How to get permanent resident status in Canada? (Part 5.)

How to file a permanent resident application within 5 days after ITA

The 2 weeks long delay after having Ontario provincial nomination provided me enough time to find useful info about the post ITA (invitation to apply) application and I started to collect the necessary documents to support my visa application. I found a great forum thread on Canadavisa which listed some essential info about the post ITA process.

Here are the steps which I performed beforehand I got the ITA:

  • I arranged a medical examination at Kútvölgyi Clinic because both IRCC approved panel doctors in Hungary work in this hospital. Since only 2 doctors conduct all medical check-ups necessary for Australian and Canadian immigration I got my scheduled appointment 3 weeks later to my initial phone call.
  • I had to re-scan all passports (5 different ones because the expired passports are also necessary to cover the requested 10 years long period), birth certificates, marriage certificate, higher educational degrees and other supporting documents due to size limitation regulations. (max 2 MB / file)
  • I spent a whole day to list all our foreign travels happened in the last 10 years. It was not an easy task because I never recorded the departure and arrival date of our travels so I had to rely on my memory but our extensive photo collection helped a lot.
  • I acquired police certificates for me and my wife and I had to translate it into English with an official translating agency.  I was satisfied with the Hungarian “Ügyfélkapu” system because police certificates are free of charge and can be requested through your Ügyfélkapu account without visiting any office in person and I got both certificates a short week after the request. In the USA for instance more than 12 week needed for the FBI to provide info about your criminal records. Of course it is a bigger country but I still like the Hungarian process.
  • I asked for an updated proof of funds certificate and employment certificate for the last 10 years. I was in a convenient situation because both my employment certificate and my proof of funds had been already written for Ontario Provincial Nomination therefore only a quick update was necessary.

Collecting the documents beforehand the ITA helped me to prepare everything for placing my e-application very quickly.

 

In the PR application process

After being in the dark for 11 months as we were waiting for provincial nomination, the expected 6 months waiting period for permanent residency didn’t look bad at all. (It is promised on IRCC website that 80% of the PR applications are assessed within 6 months.)

I filed my application in early November 2016, and before Christmas I passed the Medcheck phase according to a status change in the application system.

In late December Timka wanted to start some pre-arrival course therefore she needed her UCI number from IRCC. To get this number I sent an e-mail requesting the UCI and within 3 days the Vienna Visa Office (VO or VVO) answered in a short e-mail. From that message I realized that our case had been already transferred to VVO probably in December.

After that nothing happened for a long time, I didn’t get any additional information or document request from IRCC. To get some clarity I joined again to a Canadavisa forum where my fellow applicants shared utterly useful info about their PR application timeline and thanks to this info I was able to predict my timeline pretty exactly.

Some applicants get info about the expected lenght of their process on websites like https://myimmitracker.com/. I didn’t find it useful because after the Medcheck phase local visa offices handle the rest of the PR process and there is huge difference in the length of different applications’ timeline. For instance there was a period around the 3-4th month when some fellow applicants started to report progress regarding their application but my case didn’t move a bit. Having this info made me rather anxious and dispirited.

In the meantime I found some useful assignment for myself to kill my free time and to raise my professional profile so in January I started PMI-PMP (project management studies). Later I will post some info about my PMP studies.

And finally on 19th April I got my golden email from Vienna Visa Office that my application has reached the last phase and I should send the printed photos of all applicants to the VO. The wording of the request was not clear enough (at least for me) therefore I asked some clarification from the VO but they have not replied at all.

After a week or so I didn’t wait more for the answer of the VO and I sent my letter with the photos and in 12th May I eventually got the message that we have officially become permanent residents of Canada.

It was a sunny Friday :] and on Monday the printed IMM-5688 documents are landed in our mailbox. Since Hungary is a visa exempt country we didn’t get visa counterfoil in our passports but we got the Confirmation of Permanent Residency documents (IMM-5688) which are necessary to have in a printed form to land in Canada.

In retrospect the PR process was seamless despite the fact that the IRCC avoided any form of communication during the assessment of my application. The whole PR application process took 6 months as it was predicted by IRCC which is a remarkable improvement compared to the pre-Express Entry system where applicants sent comprehensive, printed forms and supporting documents for IRCC and it took 1,5-2 years to assess the paper based PR applications.

