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Emmigrieren nach Ontario, Kanada
Immigration to Ontario, Canada

Canada Immigration Ontario Work Permit
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Canada Immigration Ontario Work Permit
DISCLAIMER: The following is my personal experience. Following the same path, you may have different results. As we immigrated to the province Ontario everything we experienced is related to Canadian and Ontario provincial laws. There might be changes with respect to other provinces, (e.g. Quebec) which I don't know anything about. Please, also note that links to external websites that I posted for information, may or may not be active or have moved since I used them. That, unfortunately, is beyond my control, but Google can be very helpful in those instances.


Introduction: Where it all started!
Chapter1: You gotta have a visa first!
Chapter 2: You are moving - but how and what?
Chapter 3: You are landing - now what
Chapter 4: What's next?
Chapter 5: Application Week!
Chapter 6: Receiving your personal effects!
Chapter 7: Registerung your imported vehicle!
Chapter 8: Applying for Permanent Residence!
Chapter 9: Applying for Canadian Citizenship!

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Introduction: Where it all started!

Wir, eine 4-koepfige Famile sind erst kuerzlich nach Kanada "umgezogen" und haben dabei sehr viele Erfahrungen gemacht, die wir an dieser Stelle gerne weitergeben moechten. Da gute englische Sprachkenntnisse fuer ein solches Vorhaben sowieso unerlaesslich sind (hier ist im uebrigen ein excellentes online Woerterbuch), werden wir das also in englischer Sprache tun, was sich im weiteren als logisch heraustellen sollte. Viel Spass also beim Lesen.

It all started in the late nineties when I got bored with my job in Germany and needed a change. We lived in Heidelberg in our own house, which was not finished at the time after 8 years of labour. That however is a different story and is really of no relevance here. So, I sent my resume to a few companies worldwide and got a job offer from a company on the beautiful English south coast, in Portsmouth. So we decided to move, aka as immigrate to England. It wasn't a painful process after all. So how did it go? Well, this again is an entirely different story. The fact that we lived in England and immigrated to Canada from there is hereby explained. All the following is valid for any Scottish, Welsh, Irish, English and ... British citizen as well!

Chapter 1: You gotta have a visa first!

There are many routes.
I went the direct one: I applied for a job with a Canadian company ... and got invited. First advice here: they sometimes offer you a telephone interview first. Well, I declined and asked whether they would be prepared to accommodate me if I would fly over on my own money ('cause I wanted the job). They agreed (which was a good indication that I was a candidate worth talking to), so I bought a ticket with my airmiles, flew over on on a Sunday morning, had my interview on Monday at lunchtime and would have been back in the office in the UK on Tuesday morning if I had not taken a day off. I got a job offer and accepted after some negotiation.

My new employer subsequently applied at Human Resources and Social Development Canada for me to come to Canada. The entire process is described here. As a result I received a letter (a Work Permit I thought!) from them, took about 3-4 weeks after I accepted the employment offer. It wasn't though: it was a copy of the Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) Labour Market Opinion which allowed me to apply for a work permit. Now I downloaded the necessary forms from the internet and filled them out. If you have young children which will be going to school, you need a Study Permit for them . There is no need for a separate form, just pay the fee for the study permit. Regardless whether your wife is planning to work or not, apply for a open work permit for her, makes life so much easier. No need for a form, just send the fees. We did not do it, however. Use one cheque per person drawn to a Canadian bank to pay the fees. That is the most hassle-free option for the Canadian High Commission. They are quite helpful there, if they have problems they write to you or even call. After 2-3 weeks (it was 10 days in my case) you receive ... another letter. An invitation to apply for a work/study permit?! Yes, it was a formal letter which stated that my application to work in Canada was now approved and that I can travel to Canada. At the port-of-entry all documents will be released. It had a file number on it which later becomes your work permit number. We received three of those, two study permits for the kids and one for me. My wife did not apply for a work permit so got nothing. She was scared to death! But ... she is here as well so it all worked out in the end, I gave her a copy of mine instead, worked out ok. Now, these letters and a machine readable passport valid for more than 6 months is all you need to enter Canada and receive a 3 year work/study permit/Visitors Record. Take my advice: get a new passport for your piece of mind, if yours expires in two years or earlier. You got enough on your plate once you're there and won't think of renewing your passport. You can study the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website for more information or might as well ask me.

