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  1. 6 points
    Hello all , here is some information I gathered ( we went the courier route, so I can confirm that this is all valid for that) In one parcel Send the following All passports ( if more than one ) The passport request letter you received from IRCC The VAC consent forms ( http://www.vfsglobal.ca/canada/southafrica/pdf/consent_form_south_africa.pdf ) If you have multiple applications, you need to fill in a form for each applicant. For minors, a parent/guardian will need to sign The proof of payment (OR PAY BY CARD IF YOU ARE DELIVERING IN PERSON) You are paying for “Secure transmission of passport to the Embassy” see this link for costs : http://www.vfsglobal.ca/Canada/SouthAfrica/Service_and_Service_Charge.html ( this price is per passport ) Payment must be done as a cash deposit at the bank with Passport number as Reference ( if you have multiple passports, use the main applicant’s passport number ) I am not putting the banking details in ( incase they change ) - These can be found here : http://www.vfsglobal.ca/Canada/SouthAfrica/Service_and_Service_Charge.html Or you can deliver in person and pay with a card at the office Your Contact Information, including your email, phone number and return address Send an additional letter with this in your parcel — see the attached letter You can use any courier you choose You can send multiple passports and letters in one parcel ( recommend you place them in envelopes individually inside a main parcel ) Upon receipt, VFS with email your tracking numbers - Once you have the tracking number you will be able to track your application here : https://www.vfsvisaonline.com/Global-Passporttracking/Track/Index COLLECTION When You send the courier to collect, you will need to send a letter with them that gives them permission to collect on your behalf, — see the attached letter I hope this helps somebody contact details .docx letter of permission for courier to collect.docx
  2. 6 points
    I'm still confused if we maybe live in an alternate reality since so many people have written on forums and told us in person how hard it is to make friends with Canadians and to get them to invite you over to their house. We've had the complete opposite experience where we've been surprised at how readily people would invite us along on activities or to their house, much more so than in SA. We've been invited to Canadians' houses for special occasions and casual get-togethers, to baseball games, picnics, ice cream, hiking and to restaurants after not even knowing them for very long (or in some cases, after we've literally just met them). This is definitely not what I expected after hearing about others' experiences, especially since we are introverted, not very social and have not really done anything to actively meet people except say hi to neighbours, go to church and join a Bible study group.
  3. 6 points
    So an update on our progress. We both started our first jobs on Monday. Mixed reviews... Anna is very happy, nice people etc. The bunch I work with, less so. Bigger corporate, so the Canadian coldness that has been described was a first hand experience for me. It is what it is, we need to fit in. I greet people, if they greet back, its nice, if not, I tell myself they don't know any better, and move on with my life. The first day was tough, but everyday after that has been better. The corporate culture is very different to what I was used to, but not necessarily all bad. We get donuts on Fridays, which is very nice. We bought a new car, financed (at 1%, no deposit) and insured with a G1 license and an IDP, so it is possible. Don't ask me how, but the dealership got it done. I will admit, the insurance is exorbitant, but will come down once we pass our G and we have all the insurance history they require (6 years of uninterrupted cover) Driving the first day was a challenge, but it gets easier in time. I wouldn't call it blues, but we have had some down days, I won't lie. There is some stuff happening with both my parents, which isn't great, but I wouldn't have been able to change it if I was there, but it does get to you some days. You pull yourself towards yourself, and then you carry on living your life.
  4. 5 points
    We left because we felt the kids had a better future outside of SA - lower crime, more predictable economics, and less volatile politics. I was also tired of the race-based thinking in SA: too much focus on skin colour. As a Christian I view everyone equal and I dislike the fact that too many SAns are so race obsessed. Here people mostly look at each other based on criteria other than race. No country is perfect and SA still has its pluses especialy if you are already established economically. Coming to Canada can mean a big economic setback for some. If you could see the future you would never make a mistake.
  5. 5 points
    Oh I recalled something else you should definitely do before you leave South Africa. Get a copy of your transunion credit report - you cant login to the self service channels without your old SA cellphone number receiving sms's and it takes 15 working days, and massive admin for them to email you a copy if you request one via email. This report (eventually obtained with the help of my mother in SA) helped us get a mortgage 10 days after landing and could help you with car financing or just getting your first Canadian credit card which you need for EVERYTHING here. You old SA credit card will work in stores but wont be accepted for cellphone contracts or anything like that. Again of all the banks RBC was the most helpful with getting up set-up with credit cards ect with zero Canadian credit history. Just remind them if they don't seem to know about the newcomers package.
  6. 5 points
    Hi Guys, Sorry for the long lapse in communication. We arrived on 4 September and settled in Windsor. Its been a busy time getting our lives together but it helped my husband landed with a job. Housing- We were lucky enough to get a mortgage with 10% down with RBC under their newcomers package it works out significantly cheaper than renting Car - We bought one car to share, Husband has gotten his G license and I am going for mine later in the month (I was a bit more nervous of this other side of the road thing). Insurance is impossible and we are paying $5000 dollars a year due to being new drivers. The buses are easy enough to navigate for the rest of it. PR Cards - we are still waiting for our PR cards been a bit of a nightmare to be honest. I also found out I am pregnant so I have been working from home for my old job in SA. Midwife care is free here even before you are on the healthcare so that has been a blessing. If there is anything specific you want to know just drop me a private message Good luck all!
