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Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 03/16/2011 in all areas

  1. 38 points
    So you just landed...and you hate it here. What now? Most new landed immigrants arrive with very grateful hearts. Regardless of where they came from, Canada as their new home, allows for opportunities they may not have had "back home." I remember meeting Dutch immigrants in Northern BC who left Europe when Hitler started invading. One family recalled how they were put on a train in Vancouver, given $26 and a sack-lunch by the immigration authorities and sent up north to start farming on land the government gave them. Now, two generations later, this particular family's descendants are examples of hard work, perseverance and prosperity. But not everyone has that type of motivation to make it work. For this particular family, there was no going back to Europe, so they literally had to stick it out. However, truth be told, some of us arrive with rose-tinted eyeglasses and when those come down as the reality of living in Canada strikes, may be a shock. It is very easy then to throw in the towel and head back home to S.Africa, thinking that is the only solution. The good news is: it's not. The tough news is: you, and only you can make the decision to make it work. Close the back doors ​One thing that will help you adjust and settle faster is to close all the back doors you have left open. Those "doors" are simply mindsets we all have that allow us to entertain thoughts such as, "If I don't like it, I can go back." Or "If I can't find work, I'm sure I will find work in SA again." Remind yourself why you emigrated from S.Africa in the first place. Give yourself a set time period - at least two years - of really working very hard at making it here, before deciding to go back. It seriously takes time to settle, find your place, feel your roots go down again. That does not happen in a few months. Don't be double-minded A trap we all fall into is one of double-mindedness. We get into the "Back in SA...I had this and that," or "I didn't have to do all my own housework/gardening," or "The pay was better than in Canada." It only leads to an emotional see-saw to allow this kind of thinking, and it will be detrimental to your health. You cannot be in two places at once, so if you are here, be here. Culture shock We have friends that would most likely never immigrate because of their comfortable lifestyles in SA. Driver to take kids to school. Huge property. Wonderful circle of friends. They are happy to be where they are and they are making it work with all the bells and whistles of security systems, armed response, alarms and so on. Some folks manage, others choose a different road. So you made that choice and here you are. Even though Canadians speak English, it might be different to the English you grew up with. Try talking to a Newfie and you will soon feel as if you are from outer space. It is true though. Terms that are different, pronunciations that vary from province to province, traffic rules that are not the same, items available or not available in stores can be stressful, and tons of other reasons can contribute to a place of disillusionment very fast. Culture shock at its worst. If you are prone to being melancholic or negative, culture shock may be amplified. My advice is to allow yourself a time of gleaning: keep what is good out of the new culture, keep what is good of your own culture and learn to live in the midst of so many other ethnic groups and nationalities who call Canada Home. You like boerewors, I like bratwurst. Some like Viennas. Others don't eat meat. Together we make up a beautiful country of amazing people. Connect Don't become an island when you are going through a tough time of adjusting. Reach out to others. If people don't know you are having a cultural hangover, they won't know how to help. Depression, anxiety, fear, loss of self-confidence, insomnia, negativity....these could all be signs of your soul taking a knock with all the changes you are experiencing. Talk to someone. Join a support group, find a church or club or organisation where you can volunteer. Get to know others and become known. Connect with your own. There are very few cities or communities where S.Africans haven't gone. Look for them. Talk your language. Have your braais. Be kind to yourself as you resettle in Canada as a new immigrant. Cultivate an attitude of "I can" and let go of "I can't!" When you're down in the dumps because you now have to take a bus or train to work, and you don't have your own wheels yet; or the kids don't like their new school, or you think Canadian poutine tastes terrible or you just simply don't understand the social values of Canadians at work; it can become a big negative in your life. Very easy then to start seeing yourself as never achieving what you'd hoped to achieve. Can't find a job after two months yet? Don't give up. You can find a job. Sometimes we have to find out why we aren't getting work - maybe it is just the resume or cover letter that needs tweaking or maybe you need to network with Canadians, starting with your neighbours and people at church or wherever, and you may discover the wonder of wonders: the so-called hidden market in Canada, where jobs often happen because someone knew someone who knew someone.... Baby steps Reality check: I think doctors are fortunate in that they come over and they are: doctors. Unlike many other professions where you were one thing in SA. only to find that in Canada you are X, Y or Z. Get used to the idea that a different job title does not mean you have suddenly become inferior or lower-ranked. (And even if you are suddenly a junior again, so what? You worked yourself up before, so why not again?) The reality is this is our host country. It is a privilege - not a right - to be here. So, take baby steps if you have to. the only requirement for growth in this regard is motion. You have to keep going. And going... Change is a constant factor Get used to this as well. Things change in a day. You could get that job tomorrow. You could find a place to stay next week You could be laid off a month from now. When changes come, embrace them. Keep moving. Keep learning. Don't second-guess yourself when these changes suddenly happen in your life. I see it often, that people start grieving their losses and before you know it they are camped out in this valley of change, in stead of looking for new opportunities. The horizon is never stagnant. Look at it, re-evaluate your position and take the necessary steps to get from A to B. Change is beautiful, as it always equals growth - if we allow it. It is like the proverbial larvae that has to struggle through the cocoon by itself to break through so it can fly as a butterfly. If you break that cocoon for the larvae, it never develops wing strength to fly. Develop and test your wing-strength! You can do it! Learn to laugh A merry heart does wonders for the bones and a happy face is one that finds work! Life is beautiful so enjoy it and show others that you are really happy to be alive! Laughter also has scientific proof on how it strengthens our very bones and mental capacity. My husband has an awesome sense of humour and it has helped him so many times in the past. I tend to be the nostalgic introvert but he has a gift when it comes to breaking the ice with "difficult" colleagues. Have fun. Go to the movies. Go ice-skating. Laugh with your kids. Have joy, joy, joy...you are so privileged to be here! ~Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell, Aug 2015
  2. 28 points
    Hi all, I haven't seen much information yet with regards to South Africans applying for Permanent Residency (PR) via the Express Entry program from inside South Africa. This post is intended to share my experiences from before the application to the permanent residency being granted, hopefully it will help some people. Sorry about the very, very long post. I have tried to be as detailed as possible, but I am sure I have forgotten many things along the way. If anyone has any questions I'll gladly try help. To set the context with which I was applying. I am a 26 year old male and applied as a single person via the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) category as a Mechanical Engineer. I live in Johannesburg and am a South African citizen. Preparation to enter the EE pool: Before entering the EE pool I had to get various things in place. I will describe these below. Language test: I did the IELTS English test (one can book at this link: https://ielts.britishcouncil.org/Default.aspx). For a PR application one needs to do the "General Training" version of the test. I live in Johannesburg but did the test in Pretoria as an earlier test date was available. Results take 13 days to be released, they were posted to me at my stated address. Test date - 2015/02/28 Test cost - R2 400 Education Credential Assessment (ECA): I decided to use World Education Services (WES) (see http://www.wes.org/ca) to do my degree conversion because it seemed to be the quickest and cheapest. I had to send copies of my degree certificates to WES (I did this by registered letter. If I were to do it again I would use a courier, for the sake of speed and traceability). I also had to get my university to send my academic transcripts directly to WES (WES supplies a form that you fill in and give to provide the faculty office with the relevant information). WES indicated 20 working days to perform the degree conversion, I seem to remember that it took about this length. I have a BSc and MSc in Mechanical Engineering from Wits University. These degrees were valued at an equivalent level by WES. Registered letter cost - less than R100 Transcript request and couriering - around R300 Degree conversion cost - 200 CAD Delivery fee - 7 CAD (I chose standard delivery. Courier delivery is 85 CAD) Police clearance: Although not necessary to enter the EE pool, I applied for police clearance now because it is needed for the actual application and I had heard stories of it taking a couple months to be received. I applied at a normal police station and it took about a month to receive (see http://www.saps.gov.za/services/applying_clearence_certificate.php for instructions). A police clearance certificate is required for every country, other than Canada, that one has lived in for six months or more. One thing that I came across was that some countries required more than just a police clearance certificate (Australia for example). The requirements of each country can be seen at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/security/police-cert/index.asp Cost - less than R100 Entering the EE pool: Once I had all of the above mentioned things in place (except for the police clearance certificate) I could enter the EE pool. This all worked out pretty easily for me. I had a CRS score of 456. To create an account and enter the pool you start from here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/e-services/mycic.asp Invitation to Apply (ITA): I received my invitation to apply on 2015/03/27, which was very exciting as the application can start moving forward from this point. The application: In order for one to submit the application one needs to get a medical done and get a police clearance certificate. I had already received my police clearance certificate as mentioned earlier (a police clearance certificate for the country you currently live must be issued within 6 months of your application). One also has to get proof of funds, proof of work experience, proof of education, digital photograph, and scans of one's ID and passports. Medical: I called a few medical physicians and the earliest appointment I was able to get was in two weeks. I can't quite remember what I needed to take to the medical but they will let you know. One can find a CIC approved physician to perform the medical at http://www.cic.gc.ca/pp-md/pp-list.aspx The physician enters all your medical results onto an online system which the CIC has access to, so I never actually saw my results. One just needs a "Proof of medical" form (or the IMM 1017B upfront medical report form) from the physician which you upload during the application. Cost - R2 051 Date of medical - 2015/04/15 Police clearance: As mentioned above. Proof of funds: One has to prove to the CIC that you have the minimum required funds (see http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/funds.asp). As far as I know, these funds have to be readily available, so can't be in the form of property or the like. I have an investor who manages my unit trusts and the like, so I got them to write a signed letter on their company letterhead indicating when they opened each of the unit trusts and accounts for me. They attached six months of statements from each of my unit trusts and accounts. I then got my bank branch (Standard Bank) to write a letter on their letterhead indicating when I opened my accounts with them. They were very helpful and willing to do so. They also attached 6 months of statements (with the branch stamp on each page) for each account. I scanned in all these documents with a cover page summarising what I had in each account, the total value in ZAR and an equivalent in CAD (although I am not sure that this is strictly necessary). I indicated the exchange rate I used and the date on which I did the calculation. I saw a case where an application was refused because the required funds were "gifted" to the applicant by his father. This showed up in his six months of bank statements. I am not 100% sure but I think one can have funds gifted to you, but you then have to prove that you are not just borrowing this money. Proof of work experience: The CIC requires proof of your current and previous work experience. This is done by means of a reference letter and pay slips (where available) from your current and previous employers . The reference letters should contain the following: Printed on the company letterhead. Company’s contact information (address, telephone number, and email address). The signature of either your immediate supervisor or personnel officer. The business card of the signing person is also required. All positions held at the company. Job title. Duties and responsibilities (make sure that these match those specified by the National Occupation Classification (NOC) (see http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/noc.asp) on your application because I saw a couple applicants get rejected because these did not match). Job status. Dates worked for the company. Number of hours worked per week. Annual salary and benefits. All the documents should be scanned into a single file (a separate file for each work experience) It proved to be a little awkward having to ask my current employer to write me a letter to help me immigrate, but I supposed it must be done. Proof of Education: Here I scanned my degree certificates and my WES results into a single PDF file. A mistake that people commonly make is that they only upload their WES results, it seems the CIC actually want your degree certificates. Digital Photo: The specifications for the digital photo are as follows: Dimensions: The final frame size of the photo must be at least 35 mm x 45 mm (1 3/8" x 1 ¾"). The photographs must show the full front view of the head, with the face in the middle of the photograph, and include the top of the shoulders. The size of the head, from chin to crown, must be between 31 mm (1 ¼") and 36 mm (1 7/16"). Digital dimensions are often expressed in pixels or DPI (dots per inch). The physical dimensions in pixels must be at least 420 x 540 Quality/Resolution: If an existing photo is being scanned, the minimum resolution must be 600 pixels per inch. File Format: The file may be submitted in JPEG or JPEG2000 format File Size: The final size of the image should be ideally 240 kB (kilobytes), but not less than 60 kB.Colour: The image must be in colour (24 bits per pixel) in sRGB colour space which is the common output for most digital cameras.National ID: I scanned in the information page of my South African ID book. Passports/Travel Documents: I scanned the information