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Chapter 2: You are moving - but how and what?

I am sort of skipping the whole section of how and what you will move from wherever you are to wherever you go. I hired a relocation company to do the job for me and after gone through the exercise I urge you to hire somebody to do it for you, especially if you are moving with family and a complete household, like I did. Whatever anybody tells you, here is what is important:

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Chapter 3: You are landing - now what?

Well, this is actually the easiest part. With your work permit application, everything is on computer at Immigration. You need that letter you received from the embassy and show it at passport control. They direct you to Immigration where you will get your final, real nice and official looking Work Permit (Study Permit) within a few minutes. Well organized! After that you will get your luggage and go to Customs. You want to declare something so take the correct line. What do you want to declare: that a container is going to follow you with your personal effects. You fill out a PERSONAL EFFECTS ACCOUNTING DOCUMENT and that is where you need your monetary inventory list. Be aware, you have to fill out that form, which basically means handcopying your inventory list to that form. It took me nearly an hour, so this will take some time. It will be processed straight away and you will receive the CASUAL GOODS ACCOUNTING DOCUMENT showing ZERO taxes and ZERO duty and ZERO everything because you are settler resp. immigrant as far as Customs is concerned. Well done! That's it for now. You're in.

From here on, we recommend: wherever you go, carry your passports, permits, birth certificate originals of all family members, marriage certificate originals, drivers licence, credit card, employment contract with you at all times! No, it is not about things getting stolen, these are all different forms of identification, it will make life very easy for you when you visit the authorities for everything you need.

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Chapter 4: What's next?

Take a few days and relax, a weekend would be ideal, so fly in on a Friday. All shops are open, there is lots to see. In the evenings when the kids go to bed, get a glass of red wine or whatever you like and check your documents. Besides the documents mentioned in Chapter 3, you should have:
Don't underestimate the power of a Master- or Visacard in Canada. It is a valid form of identification and you might need it later. Keep your bank accounts wherever you come from, you can always close them later or leave them open. I still have both my German and UK bank accounts, debit and mastercard. You'll never know.

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Chapter 5: Application Week!

Right! The next days will be hectic, you need all family members at any time, so if you come in summer, have a big car with air condition, if you come in winter, have warm clothing. It can take up to a week. We are doing that in the following order:

Having a permanent address: Well, you need one. If you are in temporary accommodation for a couple of months, either Bed&Breakfast or a rented apartment paid by your employer, you're all set. If you are in a hotel for a couple of months, I am not sure. Ask your employer if you can use their address as your home address in that case. You need an address before you can really get everything sorted. Funny enough, a bank account you get without a permanent Canadian address!

Getting a bank account: First check whether the bank in your home country has any dependencies in Canada. If so, try them first, see what they can do for you. I have looked at opening a bank account online, but eventually did not do it. I was on business in Canada a couple of months before actually moving and opened a bank account as a non-resident. That is always possible and you will get a bank card (like Debit/Switch/EC) while you're there. It was easy for a non-resident, so you should not have any trouble. You need some Canadian funds for deposit into your new account. Get a bank statement printed, stamped and signed by the bank representative. You might need it later. And whilst you're there ask about a Credit Card.

