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AnzelM

Hallooo

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AnzelM

Hi, there

I am new to this forum. My husband and I recently decided to embark on this crazy journey of (trying to) immigrate to Canada. We are in the middle of the ECA process and will be doing our IELTS testing in January 2018. Only after that, can we *hopefully* enter the express entry pool and get an ITA.

I am sure that I will learn a lot from this forum and the interactions between its members. We are from the Northern Cape, so a lot of traveling has to happen to get everything in place for EE.

I was wondering if someone could perhaps share your views on using an agent in the process,  or whether we should go through it on our own?

 

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Piper
34 minutes ago, AnzelM said:

I was wondering if someone could perhaps share your views on using an agent in the process,  or whether we should go through it on our own?

I’m of the opinion that the money saved from not using an agent will make the landing a bit easier. 

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SunshineGirl

Halloooo, @AnzelM!

 

Wowee, travelling quite a bit to get the ECA & IELTS done is really something.  This must mean that you guys really, really want this.  For me, this is the most important ingredient for success - tick!

 

So much has been written on this forum about whether or not to use agents - I know of more horror stories than success stories, but I will try  to keep things brief in this post.  An agent will charge you approx. R42 - R47k to handle your application.  Secondly, many agents work on the basis that they load up your profile on the CIC system & you have zero access to it.  This means that if you get a slack agent, you may not be aware that things may be on ice for your application & should you need to chase (hunt) down a PNP programme, will they honestly watch for it's opening to the same degree that you will?  At one stage, a group of us from this forum were watching a particular PNP stream for opening through the night on a shift basis (mine was 3am).  Will an agent do this for you & your R42k?  What some agents are prepared to do is to have a Q&A session with potential applicants & if the agent is a great one, this could be a good "in-between" option.  

 

Please could I encourage you to read through the various posts regarding agents - you will quickly pick up which ones to give a miss & which is worth their salt ;-).  

 

Everything of the best for you both!

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GerdaT
24 minutes ago, Piper said:

I’m of the opinion that the money saved from not using an agent will make the landing a bit easier. 

Agreed

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MuggleOnline

@AnzelM - from someone who is applying with a complicated situation, it is definitely manageable to do it yourself and the money that you save will definitely come in handy for all the costs that are incurred during this process. We consulted with an agent (in Canada) as we have a very complicated situation, but even that was just a consult rather than having an agent actually handle the application. 

If it is a straightforward application, then my opinion would be that it is definitely possible to do it on your own. And this forum is amazing for any little niggling questions that you may have as there are loads of people at different stages of this process.

Hope this helps, and good luck!

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Nelline

Welcome @AnzelM ! I agree with everyone above - especially the passion @SunshineGirl mentions. "Tick!"

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AnzelM

Thanks for the reply, everyone! It is wonderful to be part of this community and to get your support during this journey. 

@SunshineGirl - Our traveling has just starter, I suppose. We are traveling to CT in January for the IELTS tests, which I am already practicing for. I am the main applicant (hubby will follow on an open visa), so I really need to get good results. So far during practice, I score between an 8 and 9 on the IELTS tests - I just hope I can maintain this throughout the testing in January. I requested that hubby and I do all four tests on one day - I saw that they might reschedule the speaking test, if time does not allow it on the same day, to a date later in the week. That would not be practical for us, as we are already traveling about 800km just to do the testing. The ECA is a headache on its own - UNISA is not cooperative at all, so we'll have to drive 400km to Kimberley and back, to get our academic transcripts for the ECA. I remain optimistic and positive throughout - We have to be, otherwise we will not make it through this process. 

When it comes to the agents, I agree with @Piper, @GerdaT and @MuggleOnline - We are seriously contemplating going through the motions ourselves. Mostly because of cost considerations, but also as @SunshineGirl has correctly said, agents are not known to be very supportive or transparent in the process. Hubby and I are control freaks in the sense that we want to be fully informed on the process. We have a Skype meeting with a potential agent on Wednesday, and one of my questions will be: What can you do differently that we cannot do, that will justify your $4000 fee? We are taking this seriously - I would rather spend that money on shipping some personal belongings to Canada than pay someone who is supposed to be of service, but causes more frustration and irritation than anything else. 

@MuggleOnline - I believe we have a relatively simple application. I am still young, which counts towards the CRS rating. Neither of us has worked overseas, so police clearance should not be a problem. Both of us has 10 years plus work-experience in SA (Of which I have already acquired reference and employment confirmation letters), we are both healthy, I have a degree, honours degree, post grad certificate and various short courses - which is currently in the ECA process, as already mentioned, and IELTS should *Hopefully* not be a problem. We just need to push through and do our research. I also believe we could do this ourselves and save a lot of money. Pop is also not a problem - my Pension fund and hubby's RA fund can pay out and will provide us with an amount in excess of R250k. On top of this, the proceeds of selling our house and vehicles will add to this amount. 

I am really excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. I know we still have a long, and most probably a difficult road ahead of us. I am, however, sure that I will find the answers to my questions and struggles on here, going forward. 

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MuggleOnline

@AnzelM - wow you sound like you are very prepared! I am sure that things will run very smoothly for you as you seem to have done your research. I am sure the IELTS tests will go well. Doing the practice tests makes a huge difference!