page and pages containing Visas that I had received in the past for both my current and my previous passport (I only have one previous passport). I scanned each passport into a separate PDF file and upload both of them separately (I am not sure if you have to upload your previous passports, I did just in case). Application: Many of the fields in the application are carried over from the application to the EE pool, but there is still quite a lot of information to be filled in. After all the forms have been filled in the above mentioned documents need to be uploaded. Payment: After the application is complete you can submit and arrive at the payment page. You have the option of paying the processing fee and the Right of permanent residency (RPRF) fee, or just paying the processing fee. If you pay just the processing fee you will be requested to pay the RPRF at a later stage when your application has progressed further. I selected to pay both fees now in an effort to save time. When it came to the actual payment I was using a Standard Bank credit card and the payment kept failing. I called Standard Bank and they said they could see that attempts were made to charge the card but could not tell me why it was not going through. I tried different browsers to no avail. I considered taking out a credit card with Virgin money just to make this payment, but I eventually borrowed a friend's Canadian credit card and that went through without a hitch. Processing fee – 550 CAD RPRF – 490 CAD Application submitted - 2015/04/24 Application incomplete: After my application was submitted I was going through the submitted forms and saw that the table of my family data was empty. I immediately sent an email (question@cic.gc.ca) and a case specific enquiry (https://secure.cic.gc.ca/enquiries-renseignements/canada-case-cas-eng.aspx) with this missing information to the CIC. I got no response, but am assuming they added this information to my file. The wait: The wait was the most nerve wrecking part as I had no control over the progress of my application. All I could do was sit and wait for the various statuses to change. There are two places where application updates are shown: MyCIC and on ECAS (https://services3.cic.gc.ca/ecas/?app=ecas〈=en). Below I outline the various statuses of my application. Acknowledgment of receipt (AOR) - MyCIC: The AOR is a letter that is sent to one's MyCIC account. You'll get an email indicating that there is an unread message in your MyCIC account. You then have to log in and download the message as a PDF file. I received my Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) letter the day after my application was submitted. Some people receive this a couple minutes after submission, others a couple days afterwards. Date of AOR - 2015/04/25 Medical Passed: My medical passed status happened about a month after I received my AOR. I can't remember the exact date. Date of medical passed - approximately 2015/05/25 A day or so after my medical passed my ECAS status changed to "Application Received" In Process - ECAS My ECAS changed to "In Process" on 2015/06/19. Background Check "In Progress" People often worry because their background check status remains at "Not Started" for a very long time. Mine only changed to "In Progress" on 2015/08/25, about two weeks before my PPR. On other forums it seemed that inland applicants (inside Canada) had their background checks start and complete relatively soon during the process. I think that outside applicants' background checks are also started early but their status' only get updated later due to the EE system being very new with some kinks that still need to be ironed out. Maybe this will be corrected in the future. Date of Background check "In Progress" - 2015/08/25 Decision Made - ECAS My ECAS changed to "Decision Made" with no indication as to the favorability of the decision. From what I have read on other forums this does not mean that the decision has actually been made but means that things are being finalised. I have however only seen one case where an applicant was rejected after their ECAS status changed to “decision made". Date of "Decision Made" on ECAS - 2015/08/27 Passport Request (PPR) As far as I have been able to understand from other forums, when one receives your PPR your application is pretty much approved and complete. All that has to happen is that the CIC needs to stick in your Visa and issue your “Confirmation of Permanent Residence” (CPR), though I tried not to get my hopes up too much before I received my Passport with Visa and CPR. Some people have received their PPR via their MyCIC account, I received mine directly via email. Mine said that I should send my passport to Ottawa, but indicated that if I am residing outside of Canada or the USA I should notify them on the given email address so that they can arrange for my documents to be issued at my Local Visa Office (LVO). I sent them an email and got an automated reply indicating that it usually takes 20 days for them to respond to requests due to a high volume of emails. I called VFS (http://www.vfsglobal.ca/Canada/SouthAfrica/) a day later and told them the story and asked what I should do. They asked for my application number and said that they were going to call the high commission and that I should call back in 30 minutes. When I called back and they said that I can bring my passport and two passport photos conforming to (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/guides/pdf/5445EB-e.pdf). I delivered my passport and photos on 2015/09/11. I also paid for a courier service to return my passport to me so that I would not have to drive out to Pretoria for collection. VFS gave me a tracking number with which I could track the progress. Date of PPR - 2015/09/09 Date passport sent - 2015/09/11 Cost of Passport handling by VFS - R296.10 Cost of Courier of passport back from VFS - 105.90 Permanent residency granted and application closed On 2015/09/17 I got an email from VFS that they had received my passport. I had specified, on submission, that my passport should be couriered to me so I called VFS and they gave me a FedEx tracking number. My passport was delivered on 2015/09/04 with my CPR and a letter explaining the entry into Canada. On 2015/09/17 my MyCIC account statuses changed to application closed and PR granted. The landing The final stage is now to perform my landing in Canada. I'll explain my understanding of how this works from what I have read: One needs to perform one's landing within a year from the date of your medical. One enters Canada as one would normally enter a country requiring a Visa, using the Visa now pasted in your passport. One presents your CPR to immigration in Canada. You will be issued a Social Insurance Number (SIN). One also provides an address in Canada to which your PR card should be delivered. It should be delivered to this address in about six weeks. From now on one uses your PR card like a "Visa" to enter Canada. Total cost of Express Entry Language test IELTS test - R2 400 Degree conversion Registered letter - less than R100 Transcript request and couriering - around R300 WES ECA - 200 CAD Delivery - 7 CAD (I chose standard delivery. Courier delivery is 85 CAD) Police clearance Police clearance - less than R100 Medical Medical - R2 051 Application Processing fee – 550 CAD. RPRF – 490 CAD Passport submission Passport handling by VFS - R296.10 Courier of passport back from VFS - 105.90 Total cost of application - R17 823 (Approximating 1 CAD = 10 ZAR) On top of the total cost one obviously still needs the minimum required funds (as indicated at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/funds.asp) available to you. Timeline summary ITA received - 2015/03/27 Application submitted - 2015/04/24 AOR - 2015/04/25 Date of medical passed - approximately 2015/05/25 "Application Received" (ECAS) - a day or so after medical passed "In Progress" (ECAS) - 2015/06/19 Background check "In Progress" - 2015/08/25 "Decision Made" (ECAS) - 2015/08/27 PPR - 2015/09/09 Passport submitted - 2015/09/11 Application status "Approved" – 2015/09/17 Passport received - 2015/09/18 ​
  3. 22 points
    The day has finally arrived for us, we will be off to Toronto tomorrow (7th of October 2017) - flying to Dubai with a 24 hour layover and then the final leg on Sunday, landing on Monday (9th of October 2017). We have a bag of mixed feelings, extremely excited, but stressed and sad at the same time. Its been a year since we decided to look at immigrating to Canada and now the day has finally arrived. It has been a rollercoaster ride, never expected that the list of things to do and finalize would be so long, still feels like we missing something. My husband has already been in contact with a few people for interviews in Toronto and I intend to start my job hunting again once we in Canada. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for the great contributions to the forum, you guys have been more of a support than you know, and a shout out to the Whatsupp group in Johannesburg, fantastic people! We are having a nice big family dinner tonight as a final goodbye for now. I have already checked that I can connect with everyone either via Skype or Facetime. Will make sure post once we in Canada again, I know our adventure will be awesome and with God on our side we can do anything.
  4. 20 points
    I'm not sure if this has been covered recently, but I have seen it disputed. People have written that you cannot open a bank account in Canada before you arrive there, but this is untrue. My savings account with the Royal Bank of Canada opened this week and I've already sent money across. I went to the the RBC website and sent them a contact email stating my intentions. They then forwarded it to the account opening department who stated that they would help us open an account, as well as links welcoming us to Canada etc. They sent all the relevant documents to be completed. It is very important to do exactly what they say. It will naturally appear to be a difficult process if you don't do what they say. documents required... application to open a bank account application for joint back account if applicable signature form (sample of your signature) two pieces of identification... Passport and drivers is fine. verified identification form to be completed by notary public note: ALL your documents must be certified by a notary public even if it doesn't say so. My allocated personal banker then asked me to email her my documents so she could check them for accuracy. I had to tweak some things as requested and then I emailed her the originals in a package. Four days later she received it via courier and two days after that my account was open. They sent me all the details e.g. Account number, SWIFT etc. One week from first email to active bank account. Be aware of two essential factors... 1. They will only open a savings account for you. Cheque accounts are not available as far as I am aware. However, I have also now been offered investment accounts at higher interest rates but I have not initiated this application process and not reviewed what is available. 2. You can only deposit into your account NOT withdraw. Your account is frozen until you arrive there and they identify you in person. It is therefore a one-way street so don't send money unless you're happy to part with it until (or if) you arrive. I hope this helps anyone out there who is wondering about this issue, as I was.
  5. 20 points
    Hi All I am happy to report that we received PPR on Monday and dropped off our passports today! ???? super excited!!! To those waiting, hang in there!
  6. 20 points
    It's been quite a while since I posted anything in Announcements, so without further ado, I'd like everyone to please welcome our new hosts: SidelineMaryJaneTracey22NellineJulesIngrid Brunkhorst HurrellSACanada is a host-managed forum. We make use of volunteers (sorry no pay!) to help manage the forum and to provide folks to answer some pressing questions and to make sure that good order and neighbourliness is maintained on our beloved forum. Welcome guys, and here's hoping this heralds a new era for SACanada! There are still many people who are realising that Canada is a wonderful destination for a peaceful and safe place to live, work, and raise their kids. They need our help more than ever before! Enjoy! Hendie
  7. 19 points
    A quick update, (more detailed story on my blog) So after being here for 3 weeks, both of us got 2 job offers each. Anna got 2 permanent positions, and I got a 12 month contract downtown(which would've probably become permanent after 6 months, and a retention bonus if I stayed long enough) and a permanent job offer as a manager( a bit further out) in the outsourcing division of the auditing company I used to work for in SA. No Canadian experience, no references contacted. So it is possible. You just need to put some effort in. We are very fortunate in our careers that our skills are in demand over here, so that was half the battle one. I went through recruiters as well as contacting people myself through LinkedIn, it was worth forking out the cash for the premium subscription, even though I only had it for a month. We both start on the 13th. If anyone is interested, I met some great financial recruiters through the process and would be more than willing to share their details. PM me if you are interested. I think the one thing that really did make a difference was the SOPA course we enrolled in while still in SA. It seems like stupid and silly things when you are doing it, and if you are a professional job hunter, you might know these things, but I honestly think that is what made us stand out. They help a lot with Resume preparing etc. the best part, it is free to people who can prove their PR Status before getting here. We are extremely grateful, and it is all by the Grace of God. Good luck to everyone that still needs to go through this, and feel free to ask questions if you have any. we will try and keep everyone updated as we go along.
  8. 19 points
    Another short-and-sweet update from my side: Final interviews took place this past Wednesday in Chicago for the opportunity based in Oakville. The full day trip was exciting, daunting and exhausting all at the same time (flight at 0645 departure which meant a 03:30 start to avoid post Independence Day customs and arrival after 22:35 at night). Unfortunately I didn't get an opportunity to explore Chicago much this time around. The little time spent in downtown was reasonable but the drive between Downtown and the airport was not great. Taxi's don't enjoy making use of AC, stuck in traffic both in and out and Toronto appears to be a much cleaner and well structured city. However, in saying that, the company has submitted an offer which I've accepted and I commence work on Monday, 10th July 2017 (tomorrow)... the "holiday" has come to an abrupt ending. I'm truly grateful and blessed with this opportunity and it would not have been possible without His help and guidance through the frustrating and anxious times. So next step is to continue and finalise house-hunting and hopefully be able to furnish before the family arrives at the end of the month with the container either a few days before or after their arrival. We'll obviously be able to settle in West Toronto now which will suit both my family and I significantly better than settling in the East. I've already been able to create a decent support structure on this side of Toronto. In the hustle and bustle of the past few days, I've allowed some time for reflection - The pieces are slowly falling into place. The process to this point has taken a bit longer than initially expected or planned for but I once again stress how grateful and blessed we've been to have achieved what we have. It is not easy, but it can be achieved. As they say in Swahili, "Polepole (pronounced poly poly)" which means slowly slowly. It can and will be done... Once again, good luck to those following and wishing you much courage and strength.
  9. 19 points
    Just got the email that we need to submit our passports for our visas, soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo happy!