Emotional roller coaster

The long waiting for Ontario Provincial Nomination

I sent my provincial nomination application in mid-December 2015 and it was expected that Ontario decide about my application within the promised 90 days. Unfortunately nothing happened until June 2016 when I got my official acknowledgement from Ontario that they found my application complete and the assessment phase started whatever it meant. It took only 6 months to open the envelope…

In 2016 I felt myself on an emotional roller coaster. After sending my application package to Ontario I was high in hopes but since nothing happened I lost my faith for several times.

In the meantime I found a Canadavisa forum where my fellow applicants shared their experiences about their Ontario nomination process so I wasn’t left alone in the dark without any info but still there were depressing moments, like the one in mid-2016, when some info leaked that Ontario got twice as many applications what the expected therefore it was highly probable the 50% of the applicants would be refused. (It wasn’t true eventually, but those days I didn’t know that.)

I was afraid that I would get my rejection any time which would have been the end of our immigration attempt to Canada since we had 417 CRS points which wouldn’t have been enough to get an ITA without provincial nomination.

In my darkest days I recalled a very good citation from Feldmár András (Andrew Feldmár) which exactly described my feelings. The original was written in Hungarian therefore I tried to translate it into English but I am not sure that I was able to catch the ideas precisely therefore I put the original Hungarian version here as well:

“Szerintem azért halnak meg az emberek, mert unatkoznak. Szerintem az unalom a legveszélyesebb betegség. Az unalom úgy keletkezik, hogy az ember vár valamire. Abban a pillanatban, amikor vársz, akkor már ölöd magad. Én még csak egy hónapja vagyok itt Magyarországon, s én még ennyi embert várni sehol sem láttam, mint itt. Mindenki keres valakit, de soha senki sem talál rá. Én utálok várni, mert amikor az ember vár, akkor olyan, mintha fel lenne akasztva egy fogasra. Nem csinálhat semmit, csak vár, és az élete rettenetesen unalmas lesz. S ha az ember élete unalmas lesz, akkor meghal. Szóval, ha egy mód van rá, akkor ne várjatok.” (Feldmár)

 “I think people die because they are bored. I believe that boredom is the most dangerous disease. Boredom develops when somebody is waiting for something. In that moment when you are waiting for something you are killing yourself. I have been here in Hungary only for a month, but I have not seen so many people waiting for something than here. Everybody seeks somebody, but nobody has ever found it. I hate waiting because when somebody waits it is like being hanged on a rack. It is not allowed to do anything, so one just waits and life will be terribly boring. If a person’s life becomes boring, he/she will die. So if there is a chance please do not wait.” (Feldmár)

 

A really happy moment – having the Ontario Provincial Nomination

In October 2016 – after 10 months of waiting for nomination – I got my long expected phone call from Ontario. I was sitting in a café after my weekly English lession when my phone buzzed in my pocket. When I saw the +1 prefix on the phone screen I become anxious and after accepting the call it took several seconds to understand the strong accent of the investigator analyst who called me.

During the phone conversation I had to hang up once because the line had become so bad that I hardly heard anything. To be sure I went outdoor and walked to a calm spot right in front of the Hungarian Radio. The investigator officer called me a couple of minutes later and we finished the conversation without more technical problems.

The call itself took 30 minutes and I was interviewed about my application in details. I had to confirm my intention to reside in Ontario and I was asked a bunch of data about my personal and professional background.

I was unprepared for the question why I would like to move to Canada. Of course I have my reasons but I never tried to forge a 30 seconds elevator speech to answer this question so I improvised. The tone of the conversation was strictly official but the officer was polite, supportive and patient.

In the end I was asked to update my proof of funds because 10 months had passed from my initial application and was asked to send 10 months of pay stubs from 2014 as well. After the call I sent some e-mails to get the documents and fortunately both of my former colleagues were extremely helpful (Thx Dénes and Zsolt!) and they provided me with the necessary info within a day or so.

I got my call on 14th October (Friday) afternoon and after a busy weekend I was able to send my e-mail with the documents to Ontario on Monday 17th October. I got an e-mail on the same day that my case was transferred to a senior analyst and on 18th October I got an automated message from IRCC that the status of my application had changed.

At that point I didn’t know what would be in the message because I waited for the reaction from Ontario not from IRCC. Moreover I read a couple posts in a forum that other Ontario applicants received rejection because the IRCC system showed that they accepted the nomination of another province and from that moment Ontario was not able to see their application any more.

For this info I was utterly anxious and because of a technical glitch with the Express Entry system I was not able to log in for 2 days to read my message. (The IRCC site send an automated message about the status change but for safety reasons you have to log in to the secure site to read the real message)

After 2 days of trying I finally logged in and I saw that Ontario nominated me and I had to decide whether I accept the nomination or not. :-] Of course I accepted the nomination and my CRS points had been boosted to 1017 points. It was a great moment.

