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  1. 5 points
    I have no doubts that it was the right decision for our family even though it was difficult being without the family for a few months. It allowed me to leave SA sooner rather the later and commence seeking employment in Canada, while my wife was able to finalise activities in SA with the support of family and friends. I wasn't happy with my SA employer at the time so the decision to move on was probably even easier. On landing I had the flexibility to move around as needed. I could stay at Airbnb (flexible accommodation) at reasonable rates in an environment that I was comfortable with compared to if my family was with me. I was able to make use of public transport and not have to invest in a vehicle immediately on landing. Vehicle financing was subsequently also possible after an offer of employment was presented. I was able to move around, network with various individuals at any time of day with no impact on family with me. I can see how my wife is finding it difficult to seek employment at the moment with the other family responsibilities. Fortunately, I was able to obtain employment, source a residence and have the necessities ready to go when the family landed which may have aided the settling in period. As indicated, family and individual situations can be vastly different. I'm the more flexible, outgoing individual in our relationship so this worked for us. I'm the main breadwinner and I needed the flexibility to go out and do what I needed to without the daily family pressures. It worked for us. It's certainly not an easy decision. Be clear about your family objectives and work towards those together. There may be no right or wrong way once those objectives have been achieved. Continued good luck to you and your family...
  2. 4 points
    Is Hidden Valley hard to find?
  3. 2 points
    Got it in with a couple of hours to spare, my wallet is still trembling. Now I'm going to try and forget about it until I hear something.
  4. 2 points
    Mark your calendars for Saturday July 28th. SA Canada picnic in Hidden Valley Park in Burlington. Easy access from the 403 at Waterdown Rd or Aldershot GO station. For those wishing to attend but only have access to public transit, let me know and I'll arrange shuttle from the GO Train Station for you. For the newer folk here, I have a spare gas and small charcoal bbq to borrow. The park has a splash pad for the little ones, a creek (river) to explore for the not so little ones, baseball diamond, open field and more for the older. Frisbee's, rugby balls, cricket balls and bat are welcome. There is park seating for 110 people, or if you prefer, bring your own lawn chair and shade. Contact me through PM here on the forum if you would like more info.
  5. 1 point
    Hi @louisesmith1964, incase you don't have any luck with a shared container, I would recommend you use Ubag to ship your boxes. Their service was amazing when I used them to bring some boxes across.
  6. 1 point
    Please be careful about giving SIN numbers out. Most people that will require this number are your bankers and payroll administrators (oh, and let's not forget the taxman).
  7. 1 point
    I know there is a chef shortage in Victoria, so it might be worth doing some research to see if you can get someone to sponsor you? Part of the reason is low pay and high cost of living here though, but you could consider maybe living farther out of the city as surrounding areas are more affordable.
  8. 1 point
    I'll only note what I went through with the above few. f & g) PR card is done at point of entry, and I got mine roughly 6.5 weeks after landing. Until then, get used to carrying the landing form (COPR) around with you for activating bank accounts, or opening/signing pretty much anything. You can only get your drivers license card after verifying your identity, which requires the PR card, so, you'll probably be driving on a temp license until about 4 weeks after getting your PR card. Your Services card becomes available once you qualify for the provincial healthcare, at least that's how I did it. Once you get the drivers license or services card, you can use that as ID, as it's easier to replace than your PR card should you lose it, and you need the PR card to reenter Canada should you want to leave. i) Start looking as soon as you know you're getting the visa (PPR). I contacted companies/recruiters/managers directly via LinkedIn, and explained my situation. Most of them were helpful, and I managed(lucked out) to find a job within 3 days of starting to look. Basically, it's all up in the air. Depends on many things. What you do, demand, how open the person you contact is. If you are in control systems/electrical eng, with a degree from a Washington Accord university, our company is potentially hiring.