  10. 18 points
    Good day all, I've been requested to provide an update on my / our landing... I apologise for the long-winded note in advance but I thought it important to be detailed. I also apologise for the delayed correspondence... it's been quite hectic!!! For those of you unaware, we received our PR visas at the end of Feb 2017. Our decision was for me to come across as soon as possible to try and obtain employment, find accommodation and furnish as much as possible before my wife and kids land around July 2017. This decision was based on the following factors: Recruitment slows down from June onwards as Canada enters the summer and holiday season similar to SA's Nov - Jan period. Recruitment only picks up from September onwards again. The school year ends in June and starts up again in September only. It's a long time for kids to be at home for this period and we feel it will be better for them to settle in if they get to commence their schooling at the beginning of the school year as opposed to half way during the school year. I have greater flexibility regarding accommodation, transportation and general getting around without the rest of the family on board. In addition, it's more expensive for all these elements in Canada when compared to SA. We need to arrange for accommodation before deciding on what furniture items we may want to take across with us. Container being packed end May. I flew out on SAA / Lufthansa via Munich on 6th April and landed in Toronto Pearson International Airport at approximately 15:00 on 7th April (just about 24 hours of travelling). Effectively just over 2 weeks since landing... I proceeded to standard Passport control where my SA passport along with the PR visa and completed Customs Declaration form, including disclosure of significant foreign currency. The Customs Official circled a few items with a red crayon and welcomed me to Canada. I was instructed to proceed to the Immigrations office which was just around the corner (approximately 50 metres away). There were 4 families ahead of me in the queue. On request, I presented all my documents to the Official... SA passport and Letter of Confirmation of Permanent Residence (in duplicate). He asked me where I would be staying? He then asked me 2 questions: Did I have a previous criminal record and did I have any other dependants other than the ones disclosed on the form? I responded No to both. He updated accordingly, asked me to initial in a few places, gave me one of the two copies and sent me on my way. I proceeded around the corner. A gentleman handed me a Newcomer to Canada booklet along with some additional information. Another lady gave me some additional information too. Not all the information provided may be relevant to your personal situation, more for reading and information purposes. Another gentleman then assisted with SIN registration where the same documents are required again, including residence while in Canada. SIN letter with SIN number received. All these processes were quite quick and took less than 1/2 hour. Proceeded to Baggage Claims where my 3 cling-wrapped bags were waiting for me off the carousel. They have a sniffer dog roaming around so be aware if bringing in biltong, etc. Proceeded to Customs where they send you to their detailed inspection area. There was a queue of approximately 10 people. This took some time and was taking longer than expected. After about 40 minutes and with the queue not moving very quickly, a couple of Customs Officials came to walk the queue and people were asked to proceed without any further inspection required. I was one of the lucky few to proceed without inspection. This may have been different if I had the Goods to Follow List. Overall, a very smooth and efficient process to clear. Formal arrival into the International Arrivals Hall. While waiting for my lift, went to Tim Horton's for a coffee but low and behold they don't do cappucino's at their airport branch. So expensive Starbucks it was for my first cupper. My lift, family friends, arrived shortly thereafter. Family friends hosted me for the first week or so. I've been in Airbnb for just over a week. Administration: Bank Account: I opened a Bank account the following morning. The following bank accounts were opened with Royal Bank of Canada (RBC): Cheque Account, USD account (got some investment accounts for USD coming in), savings account and Credit Card. Most of the big banks now cater for the newcomers as this is where they can see potential growth in their market share with the current competition. Most of my friends bank with RBC and there was a branch close by. Deposit some money if you already have that available but you'll need some cash until the credit card is ready for collection. Make use of your SA credit cards too if necessary. You get Online Banking which you can register immediately too if required. Credit card was ready for collection 4 working days after application and have used it ever since as I'm trying to build up that credit history. Health Card: I went to the Canada Service Centre in Downtown early the following week. You now have all the necessary information with the exception of Proof of Residence. The only proof will be the statement of your cheque account when it gets posted 30 days after application. For the province of Ontario you will have the 3-month waiting period which is calculated from landing date so this proof of residence doesn't impact timing thereof. I'm still waiting to finalise this process. Drivers License: I'm in possession of International Driver's License which allows for driving for 60 days after landing. I had to write the Ontario Drivers Knowledge Test's (Learners). It doesn't matter how long you've been driving for or how well you know how to drive. Canada has different terminology for sidewalks, pavements for roads, traffic light, etc. I purchase the handbook for more than $16 but the Handbook is available online at the following link: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/handbook/index.shtml. My best advice would be to google Ontario Drivers Knowledge Test questions - a couple of sites come with various practise questions. I studies the handbook for a couple of days but I did the practise questions about two hours the morning before writing and that helped significantly, especially with test technique. Would look at these questions slightly earlier than in the morning though. Tests are written at DriveSafe Centres in the province, a list of which is available on their website. There's not many so they get full quite quickly. Test is two sections of 20 multiple choice questions each... road signs and road rules. You have to get 80% on each to pass. Now onto the next challenge... a letter is require from the South African Traffic Department confirming years of experience so that I can proceed with the actual Road test. There are more detailed topics dealing with Ontario drivers with more detailed info. Connectivity: I've purchased some airtime (unlimited Canada-wide) and data (1Gb) with Bell costing $85 per month (excl. HST), cancellable at any time, using with South African smartphone which was previously Unblocked. I'm going to wait for accommodation to be sorted before arranging for better deals of bundle package including home phone, home internet, cable / fibre and cellphones. Connectivity quite expensive here in my opinion, especially pre-paid since you can pay for receiving calls too. You can get an new smartphone for an additional $20 per month but signing a new 24-month contract. There may be other priorities after landing but important to get the Canadian number for potential recruiters and employers. Recruitment has been tough since landing. I've been fortunate enough to meet up with 4 recruiters since landing and each one has been fantastic in sharing their experiences. I've received in excess of 10 job descriptions but none have yielded any company interviews yet. I'm hopeful that some interviews gets set up for next week. If anyone on the boards is willing to help out a CA(SA) then please shout. I think this is all for now. Please don't hesitate to contact me in private or on this topic if you have any more questions for the benefit of the others. Good luck.
  11. 18 points
    This past two weeks have been full of progress and so far all going according to plan. I think an update on the landing story is appropriate First weekend in Canada I met up with this oke @Ribsy who generously offered to assist me in my search as he landed a few months earlier and walked the beaten path. He steered me in the right direction, gave me some names of recruiters and, vetted my Resume. He even paid for breakfast, what a genuine guy. He truly is a LEGEND! Last week I met with a few of the big name recruiters in the financial field, if interested PM me and I'll send to any CPA/ CA landing soon. Some of them were quick on the draw, others not so much. The same evening, after I met with one of them, a received a call from one of the contract specialists, who asked if I would be interested in meeting up with one of his clients the following day. I duly obliged, and thought I would gain some experience on the Canadian style of interviews and because I was rusty would be some good practice. I stayed up late, researching the company and felt prepared. Met with the hiring manager and was invited back to meet with the CFO two days later. They really liked me (more to follow below) On Monday, I went for my G1 knowledge test (which was harder than I expected on the road rules, there were 3 questions I had never seen before, and those were the ones I got incorrect (go figure). On Monday afternoon of this week, I was phoned by one of the recruiters to ask if I want to come for an interview the following day. I met with a company for an internal audit position, something I had been doing in the preceding (nearly) four years in SA. Once again, I researched like crazy late into the night, and went for the interview the next day. Met with the Director of audit and the senior VP, and I felt the interview went well. Gave my feedback immediately to the recruiter that I felt it was a solid performance. After I spent some time at the mall after the interview, I realized that I had left my "ringer" still on silent and the recruiter was trying to get a hold of me. I spent that evening stressing, tossing and turning, "why would she want to call me, it must be bad news that little voice of doubt kept saying" Turns out the company really liked me and after speaking to their HR, they were expediting the process. She had phoned to give me the news and asked if they make a decision what will my answer be? YES oh YES, where do I sign lol. Went for a third interview with another company yesterday afternoon. Yeah, you know the drill by now. This one offered some travel to US, Canada and Chile, imagine me smiling, when I read that in the Job description. Anyhoo, has the suspense built up yet? The first company came back to say that liked me and want to place me in a posisition they were thinking of filling in 2 months. I had to apply for that one again but the contract position I interviewed for (IFRS specialist) I didn't get The third company gave feedback that the VP was concerned that I had just gotten PR, what if I dont like it here and decide to go back to SA. Like really now, are you kidding me? Does he know there is a president with a butternut shaped head messing things up? God bless his soul, the hiring manager wanted to move forward with me but guess no Chile and US trips for me anytime soon. Back to the 2nd one, recruiter phoned me back Wednesday to say that I have been made an offer!!!!!! I received the paperwork today and had to get my documents Notarized for reference and background criminal checks, the usual stuff. I duly accepted the offer, it's based in Mississauga so guess thats where we will be living soon. Two weeks in and to God be the Glory, best news ever! My wife cried when I told her last night. I am still on cloud 9. I only start next month, as my line manager is away for Vacation. So guess for the next three weeks I am on vacation too! I was never expecting this so soon, ok maybe I was, as I am a man of faith Now on to finding a place in Mississauga! I have made contact with Linda already and she is already on the case. Thank you to all of you as well for the many many great topics and advice. Cant wait for the family to join me now.
  12. 18 points
    The titles says it all. As I sat on my bed in a hotel in Ohio (of course can't sleep and hence me writing this at 3:am) looking back to returning home after a work visit, my mind went far and in retrospect I can confidently say that moving to Canada is worth every wait and anxiety. For those of you ready to take your own unconventional leap of faith but are scared out of your mind, here are some words of wisdom that I learned along the way, I hope they support you in taking your own path of joyful courage. Listen to the inner voice. Replace fear of the unknown with a sense of desire for what to come. Surround yourself with positive energy. Not everyone can handle your vision to move Focus on you, your journey is different from other people. Perspective is when you change "what you say to you about you" Study to show thyself approve. Read, read and read. Chinese proverb, he who ask is a fool for 5 mins, he who doesn't is a fool forever. Pray, pray and pray. No matter how smart and prepared, you don't know everything and that is why immigration is a journey of faith All the best.
  13. 17 points
    I thought I would share our landing story which has been an intense experience so far. Last week we arrived in Vancouver and activated our permanent residency after flying with Cathay Pacific - DBN - JHB - Hong Kong - Vancouver. As a beginner traveller, the first thing I found out was that in Durban you can check your baggage all the way through to Vancouver even though you are taking a domestic flight. Also, because it is a domestic flight, you do not have to arrive at the airport 3 hours before take off. However, our travel agent made mistakes with our information on the ticket, which we picked up on the online checking-in. I could not rectify the problem online so my luggage had to be picked up in JHB and checked in again. My wife's luggage was fine and went directly through. Cathay was really great, I would strongly recommend them. Unlike Hong Kong, we did not receive declaration cards on the flight to Canada but received them on landing at Vancouver International Airport. Once you receive the Canadian declaration card, you proceed to computers in the lobby which complete the cards for you. However, when we arrived the computers had a fault so we completed them by hand. Once going through passport control, we were instructed to proceed to immigration (you are asked to leave your luggage outside the in the lobby - I had flashbacks to episodes of Boarder Security Canada hoping that no one would stash something in one of my bags). There was a very short line for immigration where the officer checked our visa and CORP papers. The officer handed us a welcome to Canada brochure, booklet and a MSP registration form (this is for health insurance) and then requested that we wait in the general line (of about 300 people) to activate our permanent residency. After about an hour in line, we were called to the front and asked for our passport and CORP papers. The only questions we were asked is whether my wife and I had any other dependents and whether we have a criminal record. The officer only required the photographs that were stuck on our CORP Form (we did not need an extra set). Furthermore, we were asked for an address where CIC could send our PR cards - the officer informed us that this would take 4 - 6 weeks. The officer requested that we wait another 15min while the documents were processed. We were called up again and were asked to sign our CORP forms. Much to my horror, the officer did not welcome us to Canada or congratulate us on our new status . The immigration officer must have been having a bad day as every other government official has been ecstatic to hear that we are permanent residents, along with most other people that we have met in Vancouver. After leaving the airport we realised that we had forgotten to have our goods to follow and goods with us forms stamped. The next day we went to a CBSA office where they assisted us with processing our forms - we only had one copy of these documents which was processed and handed back to us. The following day, we activated our bank accounts (which we opened in SA), posted our MSP, bought cell phones and obtained our SINs. With regard to bank accounts: We opened an RBC Savings account - the only expense one would have is to have your documents notarised in SA. RBC gave us a newcomers package with a credit card, cheque account and two years free use of a safety deposit box. To activate our account, we needed to produce 2 pieces of ID (SA drivers license and passport) as well as our CORP paper. With regard to the credit card, we were given unsecured credit due to the type of permanent resident we are (there is a code that they use on your CORP form which tells them about your PR - I looked at the banker blankly when he told me this). We posted the MSP Form to Victoria, BC - apparently there is a way to complete the form online. We both bought newcomers travel insurance through Travelance which terminates when our MSP is activated in 3 months. Cell phones: We don't have jobs so avoided taking out a contract at this stage. Freedom Mobile had a special for $140 where you get a cell phone, 4gigs of data and unlimited Canada calling. This would then cost us $40 dollars a month going forward. Obtaining our SINs was a quick and painless task - merely having to produce our CORP form and passport - the number is generated for you. Public transport - very very efficient. In Vancouver, public transport is run by Translink. You can purchase a Compass card and load fares, day passes or monthly passes onto the card. You then tap the card on a meter on the bus or at a train station which then allows you access to the public transport. Some of the things we learned while trying to use transport: Busses: - You get on at the font of the bus and exit at the back. When the bus stops, you press the back door when the green light comes on which opens the door. If you do not press the back door it will not open (I learned this after being shouted at by the bus driver haha). - Everyone thanks the bus driver when exiting the bus (I have been told that this is a Vancouver thing?) - When you want to get off the bus you must press the bell or pull the yellow cord which will then alert the bus driver that you want to get off at the coming stop. However, if it is the last stop on the bus route, the bus will stop automatically and you don't need to push the bell - again I learned this after being shouted at by the bus driver. - If you paying cash for the trip, take exact change as the meter does not dispense change - the meter then prints a ticket which allows you to access 1 zone transport for 90 mins. Trains: - by far the easiest to use!!!! A lot of what I have said is most probably known by most people, it has just taken me a few bad experiences to figure it out RENTALS: Vancouver has a HOT rental market, you literally stand in queues to view an apartment. For managed apartments, you will need to complete an application form which includes references, credit history, SIN, bank details etc. We were successful in obtaining a lovely two bedroom place with just our references and half month deposit. Look to spend north of $1400 a month for an apartment. I was told that at the end of the university year is they best time to find apartments and not in August at it is just before the university year begins. Drivers license and jobs: This is next on our to do list. Canada is jaw droppingly beautiful. Where we are staying in North Vancouver, there are black bears that come into the garden at night and coyotes that seem to be eating the neighbourhood cats (loads of missing cat signs up). I have found relearning the small things very frustrating - for instance, when you load a monthly pass on your compass card after the 16th of the month, the pass will only be valid for the next month. I learnt this the hard way by going to the shops, spending $126 on a monthly pass and then not being able to use it until September. In general, Canadians and other immigrants have been amazing to us. Most days we are overwhelmed by how helpful and generous people are. We often get approached in the street and asked if they can help us as we look lost. [There are most probably loads of typos above, please excuse them :)]
  14. 17 points
    Just an update to everyone, flew on the 4th of April from Cape Town via Dubai, landed in Toronto yesterday afternoon, passport control and immigration was a breeze, took about 15 minutes in total if not less, no cues. Got SIN numbers at airport too, that took maybe ten minutes. Thought it would be much longer but we seemed to be very lucky. We had no good to declare and no goods to follow list, so TSA didn't even look at our bags. Got a connecting a few hours later to Moncton and got here just after midnight. Warning to those who have never travelled long distances, to me the flying was horrible, thank goodness for motion sickness tablets, and travel pillows are your best friend. About 40 hours of travel time in total, and Dubai is a terrible airport, we had a 9 hour layover there and the place is packed, bathrooms are horrible and it's hot there. Moncton is amazing though, we woke up this morning in the Airbnb we are staying in for the next two months and went on a small expedition around the neighborhood, found Tim Hortons and the local Shoppers drug Mart, bought our bus passes and are now ready to go exploring, will keep u up to date. Thanks again to everyone who helped us get here and for all the advice and responding to our questions when we bombarded you with them. You all helped us make our dreams come true.