  7. 5 points
    We had a successfull one-week Acitivate and Admin trip last week (visa expires in December and we only got papers in October), so here is our Long Story So on Friday the tenth of November 2017 we are dropped off at the airport, ready for our “Landing week” in Toronto. We are a family of four with two little girls aged 1 (almost 2) and 3. We booked into the SlowLounge at FNB where the kids absolutely loved the watermelon and we had a glass of wine and snacks. About an hour before take-off we gave the little ones their “herbal remedies” as recommended by our trusted pharmacist, to help them to calm down. This was absolutely not effective and they started jumping on the chairs and running around while singing “Twinkle twinkle little star” so we left the lounge and boarded the plane. Our first leg was to London to where we would visit my husband’s sister for the day and fly to Toronto again the evening. The flight was quite bumpy and so the older girl’s tummy was not able to keep in all the watermelon and we had an unpleasant experience cleaning up the vomit… Anyway, safe arrivals in London where we were treated like royalty – because of the little ones we were allowed to skip all queues and went through customs like a breeze. Unfortunately our car seat and pram were not found at the carousel as expected, and upon investigation we learnt that it was booked through to Toronto. But hey, Heathrow British Airways apologized and GAVE us a BRANDNEW stroller and car seat! We were blown away. At my sister in laws house the kids played with their nephew for the whole day while we showered, ate and slept. The evening we left for Toronto and the flight went a lot better, the little ones were exhausted and slept like angels. On our arrival at Pearson we were again allowed to skip most of the queues. We were a bit confused when we were requested to provide a “Picture receipt”. In the customs lounge there are all these computer-cubicles where you use a touch-screen to create a landing card. Then you have to scan your passport and stand ready so that the machine can take a picture of you to create the photo. This then creates your “picture receipt” to be used further in the process. We got our passports stamped and then had to stand in the Immigrations queue. How exiting! This was a quick wait, less than five minutes. We had our “interview” with the friendly officer who processed our papers and then he said the magic words: “Welcome in Canada!” We proceeded to pick up our suitcases and were guided to the “goods to declare” queue, also not long. Here we provided our goods to follow list, got it stamped and proceeded to the arrivals hall. No SIN on a Saturday night, also because it was a public holiday. We booked an airport hotel for our first night, as we arrived at 20:20 and we assumed it would be a long process to get through all the hoops. All in all it was less than two hours, as expected. The arrivals lounge has a big bright “Call an Airport hotel” box behind the information desk. Again we (not used too much it seems) were blown away. On the touch screen monitor you select the hotel you want to contact and it dials the hotel. They confirmed our booking and told us when the next shuttle will arrive and at which pillar outside. Ten minutes later we were picked up and driven to the hotel. There we told the girls “it’s dark, we have to sleep”, although it was about six in the morning on our clocks, but around 11 in Toronto time. We managed to sleep until about six in the morning. Again we were surprised by the buffet breakfast: we used paper plates and cups and plastic knifes and enjoyed the “make your own waffle” station. After checking out we got an Uber to our self-catering AirBnb next to Lake Ontario in Etobicoke. Our lovely hosts showed us to our apartment next to theirs. When we asked where the closest Supermarket was, they offered to take me to do some shopping. Well, yes, thanks! Their car was not available immediately, so they brought over some milk, fruit and cereal so that the little ones can start munching away. These friendly people were Polish Immigrants that settled in Canada about 40 years ago. The rest of the day we spend shopping, preparing food and sleeping. On Monday we started exploring public transport. We walked to the nearest GO train and went to the CN tower for a wonderful visit. The visibility was not very good and they were doing maintenance, and therefore we were allowed to have a free trip to the top bubble as well. We loved the inner city look and feel. Because Saturday was a public holiday, Monday was booked off as well, so the city was very quiet. Then back with the train – the children loved it. Walking back home we passed a playground next to the lake. This was just a random playground, but it looked like the ones you see at local restaurants that caters for families. Big and awesome. There were even kids bikes parked around the playground, these bikes stay here and any child can hop on and off. Yes, some of them a wheel or so missing, but hey… it’s awesome. On Tuesday we started our admin, as it is the main reason for our trip. We went to Service Canada for our SIN numbers. Here we had to deal with quite a long queue and wait, but again, there are clean carpets, efficient friendly people, the lights are working, the chairs are not broken. To our surprise the agent assisting us pointed out that the one girl’s birth date is wrong on the CoPR letter. We fumed, because we had these papers re-issued by Vfs twice, because there were mistakes on it. I assume that this mistake were made on the last time they issued the paper, and we only checked that the previous mistake was fixed, and did not pick up on this one. However, it’s not a train smash, apparently we just have to sort it out before we apply for citizenship. Then we went to open a newbie bank account at RBC. This was quite a long process, about 90 minutes and I am sure the bank staff were as excited as us when we left. The girls and their playdough occupied the customer’s entrance and to keep them quiet was not easy at all. The CustomerCare lady brought them sweets and later balloons. At one time they were screaming and she yelled “no, that’s too loud!!” Not fun… However, we have our account and are happy with it. Wednesday was a quiet day, relaxing and resting, whilst preparing for our G1 tests. Yes! So on Thursday we trekked out to DriveTest in Oakville, as we decided that we also want to explore another neighborhood. It was an extremely windy, cold day. We took the GO train to Bronte and walked to the test center. Again, clean, working lights, working system, friendly people. I passed my G1 test with the intention to do the road-test on our return in March. The lady informed me that when I have a G1, I cannot use my South African driver’s license anymore. I am not sure if I understood it correctly, but we decided that my husband will not do the G1 now, and when we land in March we have the option to rent a car on his name if needed, and buy a car on my name as soon as I have the full G license. I hope it was the right decision. Then we visited the Bronte harbor, what a lovely place. Friday was our last day, and our flight only at six the evening. We had an arrangement with our hosts that we would check out at eleven