Exchanging your driver's licence: There is tons of information here, but I'll give you the shortcut. Canada operates a Graduate Licensing Program. That does not apply for your exchange if you had your licence long enough. So you will get a full Ontario driver's licence if you had your licence for more than two years. Important: you have to surrender your licence, they take it from you and send it to your home country so that you don't have two licences whilst in Canada (or whatever the reason is!).! You go into any driver's licensing office, show your UK or International Driver's Licence and ask for an exchange. They want to see your passport, your work/study permit (I guess, we showed them everything), you get an eye examination and tell them your address, get a picture taken, pay a couple of dollars and you are out in 15 minutes with a brand-spanking-new driver's licence, no joking. Your first real Canadian Identification Card, actually the most important one for your stay in Canada as it shows your address, photo and signature! Well done!
NOTE: If you are a motorcyclist, like I am, bad luck: no exchange. You will get the experience acknowledged, so can skip all the respecting steps of the Ontario Graduate Licensing Program. It is a bit of a pain: you have to do the written test and a driving test. Written test: bad, really bad, I failed it four times! You have to learn everything out of 2 books. A real PITA. As I said I failed it a couple of times, it is only 10 dollars, its multiple choice and you can try as often as you like, but only once a day (they operate 4-5 sheets at a time so after 10 tests you should be fine). No, I am not joking.
After having finally passed the written test and got my M1 licence (well, I got the M2 but that is a different story all together), I just (to make things really easy for me) signed up for a weekend safety course (which you do on your own bike) which ended with the MTO approved driving test. Check out these links and find one for you. Painless, fun, and you usually pass. Also, the insurance gives you a break on the insurance premium for your bike as this is considered a course adding to your experience and safety.

Applying for Health coverage:Go to your nearest Ministry of Health Office and apply for OHIP coverage. Be aware that coverage only starts after three months (at least when you come from England), but I would assume it does not matter where you come from, you'll find out and ... don't get sick. I guess that they just would like to see whether you stay or something. I don't know the reason. You DO need that letter from your employer stating that "he intends to employ you for more than three years" (exactly that!), and various forms of identification. You fill out that a couple of forms and that's it. You will get a proof of application, which again, in itself is a proof of identification/residence/whatever. Make yourself familiar with the health system in Canada: basically, OHIP provides only basic health cover, for everything else you need a private health insurance. Most Canadian employers do offer a group insurance for their employees which covers a variety of additional treatments.

Applying for Social Insurance Number:You find tons of information here. Find the nearest office, bring all the documents you have including your employment contract. Your Social Insurance Number will be issued in about 1-2 weeks. However, I came in on a Friday, made it urgent and got my number manually on the next Monday, so it is a quick and painless procedure. This SIN starts with a 9 which identifies you as a temporay resident! I don't know why that is so special, but it was the reason I did not get a Canadian Credit Card at first.

Getting car insurance: Before you actually buy a car it is a good idea to shop for some insurance. The system is simple: there are 6 level of no claims bonus, also know as Stars. 3 Stars get you a 50% discount, the other 3 Stars I don't know, but expect no more than 5% per Star. For Canadian insurers you have no insurance history, period. No matter how many no claims letter you have (I had two from the UK and one from Germany). If you do one of these safety courses I mentioned earlier, they "award" you three Stars. So I actually went to a insurance broker, told him my story. He offered me insurance cover, gave me some price bogeys for cars and I went shopping ... for a car. When I found the car I returned to him and got the insurance document straight away. In order to issue those documents, the broker wants to see the Used Vehicle Information Package and Safety Certificate as mentioned in the next section.

Buying a car:Well, I did not know however what the system was on used car registration in Canada, so I went to a dealer, bought a car, and let him do the registration. End of story.
Now that I know, after 2 motorbikes and one more car I bought privately, here's the deal: everybody who wants to sell a car is obliged to provide a Used Vehicle Information Package. Any car that changes the owner needs to undergo a safety inspection and is been issued a Safety Standards Certificate. Don't buy the vehicle without! Also fill out the respecting portions on the registration documents and have the previous owner sign it. When you take your Used Vehicle Information Package and your Safety Certificate and your Insurance Slip to the Licensing Office you pay, amongst other fees, 8% Provincial Sales Tax (I think it was) on the vehicle. The PST is based on the Canadian Red Book which lists the wholesale and retail values of used vehicles. You get your new registration documents right away.