  15. 16 points
    A beginner's guide...excuse any typos. A South African's Guide to Express Entry_ MB.pdf
  16. 16 points
    So now that I have a bit of time, I thought I'd share my landing story. I left Johannesburg on Tuesday 17 October in the evening. I flew Joburg - Munich - Dublin - Toronto. The flights were pretty uneventful until I transferred in Dublin.They nearly never let me on the plane from Dublin because the agent did not understand the immigrant sticker in my SA passport as well as the fact that I happened to have a visitor's visa for Canada as well. They even asked to see my confirmation of PR letter. Luckily this agent showed it to his colleague who at least knew what was going on. Anyway, I landed in Toronto on Wednesday 18 October at 14:45, and stood in the passport control queue. I explained to the agent I am a newly landed PR. Everyone was super nice. I was then asked to go to the immigration office where I had to give my Canada address, and show my confirmation of PR letter. They kept the one with the photograph on it. I was then asked to collect some pamphlets and brochures about being a newcomer to Canada from another desk, then proceeded to get my SIN number. Once my SIN number was done, I went downstairs to the luggage carousel to collect my luggage. On the way out, I went to the customs desk. I handed the customs official both my "goods to follow" and "goods accompanying" lists. He then retyped it onto a different sheet and did ask for clarification on what "woman's accessories" meant, so I explained it was my non-valuable jewelry and hair accessories etc. He then kept the lists I gave to him, and gave me his retyped lists with all the stamps on it. He told me to show those documents when my shipment arrives. All in all the whole process from landing to exiting the airport took an hour and a bit as it was very quiet. The process that took the longest was being at the customs desk. On Thursday I went to RBC Bank to officially activate my bank account. I had opened it from SA, so this was just to go and do the process to collect my cards etc. I was asked to go back the following day. The one thing I noticed is that this country is so great with service. People are super helpful. On Friday I went to Services Ontario to register for my health card, but they needed a mailed copy of my proof of address. They did not accept the printout from RBC Bank, so as soon as RBC sends my first statement via mail, I will use that and go back to register for my health card. The lady at Services Ontario who helped me said it does not matter when I register because they look at the date I landed and 3 months from that date I will be eligible to use the service (once I am registered obviously). Friday was also the day I signed up for a sim card. My boyfriend and I went to all the network providers and collected their brochures. We then did a price comparison. Because I only needed a sim card, the best deal for me was with Virgin Mobile (which piggybacks off the Bell network). I am paying $65 per month for unlimited incoming and outgoing calls, and 2GB of data per month. I received notification from U-Bag that my boxes had arrived in Toronto. My boyfriend drove me to Pearson Airport yesterday to go and collect it. We went to the cargo section to collect the documents, then had to go to the customs area to clear it, then went back to the cargo area to collect my boxes. In terms of emotional well-being, it has been a little bit difficult these last few days. I am not missing South Africa per se, but I am missing the familiarity of SA and family/friends. I know it will get better because I have a super strong support system here in Toronto.
  17. 16 points
    This topic comes up so often maybe a post needs to be pinned to get it a top read. Many immigrants are of the belief that if you have good experience why can't you just get a job? Of course having some international exposure to projects and maybe even a year or two of working overseas is a real bonus. Canada will welcome me with open arms! I'm so good at what I do that getting work is as simple as just applying for the best paying job (after all I want to earn a great salary if I'm going to go to all the trouble of immigrating) With my knowledge and the fact that I speak English better than many or most other immigrants to Canada I'll find the job market a breeze to get in to. But I have 5 degrees, why won't they want to employ me? I can do anything, I'm very dynamic and a go getter. I have done the work of 6 people all at the same time. I must be the best candidate for the job, right? I will literally do what ever it takes to get this job, or whatever I can to get a job similar to what I do right now! I am so desperate to get out of here (SA) that maybe if I can just get a job, at least I'll get something to get into the market. Then I can prove myself and it will make the career that much easier. Oh boy this is ridiculous, everyone tells me they want skilled people, there "seems" to be so much work available. I've applied to hundreds of jobs, sent out so many CV's and nothing happened. Why can't I just even get a reply? I either get nothing or I just get an auto response rejecting me! I am so "gatvol". That's it, if they don't want me, I'm wasting my time. I'll try New Zealand, Australia, UK, anywhere but that place (Canada), because they just are ridiculous. (But in the back of my mind I know I don't qualify for those places either, because the rules there are even worse) Any of these sound familiar to you as the newly landed immigrant, or even worse newly decided emmigrant? Time to educate yourself. 1st rule: Metaphorically speaking in your job, You can bake a chocolate chip cookie! Right? You can make a bannana muffin? Right? You can whip up a mean red velvet cupcake? Right? Ok as a saffer maybe you can even create the ultimate choc chip/bananna/ red velvet Swiss roll that is to die for! Yes as a Saffer you probably are just that dynamic and diverse and entrepreneurual to "do it all" So I can be this "good" in Canada? After all it will make sure I am worthy. WRONG! Canada is NOT a country of do-it-all people. Canada is a country of extreme specialists. To such an extent that many Canadians won't/can't even change a light bulb because it is believed to be the job of a master electrician who is insured and has the license to do so. You just don't do a job that you are not employed for! Even as an accountant you either do auditing or accounts payable or accounts receivable or you are a controller etc. you DO NOT do all of the above. They are 4 or more specific jobs and even careers, then you even have the years of experience for seniority. The same with Engineers. In SA you might be a civil engineer that can do all aspects of the project, from project planning through implementation, through quantity surveying etc. in Canada these are all SPECIALIZED INDIVIDUAL jobs. Don't assume your resume (Canadaian version of a CV) must include every skill. You specialize your resume for the skills of the job you are applying for. LEAVE ALL IRRELEVANT SKILLS / EXPERIENCE out that does not fit with the job. YOU WONT impress anyone here. They don't understand "jack of all trades" they ONLY WANT SPECIALIST people for SPECIFIC jobs, so tailor your resume to market yourself accordingly! Sound like its a bit far fetched? Well look at these videos, they will blow your mind and when you get "it" you will really "get" it and suddenly Canada will open those doors you need. Canada immigration - finding work - the expose (it shows immigrants but every immigrant faces the same issues, learn the context, forget the interviewee) Finding a job in Canada - How to make it happen Canada - Still the land of opportunity? Hope this helps and may this post be "pinned" and added to.
  18. 16 points
    I just wanted to share some great news. I received a job offer from a company in Halifax this week. According to the company they have done this a couple of times before, and the job offer should let me qualify for the NSNP skilled worker category without the need of an LMIA. If that comes through the next step is an LMIA exempt work permit based on the provincial nomination in order for me to go over and start working for them while I wait for PR to be finalised. Unfortunately this stream is not aligned to EE and it seems the paper based PR for PNP candidates take quite a bit longer than EE. I am really excited about this and really happy that things are starting to move forward. I almost lost hope when NB closed the open category for their PNP which I sent an EOI for, but is it just that fact that made find the job opening which I applied for under the jobs section on the http://www.workingin-canada.com/jobs site. If all goes well I should be in Halifax in about 9 or 10 months.
  19. 16 points
    After a very exhausting trip we landed In Calgary on the 10th of March. Was picked up at the airport. Thursday night we slept In our new home In Picture Butte. Had a few hectic days. Registered for medicals. Applied for SIN number and also our po box. And the best thing of all is that everyone is soo friendly and helpful and service delivery is outstanding. We just love our town. Couldn't sleep Friday and me and hubby went for a walk at 3:30am. What a bliss ! So safe ! Spend the first few days buying groceries and getting some furniture. For anyone still busy with their application .... Byt vas !!!!! It's really worth the struggle and effort !
  20. 15 points
    Hi All, So, in slightly less than ten days I will have been here for a full year. It feels great saying things like: "My first time skiing was in February last year..." to people who ask. At work, I'm not the new guy anymore. I don't need a GPS to get around downtown Vancouver, or most cities around here. I'm not cold all the time... I remember feeling like I'm getting frostnip the moment I walked out the airport last year. Unlike the locals though, I still appreciate the rain. And Raccoons. Snow is amazing. The silence around when hiking through snow is something else. I probably like winter more than summer, driving to work in the dark is fun. I had my fair share of Lower Mainland traffic enforcement being way more efficient than what I was used to. Turkeys are way bigger than I expected. Canadian Christmas dinners involve multiple families and more food than I've ever seen on one table. Biking in freezing cold for multiple days over hundreds of km ended up being the best thing to happen to me. This country is amazing, especially nature wise, but also the fact that you can bike like that without fearing you might be mugged. Early season skiing is fun, but don't take your brand new skis... Also, don't trust the liftees loading skis in Whistler. They do NOT care about your insanely expensive skis, and will scratch the crap out of them. A chicken korma pie in Whistler, had actual chicken korma in it.... It was so good. I'm going back for more soon. I've hiked more in one spring/summer/fall than I have ever done before. I made many random friends while hiking. Pretty much all my good friends here, besides the few made while apartment hunting. Worth talking to everyone, never know who you have things in common with. For some reason, caring about the environment has taken on a new meaning here. I'm not sure the same thing is happening back in SA. I hope so. I've gotten things done that I thought was out of reach in SA, like PRK. Biking/skiing/hiking in the rain, without glasses, is next level. Stocks actually go in a direction other than down...or maybe I have just been bad at it in SA haha. Of course, I have had many a day missing family, pets. The farm I grew up on. I have a playlist on Spotify I aptly named "Homesick Songs". It's basically my favourite songs by Spoegwolf. I find listening to Afrikaans music helps. First Christmas/new year away from family in ... 29 years, it was painful, but on the other hand I had a great time with my new 'families' here. Built multiple gingerbread houses. I've come to realize I wouldn't be able to willingly go back to SA. There are so many reasons to stay here, despite the US being stupid, the government doing questionable things, or housing being insane. It doesn't affect my health and safety (yet ). I can go lie down and have a nap in a park without being afraid of something being stolen. Was never a big thing, until I did it and realized why I've never done it outside our farm. I've been forced to cook. Ugh. Food options here are great, but I miss the ready to eat stuff that Woolworths sells. It was so easy to eat kinda healthy haha. People still don't get that it's Afrikaans, not African. My colleagues are my friends. I feel lucky.
  21. 15 points
    We have landed in Montreal! After customs you are sent to immigration where they look at your documents. You get a number just like at VFS global ?... they then give you an awesome book on Canada that includes details on everything like driving, tax, pets etc. It took us less than an hour! Thanks to everyone and the support you guys showed over the past 18 months...!
  22. 15 points
    I still carry in my wallet a piece of paper I wrote out almost 13 years ago when we landed in Canada. It was a basic budget and how long our money would last. We landed with very little so it was not going to last long. Not sure if I was brave or stupid. We had no family in Canada to help if we ran out of money. I had no job. The budget wasn't very long simply because the money wasn't lasting too long. I prayed a lot - for a certain amount of income within a certain timeline. The job offer came in the nick of time and at the exact dollar amount I had written down. Timing was perfect. I still carry that piece of paper in my wallet to remind myself of God's grace. I will keep it until the day I die.