but only pick up our luggage later. So we left for the local mall but it was not too exciting. Lots of clothes stores, I would have loved to see some homeware stores. What impressed us was the fact that they had leather couches in the walkways where the “male-partners” were waiting for the ladies to finish their shopping. Upon our return to the flat our hosts informed us that they will take us to the airport. Really, these Canadians impressed us. Random people told us that we had beautiful girls, at the playparks strangers were friendly, the bus drivers are kind and friendly, the check-out personnel at shops are smiling and friendly, once when I had to drag a kid and a stroller up or down the stairs, three strangers offered to assist. We really had a very very pleasant time in Toronto. Back at the airport we again were called to special lines because of the “babies”. In the Pearson departure halls we were surprised to see rows and rows of Ipads on desks for the use of absolutely anyone. Yes, you can also use it to order drinks/snacks in the restaurants, but you do not have to. Back in London on Saturday morning the kids played like they were in heaven and were very sad to say goodbye to their nephew the same evening. Heathrow again treated us like Royalty and while we were waiting to board the plane, we were seated in a special quiet area. This flight to Joburg did not go that well, this time the little one’s tummy misbehaved and we had to clean up again. Not fun. Back in Joburg when we left the plane, we tried to find the stroller that we left in the drop-point at the plane when leaving Heathrow. We could not find either the plane’s pick-up point, or anyone that knows where we should look. The most positive response we got was: “Well, it’s not here.” Also, we were not treated like Royalty anymore, and had to take on the long queues like normal people. When inquiring at the lost baggage section, my husband tried to squeeze out another free stroller from them (just testing the Heathrow vs ORT attitude, our lost stroller was a freebie anyway) but no luck and no friendliness. Well now we are back to reality and ORT just delivered the lost stroller so they are not so bad, but hey, we had a Royal time and are really looking forward to our return in March!
  8. 5 points
    We've had the same thing when we moved here years ago and I had the same experience when I moved back in 2014. People have been very friendly and invited us/me over. This has been mainly through people who we met at church. Our first Boxing Day was spent at a lady's house who invited us over after church. (This was our first visit to that church). When we got there and the living room was a bit quiet when we arrived, one of the (about 15-20) guests said: "You can relax, no one here knows anyone, we all met her last week." This was this lady's ministry to invite people over. Her name is Star and she is truly a shining one. We met lovely people from all over the world. A truly memorable experience.
  9. 4 points
    when it gets dirty. Maybe twice a winter
  10. 4 points
    We moved for career prospects. We'd been married less than a year, no children, living in a small "townhouse" with mostly hand-me-down furniture (we knew we'd be leaving so didn't bother buying nice stuff). We could easily do the "arriving in a new country with only 2 suitcases" scenario. We boarded our dog with my parents and sent for them later - we had to do the " 6 month quarantine thing" which was hell. We lived in the UK for 10 years, started to build a life, then decided to move to Canada for the space, lifestyle, did I mention SPACE? and career prospects. Obviously this time it was a bit different - with a 4 yo child and 3 dogs. We shipped a small pallet of "things" and started off in Ottawa, 18 months later moved to the Maritimes. We love it here. We do get shed-loads of snow and horrible, blizzard winter storms but we're on an island in the Atlantic ocean, it's to be expected. Winter starts later as Lizelle mentioned - we haven't even had proper snow yet, there's a dusting on the ground right now but you can see the grass through it. It doesn't get as cold as many other areas of Canada either. On average -18 is the coldest in the deep winter months, with the odd -25 drop.
  11. 4 points
    Think about the last time you heard someone had their house broken into. In SA, you're first reaction is not complete surprise and indignation that someone actually broke into someone else's house. Your first reaction is: "You are so lucky you were not home."
  12. 4 points
    We left SA because we could not possibly see it getting better in the next few generations (I used to say that I think my childrens' children may be able to return. I have now changed it to my childrens' childrens' childrens' children...maybe) We did not take a dive in living standard, but we moved out of SA about a year or two into working (so, not much up the ladder anyway). The difference in living standard is huge. I think in SA you get so used to the creeping security situation that you don't notice the absurdity of it. I really like going shopping at night. I can leave the kids at home. When was the last time you went shopping at night? I can watch my garden through my huge windows - no security bars. You will confuse a Canadian no end if you tell them that you take your radio out of the car when you get out. I drive happily with my hand bag on the seat next to me. I never worry that having my sunglasses out in full view will convince someone to break into my car. In summer I can drive with the windows open with no care. I will live in the most desolate bit of Canada before I move back to SA. In fact, I can't see any situation anywhere that will convince me to go back. Now, for the ugly: I hate winter here. Pretty much all Canadians hate winter. I have met maybe 1 out of 10 that genuinely like it. But we live in the Prairies. Winter is 6 months. Of cold and dark. Add in a cold month here and there for fall and spring, and you have 8 months of crappy weather, and 4 months of nice weather. If I could wangle it, Vancouver Island would be my first pick to live, and there after Kamloops or Kelowna. Yes, it rains a lot in Vancouver/Vancouver Island. But there you get 4 months of crappy/rainy weather, and 8 months of nice weather. After that, the Maritimes. It seriously dumps down snow in the Maritimes, but it starts later, and ends earlier. Plus they are more south, so they have a bit more daylight during winter. Property is seriously cheap in the Maritimes (but there is a corresponding lack of work, so you move there only if you can get work). Candians tend to think that no-one else in the world can possibly know how to do things. When you look at the hoops doctors and lawyers (and I am sure other professions) have to jump through to work here, it is ridiculous. It was not a problem for us, but we moved from New Zealand to Canada, and hubby works in construction, where the dollar value of your project counts for more than where you did it. I have never been sorry that we moved. Life is easy. Immigrating was not hard or depressing for us. Definitely did not go through the first few months wondering what the heck we did. Sure, not having family around sucks. But you get used to it, you Skype and message.