  9. 1 point
    Wow Lidia, that was informative. I would probably have given one-liners to that many questions
  10. 1 point
    Hi MGJ, I can give you information about our experience applying for the Express Entry Federal Skilled Worker Program in 2016. Some things might have changed that I'm not aware of, so please always double-check everything and use the official Government of Canada website as your main source of information. If you haven't already, the very first step should be to check whether you are eligible to come to Canada and determine what your EE score would be and compare it with the current minimum scores being chosen. This will help you to determine what your chances are and if you should rather be looking at other programs such as PNP (Provincial Nomination Programs). a) When creating your EE profile: You will need your IELTS results, your WES assessment and a copy of your passport. You can read more about creating your EE profile on the official Government of Canada website. After receiving ITA: Here is a link on the official Government of Canada website that lists everything you'll need after ITA. For the normal EE FSW program the unabridged birth certificates are only necessary if: - you have children and/or - you need to prove that you are related to a Canadian citizen or someone with Canadian PR if you are claiming points for this. For example, I needed my, my dad and my aunt's unabridged birth certificates to prove that I'm related to my aunt (among other documents). My husband never needed to show or submit his unabridged birth certificate at any point during the process. You might need this document later though, e.g. if you're planning on sponsoring your parents so it is good to have. We never needed our unabridged marriage certificate either, the handwritten abridged one was accepted without problems. I've been told that it is good to have the unabridged one as the ink on the handwritten one might fade after a while. If you are currently living in SA then your SA police clearances are valid for 6 months. You can try to time your police clearances depending on how likely you are to receive your ITA in the next draw. We got our SA police clearances close to 6 months before receiving ITA, but you are allowed to renew them once without going through the whole process again and that is what we did. Police clearances from other countries stay valid indefinitely until you visit that country again, so if you need other police clearances I would suggest getting them now already if you're not going to visit that country again before applying. We did our medicals a week before receiving ITA without any problems. We closely monitored speculations about what the minimum score would be in the next draws and we were fairly certain that we would get selected in the next draw and receive ITA, which we did. When you go for the medicals is up to you, we did this to make the process as fast as possible and so that there were no delays on our side. Your timing and when you want to arrive in Canada might be different though. b ) - You will need reference letters from your current and previous employers that have to contain specific information e.g. your job description has to match your NOC code description more or less. There are many examples online if you Google it or do a search on forums. Write the letter yourself with all the correct information and get the relevant person at the employer to go through it and sign it. - Remember that you also need police clearances for all other countries that you lived in for more than 6 months in total after turning 18 (and only in the last 10 years, which is a new condition that they've added after we applied as far as I know). - You need extra documents if you are claiming points for having a relative in Canada already (a utility bill in their name, a copy of their citizenship certificate/PR card etc.). c) This whole process is in effect your permanent residency visa application. You will open an EE profile by submitting the first set of information. Then, if your application is chosen based on your points, you receive your ITA. At that stage you will need to submit the rest of your documents including your medicals and once this has been processed they will ask for your passport. Once you receive your passport back it will contain the PR visa which is a single-entry visa and a COPR paper. This visa and paper is the result of this whole process and this is what you need to enter Canada for the first time as an immigrant. Entering Canada for the first time as an immigrant is the process of activating your Permanent Residence. Once you've activated your PR, exit Canada and enter it again you will only need your Permanent Residence card and not a visa or passport (of course you would probably need your passport for entering/leaving the other country that you've traveled to). d) The best place to start is the official Government of Canada website. All the information is there, this is where you create your EE profile and this is where everything happens. The process is really straightforward and I would definitely recommend doing everything yourself if there aren't any factors that make your case complicated. It does take a lot of time, a lot of research and reading, but for us it was definitely worth the money we saved. In my opinion the money you save by not using an agent can be be better spent helping you to settle in once you land in Canada, or on basically anything else. There are so many free resources online with