  23. 15 points
    Now that my process is 100% complete, I can say I found that documentation was pretty good for the application process but there could be more for the post-landing. So I decided to share my findings to try help someone else in a similar position. Read the disclaimers below. If I can help 1 person, then my mission is accomplished! There will be some duplication, if this doesn't apply to you please just ignore the post I will make edits and additions as I remember things that may be helpful. I noted this things down based on my experiences and also for someone who isn't a millionaire and looking to save some $ after landing from SA. This is meant to be read by newly landed PRs but could be useful to read before leaving SA as well. Disclaimers: * This is based on MY experience * These tips and hints aren't necessarily the best way - feel free to provide better advice and I will add / edit / update * This is for a landing when you know nobody, no family or friends to assist you - if you have those, then you don't need this * This is mostly Ontario focused (and also GTA), not sure what will apply in other provinces (Ontario is pretty big) Finding a job * It's near impossible to find a decent job, so focus on making connections via other expats, Linkedin, industry professionals that you know in other countries * I found recruiters will ignore you and generally you will get many "No's" on all job applications * Sounds silly but try your best to get a job lined up before you leave SA, it will make the landing a lot easier (you will have an address, proof of income, people you know etc etc) Money * Don't cancel your SA Credit Cards until your first return trip - leave some money behind in the cards - you will need these when you land * Try bring a mastercard if you can, some stores don't take Visa * Drawing money is expensive - there is a $3 surcharge usually - but compared to not having money, it's nothing * Buy USD in SA and convert at the airport - they may waive commissions above $300 and you don't need a scrap of anything, not even ID - for under $1500 I believe (you shouldn't need that much cash anyway) * Go straight to a bank and arrange an account (I went with RBC but they are all good) - they all have newcomer programmes, easy enough to research beforehand. They should give you a credit card (seems Mastercard is a better choice than Visa) and Interac Debit card * Don't apply for different cards or banks. Every credit check is a negative (my bank advised me to keep it to 4 or less to build my score) * Make sure you get your cheque books ASAP, you will need them for your rent cheques (10 post dated cheques when you get the keys) Car, Licence (Or License as they spell it here), Driving * Do some G1 practice tests online (I didn't) * Go straight to DriveTest when you land and apply for a driving licence "conversion" (SA doesn't qualify for the direct conversion) * Do the G1 test there and then (so you can book the G) * Keep in mind that the G1 invalidates your SA Driving Licence!! * Try find a G road test ASAP - call the call centre when you get home (you will need your new G1 licence number and expiry date to book the G test and you will need to speak to an agent as skipping the G2 is a special process) * Definitely get a lesson before the test and watch all the videos you can (It's easier than K53 but tricky since everything is the other way round - you will notice this very quickly when you need to do a 3-point turn!) * For the road test, there is no yard and there are no poles to hit or incline start - other than that, everything is similar to SA * when they say pull off the road, get OFF the road completely (during the test) * keep your hands on the wheel at all times * make sure you ride AT the speed limit and always enter the highway AT 100km/h not lower * Insurance is a problem. No way around it. You can make it cheaper by: living in the sticks, taking a telemetry device to save money in year 2, combining with your home insurance, getting winter tires. Shop around but in the end, anything under $300 a month is good for a newish car * Get your car finance from the dealership if you can, I managed to get a 2.99% interest rate this way (you may need a 20% down payment though but this also applies to the bank finance) * When driving, on a left turn remember right is tight, left is long * Learn the road signs for your G1 - there are a lot of different road signs here (such as the no stopping sign or the speed limit sign with an arrow) * There are no speeding cameras that I have seen in Ontario (they are apparently outlawed) so don't waste time looking for them! * If you are renting a car on landing for a significant time, say more than 5 days, do not rent at the airport - find a car rental nearby, book through them and get alternative transport (Uber) to there - this will save you $300 over a 3 week rental! * Petrol (Gas) prices vary by station and also changes every 2 days - prices are usually posted so you can drive around but generally it isn't worth it to shop around unless it's 8 or 10c cheaper somewhere else Winter tips * Get a car with heated seats! * Before the snow comes, make sure you have -45 windscreen washer fluid * Also get a snow brush and ice scraper with some rags in the car * Depending on where you park, try keep a snow shovel in your trunk (boot) * Also try keep some de-icer fluid in the car to melt the ice on your windscreen in the morning * Some will say get remote start but I have found even with driving, the car takes 10-15min to warm up when it's -10 but I guess every bit helps! Finding a home * Find a few realtors (estate agents), meet with them and find one you can get on with, who understands your situation and will fight your case * Then, kick off your search on realtor.ca - jot down the MLS IDs you like, send these to the realtor and let them do the legwork (they will arrange viewings, assess the area etc) * Depending on your budget and what you are looking for, try look at Condos and Townhouses * Real estate is high here, don't be shocked when you see the rent numbers (it is offset by lower taxes in a way - when compared to the same salary in SA) * Don't bother with Kajiji etc unless they give MLS IDs * Good places will be hard to get as demand is very high with the property boom and immigrant influx * I had to put in offers on rental, much like buying a house in SA - the Realtor fights your case here * Try find a "Green" place that combines your heating systems (basically try avoid electric only heating) * When they say Hydro that means Electricity NOT water. Water is water - which is sometimes included * People don't buy "geysers" or water heaters here, they rent them. This may or may not be included in rent. * Go for direct debit on the utilities, this way they don't take a "Security deposit" - nothing like SA * Rent unless you have the money for a 20% downpayment and are 100% sure where you want to live (keep in mind average house price in the GTA is currently $750,000) * There are no 6 month leases, don't even try - there are a queue of people offering 1 year so a 6-month request pushes you to the back of the queue * You need enough cash to cover First and last months before you get the keys. You also need a security deposit. So, for my rental of $1800 - I had to come up with $3850 in one go. * Notice period is 2 months on the 1st i.e. if you want to move out on 30 Nov you must give notice on or before 30 Sep (it works in calendar months) * You never get the last month back (only the small security deposit) and that last month is the last month, i.e. if you go onto a month-to-month after your first year, you keep paying rent i.e. start giving a monthly cheque * You will need to take out tenant insurance if renting, no way around it, so keep this in mind Food / Take-aways / Coffee * Don't bother with Starbucks it's too expensive - go to Tim Hortons and ask for a Double Double - like a real Canadian! (coffee + double cream + double sugar) * Milk is really expensive here, the reason Canadians use bags is because it's around half the price if you take the bag...stupid but yes * Don't bother with Swiss Chalet or KFC, just go to Nandos (also Nandos doesn't have Mild here) * Get a Keurig machine (or knock off) and buy the K-Cups in bulk at Canadian Tire or No Frills or Costco etc - will save you a lot in the long run (or stick to Instant Coffee!) * There are some reasonably affordable healthy steamer options that you can microwave, try them - at least in the beginning (instead of eating out every day) Shopping * Always check Canadian Tire first, it's like a Makro combined with Builders but also has a lot of other stuff at good prices * Bed, Bath and Beyond also has a lot of stuff at fair prices (wide variety) * For home shopping, Home Outfitters runs a lot of good promotions and has pretty good stuff * Jysk is a bit like Mr Price home but better - you can get decent quality items for the home in this store (most times even cheaper than IKEA) * When starting out IKEA is great but if you don't want to construct everything yourself and become a cardboard recycling factory go there for the basic stuff (extension cords, light bulbs, spare bedding etc). I picked up a spare pillow for $2 and it works just as well as my $40 one * After you land, while you are getting over the shock of the cost of things, do your grocery shopping at No Frills - but beware they do not take VISA credit cards! You will find the same items there at lower prices than other places * Shoppers Drug Mart (the bigger ones at least) are 24h if you need Milk or groceries at odd hours Hotels and transport * When looking for a hotel (for your first few weeks), use booking.com to find a hotel with availability etc and then call the hotel directly to book - you will save $10-$15 per night this way * The GO train is really good but it's a commuter train and only takes people into the city in the morning and out in the afternoon - otherwise the bus system is pretty good Shipping your belongings * if your shipment is small enough, don't bother with door to door delivery - you need to clear customs at the airport in person after your goods arrive * make sure you have the goods to follow list in good order with all the documentation from the courier company - makes the customs release straight forward * Generally, do not ship anything that you can buy here - you will be amazed at the variety of stores and selection you have here. Voltages and bed sizes are also different of course * None of your electronics will work unless they are rated 100-240V and you will need adapters - only bring laptop and cellphone chargers Medical * If you are landing without a job, you will need emergency medical insurance as OHIP does not apply for your first 3 months * The 3 month waiting period applies from your date of landing ("Became PR" date) provided you can show a driver's licence, PR card, proof of address when applying for the card - I had been present in Canada for 1.5 months when applying for my card since I had to return to SA after initial landing Other/General * Get a Fixed address ASAP (I used my company's address) - this is a big thing here and you will need to be able to receive mail at this address! They post everything here - bank card, credit card, drivers licence, health card, SPAM, insurance confirmations * When you order your Internet and cable service, ask about promotions - they are always running promotions that are not advertised - I managed to get 250/20 for $75/month (for a year contract) * If at all possible, try time your landing so that you can take advantage of Black Friday and Boxing Day sales - so you want to be in your house by the latest end November (the sales are on everything, not just electronics) - in some cases, big ticket items (appliances, furniture, beds etc can be less than half price) * Set up a DSTV online profile for a family member and use their account to watch DSTV (specifically cricket and rugby which you won't find here) - You will need to use unotelly or unlocator for this but it's worth it! * Use wunderground.com to check the weather - I find it is very accurate for my area. You can get an idea of the temperature predicted as well as when it will snow and how much. The amount of snow is a bit of a guess by anyone though but usually they are quite spot on about when it will snow and what the temperature will be (I have a unit measuring it and most of the time the website is 100% accurate)
  24. 15 points
    Unfortunately you are not anyone else! What was hard for them might be trivial to you, what is hard for you, others might not even have faced. It all has to do with how you handle stress. Do you remain calm? Do you freak out because the line in the grocery store is too long? Do you hate rainy wet weather, not because it's rain, but because the damb dog keeps getting the floor dirty! Immigrating to a new country is all about leaving it behind. Deal with your baggage before you leave or it will manifest into a huge pile of Steaming stinky stuff very fast. This is the emotional stuff you hide under that Saffer bravado. You will release that pent up anger so unexpectedly that it will catch you by surprise. It might even scare the hell out of you if you don't know It's coming. It's the things we long for more than the circumstances that trip us up. As Karin mentioned, leave it behind! Make no room for a back door in your plans. Yes I know you think and you say its final and no looking back. Seldom do you realize it, but your spouse might be the one harbouring the "what if" thoughts. Deal openly and honestly with all sides of your feelings. Drop that 'I'm a man and I don't talk mooshy feeling k@@k'. Sit down and have the entire family deal with their fears, hopes, dreams and expectations. Get on the same page as fast as you can, and DONT assume everyone is on the same boat as you. Often kids have things they can't tell you because you have made up your mind and it's your way, end of story. Take the time to listen to them, they are equally important, and if this move is 'for them' stop excluding them. Make them part of your team, it helps them feel like they belong. Acknowledge that both parents might have to work to start off with. Survival jobs are not an embarrassment, they are a means to an end. You doing something beneath your expectations doesn't make you less of a person, it makes you a person strong enough to move forward, even if you have to walk backwards for a little while. If you suffer from emotional stress or other medically related problems, you NEED to find your zen point. This journey is the hardest thing you will face, and it's the most rewarding if you just LET IT GO. Family (well actually relatives - even parents and siblings are really just relatives, learn that fact and it's easier to deal with, kind of distancing yourself emotionally) staying behind are all adults, they make their own choices and live their own lives. You might be the closest family and spend hours and hours in each other's company. Maybe you have one of the families where everyone lives in each other's homes/clothes/fridges/potjie pot etc. The reality is when you close you eyes at night, it's who you fall asleep with that is your real family. They are the ONLY ones you will need to get over the days ahead, make sure you are in their life more than your siblings and parents. Everyone else is old and ugly enough to choose their own path. It's not for you to walk their path, neither is it their duty to place boulders on yours. Respect them for their choices, but remind them to respect you for yours. Make peace with the fact that you may never ever see (physically) your older parents or grandparents, take the time to say good bye in person now and do it properly (remember you still want to be in that will ). Money makes the world and journey easier, but learn to live with far less than you need right now. Force yourself into living on the bare minimum and when you get here and can afford better or more, you suddenly feel fabulous. Reverse that and you suddenly will know what financial devastation and destruction does to even the strongest relationships. Finally, buy yourself a pair (or two) of big boy/girl pants. You are going to be wearing those really well so you may as well get used to it. It's hard, but rewarding. It's emotional but it's crime and fear free. It's happiness rolled inside sadness, covered in joy and delight. You choose which layer to savor and what layer to spit out. Have fun and remember to smell the flowers and stop to watch a honey bee do its job. You will be amazed at what you can learn from those simplest of moments in life. You forget to do these things in SA, yet here it becomes a way of life. LIVING like you have never lived before!
  25. 14 points
    Hi All This is just a quick post regarding our current moving madness! Job hunting background We got our CoPR on 6 December 2016. Due to personal circumstances and having good employment in SA we only decided to start job hunting from SA in early to mid May 2017. As my DH said; "let's not eat into our pension funds and saving accounts. Let us not commit financial suicide." We both were "lucky" and received multiple offers in about a month. We are flying in less than 2 weeks! I was asked by @SunshineGirl to write some tips from my personal experience. I do not think that we are "lucky", "special", "an exception" or "big fish" at all. On the contrary! We are in our mid to late 20s with little experience. I do however think that we did our due diligence and put in a lot of hard work and effort. My DH does not follow these forums or the FB page and he never had the "it is basically impossible" attitude as is often insinuated on these platforms. On the contrary; he decided on our behalf that we will make it work from SA. I also wish to start a family upon arrival, so we really needed to be as financially secure as possible upon landing. I need to start work ASAP in order to qualify for maternity benefits. The following is just my personal opinion. I am not a recruiter, an agent or a lawyer. I have no commercial affiliation to any immigration or recruitment firms. In fact; I love cutting the middle-man out. ;-) Approach to finding employment/ doing an application: We started in only Ottawa and Montreal as these cities are our first preferences for various reasons. We are heading to Montreal as that is where I got the best offer. I started by contacting some recruitment agencies. None of them came back to me or even acknowledged receipt of my resume. My DH did however get a lot of traction from recruitment agencies. It seems that this is industry-specific as we are in completely separate industries. I however found that the professional body with which I will register in Canada has a job board and I found various employment opportunities on there that was in line with my profile and what I was interested in doing. I personally found indeed.ca to be very helpful. They list jobs for all walks of life and is generally a summary of all of the other websites. Indeed.ca in some instance take you to the organization's job portal directly. If this generally happens be prepared to fill in an application similar to the Express Entry profile. (Oh what fun, but at least I've had good practice and everything is already saved in an Excel spreadsheet so I just copy it over.) Large organizations generally require a huge amount of information. This includes your full qualifications, employment history, a motivation as well as a lot of security questions and in some instances a voluntary demographic section. It can easily take up to an hour to fill this in properly. After I came across a few of these I decided that "quality over quantity" will be my approach. I did about 20 thorough applications as opposed to the South African "scatter-gun" approach of sending out 200 CVs left, right and centre. Resume & Cover letter tips: Oh boy, have I seen some terrible resumes from South Africans who are extremely highly qualified! As there has been multiple posts on this topic I will not write an essay here, but in my opinion this is where things go a bit pear-shaped for Saffas. I benefited a lot from soliciting critical advice from a lady in Canada in exactly the same industry as myself. She has over 40 years of experience and she gave me some pretty good critique. My dad has an IT firm in Canada and I spent about a day with the one HR lady to iterate my resume further. It is crucial that your resume lists your accomplishments and not your generic job duties. Furthermore; it needs to be concise, legible and neat. Every square cm on that page is an important piece of real estate. Optimize what you put on there! Do not submit a resume longer than 2 pages. Your "third" page will have a list of contactable references. Please note; since you are a foreign worker your references will most probably be contacted. (Mine and my husband's were contacted.) Your resume and cover letter needs to be aligned to each and every position that you apply for. As an side to those paying someone to find employment on your behalf: I am not sure how someone applying for employment on your behalf can do this? Please share? Interviews (personal experience): All of my interviews were Skype interviews. I made it known that I am more than willing to fly over at any stage. At one stage a company wanted me to do it, but they then continued with Skype interviews instead. The first interview is generally just with HR. It is merely an informal discussion about the role, your expectations, their expectations and your availability. The second and even third interview will then be "the" interview. With the offer that I accepted my fourth interview was a "meet the team" interview. As I manage projects, I felt that this was very nice from the organization that some colleagues who will work beside and even below me had a say in whether I was going to be made and offer. I did not in any interviews feel that I was discriminated against as my qualifications were foreign. In fact; I was told in multiple interviews that it is in fact in my advantage to be from South Africa as the organization wants to portray more diversity and inclusion in their staff complement. I was however asked multiple times to submit my WES certificate. Large organizations are therefore somewhat familiar with the immigration process. My WES certificate lists my full education background from matric to postgraduate degrees (all inclusive). Offers (personal experience): If you are being asked your CoPR document, you can safely assume that an employment offer is coming your way within the next 24 hours. I found it very "Canadian" and friendly that the offer that I accepted had a separate sheet that I had to sign and fill in my own start date. This gave me about 7-8 weeks to wrap up in SA and to settle in Canada prior to jumping into full-time employment on that side. Flights We are flying British Airways. JHB to London Heathrow to NYC to Montreal. I have organized to take an additional bag of clothes (at an additional cost of course) as I will need it, especially as my new employer seems to require formal attire. We will explore NYC a bit during our layover. (We have US visas.) It will be so cool to be there again as part of our honeymoon was spent there. It seems as if our lives have come full circle! We will also have 3 weeks in Canada prior to going back to work. Luckily we will be on paid leave from our employers in SA as we never took a break over December 2016. petPORT - My cat The day I adopted my rescue cat from a shelter I promised him that we will never abandon him. My beautiful only child will be fetched this Friday by petPORT. We had to measure him so that a specialized crate is built for him. (We measured him while our house was on show and we got quite a few giggles, needless to say!) Although we are only flying next weekend, I have decided that it is best that he no longer lives in our house based on the fact that it is total chaos and he is constantly stressed with all of the strangers coming and going with the packing. He will be flying KLM to Amsterdam and we will fetch him in Montreal a few days after we have arrived as we will still need to activate the electricity in our new apartment. Our new apartment has a cat and dog park which is pretty awesome. The initial quote was R10 000, but it will be more now as we moved the date that he will be fetched from us a bit sooner. I feel that this is extremely reasonable and I have absolutely no qualms in paying this for my precious kitten. Container We are busy packing and purging like crazy. We have decided on Biddulphs. The final quote will only be given once everything is packed. That is all for now!