Ontario Nomination értesítés

With this 2 days delay I got my additional 600 points a couple of hours later than the last invitation round took place so I had to wait another 2 weeks to be invited by IRCC to hand in my electronic application for permanent residency.

How to get permanent resident status in Canada? (Part 4.)

Applying in for provincial nomination in the Ontario Human Capital Priorities Stream

montario

When I registered in the Express Entry system in February 2015 I checked all provincial nomination programs in detail but I didn’t find any which would have been applicable for me. So I gave up the idea to get a provincial nomination but it was a BIG MISTAKE because in June 2015 Ontario announced the Ontario Human Capital Priorities Stream and it was only late October when I found info about this stream in a Canadavisa networking forum for EE applicants above 400 CRS points.

I found this stream so late because Ontario was the only province who announced its own program significantly later than any other provinces. I thought when I was watching eagerly the immigration news in January-February 2015 that Ontario would be one of the most popular destination in Canada therefore they don’t launch an Express Entry based provincial program to support immigration because they don’t need more immigrants than those who would like to move to Ontario anyway. I was wrong because they just waited a couple of months to launch their own stream.

So it wasn’t until October 2015 when I somebody mentioned a tiny info about the Ontario Human Capital Priorities Stream in a Canadavisa Forum. I googled a bit and I found out that am eligible for this stream.

Here are the eligibility criterion which was quite similar to the FSW program:

  • at least 1 year working experience in any professions which can be found in the Canadian National Occupational Classification list. (NOC list)
  • a BA or MA or PhD degree (you need an ECA about your credentials)
  • CLB7 level language knowledge in English or French
  • at least 400 Express Entry points
  • sufficient funds to cover you living cost in Canada
  • intention to reside in Ontario
  • and of course you have to be eligible for one of the federal immigration programs (FSW or Canadian Experience Class, etc)

 The old instruction guide were deleted from OINP website but you can see all info about Ontario Provincial programs here: http://www.ontarioimmigration.ca/

Additional info why it was easy to miss this opportunity: Ontario announced their stream in mid-2015 and after that “interest letters” were sent in the EE system for those who had at least 400 CRS points and registered in the Express Entry after their announcement. Since I registered in February 2015 I didn’t get any notification about my eligibility.

In order to get my Ontario interest letter I had to withdraw my application and resubmit it again. I had done it twice because due to a technical glitch some people didn’t get the expected interest letter (included me) until I registered myself again. It was worth resubmitting my application for the 2nd time because after the 2nd attempt I got my interest message in the EE system and from that moment on I had 90 days to file my application.

Despite the complex job of collecting all the supporting documents it took only 2 weeks to ship my application to Ontario so I obviously didn’t use the available 90 days long timeframe.

Here is the list of documents which I sent to Ontario:

·         Filled and double checked application form
·         2 photos (35×45 mm)
·         Bank check in worth of 1500 CAD (process fee)
·         Curriculum (CV)
·         Employment letter of reference(s) for the last 10 years
·         Educational Credential Assessment issued by WES
·         IELTS Test Report of the applicant
·         IELTS Test Report of the dependent person (wife or common law partner)
·         Proof of funds
·         Letter of intention to reside in Ontario
·         Copy of the passport of the applicant and all dependents
·         Birth certificate of the applicant

The envelope was at least 20 mm thick. :-/ The most difficult thing was to acquire a bank check because there wasn’t a possibility to transfer the money or use my bankcard to pay the 1500 CAD process fee. Therefore I had to find a bank which was able to issue a check for me. (Issuing or cashing a bank check is almost unknown in Hungary since the commercial banking sector had started its activity in the 90’ when check usage was considered obsolete and most of the newly started commercial banks didn’t implement this outdated paying method.)

And here is some eyecandy from Ontario: 10 of the Most Amazing Sights in Ontario (external link)

Niagara-Falls-Ontario

Boxing our life

I think it is boring to read about the nitty-gritty details of the Canadian immigration system if you are not interested in moving to Canada. Here is the good news: I have written some up-to-date info about our preparation.

Our departure date is 6th June 2017, so we have 13 days left until the D-day and  we are in the middle of packing our ‘life’ into cardboard boxes.

I have filed the PR application in November 2016 and in the beginning of 2017 I have started to assess what we should/could bring with ourselves and what is needed to be given away.