lots of help, the chance is very good that any questions you might have have been asked before and if they haven't you can just ask them yourself on forums like these. You might need an agent if your case is complicated in some way e.g. criminal history, children from previous relationships that you want to take with, very low EE score etc. I'm not sure what documents should be commissioned by notary? I can't remember that we had to do this at any point. Perhaps you are thinking of when you want to open a bank account from SA already? e) You have one year after the date of your medicals to activate your PR. I've seen others report that they had a different expiry date for their visa, but this is how it usually is. Your PR card is separate from your SIN (Social Insurance Number). It is not like in SA where you have an ID Book/Card with an ID number that is used for everything. Your SIN number is used e.g. when you apply for a job and I think we also had to show it when opening a bank account. Your PR card can be shown as a form of identification and it contains a different PR number, but I've only ever had to give this number once or twice. When you arrive at the airport in Canada as a new immigrant you will be taken to the immigration desk. Your application for your PR card will happen at this point. We had to specifically apply for our SIN at a Services Canada office in Victoria after being in the country for a few days already. You might be able to apply for your SIN at some airports though, that is just the way we did it. f) No, you don't need the card first before applying for any of those things. We signed a rental agreement in South Africa already, even before activating our PR. Both my husband and I were able to show our employment contracts and payslips from our jobs in South Africa to the rental company to prove that we had a steady income. Different rental agencies might require different documents or have different conditions though, we did encounter other agencies that were extremely reluctant to rent to new immigrants that they haven't met in person and others that required "ties to Canada" e.g. a Canadian bank account. For many of the other things that you want to apply for you can show your COPR document as proof of PR. g) Your proof of residence is the COPR document that you received back with your passport that has been stamped when you entered Canada. We got our physical PR Cards about 2 months after we landed. After you receive your PR card this can replace the stamped COPR document as proof of your PR. You get a paper with your SIN on it immediately when you apply. You do not get a card with your SIN on it, only the paper which you will need on a few rare occasions. It should be kept private as it can be used for identity theft and fraud, it is not like an SA ID number that you have to provide often for many different things. h) Yes, that is what we did. My husband and I both kept on working remotely full-time for our South African company for a year after we started living in Canada and this worked out really well for us. I'm still working for the SA company and I found a part-time job here whereas my husband has a full-time job here now. For us, having steady jobs that we were already familiar with greatly diminished the stress of settling in here. I) I think this greatly depends on the industry that you want to work in and where you want to live. My husband and I both got the first jobs that we applied for in the exact field that we were looking in and the specific type of job that we were looking for (remote, part-time web dev and design for me, full-time app dev for my husband). It took about 3 weeks or so from the time of application to go through the whole interview process and get appointed. Victoria has a large technology sector with many junior developers graduating from the universities here but a short supply of more experienced developers, so there is a huge gap and many opportunities. Please also remember that most Canadian companies specifically look for résumés and not CVs. Résumés contain different types of information and are much shorter. With that said, the company I applied to here in Canada asked for a CV, so it might depend on the industry as well. I hope this answers your questions, good luck with the process and God bless! :-)
  11. 1 point
    The forgetting part is so much easier said than done. Good luck! Let us know if/when you hear anything.
  12. 1 point
    Yep. As far as I can see from the CRS grid, Canadian experience gives you possibly 170 points if you have the other requirements as well (like education and foreign work experience), whereas an arranged employment gives you an extra max of 200. If you have the Canadian experience though, you may be eligible to qualify for Express Entry either via the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) or the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) programs.
  13. 1 point
    So happy for you and congratulations on the baby, too! You do not "need" private medical insurance but it's nice to have. Usually subsidized via your employer (depending on your employment agreement) Without it, you're going to have to pay 100% out of pocket for all prescription medicines, dental costs etc. In some Provinces, there are rebate schemes for certain people, pensioners, children under a certain age etc. If you do pay out of pocket, keep ALL receipts as you can claim a portion back on your taxes, which does help.
  14. 1 point
    Ah, thanks. I'll keep an eye out for that.
