (and you don’t need migration representation for your process). You can read more about that story in this link. At the end of 2013, the migratory windows were opened again so this time we decided to apply on our own and actually, that was perfect. Everything is very clear and detailed on the Quebec portal. Why did we opted for Quebec and not for the rest of Canada?
If there is a differentiating point between all the provinces of Federal Canada and Quebec is the language, because in this province the main language is French, although in Montreal English is also spoken. And well, as my French university diplomas were recognized almost automatically, we found it easier this way.
How does the selection process work?
Migration procedures and laws are constantly changing, by foreign policy and Canadian legislation, so we recommend you to always check the official portals to have detailed information regarding this and be updated about any current changes.
Without being an expert in migration and simply as someone who went through the process, I can tell you that you must understand that there are two migration systems:
- The FEDERAL system that covers all the provinces of Canada except Quebec
- The Quebec system, which has migratory autonomy and can select its own immigrants.
To obtain the Permanent Residence in Canada, there are six (6) categories to be able to apply. Here we will focus on the skilled Worker category that exists on the Federal side and the Skilled Worker Selected by Quebec.
To apply for the Federal side, I know it is more complicated because there are many more applications worldwide, but I also know that there is a program called “Express entry” that takes only 6 months, so, you might want to check your possibilities there. Here we will talk about the program on the Quebec side.
The steps were relatively simple, although time-consuming, as they ask for documentation from the last 10 years.
How to get the Permanent Residence of Canada on the Quebec side?
The Quebec Selection Certificate.
So that you understand it in a simple way, this means that you as an applicant ask the province of Quebec that you want to immigrate to its territory. They evaluate your case and if they accept you, they will grant you the Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) and then you can apply for Permanent Residence in Canada.
What was the process from the beginning, the duration, the “problems” and the solutions?
We gather all the documentation (IELTS language exams, DALF, marriage certificate, diplomas, notes, among others) and sent a complete files package on March 27, 2014.
Initial stage: Opening your file (dossier) with Quebec
We received notification of our file opening on May 7, 2014. These times vary according to many factors, for example, if you are on the list of the most requested professions, or if you already have a job in Quebec (so you will have priority), or if your file is incomplete they will return it to you and won’t be opened until you sent what they need back.
Intermediate stage: Missing documents – Intentional rejection of your Selection Certificate
For months we received no communication. Until March 2, 2015, when we were notified that some documents were missing and that we had two (2) months to send them or our candidacy would be rejected.
It was nothing serious, a proof of health insurance payments as an independent worker (from Mauro) and certified original copies of my diplomas, as I had sent certified copies by Colombian and not French notaries. Everything was solved. There was a deadline until May 30 of that year and on May 15 they sent me an email confirming the reception of the documentation.
The long wait
They spent long months in which we did not receive notifications of any kind. We called, we wrote and there was no way to communicate with anyone. We had to wait.
Suddenly, one day in June 2016, without notice by email, we received the package with the two certificates of selection (CSQ) and the instructions to be able to apply for the Permanent Residence of Canada with the Federal Government.
More documents, more errands
In our case, it took us a long time to get all the documents and fill out all the forms because we have traveled a lot and I have lived more than 6 months in several countries, so I had to present a criminal record of all those places, and believe me, It wasn’t easy nor fun. Finally, we managed to gather everything and fill out the forms with a life history of the last ten (10) years! Wow! That task took a while because you must put everything, work times, travels, vacations, times of unemployment, everything.
Finally, on August 8, 2016, they formally received our application to the Permanent Residence.
The long wait is prolonged even more
At this time, we wanted to send everything updated (because it clearly says that if the documents are not up-to-date they can return the file). The processing times, at the moment in which we received the package, were from 30 to 45 days. Just at that time, the situation in Syria worsened and from one day to the next, that treatment time changed from 45 days to 13 months. We already had 27 months (2 years and 3 months) in the process and with this change, we already knew that we had one more year ahead.
On November 30, 2016, they confirmed that they had received our package. The wait would continue. The good thing is that from that stage, they assign you a unique customer number and with this number and your personal data you can track your process online.
Final stage: Medical examinations, criminal records
Looking at our process online, we read that on January 20, 2017, our application for permanent residency was addressed. On May 29, 2017, we received notification of Migration Canada and request for medical examinations, criminal records, FBI certificate (in our case), payment of permanent residence fees and Mauro military service card.