  26. 14 points
    @jsm we are just enjoying the moment, job hunting and job interviews during the week and doing fun things over weekends. I had a job interview yesterday, one today and another on Wednesday, got offered the job from yesterday, but waiting for feedback from today's interview. My husband is on his way to an interview as we speak, so we are hoping for the best. The next step will be our drivers and then finding a place to live - we are considering to buy an apartment and then just doing the Airbnb thing for the next year to save some money. Its starting to get cooler now, very thankful for our first two weeks that had 80% sunshine and warm weather. Starting to get to know the area we are living in and the general direction when using public transport, had a few times we ended up on a North to South bus instead of a East to West bus. Canada is very welcoming and most places we have been and interviews we had was with other first generation immigrants, they always go a little further to help you and they all have tips on other steps we still need to take as immigrants. Please feel free to ask any questions if you have any or PM me.
  27. 14 points
    @helm Thank you very much! I will PM you. After a nice rest in the Dubai hotel, we were ready to take on the 14 hour flight to Toronto. We boarded, and got on the plane, and someone decided to load their bags but not themselves, so the bags were removed… We sat in the middle 4 seats, boo, BUT it seems, we were alone, YAY, but then we were asked to switch, boo, to 3 seats with extra space, YAY. We swopped with a family with 3 little ones, so good karma as well. THEN a gentleman, let’s call him Johan, had a sh#t fit, and was moved next to us, BOO!! All in all, not bad though, still extra leg room, and there was no competition for the armrest (muhahaha – evil laugh). Johan set a new record, beating my own, for a person who can sleep on a plane, goeie bliksem, he was completely out of it for 12 of the 14 hours. We landed, being quite tired, but relieved to be home. Passport control took all of 5 minutes, after which the real wait came, immigration, and then customs. All in all, the whole process took 2 hours, and we had our stuff, and we were getting an Uber to our Airbnb accommodation. Seeing as it was a public holiday, we couldn’t get our SIN numbers, and would have to do them the next day. We got home, did some unpacking, had a shower, and got ready for bed, as we were technically already in tomorrow. The EXTREMELY nice hosts, left some essentials in our fridge, so we had some sandwiches, and off to bed. Today was admin day. We started off with Service Canada to get SIN’s (Social insurance number). We walked there, about 3 km away. Neatly paved sidewalks, alongside well manicured open gardens, and fellow pedestrians greeting as they pass. They only open at 8.30, very much like home affairs, however, they actually open at 8.30 and start working, unlike home affairs. We got there, we were 3rd/4th in line and were taken away immediately, to be helped. 15 minutes later, we were done. I kid you not. No go slows, no fill in this form and go stand in this line. Sorry, tea time. Sorry wrong queue, start over. Oh, our system is offline, pay this and go to counter 5 billion and 6 thousand, and 300 million. None of that. Good morning, give me your immigration document, sign this piece of paper. Done. Next was the bank. These lazy buggers only open at 9.30. We got there, information, yes, wait 2 minutes, I will get someone for you. This took longer, about 90 minutes. In this 90 minutes our account details were confirmed (we already had an account) we opened 2 new cheque accounts, 2 credit cards and an interest bearing savings account, activated 2 temporary bank cards, and set up and activated our online banking. All of this was done by one person. In a little office, behind the tellers, which I might add doesn’t have bullet proof glass in front of them. You can shake your tellers hand, if you are that way inclined. With this done, we set out to get new cell numbers. We initially looked at Bell or Rogers, but were advised to check the smaller guys as well. Luckily there was a Freedom Mobile store close to the bank, so we went in there. My phone works with them, so I took the $40 a month package, they are running a promo with 6GB data a month, and unlimited local calls, and $10 SIM fee. Anna’s phone is a bit older, so they can’t help her, we had to go to Chatr, 2 stores down. Similar package, similar price, but only 1GB data. Something to get used to, is that all of this excludes GST/HST. So you need to add that in your head, to make sure you have enough money on you. Both of these stores were in a “strip mall” type setup, which from my personal experience doesn’t equate to upstanding moral corporate citizens, but I was wrong. Decent little stores, with one person manning both, nice, clean, modern. Something worth noting, is how obsessed these guys are with good service, at the bank as well as Freedom, the people assisting us, explicitly asked if the service was good, as they would be rated on it, and it makes a difference to get a good rating. I tried to add a PIN code to my phone, and in doing that, blocked the sim, and needed the PUK, so I emailed them, expecting an answer in 24-48 hours, lo and behold, not 5 minutes later, I got an email, giving me all the details I need to unlock the phone. M I N D B L O W I N G S T U F F !!!!! Last but not least, we went to do some grocery shopping, at the local Food Basics, some essentials, and then back home.
  28. 14 points
    It's been a month since my last update and what a month it has been... I was able to rent a townhouse in Bronte Creek (North West Oakville) within a week after landing employment. Finding the right place at the right time is all about timing in the current market and depends on supply at a particular point in time. In hindsight, we probably agreed to more than budgeted for but the place was ready to move in with the family on the way. I physically visited 13 different houses before being able to choose this one and luckily the offer was accepted at the asking price within 48 hours of being accepted. The rental application here is quite different to what we may be used too... there is an agent which acts on behalf of the Landlord and your agent on your behalf. A detailed and comprehensive application needs to be submitted for review and approval. Recommendation: Have written company and personal references available as part of your application to aid your cause in proving that you're a decent and honest human being. Notification of our container arriving from SA was received shortly thereafter. I was required to present myself at the Canadian Customs Office located at the Toronto Airport with the documents received on or in our case, subsequent to landing. 5-minute process with documents stamped by Customs Official with no issues. Container cleared without further inspection. Keys were collected on Friday, 21st July and our container was duly delivered on Saturday, 22nd July. The team from AMJ International (BIR's correspondent in Canada) were quite professional. Cardboard placed across the house as well as red carpet covering the areas with carpet. The team took just under 2 hours to remove all the contents from the container into specific locations in the house. The team took an additional 2 hours to remove some of the items from their packaging and removed the packaging from the premises on departure. The delivery, etc was part of the price which we paid for back in SA i.e. all-inclusive. Overall, the service in Canada was very professional and efficient. They also commented about how the goods were quite well wrapped coming from SA. Only issue is that some items appear to have been misplaced prior to packing in the container back in SA but I guess that's to be expected to a certain extent and a warm reminder of what we've left behind. The following week was spent putting some items into their place and unpacking a few more things with the family arriving on the following weekend. Beds purchased for the kids were delivered during the week too and required assembly thereof. Luckily most of the furniture requiring assembly comes with the necessary tools. Cable and Internet connectivity was also investigated and purchased with installation ending up taking place the week after the family arrived as opposed to before... bad timing on my behalf. Be aware that not all service providers may be able to provide service to your residence as they don't operate in your area i.e. Rogers were not available for us and we were limited to Bell or Cogeco. The family arrived and have been on site for just under two weeks now. The bachelor lifestyle (with no benefits ) has certainly come to an abrupt end. The kids are enjoying the freedom and the wife is trying to convert the house into a home. We have walks to the park (approx. 800m from our house) daily after dinner. What a difference seeing families of all backgrounds enjoying the outdoors at this time of the year by running or walking their dogs. I've celebrated one month at the new job today... so far, so good. The team reporting to me are knowledgeable, friendly and supportive. The same can be said of the individuals I report to both locally and in the US. Receiving my first pay check in 4 months at the end of July was a fantastic feeling. I continue to pray for those still in transition. May your hopes and dreams be fulfilled shortly.
  29. 14 points
    I thought I should share a very important and interesting lesson that happened to me recently. I asked for promotion a year after I started a new job. This is something I have never done in the past as I always believed in waiting for my boss to discover my good works and the value I'm adding to the organization. The truth is, people in managerial and administrative positions in your workplace are probably so preoccupied with their own work that they don’t have time to notice the finer points of your work. Don’t assume that your boss is aware of your progress. Sure, she/he will notice big achievements or when you complete an assigned task well, but much is lost in the day-to-day. And if you were turned down, so what? People who ask and do not receive are no worse off than those who don’t ask in the first place. My advice is that, make sure that your boss notices your accomplishments and your effort. The easiest way to do this is to tell them. It’s a simple matter of mere exposure. People like what they remember, and that includes you. BTW, I got what I asked for and I was promoted to a Director level.... To God be the glory!
  30. 14 points
  31. 14 points
    DID YOU KNOW THIS ABOUT CANADA ?
  32. 14 points
    YEEEESSSSS. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY. Woke up today, checked my Google Now and saw a post from Canada visa about lower points at 441... checked email... NOTHING... logged onto CIC and there it was! my ITA... HAPPY dance all the way. On my favourite day of the year too 22 Feb! Three twos; and it's Thinking Day for us blue blooded Girl Guides (Founders day for Scouts) And not a day too soon my EE profile expires in 3 days lol And now the police clearances and medicals begin. My sister in Alberta will be so happy lol. Happy dance. Happy dance. Happy dance. Happy dance. Happy dance. Happy dance. Happy dance. Happy dance. HAPPYYYY DAAAANCE. Yooooooohhhhhhhhhooooooooooo... can you tell I'm excited? in case you can't....
  33. 14 points
    Hi everyone, I was feeling creative this morning... I thought I'd share my ramblings with you :-) My South Africa, is a beautiful, captivating, soulful, gritty, charming, abusive man. There are moments of true bliss. Walking through a lush park on a Summer afternoon. The air so humid you could drink it. The sound of birds and beetles and children playing. Palm trees and banana leaves and sticky melted ice creams. The smell of braai smoke wafting through the air. Lazy Sunday mornings on the beach. The sand, soft. The sea, warm. The gritty charm of peeled paint and pavement peddlars. The friendly smiles of strangers. The chit chat with the checkout lady. Dusty farm roads and thorn trees. The warm strength of family. This is love. First love. Deep love that sinks right down to your bones and courses through your veins. The childhood memories... oh the memories. Chappies chewing gum and Chomps... running naked through the sprinkler... swimming in the Summer till your fingers are wrinkled and your lips are blue... Barefoot bliss. And you realise you’re hooked. Then. The blood curdling scream of a neighbour in the night. The robber with a broken bottle on the beach. The deafening ring of your house alarm that wakes you with a jolt. The crooked politicians, stealing from the poor people that put them there. The lights go out. The water stops. Your car skids off a pot-holed road. And you wonder, is this abuser on the road to rehabilitation or relapse? And you lie awake at 4am with a head full of panic and you realise it’s time to bundle your babies up…and leave. It’s time.
  34. 14 points
    Hi all, Ok as you can imagine things have been rather hectic but we are getting things going. SIN numbers applied for, Bank accounts open, Sim cards sorted and we are starting to settle in. I went for my first Job interview last week and have gone house hunting with an Agent and are busy applying for Rent for a house in South Kanata. We both have our G1 drivers licenses and are going to book for our G test as soon as our G1's reflect on the booking system. Driving on the "other" side of the road is actually really not that bad. Had one moment each but thankfully on quiet roads haha. Otherwise 400km down and we are doing well. We feel fairly comfortable and need to buy a car as a rental costs a good bit more and we need to save where possible. We were also accredited our full driving history which means we can apply to do the full G test straight away. Otherwise we are somewhat getting to know the area, driving a fair bit and watching very very boring news (we literally just watched a news story about a new pedestrian crossing being unveiled, I kid not). We went with RBC for a bank and got $2000 CAD dollars on credit which is pretty cool. We went with joint accounts and get 6 months free banking. Also we can apply for a mortgage after 3 months employment but have decided to rent for a year to figure out the areas where we are keen on and see how our jobs go.
