Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Crisis in Canada: Chaos and Confusion

Well, once again I am surrounded by a cloud of uncertainty and difficult choices. It's stressful and it requires some deal of education and investigation before decisions can be made and actions taken.

Andrea will be studying at Lakehead University this coming semester. She will be studying for her postgraduate teaching qualification. That's fine for her but it leaves me standing in a pool of cold dilemma. I don't have a work permit for Canada and it may take up to nine months before I get one, at the same time that the first stage of my application for permanent residency is approved.  Nine months in Canada without working would be an awfully long time.  Sure, I have a full-time course of study of my own to pursue but I was really looking forward to being able to work part-time so that I could earn some money to put towards our living expenses and also because my course of study is completely online and I'm going to need ways of being involved in the local community.  I couldn't just study at home all the time; that would drive me crazy.  What am I going to do for nine months if I go and live with Andrea in Thunder Bay while she is slogging through her education qualification?  I could try to get some cash-in-hand work; I get the impression that I might be able to get a bit of that.  And I could also do some volunteer work and maybe set up a language exchange too, to practice my Chinese.

I need to recapitulate the progress that I made today.  I spent almost the whole day working towards making decisions about what to do about our recent change of plans and priorities.  Although I am ready to take a break from this behemoth of logistical challenges that has risen up from the circumstances that surround us, I need to pull together what I have learned and accomplished from the day.

Andrea is more or less committed to doing the course at Lakehead.  Wherever I am, I am going to be doing my online occupational health and safety course.  I want to be with Andrea (or at least I don't want to be separated from her for a long time) so I will need to be in Thunder bay with her.  I was really looking forward to getting a part-time job in Thunder Bay but it seems that I won't be able to legally work in Canada until the first stage of my application for permanent residency is approved and maybe until the second stage has also been approved.  The time for processing differs markedly between an application made in Canada and one made outside Canada.  There are two stages in the process of getting the spouse visa: Stage 1 involves assessment of the sponsor; Stage 2 involves assessment of the sponsored.  Completion of the first stage of processing takes 37 [working] days outside Canada but 9-10 months in Canada; completion of the second stage takes 7 months outside Canada but 9 months in Canada.  So in total, an application made outside Canada takes about 8-and-a-half months while making the application in Canada will take about 18 months, almost a year longer.  But work is a problem.  I can submit an application for a work permit with my application for permanent residence in Canada and I think it will come through when the first stage is complete.

I just realised two things while reading some of the guides.  The first stage of the application outside Canada is an assessment only of the sponsor.  The first stage of the application in Canada is an assessment of the sponsor and the sponsored which explains why it takes so much longer.  I don't know what the implications of this are.

The other thing I realised is that there is a difference between temporary residence permit and temporary residence visa.

I also made some phone calls about getting a refund on our plane tickets if we are not returning to Australia next month.  Expedia told me that because we has started to use the tickets I had to contact the relevant airline directly.  I called Air Canada and found out that our tickets are non-refundable although for a fee of $50 we can change the date up until three months from the date on which we first used the tickets.  So I can call them back and change the date of our return flights up to the second of August.

That's enough for today.

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