I am definitely on the same page as you with regards to being a control freak; it is the exact reason we only consulted with a lawyer for advice rather than getting him to handle the entire application. Although not having control once the application has been submitted is a scary thought in itself (the waiting game is a bit of a killer).

This forum is incredibly helpful - good luck with the rest of your application :)

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LidiaS77
4 hours ago, AnzelM said:

I am the main applicant (hubby will follow on an open visa)

As far as I know an open visa is when one partner/spouse gets a work visa allowing them to work for one company only and the other partner gets an "open visa" allowing them tomwork for any company. It sounds like with your qualifications, experience, age etc. that you guys will probably get Permanent Residence already.

I would also recommend doing this yourself, it sounds like you are really motivated and on top of everything already. If your case is as straightforward as it sounds I also think your money is better spent helping you settle in.

Good luck with IELTS and your journey!

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AnzelM
15 hours ago, LidiaS77 said:

As far as I know an open visa is when one partner/spouse gets a work visa allowing them to work for one company only and the other partner gets an "open visa" allowing them tomwork for any company. It sounds like with your qualifications, experience, age etc. that you guys will probably get Permanent Residence already.

I would also recommend doing this yourself, it sounds like you are really motivated and on top of everything already. If your case is as straightforward as it sounds I also think your money is better spent helping you settle in.

Good luck with IELTS and your journey!

Thanks, @LidiaS77 . Could you perhaps elaborate more on your comment on the open visa? I we both qualify for permanent residence, then what? Would it allow both of us to work for any organization/company? 

I think we will consult with the immigration lawyer, get his input and advice, then go through the whole process ourselves. It will definitely save us a lot of money. 

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chayne

@AnzelM if you are the main applicant, then hubby will be listed as a dependent (and visa versa) and automatically get permanent residence when you do. Both of you will be allowed to work.

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AnzelM
3 minutes ago, chayne said:

@AnzelM if you are the main applicant, then hubby will be listed as a dependent (and visa versa) and automatically get permanent residence when you do. Both of you will be allowed to work.

Fantastic! Thank you for your reply! I've learned something new today!

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Sarika

Hi @AnzelM all the best to you and hubby :) I'm sure you will do great on IELTS. I must say that it's not that difficult but I was so nervous that I started overthinking things and worked myself into a tizz, Lol that's just me. The British Council offices in Jhb and Durban seemed really accommodating (I met someone who missed her test date and was allowed to write a week later). So maybe you should email Jhb and tell them very nicely that you have to travel really far to do the IELTS and ask that you can have it done on the same day. 

As for UNISA, there's a lovely lady based in Parow who helped me by getting my docs together and sent off to WES. All I had to do was send the courier when she was ready. I used DHL which was about 400 bucks. 

Hope this helps.

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AnzelM
6 hours ago, Sarika said:

Hi @AnzelM all the best to you and hubby :) I'm sure you will do great on IELTS. I must say that it's not that difficult but I was so nervous that I started overthinking things and worked myself into a tizz, Lol that's just me. The British Council offices in Jhb and Durban seemed really accommodating (I met someone who missed her test date and was allowed to write a week later). So maybe you should email Jhb and tell them very nicely that you have to travel really far to do the IELTS and ask that you can have it done on the same day. 

As for UNISA, there's a lovely lady based in Parow who helped me by getting my docs together and sent off to WES. All I had to do was send the courier when she was ready. I used DHL which was about 400 bucks. 

Hope this helps.

@Sarika - Thanks for your response! We are doing our Ielts testing in CT, and I did just that. I mailed them and told them we are traveling far, and can therefore not come back a week later to complete the testing. The lady there was very kind and requested both my husband and I's booking reference number, so that she can make a note of it and request that we do all four assessments on one day! I was so grateful for her kindness.

UNISA, on the other hand, was quite a pain. We stay in Upington - We eventually got hold of a lady in Kroonstad who was willing to help us. She printed everything this morning, packed it, and our courier picked it up this afternoon. So that battle is over! Goodness! We are collecting all the certificates and academic transcripts, which we are going to send to WES in one go, therefore ensuring that there is no further hold-ups. I am quite relieved. Even Umalusi played their part, allowing our courier to pick up the envelopes today. We are finally making progress!

Does anyone perhaps have IETLS resources we could *permanently* borrow, so that we can practice? Just taking a chance! :)

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Nelline

There are loads of free online help, mock tests etc to help you prepare for IELTS. When you book you'll also get a link with free resources which you can use for a limited time (1 month maybe?) I don't think there is anything really helpful available in book format etc

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AnzelM
23 minutes ago, Nelline said:

There are loads of free online help, mock tests etc to help you prepare for IELTS. When you book you'll also get a link with free resources which you can use for a limited time (1 month maybe?) I don't think there is anything really helpful available in book format etc

Thank you, Nelline. I will check the booking email. :)

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Sarika

Yeah I also just googled for IELTS tests and tips. Well done on being so organised :ilikeit:

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Gerhard SaNamCan

@AnzelM

The British Councils Road to IELTS, which you get access to when registering for the test, was very helpful and a true reflection of what to expect in the test. 

Also try www.ieltsadvantage.com very useful site as well

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