  35. 14 points
    Yipeeeee we received our ITA!
  36. 14 points
  37. 14 points
    So it's been about 6 weeks since we left OR Tambo with just the right mix of fear, trepidation and relief to positively burp butterflies. It's been a busy period and new challenges ahead seem to replace old ones all the time but we've had a great time of it and I thought sharing our story thus far might help others who are considering the journey or have already started on it. I'm a medical doctor who finished his studies about 5 years ago, relatively fresh out of the forced labor which is two years of internship and one year of community service. Everyone has heard stories of Pakistani/Indian/etc doctors sweeping sidewalks and serving burgers in Canada because their degrees are not seen comparable to Canadian ones. Well, South African doctors can thank their stars that SA decided to make our internship programme two years long in 2005 because in Canada you specialise as a Family Physician for two years after your undergraduate degree and our "forced labour" internship is seen as equivalent to a specialisation in Canada, and thus we can work here as Family Physicians. The only catch is that you have to work supervised and salaried (you can't bill your patient services from the government) for the first 12 weeks, a period which I am currently halfway through. I never thought I'd say this but thank you Manto Shabalala Msimang, for garlic, beetroot and a fresh start in Canada! Having established the reason for being eligible to work in Canada, it's important to know that we came over on a work permit for myself and not PR like many other forum members. The whole work permit and LMIA and visa process took about 8 months from looking for work in January, signing a contract in February, applying for the permit in April, and registering with their medical college in steps throughout the year until finally landing in early August. My initial work permit is only for three months, and it then gets extended to the full duration of my 2nd LMIA which is for 5 years. That extension was applied for early September, and while its being processed, in the event of my original permit expiring, I will work here under what is called 'implied status' until a further immigration decision is made. The silliest part is that you can apply for the extension the moment you land here, begging the question why they can't give you the longer work permit to start off with. But then you need to pay fees again so I suppose someone has to pay for the crash in oil prices. Unfortunately it seems one can't get Alberta Health Care or your Albertan driver's license while on a work permit of less than 6 months, so that's really unfortunate until we get my extended work permit. I ended up using my SA medical aid's travel insurance for the first three months, and will then have to get private insurance until my extended permit comes through and I can apply for Alberta Health. Keep this in mind if you come over on a work permit for less than 6 months. I planned on landing a week before starting to work and fortunately managed to get most administrative stuff sorted out in that week. We were in the extremely fortunate position of having family fetch us from the airport and letting us stay with them for the first week. I have a lot of respect for people that get rental cars and a hotel and eke everything out on their own from Day 1, but I'm glad we didn't have to. The first week in a nutshell: Day 1 I got a SIN number at a Service Canada (like Home Affairs back in SA, but arguably more functional), opened a bank account and applied for a credit card at RBC, and went to the local Ford dealership to buy a car. I was set on buying one cash as I thought it wouldn't be possible to get credit, but surprisingly enough the dealership approved financing for a new car (Which is great even though we had saved up enough to buy one cash because you start building a Canadian credit record, right?). We ended up only getting the car on Day 5 due to difficulty sourcing the model we wanted, so good thing I left a week to sort this out before starting work. Insurance also had to be sorted out and to this end you need to bring you history of insurance from SA as well as your driver's license history issued by SA. I've heard of people getting very high insurance rates because they didn't do this; I'm paying about 1400 CAD a year on a 37 000 dollar vehicle, which from what I've heard isn't half bad. The most important thing is not your driving history but your insurance history as you get massive discounts per claim free year. I could provide 3 years history from SA and apparently that affords you their penultimate rating; after a year of insurance with them (permitting there aren't any claims) I'll go into their highest rating. So at the end of the first week we left the family that had helped us find our feet for the first week and drove to the tiny town of 800 people that would be our home for the next three months. Probably the biggest downside to this three month period is that we (my wife, infant daughter and I) have to move twice, as the assessment period does not take place in the town that contracted me. We were lucky enough again to be afforded a place to stay for the first two weeks with the family of the person actually appointed as my Assessor (another ex-South African doctor of 14 years) because there was literally no place available to rent anywhere in town. We moved into the first one that opened up on the 1 of September. Seeing firsthand how someone moved with his four daughters and his wife and made a life for his family, integrating into the community and marrying off his daughters to Canadians, will probably benefit my young family more than we might immediately realise. So we're renting a unit in a 'fourplex' in a tiny town of 800 people for now, and had absolutely no choice as to the rental because it was literally the only place available in town. We're lucky that the agent is willing to let at a month to month basis as we would have to break a longer lease when we move again in November. When I opened up a bank account I was toying with the idea of buying a property in the town that recruited me (after the first 3 months) rather than renting, as renting a house with a yard easily costs as much if not more than a mortgage (1500 to 2500 CAD per month). Initially this was met with some skepticism at my bank and the assurance that I'd have to put down at least 20% of the buying price. They also said that I'd have to show a few months of Canadian bank statements, prove a credit record and would likely have to file tax at least once before being considered. I had resigned to this, thinking that we'd likely rent and try buying next year. That's when I gave the local credit union a call and asked what they're requirements would be, considering that I'd prefer buying as soon as November and that I'd prefer putting down 10%. They were very accommodating, accepting my SA credit record, a string of SA bank statements, and a mortgage down payment of as little as 5%! Basically what it comes down to is that there are large Canadian insurance companies, the one being Genworth, that allows new immigrants to buy mortgage insurance when they have a less than 20% down payment and are new in the country. It seems like the banks don't advertise this widely, because soon after my bank found out I accepted a mortgage with a 10% down payment, they arranged a counteroffer through the same insurer with the same down payment and a better interest rate. So here we are about 6 weeks into our new life and just had our second offer to purchase accepted pending an inspection. The first offer, as you might wonder, fell through after the offer and the mortgage was approved because of a failed inspection which picked up water damage in the basement foundation. Inspections are expensive (about 500 dollars) but can save you a lot of money in the long run, since us South Africans obviously know nothing about soil grades, wood and concrete basements and different types of drywall. The inspection on the new property is tomorrow, holding thumbs it's all good! So I'm sure any prospective emigrant is probably bored with all the arrangements that I'm penning down and wants to know what Canada is like. So obviously Canada is different things to different people, and surely to the same people having been here different periods of time. To me, so far, it's been sleeping with the front door open, dropping in to 'borrow' Wi-Fi from our former hosts in town because they never lock their front door even when out of town for a long weekend, driving down scenic sometimes not-so-well-maintained rural highways and just feeling relieved, feeling unencumbered by old worries even as I'm happily encumbered by a different set of worries just because the very nature of those worries fall in the zone of 'things I can do something about' rather than the South African worries being more like 'things you can't change and will probably get worse whether you worry about them or not', enjoying a glorious (albeit expensive) long weekend in the Jasper and Banff national parks (Banff possibly being the most beautiful town I've seen), working in a hospital and clinic that has trained, professional, motivated and well paid staff, helping patients that are generally and genuinely thankful and respectful towards the medical profession, getting loans and mortgages easier as a foreigner than I would have in my country of citizenship (admittedly probably due to my profession actually being valued here), seeing my 19-month old enjoy a society built around looking after the safety, wellbeing and education of its children, and above all, knowing that I'm giving her a better future.
  38. 13 points
    Hi Everyone:) We landed on 20 May 2018, almost exactly a year after we received our Ontario Provincial Nomination. We have been in Toronto for two weeks now; a week downtown in an Airbnb (condo) to do all the touristy things and now in our Airbnb in HighPark-Swansea. How do we like Canada, and more specifically, Toronto? We love it! It isn't just a city with skyscrapers and a bustling downtown. It has huge green spaces, a public transport system that's excellent (subways, buses and streetcars), it's clean, the people are amazingly friendly, helpful and courteous (they often see us looking at our phones for walking directions and stop to ask us if we need any help), its multicultural and immigrant friendly and most of all it is SAFE! We walk around at 9 pm at night (the sun only sets at around then) and there's no worry that anything will happen to us. More detail: Leading up to our flight: We are a family of 3 (Hubby and I and our toddler girl). We had 3 large suitcases, 1 medium suitcase, 2 duffle bags, 3 hand luggages, two backpacks, handbag and camera bag. And a stroller! Our little girl was on antibiotics for her ear infection two weeks before our flight but complained of an ear ache the day before the flight. We took her to the ER (as it was a Friday night) and they said her ear was very inflamed and advised us not to fly:(. So no sleep on Friday night as we were now facing changing our flight which was the next day to possibly a few days later. The next morning I decided to call an ENT. Luckily I was able to get a hold of one on a Saturday morning. He asked us when we had to land by and I mentioned we had three weeks left to land (lessen here, once you have your CoPR and date of visa expiry; which is usually a year from when you did your medicals, plan your landing atleast three weeks before your visa expires to factor in anything that might occur prior to you leaving). The ENT advised us to rather fly as it would take two weeks to sort out the ear infection and determine if she needed grommets. He gave us some advise on what to do for the take off and landing and so with that, we bit the bullet, prayed and decided to take the risk. The goodbyes were the hardest thing I've done in my life! We decided not to do the airport goodbyes, so that did help, but I was still one of the most miserable people at the airport. It was tough! Landing: Thankfully our lg's ear infection was a complete non issue so we were OK! We flew Airfrance and had a great experience. We landed at 5pm on a Sunday. It was bright and warm. We got off the plane and headed towards the queue for the automated self service passport control. Here, you scan your passport, fill in the declaration form, have the machine take your photo and get a printout slip. A few minutes later we were at Boarder Control with our pre-cleared slip. The officer asked us one or two questions, welcomed us to Canada and then pointed us to Immigration. There we handed in our passports and CoPR, signed it with the officer, filled in address details for the PR cards and was then told to sit down for a few minutes while they processed it. Literally 10 minutes later we were done and pointed towards the Services Canada kiosk. They were closed for SIN numbers as it was a Sunday but they gave us all the information brochures and we were then off to collect our dozen bags (two trolleys with a toddler on top; wasn't actually bad). Customs took in our Goods to Follow list and five minutes later we were outside waiting for a mini van. The entire process took about 40 minutes, very fast! Landing in Toronto, I was nervous and thought "What have we done!!!" Our drive from the airport set my mind at complete ease. It was 6pm, everyone was walking around their clean, safe country. We were home! In Toronto: We decided to stay in Yorkville, downtown for a week and boy were we glad to have had one week in the heart of it all. We fell in love with Toronto! Most people land and stay far away from the city and my advice would be to stay in or close to the city for atleast a few days. The condo we stayed in was close to the Bloor/Yonge subway line and close to RBC's large downtown branch. We didn't need an appointment at this branch and the service was excellent. We activated our RBC account which we opened in SA. They gave us temporary cards which can only be used to withdraw money at an RBC ATM. Luckily we had our SA credit cards with us, so that made it alot easier. We also took the subway to Services Canada to get our SIN numbers. We did all the touristy things like the Hop on Hop off bus tour (a must), Ripleys Aquarium etc. We also got our mobile phone month to month contracts. We went with Freedom mobile as they had a special; $50 a month, unlimited calls and 13GB of data! The network coverage is also great. We are now in High Park- Swansea, which is a beautiful area close to Canada's largest park as well as close to the boardwalk (beach). We are in a basement apartment which is gorgeous so if anyone needs to know more, please feel free to message me. We booked from SA to stay here until end July so that we can get to know the GTA a bit more before deciding where to settle. The job hunt has officially started and we are hoping to secure employment soon, also so that we know where we will be working to help decide where we will be renting long-term. I have had two interviews thus far. One was with the company I used to work for, a few years back, in SA that has offices in Toronto (I contacted them when we had CoPR). Although they didn't have an roles available in line with what I was doing whilst employed by them in the SA offices, they've assigned me a recruitment agent who has taken in my resume and has also pointed me to a large networking event. We also applied for our Health Cover (OHIP). RBC sends your permanent bank cards to your address and you can use that letter for your OHIP application. It will only kick in in August so until then we have emergency medical cover with Blue Cross. We are close to the subway line, buses and street car and spend most of our days outdoors. The weather in Toronto is HOTTT! These last two days though have been a bit cooler with the rain, but the weather has been great. We have also been lucky enough to be invited over to a birthday braai of a friend of a friends (a childhood friend who now stays in London put us in contact). It was so wonderful to be invited to their home. I also have a few friends from Uni here so we have spent some time with them too. Hubby also has some distant family here so all that helps. Reach out to those friends/networks...it really does help. We havent really felt homesick as yet, but its still early days. Next up we have to do our knowledge test and full G license. I believe you just have to walk in to do your knowledge test. Thereafter we hope to purchase or lease a car. Leasing here is a great option and really affordable. We look forward to this next chapter, especially starting the routine of work etc. And I cant wait to shop at IKEA. They have some gorgeous stuff and theyre really cheap! Canadian Tire is also a great place to find everything from plugs to kitchen appliances to toys:)
  39. 13 points
    When I wrote my first blog post in October, I had every intention of continuing to detail every step of our process on this platform. I hoped that it would prove helpful to others and also, that sharing my fears and concerns would help keep me sane. Funny how things don't always go according to plan. If you read my first post, you'll remember that I was at that all-too-familiar stage of doubt. Doubts about why we're doing this, doubts about whether we can. And then - something completely unexpected happened that threw our lives into absolute chaos. So there we were, getting all our documents in order and all the boxes checked before submitting our application. Our WES documents were complete, we'd done better than expected on the IELTS - all was going our way. We'd made a booking for our medicals to be done in Pretoria, with no real concerns for the outcome. Aside from a previous, but treated, heart issue with my husband, my 7-year old son and I were in almost perfect health. How wrong we were. Looking back now, and as crazy as it may sound, we have nothing but our Canadian PR application to thank for saving our son's life. Without it, we would probably not have noticed that something was wrong until it was too late. Within ten minutes of seeing my son, the amazing doctors at Hatmed were able to sense that something was not quite right. To this day I still ask myself, "how could we not have noticed?" What followed was a weeks worth of appointments, MRIs and tests. For the first time in months, our Canadian application wasn't even a thought. Without going into too much of detail, it was eventually discovered that my son had a large, extra-rare type of tumor growing inside his spine. It had probably been growing for years. We had no idea. He presented no previous symptoms - just a healthy, normal little boy. Within the space of two weeks, we had found a specialist, completed his surgery and were on the long road to recovery. It doesn't sound like much as I write it down, but there are no real words to describe the rollercoaster of emotions that we went through during that period. Life, in a sense, stopped. Canada, South Africa - none of it mattered anymore. We were just constantly thankful that we started the process to begin with - without it, we never would have known. Life works in mysterious ways. So where are we now? I'm happy (ecstatic, panicked, stressed out, over the moon) to report that this morning we received our golden e-mail. We submitted our application in December 2017. It's been a long, difficult, life-changing road to get us here and we'll forever be thankful to the long list of people who helped us along the way, who held our hands and wiped our tears when it all got too difficult - who reminded us that it all brought us here. Canada - we're here, we're healthy, we've got so much life to look forward to. We'll be seeing you soon.