  13. 4 points
    Its been a process and its still up and down with homesickness. I miss the groceries, the natural beauty of SA and the restaurants from JHB but its probably just because we are in a very small town.... (also say goodbye to Pronutro you will find nothing like it here) The freedom and security especially with a baby on the way are very much worth it. No regrets.
  14. 4 points
    That bootie needs to be covered, yes. I also have knee high -40 boots that I wear almost all winter with my mid thigh length coat. I get cold easily, so to me it's literally checking my weather app each morning, before I decide which jacket/coat, gloves and other outerwear I'm going to wear.
  15. 4 points
    I have various lengths but my coziest us a knee length down coat with a big faux fur lined hoodie. I have warm Columbia boots I wear. It's saved me when I used to commute in winter. All my other warm coats are below my bum.
  16. 4 points
    My favourite length is mid thigh. I wear that most of the winter. I also have a long down coat, which I may wait to wear until -15 and lower. If you commute and spend a lot of time outside, I would get the long one. Get a down coat though, because they are usually lighter. The pro's are that you are wearing a blankie and you're warm top to bottom. The con's are, that you can't use it to go ski or other activities. This was one of my dilemmas when I first arrived, because most people have multiple coats for different temperatures. The gold one (if I can only have one), is the mid thigh one. If it gets really really cold and you need to spend a long time outside, you can wear ski pants underneath (I've done this plenty of times because it's more comfortable than a long one). Don't worry about the sales, there will be Christmas sales coming up too. My mid thigh one (also down), I bought online. I wasn't sure about size, so I bought two and took the one that didn't fit, back to the store. Alternatively you can find your style in the store, try on different sizes, and then order online, if the prices an colour options are better. Also look at US sales. Often times it is cheaper, with shipping, taxes and custom fees included. You're in Montreal, so perhaps a cross-border trip around Christmas (or this weekend, if you have time) may be worth the savings. This isn't one I have, but you can't go wrong with this brand: https://www.columbiasportswear.ca/en/womens-voodoo-falls-590-turbodown-mid-jacket-1682901.html I see a couple of the cheaper ones are sold out. Just keep an eye on the online prices. Buy one size up, because you're going to layer underneath. With down though, you don't need too much layering. Good luck and happy wintering!
  17. 4 points
    @broken1 a VW Tiguan, brand new, thus the interest rate. From what I can gather, if you buy 2nd hand, the rate goes up. Don't quote me on that though, as it is hear say. As far is insurance goes, it is not quite that bad, but it is very high. I guess it depends on who you insure with, the people we used specifically said that if we had the driving record letter and proof of insurance, it would be cheaper, so we are still busy getting all of that together. Making friends will come in time, and yes, outside work is probably the best way. @LidiaS77 I guess it depends on the business and the city. My wife has experienced the complete opposite. Extremely nice people, etc. @SunshineGirl thank you for the words of encouragement! I don't think I will necessarily move from the current company, just need to adjust my expectations. Towards the end of the week I had met a few more people, and as with anything in life, some people you get on better with than others.
  18. 4 points
    Thanks for the update. It helps so much to hear others stories so we can mentally prepare ourselves! What car did you get? New or used? 1% interest is really good considering you don’t have a credit record really. I’ve heard the insurance can go as high as $600 for new comers and one or two mentioned your insurance history from South Africa helps, but not sure it really does... The advice I’ve gotten from everyone is that work is not the place to make friends. You need to go out to church or your community and make friends there. One of the biggest issues is people don’t invite you over as it’s so hard to clean up without help and eating out gets very expensive quickly so it becomes a bit hard to make friends as well... At least the forum is a great outlet...