It was a 3 years’ process. To reach the request for medical examinations is to have 98% of the permanent Residence achieved. Everything is played on this last run. The exams are nothing special, blood tests, urine tests and regular exam in a doctor’s office (from the list authorized by them, not by your uncle). The doctor will send your medical exams directly to Immigration and they will send you a copy for your personal record. Criminal records should also be processed only with companies authorized by Immigration Canada, and they will send it directly to Canada also. They do send you a confirmation of your records. In our case, in addition to Colombia, we had to add the background check of France, Spain, Italy and the United States (the FBI), but everything is achievable.
On September 19, we were notified that all of the above had been received and that they did not require anything else. The wait continued…
Confirmation of Permanent Residence and Visa Application: Finally!
On November 30, 2017, they asked us for the last thing to complete the Permanent Residency process. We needed to send our passports for the VISA application that allows you to enter Canada and acquire the status of Permanent Resident.
We could not believe it! What a nice way to close the year! 2017 was definitely a spectacular year, in fact, we invite you to read a post about everything this year taught us.
But hey, let’s continue. We sent our passports on December 2nd and on December 21st we received our passports with the one-entry visa to Canada.
To keep in mind, the visa is valid for one (1) year from the time they receive your medical exams in most common cases. In our case, we sent the medical exams on June 15 2017, which would mean that our visa was valid only until June 15, 2018, but actually, when we received it, it was valid as the picture above shows, from November 29 2017 until June 15 2018, so, heads up! It was not valid for a year, but if approved, the year was counting from the day we submitted the exams.
We are Permanent Residents
What does this mean? What benefits, obligations and rights do this status give us?
-We have the same rights as Canadians except the right to vote
-We have social benefits (in Quebec, subsidies for housing, for children, unemployment, maternity, among others …)
-Social Security, which allows us to work, set up companies, businesses, to study in any province of Canada.
-Free medical insurance (hospitalizations, diseases, medicine)
-Protection under Canadian Law and the Letter of Rights and Freedoms.
Now, we must bear in mind that this also implies certain obligations, tax payments, which are expensive, although they are reflected in all the benefits. We must also stay certain time in Canada to not lose our status. Right now the law of 730 days applies in a lapse of 5 years.
Arrival, landing as a permanent resident: What should be done?
From day 1 in Canadian territory, you are already a permanent resident. To complete your citizen profile you must do 3 steps:
- Get your First Permanent Resident Card. You can do this directly at the migration port the day you arrive if the offices are open. They close at 12 at night, so if you arrive on the flight that arrives at 1 in the morning, you will have to do it in an office in the city. The day we arrived, despite having landed at 8 pm, we left at 1:30 am. But this diligence was done at that very moment. The only thing is to update the postal address (in case you don’t have a definitive one at the time of arrival) and that’s it.
- Take out the SIN (Social Insurance Number) or NAS in french (Numero d’Assurance Sociale) which allows you to work, study, exist legally. For that, you must go to any station of Services Canada with your documents (confirmation of permanent residence, passport, Certificate of selection of Quebec)
- Enroll in the insurance scheme (Assurance maladie in Québec). You go to the offices with your NAS/SIN offices with all the rest of your documents. With this, your health is already covered by the government, just like your medications. In order not to lose your health insurance, it is important that you remain in the territory of Quebec for 183 days of the calendar year. If you must travel (as is our case) you must count the days very well or cancel the insurance and activate it again when you have returned.
For the rest, it follows that once you are installed, you report on the labor market, on taxes. We resorted to having an appointment with an accountant to explain our scenario very well as we are independent workers and we receive income on our own (with the blog, with external consulting services, etc.).
We have not been long here, but with the little we have seen so far, we are happy to be here and have the dream come true. What follows is to take the opportunities offered by this country. Canada is an “almost virgin” territory, full of opportunities, where there is much done and still there is much to be made.
Official Immigration page for Quebec
Official immigration page for Canada Federal:
You can drive with the valid license of your country of origin during the first 6 months after your arrival, but it is better to request the change. You must pass a theoretical exam, one practical and nothing more. You get your Quebec’s license.
Online check application
To Check and follow the online services of your application after receiving the CSQ
If you have questions, do not hesitate to ask in the comments! We will be happy to answer you.
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