  40. 13 points
    Hello lovely people! I haven't posted here in a while, but I figured I should provide an update as my family and I are celebrating their one year anniversary here in Canada. It's so crazy how time flies! Just a quick recap about me and my family. I'm a PR (since 2015, although I've been here since 2009) and I sponsored my parents and younger brother to come here in 2016 via the Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program (you can also include siblings under 22 that are your parents dependents). When I first sponsored them in Jan 2016, I had anticipated a long processing time of 2-5 years because that immigration stream takes forever and right now CIC is still working on applications received in 2014. But for some reason, the Pretoria visa office saw it fit to bless us and they processed the application in 8 months! Yes, you read right, 8 months only! So, my family got their visas in August 2016 and they landed here as PRs on November 1, 2016. I still can't believe it when I think about it! On November 1st of this year, it hadn't even occurred to me that it had been a year already. It was just a regular day and I invited my mum to meet me for lunch as she was planning on being in the area that day. As we sat down to eat, she reminded me of how thankful she is for being able to live in this wonderful country and that we should actually plan a celebration for their landing anniversary this weekend. So, we spent the rest of my lunch break reminiscing on the past year and it's amazing how things can change in a matter of 12 months! Over the past year, all three of them have found jobs and have settled in very well. My dad works at an energy management company and he loves it there. My mum works in retail, which she really doesn't like, but she's also taking some courses and planning on moving on to a different job once qualified. Both my parents are in their mid-50s without a lot of professional work experience (my dad also doesn't have a degree), so it's a bit harder for them to get professional jobs here. Despite that, they are so happy about all the benefits that come with living here. They are able to work and afford to rent a lovely apartment close to downtown, they have extra money to save every month, healthcare is great, and the quality of life is top notch (especially when compared to life in Zimbabwe!). My brother who was 18 when he arrived, spent the first 10 months working for a furniture company. He thoroughly loved being independent and having money to spend on whatever he wants, and also save towards his tuition. It was a huge lifestyle change for him, especially after being depressed about the situation in Zimbabwe and lack of prospects for youth. This Fall semester he enrolled for an engineering program at our local college and he's really enjoying this new student life. Another wonderful change is that my parents tell me they feel so much younger since they moved here. They really appreciate the simple things like a functional transportation system, being able to take walks late at night, the endless festivals over summer, and the technological advancements in general. Both my parents are taking courses to upgrade their computer skills, as well as other courses just for the sake of expanding their knowledge. On weekends my dad likes to get on different bus routes just to explore the city and pass the time, while my mum enjoys meeting me for coffee and taking walks along the water and admiring our beautiful city. It's been a real blessing for them to be here. I also have another brother who's here. I wasn't able to sponsor him for PR because he was too old to be included in my parents' application. But, he's been here on a student permit since last Fall, and will be finishing some time next year. I really hoping he can land a good job and apply for PR as well. So, this is my one year update on my family's behalf. Cheers to one wonderful year in Canada!!! We are thankful everyday for this opportunity and look forward to many more decades here! All the best to everyone applying for PR!
  41. 13 points
    After submitting our application for PR and receiving AOR in July 2016, got a bit of a hiccup in my chest x-ray, doing 6 months of preventative TB treatment, THE EAGLE HAS LANDED !!!!!! We received our request for our passports at 17:21 on 02/05/2017 I suppose the easy part has now come to an end and the hard part is about to begin. Such a lot of emotions and thoughts to deal with now. First, a cup of strong coffee. To everyone that is waiting for their stuff. Just hang in there, it happens when it is supposed to and when you least expect it.
  42. 13 points
    Hi @EyelidGoose Sorry, been off the grid, getting settled here in canadaland! Yeah, so here's my experience in bringing the pooch over. Things to do before flying: 1.source a crate and make sure the pooch is fully comfy in it. 2.make sure the pooch gets his annual vaccinations including rabbies. Ask the vet for the relevant vaccinations required for Canada. 3.insert a microchip. Although this is not a requirement for Canada, I believe it is a requirement for exiting SA. Also being prudent to ensure if your pet goes off the grid, hopefully someone will find him and get him back home safely. This can be done at the same time as the vaccinations. 4.get the pooch his preflight check up done at your local vet within 5 days of landing at destination. This is to get the green light for him to fly. 5.get the preflight checkup vet documents state vetted at a department of agriculture state vet. Note you have to make a booking, pay R140 per certificate and just take the vet documents to the state vet, no dog required. I believe this is not required for Canada, however it is and export SA requirement still. 6.contact the pet export agent to book his flight and double check all docs are in order to fly. PM me and I'll send you the people we used if you are interested. Our little guy flew KLM and arrived just fine. He was completely happy in his crate though and we did I not sedate him. On this side, you have to wait for the local vet to check that his is fine, sign a whole bunch of documents and pay another $125 to release him. He flew perfectly happy and arrived safe and sound. our costs were estimated at the following: Crate: R1000 All vet fees including state vetting: R2000 Flight: R8000 Canadian import fees: $125 hope this helps PS: I was offered a job last week and will be starting this Friday! Very, very happy and feeling great to get some sort of routine back into our lives!
  43. 13 points
    When life as an immigrant becomes overwhelming... Once the honeymoon phase of being in new surroundings, is over, and reality hits you, life can get tough. Some folks are prone to depression, despondency, feelings of hopelessness. Some find it hard to talk about challenges and struggles. (I think most of us are like that.) Guilt can be a factor: we are living in a safe country, others in S.Africa may be facing horrible situations on a regular basis. Anxiety that comes from the concerns we have about family and friends still in SA, can be a another thing that eats away at us. There are 101 triggers, and all are legit and normal. If you are feeling some or all of these emotions, and more; we understand it. Most of us have been in those moments or seasons of intense turmoil or anxiety or self-questioning. What I am getting to though is this: when life gets to the point that it is so overwhelming as an immigrant that you are contemplating suicide, please reach out to someone for help. Every community has resources. Your GP, church, friends you may have made...anyone. Please just talk to someone and don't feel you are facing this all alone. You are not alone. There are people who understand you and what you are feeling. There IS help available. Your life is worth it. Please don't ever think you don't mean anything to anyone. Loneliness, despair, anxiety, illness, death in the family, any major challenge in life such as divorce, a spousal affair...those things unfortunately can happen and affect us deeply. Yes, they come at times, and even if it has become something that you cannot just shake off, but you find it is lingering...there is help available. Please don't give up. We care about you and we also now that there is life after a season like that. Life can be beautiful again. If you are wondering why I am sharing this, it is suffice to know that I have had to deal way too many times with attempted and completed suicides in my work as a (previous) trauma intervention/victim services' worker or just as a friend. No more. It is time to talk and let people know when help is needed. One attempted or completed suicide is one too many. Your. Life. Matters.
  44. 13 points
    Next Wednesday, 23rd September. I cannot tell you how excited I am!
  45. 12 points
    All... just an update that I was able to pass my Ontario Road Test earlier today. Waiting for your PR visa is nothing compared to the stress you go through for your Drivers Test even though you've been driving for almost 20 years another small achievement to be celebrated on this adventure! Some pointers and it's only my recommendation - try go for one or two lessons before the test with an instructor. They'll be able to take you along the possible route which will be used and point out some of the issues to be aware of: Different speed zones and change thereof between the different areas. Be careful especially around the school areas with kids and school busses. Always watch for pedestrians and cyclists Speeding up to 100 km/h before merging on the freeway Reminder of looking in your mirrors (not necessarily 5 point check) 3-point turns, alley and parallel parking (remember those but in the opposite direction) Driving of an automatic as opposed to manual transmission I spent just over an hour before the test today brushing up on these things. Although the majority of us know how to drive, you've gotten into bad habits, forgotten the basics of safe driving and don't know some of the Canadian nuances wrt their rules. Overall, a positive experience because I passed!! Safe travelling out there cos now there's another Saffer on the road need to go purchase a car now.
  46. 12 points
    Hi! Our passports are ready for collection at VFS Global, 5 working days later! How cool is that! Phoned them to ask the if maybe they are available and low and behold we can collect them! Now we can book tickets, yeah! Good luck to everyone still waiting! Enjoy your weekend!
  47. 12 points
    GOT IT! Request for Visaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa !!!! wooohooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo .... Please go to Pretoria if you haven't already.... thats what worked..... yippeeeeeeeee
  48. 12 points
    Hey guys Just an update from my side and I thought I'd share our landing experience. Firstly we departed from Durban to Toronto via Dubai. Prepare yourself for some emotions as we had my dad and mother in law there and it was pretty tough leaving them behind. After that we had to go through passport control. Now I was expecting some questions or something at least but we had nothing. The guy just checked our passports and let us go. A full 8 hours later we were in Dubai. Now one amazing thing about Dubai and about Emirates is the fact that data on their flights are super cheap and in Dubai airport it's free. Emirates charge $1 for 500mb. After that we had to go through a passport check with Emirates just to check if we are good to go. They do random checks on your electronics (e.g. laptops, cellphones and anything else so make sure it is charged). The flight between Dubai and Toronto is 13 hours and 10 minutes. I'll be honest, that was pretty long but luckily we were on the A380 and the space inside is amazing. The flight was quite nice and the service on Emirates was awesome. Got amazing food and lots to drink. We landed at Pearson at around 15:45 on the Monday (11 April 2016). We had to fill in a declaration card on the flight with everything that is with us and whether we have anything that will be following. My wife and I only had the stuff on our backs so luckily nothing too complicated. After we got off the flight there was a brief check of our passports by the Canadian police (everyone had to do so) and then we were off to passport control. We had to go stand in the Canadian resident queue (felt awesome!). There was a lot of people as a few flights had landed in addition to ours. It all went by pretty quickly. We got to the front of the queue and the officer just asked us if it was our first time landing, did a few things and told us to go to immigration. Funny remark he made was that it was going to be a long day for us. I told my wife to prepare for 4 hours of waiting and filling out forms (as is the norm at home). We went to immigration and there were a few other people landing as well. Got to the front of the queue and the guy only asked for our COPR document and nothing else. Told us to take a seat and not even 5 minutes had passed and he asked us to come back. All done. No questions asked and we had our PR status confirmed. There was another guy waiting for us after this asking us if we need to get SIN numbers. He took us on a little tour and got us a Welcome to Canada bag with some goodies inside. We went to get our SIN numbers which again only took about 5 minutes and it was done! After this we had gone down to get our luggage (which by the way we were pretty nervous about as it had been down there for a while now). Got there and our bags were safely off the ramp and just standing there. We picked it up and went to the customs line. The customs officer looked at our declaration card and asked us how much CAD we have on us. Gave him a figure and he said have a lovely stay in Canada. The whole process including all the queues at the Airport took an hour. I'd say the immigration itself was at most 30 minutes if it was even that long. My brother picked us up at 17:15 and obviously now a week later we are happily settled in here. We have opened up bank accounts, registered for OHIP and various other little admin things you do when you get here. We're taking it easy while we are looking for jobs and luckily my brother has quite a nice house and they kitted out the basement for us to live in while we get up and running. All in all we are very happy so far. Canada so far is amazing and doing everything here is so simple compared to back home. The only thing I'm missing at the moment is my family but luckily we'll bring them over soon. Here is just a pic of the neighbourhood we are living in (Oakville).
  49. 12 points
    What do you think of this view? In less than a month, we will be moving into our new home, recently purchased, and this will be our view! Sooooo excited!
  50. 12 points
    Spurred by someone's colourful trees in PEI, I've decided to post about fall in Canada Here are some reasons I love fall (in no particular order): 1. Forever chasing the perfect fall colours - they're everywhere!!! Haven't quite gotten the perfect one. I seem to have started a bit late this year, but there is always next year... 2. Extra hour of darkness - Daylight Savings here we come (more sleep yay?) 3. Hoodies and jeans 4. Thanksgiving 5. Pumpkin - everything.... (from décors to pies to lattés to faces) 6. Raising the dead on full moon (Halloween is huuugggeeee here) 7. Getting lost in corn mazes (be a maze runner for a day) 8. Curling up on the couch watching Fall Premieres (binge-watch, yeah!!!) 9. All the more reason to stop by Starbucks.... and have coffee, cocoa, latté, mocha 10. Walk in the woods among fallen leaves