Buying a house:Very straight forward in my case: I used a real estate agent and she was very switched on! She was working for a larger chain and they had everything I needed. Finding a house was easy. Getting a mortgage: first you need a pre-approval to actually be able to put an offer in for a house. Once you have this pre-approval you are set for buying a house. If your offer gets accepted, a solicitor is taking over (one for each party) and they as well barely need you. So you can use the time now to do some shopping for mortgages and get some more offers. The pre-approval does not oblige you to stick to that bank/offer. I personally did not pay too much attention here, I eventually went with my bank.

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Chapter 6: Receiving your personal effects!

The container has arrived, you are very excited. First and foremost remember this: you are dealing with people. Yes there are rules but you are entering "their" territory so don't request, don't even complain (unless you know what you're doing), just go with the flow. If you have nothing to hide, you'll be fine. If you upset them, you're busted. The Customs Officer, having cleared all my goods, Welcomed me to Canada. Nice.

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Chapter 7: Registering your imported vehicle!

OK, now that you have received your Vehicle Import Form 1 it is time to register your bike in your name. As a reminder: You will get your motorbike registered as "unfit" (you're missing the safety certificate or have you done it?) and "unplated" (you're missing the insurance proof or you got it?). But that's alright: your bike is now legally registered in Canada and you can plate it at any time. You will need to find a dealer or garage now to get your motorbike Safety'ed, then you get insurance cover (is not as easy as it sounds, ask your insurer first) and then go back to the licensing office to get it finally plated and fit for the road. I am sure all of this applies if you import a car older than 15 years, but don't take my word for it. You have seen so many government sites now and have so many links bookmark'ed, you sure know where to look up phone numbers.

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Chapter 8: Applying for Permanent Residence!

So, here we are, in our new house, kids back in school as of September 7, everybody nearly settled in. The container has arrived, is unloaded and the house is nearly nearing completion. My Work Permit is only good for three years, my employment contract is good for eternity, so the next thing we will do and tell you all about is applying for the Permanent Residence Card (Landed Immigrant) from here. What I know so far: I have to apply as Skilled Worker from outside Canada. Bufallo, NY is the closest, Berlin, GER another place, London UK the best to apply in our case. Why? Because our last place of residence was the UK, we are all proficient in English, but none of us has ever done any language test. We learned English "on the go", we both worked in an solely English speaking environment, the whole industry I worked in since 15 years is dominated by the English language. Therefore, London might be our best choice, not only because it was our last residence before we came to Canada. I will write up a self assessment and in addition, have my company mention my language proficiency in the reference letter. The fact that we are already resident in Canada does obviously not matter. I had 95 points on the self assessment before I got the job in Canada so we will see what happens. We will just get the paperwork ready and send it out to XXX via Registered Mail and go from there.