  19. 4 points
    @Kyle T, @Nelline has given you some great advice! Best way to catch a fish is to have two fishing lines in the water. Both hubby & I have EE profiles currently ;-)
  20. 4 points
    Thanks for the reply, everyone! It is wonderful to be part of this community and to get your support during this journey. @SunshineGirl - Our traveling has just starter, I suppose. We are traveling to CT in January for the IELTS tests, which I am already practicing for. I am the main applicant (hubby will follow on an open visa), so I really need to get good results. So far during practice, I score between an 8 and 9 on the IELTS tests - I just hope I can maintain this throughout the testing in January. I requested that hubby and I do all four tests on one day - I saw that they might reschedule the speaking test, if time does not allow it on the same day, to a date later in the week. That would not be practical for us, as we are already traveling about 800km just to do the testing. The ECA is a headache on its own - UNISA is not cooperative at all, so we'll have to drive 400km to Kimberley and back, to get our academic transcripts for the ECA. I remain optimistic and positive throughout - We have to be, otherwise we will not make it through this process. When it comes to the agents, I agree with @Piper, @GerdaT and @MuggleOnline - We are seriously contemplating going through the motions ourselves. Mostly because of cost considerations, but also as @SunshineGirl has correctly said, agents are not known to be very supportive or transparent in the process. Hubby and I are control freaks in the sense that we want to be fully informed on the process. We have a Skype meeting with a potential agent on Wednesday, and one of my questions will be: What can you do differently that we cannot do, that will justify your $4000 fee? We are taking this seriously - I would rather spend that money on shipping some personal belongings to Canada than pay someone who is supposed to be of service, but causes more frustration and irritation than anything else. @MuggleOnline - I believe we have a relatively simple application. I am still young, which counts towards the CRS rating. Neither of us has worked overseas, so police clearance should not be a problem. Both of us has 10 years plus work-experience in SA (Of which I have already acquired reference and employment confirmation letters), we are both healthy, I have a degree, honours degree, post grad certificate and various short courses - which is currently in the ECA process, as already mentioned, and IELTS should *Hopefully* not be a problem. We just need to push through and do our research. I also believe we could do this ourselves and save a lot of money. Pop is also not a problem - my Pension fund and hubby's RA fund can pay out and will provide us with an amount in excess of R250k. On top of this, the proceeds of selling our house and vehicles will add to this amount. I am really excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. I know we still have a long, and most probably a difficult road ahead of us. I am, however, sure that I will find the answers to my questions and struggles on here, going forward.
  21. 4 points
    Welcome @AnzelM ! I agree with everyone above - especially the passion @SunshineGirl mentions. "Tick!"
  22. 4 points
    Halloooo, @AnzelM! Wowee, travelling quite a bit to get the ECA & IELTS done is really something. This must mean that you guys really, really want this. For me, this is the most important ingredient for success - tick! So much has been written on this forum about whether or not to use agents - I know of more horror stories than success stories, but I will try to keep things brief in this post. An agent will charge you approx. R42 - R47k to handle your application. Secondly, many agents work on the basis that they load up your profile on the CIC system & you have zero access to it. This means that if you get a slack agent, you may not be aware that things may be on ice for your application & should you need to chase (hunt) down a PNP programme, will they honestly watch for it's opening to the same degree that you will? At one stage, a group of us from this forum were watching a particular PNP stream for opening through the night on a shift basis (mine was 3am). Will an agent do this for you & your R42k? What some agents are prepared to do is to have a Q&A session with potential applicants & if the agent is a great one, this could be a good "in-between" option. Please could I encourage you to read through the various posts regarding agents - you will quickly pick up which ones to give a miss & which is worth their salt ;-). Everything of the best for you both!
  23. 4 points
    I’m of the opinion that the money saved from not using an agent will make the landing a bit easier.
  24. 3 points
    This is really good advice. We did our application ourselves and I must say it really wasn’t rocket science. Furthermore it’s worth saving the money in my opinion.
  25. 3 points
    That turned out to be a very brief unemployment period. Just got hired back by the same bank but into a better role. I start on Friday.
  26. 3 points
    We live in the maritimes too and love it here. My argument about SA is that it has come to a position that those who can really need to decide whether they want to stay. It is no longer a european country stuck in Africa. It is now an African country comparable to Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana etc not comparable to the UK, France, Germany etc. If you feel you will be comfortable living in an African country then by all means stay. If you prefer to live in a Western country then move to a Western country. It is not the same country that we were born into. It has changed dramatically. Canada certainly has it's own problems. We haven't put our kids in school here for example because we believe the school system is in a very bad place. But these are Western problems and I feel we can live with them. They are not African problems like dictators and genocide that I would rather stay away from.
  27. 3 points
    Almost everyone responding to this post will have a different reason for emigrating. In our daughter's case, a promising career with unlimited prospects in the South African army, suddenly disappeared when Nelson Mandela and his comrades took over. Everything she worked for was no more. So she opted to move to Canada and became the only doctor in a small village in the snowy, far north of the country. Fortunately her courage paid off. She persevered and eventually ended up on Vancouver Island with its more benign climate. She was happy, but alarmed by the deterioration of our lives in South Africa. An ample pension was fast disappearing, private medicine became unaffordable and the spiralling costs of owning a home, may eventually have forced us to sell our house. Add to that the increase in crime. She was terrified of getting that alarming phone call in the middle of the night. So she sponsored us. Immigrating as a senior is not easy. We left all of our family behind. We missed our friends. We moved in with our daughter. Fortunately her house has a walkout basement. The basement suite is about the size of our house in South Africa, so we still had our independence. It was the best decision we ever made. I only have to compare our lives with those of most of our friends in South Africa to know that we hit the mother lode. We are growing old in a first world country. Our safety is a given. Health care is excellent. We're financially stable. Even our Black friends in South Africa worry about the country's future. They see how prominent political leaders are preferring Mugabe's style of governing. They know the economy is faltering. Crime is truly out of control, especially when being compared with countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Emigration is a difficult decision, especially for the wealthy who can still create their own safe haven. If you don't feel ready, at least liberate your hard earned money and invest it outside Africa.
