I am always checking the mail these days. My neighbour and even the mail man would’ve noticed that exactly at 10:30, I am at the mailbox. I have been waiting like this for a month now. And every day, I turned on my heel without the much awaited Permanent Resident card. It has been 15 months since I passed my application to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
I remembered I told Menchie, a friend of my sister who was narrating how she suffered just to get her PR: “You crawled for your PR like a thirsty man on the dessert crawls for water.”
I never expected that I would more or less, experience what she went through.
I entered Canada through the Live-in Caregiver Program via Hong Kong. Since I arrived in 2007, I am required to finish a total of 24 months work as a Live-in Caregiver before I can apply as a permanent resident of Canada. (Rece
nt changes states that those who arrived April 01, 2010 can complete the 24-months requirement within 4 years.)
My first employer was based in British Columbia. I opted to be released after 2 months of work since prior to their application for me in Hong Kong, they already hired somebody from the Philippines and had been waiting for her for two years. Tired of waiting, they cancelled their application for her but the cancellation reached the Philippine embassy late. She was already granted her Visa. Ultimately, only one of us can remain. I volunteered to leave for Toronto.
Upon arriving in Toronto, I immediately sought employment. Since I was changing employers, I have to get a new work permit. I was given a new work permit which will expire to that of my Philippine passport.
The months passed quickly before I noticed that I only have two months before my passport will expire. But then two things happened: First, I was not able to have a day-off. The day that I was supposed to go out and processed my renewal, the father of my ward who’s supposed to relieve me was called in for emergency. He is a paramedic. My ward is a special child. He needs special care and there’s only three of us who knows how to feed him; Second, when I was able to process my renewal, the usual 2-week passport renewal process of the Philippine Consulate became a month-long processing since all passports are to be printed in the Philippines to be machine-readable. The consulate in Toronto doesn’t have the machine yet.
My new passport arrived one day after my work permit expired. I called the CIC for advice and was told that I lost my status in the process and need to apply for “Extension of Stay and Restoration of Status.” Further, I will be losing the months that I cannot work due to my loss of status. I received my work permit and restoration of status after almost 4 months.
I finally completed the 24 months requirement just 3 months before my 3-year limit. I submitted my application for PR and Open Permit on May, 2010. When I submitted, the CICs website said that the processing of Open Permits take 6-8 months. Granted that, I wasn’t worried that I will be on an implied status for three months before my Open Permit arrives. I was also assured by the CIC (when I called) that it is alright to be on an implied status providing you will still remain with your current employer.
It was late when I checked the CICs website after 4 months. The website said that the processing of PR will take 12 months for initial assessment and up to 15 months for the final assessment. (Take note that the recent changes on the LCP was the removal of the second medical exam prior to approval of PR. This was meant to facilitate the easier and speedier processing of PRs for caregivers. With the sudden changes of processing times, said change seemed irrelevant. It defeats its purpose.
I was left on an “implied status” which also means you cannot work for another employer, cannot apply for OHIP, and you can leave Canada but will have a hard time getting back in. You are stuck. I am stuck.
But then again, there are lessons to learn from my experience. For those who are on the process of submitting their applications, take note of the following. It might save you the distress I’m currently in.
- Gather and check all necessary papers. Be sure that you have filled up the forms correctly and accurately to avoid delays.
2. Make sure to have personal copies of the papers you submitted.
3. If you will be on an implied status, better apply for another work permit. It is better to be safe than sorry. Again, I reiterate, you cannot apply for an OHIP on an implied status and travelling outside Canada is not advisable because you can’t or may have a hard time getting in.
4. Check the processing times. The initial assessment posted on the CIC’s website last year said that the initial assessment is 12-14 months and final assessment is 15 months. They kept changing every time. Last time I checked, the initial assessment takes 14-16 months! Submit your applications the soonest you can. You never know, they might change the processing time to 2 years.
5. Stay positive. The processing times may take longer than necessary but it doesn’t help to keep fretting about it specially so if there’s no reason that your application can be denied.