  15. 1 point
    So my husband and I finally arrived in calgary on Monday after receiving our pr in August 2017. We landed with our 4 dogs - we did everything ourselves. I was looking for information while planning all this and I couldn't always find what I was looking for so I thought I would share our experience. Booking So firstly, you can only fly your dogs via excess baggage through klm on the same flight as you if you fly from cape town. If you fly from somewhere else you will need to use an agent and book them as cargo. That is through klm, . Not sure about other airlines. The cost is $200 per dog. So as soon as you have booked your flight, you need to call reservations and ask them to book your dogs. There is a limit of 3 dogs per passenger and a weight limit of 75kg per dog. They also will not allow you to fly them as excess baggage between November and March because of the weather. You should also buy your crates well in advance to get your dogs used to them. We bought them from realpet.co.za an online company that delivers nation wide. I would also advise that you ask to pay for the dogs in advance and not at the airport. We waited in for about an hour just to pay for them. Documents So canada does not have quarantine and also do not require a blood titer tests. But you must ensure that they have had their rabies vaccination within 1 year but at least 30 days before you leave. Then 10 days before you leave, you need to go to your local vet and take the pet export document with you. You get this form from the western cape government website. Just look up state veterinarian. The vet fills in and stamps the form. You then take the form to the state vets office, we went to the one in milnerton. They also stamp and sign it and print it out on special watermarked paper. We paid R600 for the 4 pages. It is not compulsory that the dogs are microchipped but your airline might require it. Klm didn't as our dogs are not chipped. On the day of flight We fed our dogs about 3 hours before we left for the airport and gave them water etc. We also took them for an extra long walk just before we left to tire them out a bit. We hired a shuttle Van to pick them up and take them to the airport and we met the van at the airport. We also put water with some calming drops in their bowls and froze them overnight so that they could lick on that throughout the flight. It melted pretty quickly though. We also slept with their blankets for a few days before the flight to get our scent on them so that they would feel more comfortable. At the airport So we met the shuttle at the airport, quickly put the wheels on their crates as there weren't any trolleys big enough for the crates. Then we rolled them and our luggage to the check in counter. They weighed our bags and each of the dog crates and gave us our bag tags and the crate tags. We then had to go to the ticket counter to pay for them. This took a while as the lady behind the counter didn't really know what she was doing. Once paid, we went back to the check in counter and got our boarding passes. Then we had to go downstairs to the abnormal baggage area which is like a window with a conveyer belt. You have to first take the dogs out of the crates and they scan the crates and then you put the dog back in and put them in the crates through the window and there they go. They don't even check if the crates comply with standards, they didn't check health certificates or anything like that. We were at the airport 4 hours before departure. We taped a form that you get from the klm website to the crate with all of the dogs details on it. We also taped dog food to the top of their crates just in case there were delays. On the flight Once we boarded, we asked the flight attendant to confirm with the captain that the dogs made it onto the plane. We did this both from cape town snd from Amsterdam. We only had a 1h 40m layover in Amsterdam so this wasn't long enough to walk the dogs. On arrival in canada Once off the plane we went straight to passport control office where they checked our landing papers and passports. They were very friendly. We landed at 1:30 pm so the line was a bit long but went quick. He then sent us to counter e for immigration and there was no one else in the queue. Also pretty friendly. They checked our landing papers and passports stamped and signed them and asked to see the declaration form and the dogs health certificates. By this time we could hear the dogs from the other side of the airport. They were waiting for us by the baggage area. The officer at the immigration didn't ask us to pay for the dogs or to do any inspections either which was surprising. He gave us our papers and told us we can fetch our bags and dogs and exit. We then went to fetch the dogs, put the wheels back on their crates and left the airport. We luckily had someone fetch us from the airport in a dodge grand caravan but we still had to dismantle the crates as they were too big to fit into the car. We had booked an airbnb prior to leaving who were fine with the 4 dogs but had a condition that the dogs need to be crated when we are not in the house. So this broke our hearts a bit. Also, the place is not fully fenced so we have to take the dogs outside on a leash all the time which is a real mission. We have booked until the 12th may, but we are looking for something else asap so hopefully we can move into a rental next week Since Monday we have managed to open our bank accounts, get our SIN numbers, buy cellphones and get a laptop. I have also put down a deposit on a car yesterday. We weren't able to pay for it from our credit card so I will have to wait for my money to clear in my account on Monday and pay by bank draft. We got insurance through statefarm. We had to pay for the year insurance upfront. We couldn't find many other places that would insure us our sa licence, although I have heard that intact also does it. So we have been searching for pet friendly places and we have found a couple. It is definitely more difficult but it is doable. We are going to look at a place this evening. Seems quite promising. We are very happy to be here and also very glad that we brought our fur kids with. The transition would have been harder without them. So for those considering it, yes it is more stressful and yes it can be a hassle but it is definitely worth it. They are our family and we made a commitment to them when we brought them home to love them forever. They have also adjusted quickly and seem happy to be here. So thats all for now. I will update when I can and let you know how our transition is. Feel free to ask questions.