  28. 3 points
    @Cornel Hi! We recently arrived in Canada, more details here: We have been in Toronto about 2 months, and we are starting to settle into work. What is your definition of a better life? Not worrying about your car that is standing in the road overnight (without a tracker) ? Knowing that your tax money is spent where it is supposed to be spent? Public transport that is safe, reliable and affordable (for the most part)? It is all relative, and it depends on what you hold dear. We are so far, most definitely living a better life. Family being far sucks, sure, and you have your good days and your bad days, but I still think it is worth it, for us, and when we have kids one day, for them most definitely. I saw an article in the week stating something like "SA children are the worst readers in the world." That is not a good place to be. Those are your future leaders/teachers/accountants/artisans/doctors/parents etc. etc. etc. It has been said many times, I guess because it is so true. South Africa is like the frog in the pot of water. Eventually the water will boil, and the frog will die. The frog doesn't notice it though because the water heats up over time. People keep on adjusting. Higher walls, scarier dogs, more alarm systems, security estates, private schools, the list goes on. Financially it isn't easy in the beginning and saving up the proof of funds was hard, but looking back now, it was worth it. Going from a free standing house to living in a basement isn't always fun, but it is temporary. Canada isn't perfect. No place is. It has it's issues, and you need to decide whether you can handle that. Sorry if this sounds like a rant, but that is how I feel. Feel free to PM me if you have specific questions/would like to continue the conversation.
  29. 3 points
    Status changed to 'Approved' on our CIC profile this morning and received a letter shortly thereafter. Our passports are ready for collection tomorrow from the VFS offices.
  30. 3 points
    MEC, Marks Work Warehouse, Walmart have good winter jackets at good prices. I bought my jacket from Marks Work Warehouse (https://www.marks.com/en/home-page.html#) when we landed almost 8 years ago, and it still looks like I bought it last week (and that is the only jacket I wear in winter). It was not one of the really expensive ones, would probably have been between $100 and $200. If you can afford it, Canada Goose is probably the best jacket you can buy. For boots, I would go to Walmart or MEC (https://www.mec.ca/en/) and try on a few pairs, and decide what you like. Some winter boots are really heavy. I like barefoot type shoes (so, as minimal as possible sole), so I no longer buy any of the normal shop ones. The company that I wanted to buy from did not have a waterproof boot, but they are bringing a winter boot out next year - https://www.lemsshoes.com/ I like the fact that I can potentially wear the boot in spring and fall too. A lot of times your winter boot is so cumbersome that you don't wear it in borderline weather.
  31. 3 points
    The North Face, Columbia, Canada Goose. It's more about style than brand, although some brands are known for quality. Our winter in Ottawa is more likened to the Scandinavian countries, than most of Europe though. A jacket for a winter trip to Germany, may be only good for our fall.
  32. 3 points
    Try to keep the weight of the boot in mind when you buy, too. My first year I bought -40 boots, but it was like wearing safety boots. I bought knock off mukluks 2 years back, and they were lovely and warm (through Fort McMurray winter). Next time I am buying winter boots, I will be buying these - http://www.softstarshoes.com/adult-phoenix-boot-1.html (that traction bit that they are talkng about get very important when walking on slick ice)
  33. 3 points
    Hi The concern about fees is a little overrated here in Canada as there are many ways to get around them. For example, at CIBC the primary cheque account is the Smart account with $4.95 basic monthly fee and then you get 12 transactions included in that. If you do more transactions than 12 in the month they charge $1.25 for each transaction but they cap your monthly fee for transactions at $14.95. However, they waive the monthly fee if you keep more than $3000 in the account. If you really don’t want to pay fees and can’t keep a balance in your account then there are always Simplii Financial (used to be PC Financial), which is a subsidiary of CIBC, and Tangerine, which is a subsidiary of Scotiabank, that are internet based banks and that offer free banking accounts. Where the banks get you is with other fees like Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) fees. That is when you have preauthorized payments (debit orders) or cheque payments that go off your account and you don’t have sufficient funds in the account. A standard NSF charge is $45. CIBC also offers free international wire transfers and so the only cost to you is the interest rate spread, which I find is very similar to SA banks. (I personally use exchange4free, I find their spread is a lot better than the banks or for small amounts I just do private deals with friends or family) In Canada the basic credit cards have no annual fees and all transactions are free. Interest rates are typically 19.95% annually but if you pay off your card each month then there is no interest applied. Premium cards or cards with added benefits (such as cash back or rewards programs) have an annual fee. The premium cards at CIBC have annual fees between $99 - $399. So the bottom line is if you use your credit card for the majority of your transactions (shopping etc.) and you use your bank account correctly you should be able to get away with either no fees or minimal fees. My opinion is that the banks really are very similar. Your choice of bank should be based on the personal relationships that you are able to build with a personal banker or financial advisor. It's great to be able to call a person rather than a call centre if you have questions or need to make changes to something.
