After my first post about Why Indian Immigrants Should Move To Canada, I have been flooded with responses and questions about the move.
Here are some things Beyond Grad readers shared:
"I want to deal with the sword that hangs over our shoulders (referring to the H1B visa and the Green Card process)."
"I have invested 11 years of my life in a country where my stability is at risk."
"I am just tired of the countless visa renewals and immigration processes."
Because there is a high demand for a move to Canada, I am writing a FAQ-style Part-2 post to answer some common questions.
Before I delve into the QnA, some important caveats:
- I am sharing personal and anecdotal experience for informational purposes and is not considered professional or legal advice
- The timeline and resources are accurate to the time that we were going through the process and are continuously evolving, so please do your due diligence
- I am discussing Express Entry in particular and not other avenues for being a Canadian PR holder
Q. What is the timeline of the entire process from start to finish?
It took us almost a year from the start of action to getting our PR application approved.
I have broken down the steps in the way that helped me understand the process.
Focussing on the first part of the application, so contact me if you want more details about the Express Entry application and what to do after you receive your CoPR.
Here are some helpful links to get started:
- Step breakdown from the Canadian government website
- Documents needed for Step 1: Create your Express Entry profile
- Find out your score estimate
- The current round of invitations
Q. How has your social life being impacted after the move?
In most cases, your social life will be uprooted, and you will have to start fresh, just like it was when you came to the US.
Our social life has definitely changed, but we are lucky that we were previously living in a border town within the US and moved to a border town in Canada. So we are easily able to go back to the US to visit our friends. Also, some friends moved to Windsor-Canada before us, and I had a few friends from the city.
Q. Can you give me an idea of the cost of living and the significant changes from US expenses?
The cost of living is relative to where you are going and where you are coming from. In most cases, Canada is more expensive in terms of cost of living. Rent for comparable apartment/home is higher. Auto insurance, homeowners/tenant insurance are more expensive too. We pay $520 per month more on top than our fixed expense budget in the US. But we also live in a much bigger home.
I would say the groceries and utilities-per-sqft are about the same, but if you go to a province like Ontario, the sales tax goes up to approximately 13%. You will save on medical costs as healthcare is universal (aka no out-of-pocket costs, premiums, or co-pays).
Q. How is work experience verified, and how many points do I get for foreign work experience?
Work experience is verified by a formal employee reference letter from your current or previous employer/s.
If you don't have any Canadian work experience, the maximum points are 25 for 3+ years of experience. There are nuances in the calculation. That's a good segway into the next question.
Q. What is all the talk about "my score?" How is it calculated?
Score or the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is how Canada evaluates the potential of your application. You can say it's a way for them to sift through the candidates. The points are based on several factors such as age, language proficiency, level of education, work experience, and more.
For a more detailed breakdown here is a link to the Candian government website: Link
Q. Because of COVID-19, getting an IELTS test data in the US is difficult. Can I come to Canada on a tourist visa to give the IELTS exam? Are there other alternatives?
I did not come across this issue, but you can come to Canada or travel to another country to give an IELTS exam. The other alternative to the IELTS is the CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program. You can find more information regarding language testing for express entry here: Link
Q. Do you need a job in Canada to apply for a Permanent Residence?
No, you don't need a job in Canada (or anywhere else) to apply for a PR using the express entry criteria. If your CRS score is low, a job offer in Canada will help increase your count. Of course, a salary or an income is crucial to surviving in a new country.
Q. Do you drive the same car you had in the US?
You cannot continue to drive with US registration, so we exported-imported our car to Canada. Finding how to do precisely that is tricky but let me save you some time by sharing where you can start: https://www.riv.ca/
(Thanks to my two friends, Anuja and Abhay, for sharing the resource when I was going bonkers trying to figure it out.)
Q. How much money do I need as financial proof?
It depends on the number of people you are applying for. According to the latest figures, if you're applying just for yourself, then it is CAD 12,960. You need to show that amount as an average balance in your bank account. Here's how much money you need if you have more family members: Link
That's the end of this FAQ. If you have a question that I have not answered in this post or in part 1, then please add a comment here or email me at varun [at] beyondgrad dot com.