  16. 1 point
    100% my favourite is CP24 for the Greater Toronto area. They have an awesome news channel on TV and their website is great https://www.cp24.com
  17. 1 point
    Thanks @Eric N. We are truly blessed that we've been allowed the opportunity to continue our lives in an alternative country. This forum kept me very sane during the lengthy process with the useful information and community support. Please note that everyone's experiences and personal situations are quite different. My intention has always been to try and give back whenever possible and I'm glad if some individuals can benefit from the experiences being shared. July 2018 is just around the corner so enjoy the last few moments with your loves ones. Good luck!!
  18. 1 point
    Hi @Cornel We landed in Toronto beginning March and are staying in "The Beaches", we totally love the suburb. Our aim for the first few months is to 1) Find a job, 2) Finalise all admin 3) Setttle in an area as close as possible to a job. However... so far the job-search has been a bit of a headache. We did Canadianise our Resume's, met with some resume consultants, send out a gazillion 'general" applications and as many as possible "customized' application with not a single interview as a result of the above. My husband tried the "Linked-in" premium option where you can directly "InMail" important people like CEO's, recruitment consultants, So far this lead to more "contact" but no jobs yet. One interview from this method, for a bank that doesn't have any openings, but are interested in his skills. So we are a bit restless about this... The admin is going fine, busy with driving-lessons to do G-level next week, although we will not buy a car until we have job-certainty. Our Airbnb stay is running out end of May and we found a three-month rental in Oakville, fully furnished at a not-too-bad price, so we'll move there in June. Hopefully by September we will have some jobs - praying praying praying. However, the area is beautiful and although we do not do much touristy things (eating in restaurants, going out) we do appreciate the abundance of lovely parks and the amazing boardwalk next to the lake. We experience a lot of goodwill from almost anybody and feel safe and relaxed and confident that it SHALL work out in the end. Missing home - no. Only some proper loud Jozi-thunderstorms!! I do have a blog, mostly Afrikaans although I plan to still do a few english posts and share some more interesting experences on this forums - as soon as I get a chance (inbetween modifiying my Resume the 148th time...) https://lotzofnorthernlights.wordpress.com/
  19. 1 point
    @Ribsy,Thank you so much for your posts. I don’t know if you realize how helpful are you posts! We are planning to settle at London,Ontario in July 2018 and all your tips regarding housing,driving,schools,... are guiding my family. I kept few screenshots of your posts that help me to do things a bite faster. Merci beaucoup pour tout.(you should know what it means now)🙂
  20. 1 point
    This is our landing story, a lot like other stories but also unique in its own way. It’s a bit late but I suppose if even one person gains some insight, learnings or comfort it would be worth the time to write this. For the record this is PR activation & then returning back to SA to then settle later in 2018. We departed via OR Tambo on the 9th Feb 2018 on Lufthansa airline, our first time on this airline. What I can say is when booking a flight on an airline & they offer an economy & premium economy class, be assured the economy WILL HAVE NO LEG room. We then landed in Frankfurt for a short stop over & then on to Vancouver again. Landing in Vancouver the 10th Feb 2018 we were met by loads of friendly faces just waiting to assist us in any way possible. There we literally dozens of people standing around to direct you to the correct queue or answer a question. The officer at arrivals was full of jokes and allowed us through with our first of many “Welcome to Canada”. Next we were off to find our luggage this took a bit of time as this airport is very busy. Then we went to immigration right next to luggage collections. Here we were met with a “Welcome to Canada”, we were given a Welcome to Canada what you should know booklet & directed to the correct queue. Being