  34. 3 points
    Stages of PR Application BG: Not Applicable (NA1) Medical Passed – MEP BG: In Progress (IP1) – R10 check is done here. BG: Not Applicable (NA2) – Eligibility check is done here. BG: In Progress (IP2) BG: Not Applicable (NA3) – Sometimes this doesn’t come. PPR: Passport Request CoPR: Confirmation of Permanent Residence So the order is as follows: AOR – NA1 – MEP – IP1 – NA2 – IP2 – NA3 – PPR – CoPR AOR: This is a letter you will get within 24 hours after submission of your PR application. NA1: “Not applicable”. This will be your BG status message as soon as you submit and get AOR. Typically, this will be the status till the time you get your medical passed status. MEP: “You passed the medical exam”. This will generally happen after approximately 25 – 30 days after your AOR. For PNP applicants it can take more time generally. IP1: This will happen 1 or 2 days after your MEP, sometimes on the same day. BG status message will be “Your application is in progress. We will send you a message when we start your background check”. CIC agents will do R10, criminality checks during this stage. Once they feel everything is good then they will change it to NA. These things will happen at CIO (Centralized Intake Office). NA2: “Not applicable”. This will signify that IP1 is completed. Sometimes IP1 will take few hours and if you have not checked your account during the time it was in IP1, it won’t be possible to know that you are in NA1 or NA2. Your file will be transferred to CPC (Case processing centre) where agents will do eligibility assessments. If they feel everything is okay, then they will provide their recommendation to Visa Officer at which time they will initiate Security Checks. IP2: BG status message in this stage will be “We are processing your background check. We will send you a message if we need more information”. Visa Officer starts reviewing after reviewing all agents’ recommendations. On the same day, PPR request will be triggered if the applicant paid RPRF up front. These things will be done at the CPC office. NA3: “Not applicable”. This will signify that IP2 is completed. This status is not visible in many cases and direct PPR request is placed from IP2. PPR: Passport request. You will get an email for that and you may not get an update in you CIC account for this. ADR: Sometimes an additional document is requested in IP1 or IP2 stage. An email, as well as message in your CIC account, will be sent.
  35. 3 points
    Osoyoos is essentially desert. It gets pretty hot in summer. Vancouver Island has some serious rain, but in general you get 3 - 4 months of continual serious rain, and the rest of the year is lovely. As a comparison. Osoyoos yearly rainfall ~ 25 cm. Comox annual rainfall ~ 118 cm. Osoyoos Climate 1981 - 2010 http://climate.weather.gc.ca/climate_normals/results_1981_2010_e.html?stnID=1043&autofwd=1 Comox Climate 1981 - 2010 http://climate.weather.gc.ca/climate_normals/results_1981_2010_e.html?searchType=stnProv&lstProvince=BC&txtCentralLatMin=0&txtCentralLatSec=0&txtCentralLongMin=0&txtCentralLongSec=0&stnID=155&dispBack=0 Mill Bay (I could not find Mill Bay on the choices, so I selected Duncan) 1981 - 2010 http://climate.weather.gc.ca/climate_normals/results_1981_2010_e.html?searchType=stnProv&lstProvince=BC&txtCentralLatMin=0&txtCentralLatSec=0&txtCentralLongMin=0&txtCentralLongSec=0&stnID=46&dispBack=0 Hover over the rainfall Osoyoos is colder in the winter, but also much warmer in the summer. I think it depends on what you like. Osoyoos has 5000 people. Penticton is your closest bigger town (33 000) and they are 1 hour away. I would also suspect that you would get over run with tourists during the summer season.
  36. 3 points
    @Sarika - Thanks for your response! We are doing our Ielts testing in CT, and I did just that. I mailed them and told them we are traveling far, and can therefore not come back a week later to complete the testing. The lady there was very kind and requested both my husband and I's booking reference number, so that she can make a note of it and request that we do all four assessments on one day! I was so grateful for her kindness. UNISA, on the other hand, was quite a pain. We stay in Upington - We eventually got hold of a lady in Kroonstad who was willing to help us. She printed everything this morning, packed it, and our courier picked it up this afternoon. So that battle is over! Goodness! We are collecting all the certificates and academic transcripts, which we are going to send to WES in one go, therefore ensuring that there is no further hold-ups. I am quite relieved. Even Umalusi played their part, allowing our courier to pick up the envelopes today. We are finally making progress! Does anyone perhaps have IETLS resources we could *permanently* borrow, so that we can practice? Just taking a chance!
  37. 3 points
    I got CLB9 & are currently in the draw with CRS431. It'seems my birthday on Tuesday so will lose 5 points. Have been in the draw since July. My husband has 2 degrees recognised by Canada, his IELTS Score is L8.5R7.5S8W6.5 so he missed CLB9 with 0.5 on writing. His score is 402 currently, if he achieves CLB9 his score goes up to 459. We sent his W for a remark. It's been 6 weeks & I think we have to wait another 2-4 weeks for the results. I'very come to the conclusion thateverything will happen at the right time. We can't force it, eventhough I would have liked to be in Canada yesterday already😂😂😂 Good luck, keep us updated on your journey to Canada.
  38. 3 points
    HI @Gary van der Westhuizen. Thank you for your honest post & update. It helps to paint a realistic picture of what to expect after landing there. Sorry to hear that your parents have some challenges on their hands. Unfortunately the timing is not great for you all, but then when is it ever a good time for difficulty? Just keep swimming.. after a few months you will have that "Canadian experience" under your belt & will you be in a better position to shop around for a workplace that better fits your needs. It's upwards from here ;-)
  39. 3 points
    Fantastic! Thank you for your reply! I've learned something new today!