13th November 2004: we did it.
After a couple of weeks waiting for all the police certificates and having translations done, we finally sent our Application for Permanent Residence off to London via courier service today. It was a huge effort to get all that sorted (as we already live in Canada and have to apply for everything in England and Germany by mail), but it is possible, just takes time. We followed their guideline very closely but deviated in some areas.
17th November 2004: PR Application delivered
On this day, the courier dropped the application off at the Canadian High Commision in London.
8th December 2004: Processing begins
You can check the status of your application online (aka e-client): mine says, processing started 8th December 2004.
21th December 2004: AOR (Acknowledgement of Receipt) received
So, the C$86 spent on the courier service finally paid off: not only was our application delivered, but somebody actually received it and I got my file number today. When we receive the results of the Initial Assessment (possibly with interview and medicals request), we will explain our deviations from the instructions in more detail, because then we know that at least they considered it complete.
March 2006: My son & his college story
Now, my son has decided to go to College. Too bad, his study permit only allows him to attend secondary schools in Ontario. So, he had to apply for a new study permit to go to college. The application was straight forward ("Application to extend my stay" IMM1249E), more details on this website. Do yourself a favor, follow the instructions meticulously, include the applicable fee of $125 and wait 6-8 weeks. That all worked out and Hendrik got his new study permit on June 1st which was valid for one year. Off he went to the college to finish the registration process when the next issue shocked us really hard: the college enrolled him as an International Student. Nothing wrong with that if it wasn't for the $10.800 college fees! What? I was absolutely flabbergasted and quite honestly, speechless. What now? That wasn't in the script! I made a phone call to the registrar at the college and it was confirmed: since he was no permanent resident, he could not be considered a regular student (who would only pay $2800).
I don't know what made me do this, but I decided to complain. No, not just complain: I would send letters and emails to the Canadian Minister of Education in Ottawa, the Ontario Minister of Education, CIC and my local MP and explain the situation and describe the unfairness of my son living in Canada, later working in Canada and being disadvantaged with higher debts just because CIC's processing times had been revised. I made it clear in those letters, that the revised processing times are absolutely unacceptable and responsible for the situation, my son was in. Yes, I really ranted about the system.
Both ministries did send a standard email basically saying that it was "not their intention" to get involved in CIC matters and that rules and regulations are there for a reason. Why was I not surprised! But, to my much bigger surprise, the office of our local MP answered! And not only that, I was assigned an Office representative who took care of the case. She inquired additional information from us and made a couple of appointments with the College registrar. And low and behold, 4 weeks later, a revised invoice from the college arrives: $2800. We all couldn't believe it but it was true, the Office of Gary Goodyear, Local MP of Cambridge, Ontario actually made it happen. Thank you, Mrs. Susanne Riedl.
28th April 2006: A letter arrives
The letter basically says that the processing times estimations for all permanent resident applications have been revised and that my application will be reviewed before the end of June 2007. Bummer! That means I have to renew my work permit in time as it runs out on the 31 March 2007. Ah well, after the summer!
9th August 2006: Time to renew the work permit
I had almost forgotten, how much paperwork there was to read before I was able to fill out the form correctly: not only did I have to renew my work permit, my wife also wanted an Open Work Permit and my son needed an extension of his study permit ("Application to extend my stay" IMM1249E, more details on this website). When I looked at the fees had to pay, the information was unclear to me. I read it over and over again and finally decided based on the wording that only the principal applicant had to pay and the others go free. Hold your thought for the next paragraph. I truly believed I had it right.
27th September 2006: A letter arrives (work permit II)
The letter said: "You have submitted $150 with your application. The correct amount required is $425 for the services you requested." Alright then, we'll send it again just the way it is and include the additional funding.
1st November 2006: A letter arrives (permanent residence application)
"Your skilled worker application will be processed after 90 days from the date of this letter. This letter requests that you update your application."
Brilliant, so it is not June 2007, it is February 2007. Enough time, I'll deal with it during the Christmas Holidays.
22th November 2006: A letter arrives (work permit III)
What's wrong now? "You submitted an incomplete application." Dear Mr. CIC Processing Center, did you not check for completeness when you had the application before? And it goes on: "We cannot take any action in your case until such time as you resubmit your entire application with a copy of this letter and the following: A photocopy of a Human Resources and Skills Development Canada confirmation". A.k.a. Positive Labour Market Opinion. Ho, ho, ho ... hold your horses. Nobody told me that! So I call the CIC Processing Center in Vegreville to enquire: in the case of a 3-year work permit that is close to expire, this is normal practice. Ah well ...
That wouldn't have really mattered if I hadn't changed jobs within the company a couple of months before. So my employer applied at HRDC for the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) and after about 4 weeks, shortly after Christmas, the Positive LMO arrives. A cover letter from my employer details the fact that I have been working permanently with the company and that I had transferred to the new position pending LMO and work permit application. I included that with my 3rd submission of my work permit extension which I sent of on January 4, 2007. Fingers crossed!
17th January 2007: Time to update the permanent residence application
The need for obtaining a new positive labour market opinion as per above nicely supported my claim for points for arranged employment as per Section 82 para 2 subpara (d) (i) and (ii) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. Again, I was very meticulous in filling out the form, including my sons new study permit and passport, my other sons new passport and all updated information where applicable. UPS took care of the application and delivered it on January 17, 2007 to CIC London.
27th February 2007: Three letter arrive (work permit IV)
One load off our minds: two new shiny work permits and ne new study permit arrive in time. It allows us to extend the validity of our Ontario Health Cards. Mind the "3-yr letter" when you apply which has to states that your employer intends to employ your for more than 3 years ... unless you have had OHIP coverage for more than three years and are extending, in which case you don't need that letter. So if you were on a one year work permit and would extend for another year, you need the letter. This letter was also required when you first applied. I have also extended validity of my Social Insurance Number and my wife applied for her's (based on her open work permit). So we are prepared for another 3 years of waiting ... for PR.
11th April 2007: A letter arrives (Permanent Residence 90-day II)
Our application must have been looked at around early April. We received another 90-day letter dated 3rd April advising me that my application would be prioritized AND that I would be awarded 15 more points for arranged employment and adaptability if I supply the required documents ... which I did via fax. See how that works out.
16th May 2007: Work Permit V
My wife's Open Work Permit is restricted to non-child care occupation. We did not believe she would go back working as a Kindergarten teacher, but life offers many surprises! She has a job offer for a leading position in a local Waldorf Kindergarten. So, another application for work permit renewal containing her job offer and employment conditions, another $150 to feed the government, when is this going to end, in other words, when do I get my Permanent Residence status?
18th May 2007: THE letter arrives
Finally, we received a small, 8 x 5.5 envelope today, containing our Request for Medical Examination. The long wait (2 yrs 6mos 10days from start of processing) is finally over as you only get your medicals once the Initial Assessment (IA) has been performed and you have sufficient points.
23th May 2007: Medical Examination
Today, we did our immigration medicals, a pretty straight forward examination consisting of: Our results will be sent directly from the doctor's office to CHC London via Expresspost, so we will have to wait (again). The nurse will inform us if anything was out the ordinary, so in this case, no news is good news.

