I just made my fourth call to Canadian Citizenship and Immigration to hone my understanding of the process and in seeking confirmation of what I understand about the process and the implications of my circumstances and choices. Completely expectedly, the whole process is rather unwieldy and inscrutable, requiring many readings and re-readings of guides and documents and forms. Ultimately I must build a pyramid at the base of which are all the individual actions and results that will support my application for permanent residency, like visiting a local police station to get a record of traffic convictions and infringements, going to Western Union Offices in Toronto in a failed attempt to wire money to an invalid recipient in Taiwan as payment for a police clearance, and buying a new red folder especially for housing the guides and forms and other components of the permanent residency application as it develops. These individual actions form the base of the pyramid and support components a little higher up, for example, the receipt by me of an official police criminal record certificate that evidences my clean bill of good-citizenry health for the period that I lived in Taiwan. A little further up are the larger stages and steps, such as submitting my complete application for the permanent residence and extending my tourist visa after the regular six month period has elapsed. At the very top of the pyramid, closest to the heavens, is the penultimate event on which the entire campaign with CIC is built: the grant of a permanent residency visa for me, allowing me to come and go across Canada's borders as easily as a mosquito might cross the borders. And then, like a mosquito, I can suck Canada's blood and potentially give it malaria.
Here is a summary of what I now understand about the process.
I can apply from outside or inside Canada for my permanent residency.
Both ways have two stages but the stages vary between inside and outside application.
Inside application: stage one - assess sponsor and applicant, 9 months; stage two - medical, security, background checks of applicant, 9 months; both stages @ Mississauga CIC office.
Outside application: stage one - assess sponsor, 45 working days, Mississauga CIC office; stage two - assess applicant, 8 months, done at relevant CIC office outside Canada (in my case, Sydney).
I want to be able to get part-time work while studying but I need a work permit or visa. Outside Canada, I file an application for an open work permit with my application for PR and it should come through when my PR does. I am not sure about this. I think I can automatically work if I have a permanent visa. So it would be about months before I was able to get part-time work.
While my application for permanent residency is being assessed, I will be here on a temporary resident visa or tourist visa. This is valid for me for 6 months. It should expire before my PR is granted so I will apply for an extension and shouldn't have to leave the country or go anywhere. It would be granted because of my common-law relationship and pending PR application.
After nine months when my PR is granted, it will be available from Sydney. I would have to communicate with them about how to get it. They might be able to mail it or I might be able to get it from the relevant embassy here in Canada OR I might have to go to Australia to pick it up.
Great. Now I am more certain about what I am doing and how to do it.