  40. 3 points
    @AnzelM - from someone who is applying with a complicated situation, it is definitely manageable to do it yourself and the money that you save will definitely come in handy for all the costs that are incurred during this process. We consulted with an agent (in Canada) as we have a very complicated situation, but even that was just a consult rather than having an agent actually handle the application. If it is a straightforward application, then my opinion would be that it is definitely possible to do it on your own. And this forum is amazing for any little niggling questions that you may have as there are loads of people at different stages of this process. Hope this helps, and good luck!
  41. 3 points
    Update: Pretoria VO has responded that all is in order for me to travel. Thanks everyone:)
  42. 2 points
    This is interesting. I actually was thinking about this the other day. I can't remember where I heard it from (and certainly someone can confirm and correct), I've heard that it's illegal to use traffic cameras if the motorists are not forewarned about them. Meaning there would always be a sign before you actually get to the traffic cameras on an intersection. I know in Mississauga, all the camera locations are on the City website. Certainly this is a very different experience from when I drove in SA. I remember travelling the M1 highway and there's this stretch of road where the speed limit changes (I think it was from 120kph to 100kph or 100kph to 80kph). I was caught on this stretch by the camera several times. Grrr...
  43. 2 points
    I would say that we moved because we were given the chance to come here (we came via FSW). Sure, we had a nice life in SA, not in any hardship or distress. Of course, there was crime but crime was everywhere. But...I didn't like that we've become insensitive to violent crimes, like it was a natural occurrence that happens to everyone. A vacation trip to Europe really opened my eyes up that we were living in quite an unnatural, eerie, super-defensive, "put up walls everywhere" way. After that, it was just full steam ahead to Canada. And so here we are. Canada has been great to us all these years. I can feel myself being "Canadianised" more and more as each day pass. When I tell my colleagues at work that I've only been here 5 years, they can hardly believe it. Apparently, I act and seem like I've been here years. To which I say, well yeah, 5 years. But to them, it seems to be much more. I'm not sure if you'll see it instantly when you finally settle here. It might be immediate, it might be later. For me, it was not obvious at first but I knew I didn't wanna go back. When I see how my children has grown and flourished, and how my husband and I have finally settled in Canada, it's really a wonderful experience of knowing "this was the right decision" for us.
  44. 2 points
    Just an update from our side. Almost everything is set up and ready. Bags are packed and starting our Farewell trip though SA on Monday the 18th. Last thing we need to do is finalize our Goods Accompanying list (not sure how much detail to include) and we are still waiting to finalize our bank account with RBC. Hoping to move the first batch of funds this week still. Regarding the proof of funds, our money is currently in 3 different bank accounts, can I take bank statements from these accounts now? Will they still see them as valid in January? Or can I just take the sale agreement of our house and proof of payment received? I am not a big fan of over-complicating things.
  45. 2 points
    Hi Guys Just a bit of good news on my side. I applied for an intra-company transfer work permit on the 4th of October as well as OWP for wife and Study permit for child. Received passport requests for all 3 of us today. 8 weeks processing and a huge sigh of relief from the family. Thanks to everyone on the forum who helped us through the process either with advice or just from reading the stories that resonated with us. Hope this gives hope to some out there.
  46. 2 points
    Thank you so much for all the contributions above - @LidiaS77, @Lizelle, @Cathy K! We had the final interview/call with Mill Bay last night and our hearts are set there! We felt really welcomed and believe it is the kind of place which would suit us! Our primary concern prior to the call was rental availability and property prices - but this is less of a concern now. Looking forward to things that come!
  47. 2 points
    @JanSalJanNat I am a qualified Industrial Engineer and spent most of my career in manufacturing. I sent my resume and cover letter to a whole bunch of recruiters and no one replied, so I applied on Indeed like crazy, started with targeted resumes and cover letters but soon gave up and just applied with my standard resume. I would think if you wanted to get into a multi corporation something a little more targeted might be needed, but my goal was just to find a job where I can learn something and my standard resume got me that.
  48. 2 points
    We were unable to sell our property when we left SA in 2012. We rented it out for the last 4 years and have eventually managed to sell it this year. I agree the market is bad. Our property was on the market for about 6 months before somebody made an offer on the last minute. I've never had major issues with the property and the handling of renters. I think in part, was because we had a rental agent who took care of things in the way I wanted them done, as well as, we had good relationships with my neighbours. (P.S. my property was a sectional title). A forewarn though is that if the property sale forms part of a big chunk of your settlement funds and you'll need it to set up shop, then the decision to rent it out or sell now becomes a little more critical. All the best with the decision.
  49. 2 points
    Just a bit of additional info here. If you fiddle with the language ability on the crs calculator, Listening and Reading skills are hugely important, with listening the most important. Changing the scores of listening from 8 to 7.5 can affect your CRS by over 40 points. We had a score of 369, my girlfriend (main applicant) score in listening was 7.5, reading 6.5, writing 8 and speaking 8. I redid the exam recently to improve the scores and got 8.5 for listening, reading 8.5, speaking 7, writing 7.5 - and (as the main applicant now) the crs score shot up to 421. For instance, an applicant who has a university degree with a fair bit of work experience, and an IELTS of listening 8 and 7 in all other tests, will for the most part get CRS of 400+. Change that listening 8 to 7.5 and its in the mid 300s. So pay the most attention to listening and reading. They make a HUGE difference. Wishing you all the best.
  50. 2 points