Update: the medical results were without pathological findings and received in London, UK on June 5.

15th June 2007: Passport Request received
It is finally done: on June 11, CHC London sent me a letter to request all passports. So, they were serious and have fasttracked my application after they realized, I was eligible for Arranged Employment points.

Update: our passports were sent off and received in London on June 20.

9th July 2007: VISA received
943 days later. Now, what remains to be done is actually immigrating to Canada which is planned for next weekend.
11th July 2007 9:38PM: LANDED

4 happy Immigrants

Chapter 9: Applying for Canadian Citizenship!

Fast forward to 2013:
A a family, we have decided to apply for the Canadian Citizenship (use this link to get to the official immigration website.).
I downloaded the forms from the CIC homepage: this is a very simple application. The only thing that you need to know and probably do some digging (passport stamps etc) is how many days you were outside Canada (e.g. for business or on vacation) in the 4 years preceeding the date of your application. You also need copies of some douments from your initial immigration, passport, drivers licence, health card, school records etc. The application is specific about those requirements and the guide is very helpfull.
If you are between 18 and 54yrs of age at the time of application, you have to provide evidence of your language abilities: either a Highschool Diploma or the results of a language test such as IELTS and other. The application guide lists all options. The advantage of being older is the fact that if you're under 18 or over 54 that you don't have to write the Citizenship Test (click this link) nor do you have to do a language test.
There is a 'little' problem with keeping your German citizenship if you have one: the German government is requesting that you submit an application to retain your citizenship. It is called "Antrag auf Beibehaltung der deutschen Staatsbuergerschaft" (google it) and has to be submitted and decided upon before the date of you becoming a Canadian citizen. That is very important. I am not going into details of that application.

Nov 11, 2013: We applied for Canadian Citizenship
Nov 15, 2013: Our application was delivered to CIC by Canada Post and signed for
Feb 01, 2014: Received notification - application in process.
Feb 19, 2014: Received acknowledgement of receipt
Aug 15, 2014: Notice to appear - to write a citienship test and for verification of identity/documents
March 11, 2015: Notice to appear - to take the Oath of Citizenship

26th March 2015 11:15AM: Taking the Oath of citizenship!

4 happy Canadians

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