To anyone uninitiated into the workings of the Canadian Permanent Residency process, this term won’t mean a great deal. But to anyone familiar with it, you will know this is the moment we have been waiting for!
The process so far…
After finding a buyer for our house only a week after putting it on the market and the sale going through in the time that we had hoped for to the day – we didn’t feel that we could complain too much about any other delays. As you might imagine, there are a lot of hoops that need to be jumped through. Alongside completing a fairly hefty application form, Mike and I both undertook English language tests (IELTS) at the University of Bath (which, I am at pains to say I will never hear the last of, as Mike got the higher score), obtained police certificates and had our qualifications verified for Canadian equivalency by World Education Services (WES).
Unfortunately an unexpected request for more paperwork from WES, turned into a 7 week delay and despite all efforts on our part to be patient, the pressure did feel like it was beginning to build. Whilst we were feeling confident that once we had the right documentation we would make one of the upcoming rounds of invitations, the longer we waited, the more chance there was that the points threshold could change… in short, it was a bit frustrating!
Nonetheless, on the 21st June we received the document we needed from WES, and on the Monday 25th June 2018, we received our Invitation To Apply for Permanent Residency. Hurray!
The next stage…
We now have 90 days to submit all the evidence we need to support our application. Having previously collated the documents we were aware of, a new list has now emerged. It turns out that in the chaos of the move, things like our wedding certificate were put somewhere in a storage facility near Birmingham. So, weighing up the swiftest course of action, we are very grateful to our kind friend in Italy who is doing his best to cut through all the red tape to obtain us another copy- which is unfortunately more complicated than we could have imagined! Failing that we will be travelling to London via Birmingham next week…
We also need medicals, which are half price across the pond, so we have decided to get them done when we arrive in Canada. Once submitted, our application should be processed within 6 months, however the average time on the Government of Canada website is currently 58 days, so we are hoping for something closer to that!*
*Update: As of September 2018, we now know that this 58 day time frame actually refers to the Permanent Residency card itself, which is received seperately after the initial paperwork. This means that the average processing time is usually, but not always, within 6 months.
In the mean time, we are enjoying our last week in Ireland. It feels (to me) like our time here has flown by. Playing, swimming, meditating, growing, learning, exploring together. Monty has both learned how to walk and run! It has been such a privilege and I am full of gratitude for a moment in time I am sure we will look back on with great fondness.
Next weekend we travel to London to spend some time with close family and friends. Play time with cousins, evenings out for mummy and daddy and an important trip to the Natural History Museum is all on the cards before we say our fondest farewells. We then catch our early morning flight to Toronto, travelling on holiday visas with the intention that we will receive our residency cards on the road. And so, the big itinerary planning has commenced!
We are planning our trip from Ontario, on through to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and then on to British Columbia. The route after this will depend on if we have our residency cards and any job offers. So far, after four job interviews we have discovered that whilst there is an encouraging amount of interest, until we have the visas (and permission to work in Canada), it is difficult to get any further forward. In order to bridge the gap as economically as possible, we have decided to take to the road in a trailer tent, which we are hoping will take us through to somewhere around the end of September, depending where we are.
Google maps won’t plot any more stops, so we’ve had to stop at Nelson for the purposes of the above map, but after that we plan to spend a few weeks travelling in British Columbia- further itinerary pending. Depending on job offers this might include a trip up to Whitehorse in the Yukon, but if not, we are looking to pause and take stock on Vancouver Island… although part of the fun will be to see where the wind takes us!
Thankfully we are pretty much where we hoped we would be back in January, even with the unforeseen delay. So the next time I write, we will (hopefully!) be on the other side, post flight with a couple of jet lagged toddlers, and the proud new owners of a second hand trailer tent – all advice for surviving the flight very welcome! There is still a small part of me that can’t quite believe that we will be flying off and following our hearts into the big unknown, but there is a larger part of me that really can! It has taken the best part of a year to plan and process between us, the vow being that whatever happened next, it would all be part of the adventure… We’re stuck right in now, the sun is shining, our spirits are high and the dinosaurs are ready and waiting!
Bon Voyage!! 🇨🇦