number 20th we had to wait a bit as there were only 2 immigration officers & after 20minutes another 3 joined in. A couple of questions & all they wanted were our passports & COPR documents (remember these needs to be signed in the presence of the immigration officer). Off to customs we go, now for customs we prepared a detailed list of goods to follow with pictures of all the jewelry including ZAR value & CAD value with the exchange rate used. The custom officer took one look at all this and asked where the valuation certificates for all the jewelry are? Aaaaaah man “Nou wat nou”. When I mentioned that we did not have any with us we were assured that it’s ok to bring them along when we finally move to Canada. I asked him if there was any maximum time frame to this he said 1 year. So I also asked about items inherited he said as long as they are specified in the will they will be consider part of goods to follow. Now out & about in Vancouver my wife cousin met us at the airport & expertly navigated us via the sky train to the waterfront train station which was 15min walk from our air BnB. We spent the next few days exploring Vancouver restaurants, coffee shops & scenery like Stanley Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, Chinese gardens, Canada Place & Grouse Mountain. Next on the list was my Instrumentation Inter provincial Red Seal exam (Canadian trade exam) I chose a venue close to where we stayed, it was in Burnaby. There are many venues available and ITC BC allows you to choose your venue & the date that suites you. The next day it was off to RBC to activate our account that we opened from SA. Just a tip be sure to schedule an appointment beforehand. Here they required originals of the documents we provided to open the account & our SIN documents that we did not yet apply for. So get your SIN number from a Services Canada before going to activate your bank account, they need it for tax purposes & you will need it when applying for any job. Remember you will need a Canadian address for your PR card to be sent to as well as all communications from the bank & services Canada. The weather in Vancouver was very sunny & in the positive low single degrees C. We were told by many that this is not the norm for Vancouver. It rains a lot and to consider drinking Vit D if moving to Vancouver especially if coming from sunny SA. Food was great & different we ate out a lot (gets very expensive) but noted the groceries were not so bad depending on where you shopped. We always felt safe with loads of visible policing in the less safe areas. Next up was our flight to Calgary, our experience on Air Canada was a pleasant one. More “Welcome to Canada”, wow the people really are friendly in Canada. Again using only public transport we were off to our Air BnB. The very first night we were woken up by the buildings fire alarm screaming, at first I thought fire drill but decided to evacuate any way. Outside we found everyone looking on as the Calgary fire department went about check everything is ok & everyone was out. Luckily it was a false alarm, still not a lot of fun in the early hours in sub zero degrees C. Calgary was purely an exploration visit. Here we met some expats from all over the world very happy to be in Canada, just to name a few South African, New Zealanders & Europeans. We went to Fort Calgary for Sunday brunch & a bit of history, Gasoline alley museum for a large selection of 18th & 19th century brilliantly restored vehicles. Calgary zoo even had a large selection from Africa; all hiding indoors, even took a tour to the famous Lake Louise & Banff town. Not much of a lake view as everything was frozen. One thing was certain even if it was snowing & -13 degrees C people were not hiding inside there was always something to do or event to attend. The weather in Calgary was mostly sunny with temperatures during the day anywhere around -10 degrees C. People were friendly & helpful. Restaurants were great & Craft beer is a big thing in Alberta. The sales tax is less in Alberta than it is in British Columbia so grocery shopping worked out cheaper. We will have to get use to not seeing a lot of our local brands on the shelf. Public transport works well & is very reliable. Now we are back in SA & finalizing a few things before returning to Canada.