My eBook, How To Immigrate To Canada For Skilled Workers: The Authoritative Guide To Federal And Provincial Opportunities is available now on Amazon and other online retailers. Get your copy of the essential guide to Skilled Worker class applications today!

For Kindle
For iPad/iPhone
For Nook
For Kobo
For Sony eReader

Also available is my new eBook, "How To Immigrate To Canada In The Family Class: The Authoritative Guide Including Qu├ębec And Super Visa Opportunities". Get it at Amazon or the other e-retailers noted above.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy Holidays 2013-2014!

Well dear friends, another year has passed at The Expatriate Mind. Since 2005 I've tried to share my immigration journey with you with all the excitement and frustration that comes along with it. Each new year seems to bring changes to the Canadian immigration landscape, and this year has been no different. I expect the changes will keep coming in 2014, with the Tories still in control, a fresh Immigration Minister excited to flex his muscles (at least those Harper allows him to), and new challenges on both the Skilled Worker and Family Class fronts.

I enjoyed Christmas in the U.S. this year, but will be back home in Canada for New Years. Two and a half years into my permanent residency and Toronto truly is the home I always hoped it would be for all the years my Love and I patiently navigated the immigration process.

I want to encourage all my readers to have faith and be patient in your own immigration journey. It's unique for each and every one of us. The best advice I can give you is to pursue your goal with honesty, and give your application the best effort you can. Help those that make these decisions understand your commitment to Canada - one you are making even before you are welcomed here. Take the time also to learn about your new country, its history and culture and prepare yourself for the day when your visa arrives.

Happy holidays and New Year to all of you. God bless your Canadian dreams! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Year-end wrap up

My third Christmas as a permanent resident of Canada is upon me, and it is still hard to believe how quickly the time has passed since that wonderful August day in 2011 when I came to this country. It's a beautiful, snowy morning in Toronto, and I'm preparing for an evening flight back to Seattle to spend my first Christmas in three years with my parents and siblings. I am looking forward to the time there. This year has been one of unexpected blessings, for sure.

Probably the best thing to happen in the last year has been to feel more solidified in my career here as an author and writer - a career that started with this humble blog in 2005. This year I have actually been sought out to write on immigration issues and Canada in general, and it really is validating, when the traditional job market has been more than difficult for me to crack.

I am working on a new book, and contributing to a number of web sites. My current books on immigration are selling and more importantly, helping people who want to come to Canada. Not bad.

I thought this blog would transition more into "settlement" issues this year, but immigration news and events were just too juicy to ignore. Maybe next year? It's hard to say. Maybe I have the mix right already: immigration news, personal commentary, and here and there a glimpse into the everyday here in Toronto.

I hope you have had a wonderful 2013, and that the year to come is also full of blessings for you. Don't give up on your immigration dreams. It takes patience and perseverance to come to Canada. I can tell you from experience the choice to immigrate is a tough one, and the process will try and wear you out. But if you take care of your application, have faith and look to do everything you can to effect the outcome, you just may join me here one day. That is my New Year wish for you!   

Friday, December 13, 2013

Canada Goose time

It's been bitter cold for about a week now, and that means it's Canada Goose time. Canada Goose is the brand of parka that I wear. I have a Banff Parka and it's warm enough that the weather really has to warrant getting it out. In mild temperatures, the coat is simply too comfy-warm. But I've determined that from about -8C or below (with or without the windchill factored in), it's the only thing that keeps me warm.

I love my jacket, but I have one core criticism: the hood attachment and closure is wonky. The coat is sort of a convertible - you can take the hood on or off, and even take the fur trim on the hood on and off. When on, the hood closes in the front of the jacket over the collar with two small snaps. This is the part that really doesn't work very well. When you have a scarf on, and then you add the collar of the jacket that closes under the hood, it gets pretty thick around the neck, and those two little snaps just don't hold everything together very well. I think I'm going to take my jacket to a tailor and have them replace the snaps with two medium sized buttons and eyelets like the closures on the rest of the coat. That should fix it.

The only other thing I wish the jacket had was a wire armature in the hood. Some of their models have this feature, but I think it should be standard. Being able to mold the hood to the weather is really a plus when you've got 40-50km winds and snow hitting you.

Now in the winter months in Toronto you've got two issues to deal with: bitter cold outside and too warm inside. Christmas shopping can be a bear as you walk to a shop in the cold, go in and sweat, go out and freeze, in and sweat, over and over. The alternative is to constantly be putting on and taking off your outer gear, which is a pain in the you-know-what, but sometimes the only remedy.

I love the Canadian winter, and am grateful I can be out in it safely. Thanks to my Love, I have the parka to handle it.  

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Family class issues: conditional permanent residency

Those of you in the family class of immigration should be aware of a change to Canadian immigration laws that have now created two classes of permanent residency for this classification.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) introduced amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the Regulations) which apply to spouses, common-law or conjugal partners in a relationship of two years or less with their sponsor and who have no children in common with their sponsor at the time they submit their sponsorship application.

The sponsored spouse must cohabit in a legitimate relationship with their sponsor for two years from the day on which they receive their permanent resident status in Canada. If they do not remain in the relationship, the sponsored spouse’s status could be revoked. The conditional measure only applies to permanent residents whose applications are received on or after October 25, 2012—the day that the amendments came into force.

There are exceptions to this rule based on situations of spousal abuse, or in the case of the death of the sponsor.

Aside from the need to satisfy the two-year requirement, conditional permanent residence does not differ from normal permanent residence. These sponsored spouses have access to the same rights and benefits as other permanent residents. They will be allowed to work and study without a work or study permit; they will not be subject to different tuition fees in post-secondary schools; and they will have the same access to health coverage and social benefits, including social security (or income support).

If the conditions above do not apply to your situation, then you will be granted full permanent residence status when you finish the immigration process successfully, without the conditional status.

This amendment was created to fight immigration fraud, and you can't blame the government for attempting to stem any abuses of the family class. Legitimate families know how tough it is to immigrate to Canada. New families will just have to be patient when it comes to assuring the government they are legitimate.