As a first step I made a little survey whether it is worth to transport some of our belongings to Canada or not so I asked several carriers and asked them how much does it cost to transport 1-2 or more cubic meters of boxed personal stuff from Budapest to Toronto.

As I found out it is possible to buy whole container space (FCL) to transport cars, furniture or any commercial goods but if you have only some boxes you can rent space in shared containers. This transportation method is called ‘LCL’ (less container load). The pricing of this LCL method is interesting, because there is a relative high fix amount, let’s say 150.000 HUF / 1 cubic meter and you can raise the transported amount to 2-3 or even more cubic meters with relatively small surcharge added to this fixed price.

After having the necessarry info we decided to ‘export’ our

  • clothes and shoes (thick winter clothes need bunch of space)
  • some part of my fishing gear
  • my maintenance gearbox
  • some kitchen equipment
  • and our selected favorite books and personal belongings, like photos, top-favorite Xmass decoration (please don’t laugh some of them are 20-30 years old), etc.

I think it would be quite expensive to buy these belongings (again) in Canada therefore it’s worth paying ~200.000-230.000 HUF (900-1.000 CAD) to save a significantly higher amount later because we will probably rent an empty apartment in Toronto and to fully equip our household will be rather expensive. So having our old but reliable things with us will help us to save some money not to mention the emotional feelings.

With this info in mind we have been selecting our stuff for a couple of months now. The really intense part is happening these days and our deadline is 2nd of June.

And here are some of the boxes filled with carefully selected items waiting for departure. Our stuff is expected to arrive at least 60-90 days later than we are going to land in Toronto. I hope during this time we will find a long-term rent because I wouldn’t drag these boxes twice (from the custom office to the short-term rent and then to the long term rent again).

DSCF0002

An additional info: in the beginning I thought that we will rent a small 2-3 square meter storage space for the things what we won’t send to Canada but eventually I convinced myself that it’s not worth paying 100.000 HUF in each year to store such things here in Hungary. So we have a zero-storage policy now and we are going to leave an empty house after our departure.

In the next post I will return to our immigration story because the interesting part is just coming.

How to get permanent resident status in Canada? (Part 3.)

What was our Express Entry CRS score?

Here you can find the detailed Comprehensive Ranking System criteria

http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/express-entry/grid-crs.asp

Please note that this information is based on the regulation which was effective until October 2016. In the end of 2016 there was some changes regarding to CRS which I didn’t follow since we had our ITA in October 2016.

A person based on his/her skill, experience, language knowledge can acquire maximum 600 points in the Express Entry system and another 600 points are added to this sum if a person succeeds to get a LMIA or a provincial nomination.

As you can see my CRS point was 422 (in 2015). My CRS decreased to 417 due to 5 point loss after my birthday in June 2016. What a nice birthday present. 😛

Core / human capital factors Max CRS Our CRS
Age (38 years)

100

55

Level of education (2 higher educational degrees, both BA) 140 119
Official language proficiency (IELTS R: 8 W: 7 L: 8 S: 7,5) 150 122
Canadian work experience 70 0
Sub sum 460 296
Spouse or Common law partner points    
Level of education (a BA + an MA in psychology) 10 10
Official language proficiency (IELTS R: 6,5 W: 7 L: 7,5 S: 7) 20 16
Canadian work experience 10 0
Sub sum 40 26
Skill transferability factors    
With good/strong official languages proficiency and a post-secondary degree 50 50
With Canadian work experience and a post-secondary degree 50 0
With good/strong official languages proficiency ([CLB] level 7 or higher) and foreign work experience 50 50
With Canadian work experience and foreign work experience 50 0
With good/strong official languages proficiency and a certificate of qualification 50 0
Sub sum 100 100
Arranged employment (with LMIA) 600 0
Provincial or territorial nomination 600 0
Sub sum 600 0
Total sum 1200 422

In October 2016 our Ontario Provincial Nomination has finally been granted which boosted our CRS with 600 point to a level of 1022. During the next selection round we got our ITA in mid October 2016.

What are the previously mentioned ‘invitation/selection rounds’?

Under the Express Entry stream in every 2-3 weeks there is an invitation round where some 1500-3000 applicants are selected by IRCC.

If an applicant’s CRS point is above the cut-off level this person gets an invitation to apply (ITA) from IRCC. In that case 60 days is provided to submit a fully digital application. (Registering the Express Entry pool means that the applicant has to submit an online application and all the necessary supporting documents have to be uploaded after ITA during the real PR application. Therefore it’s not worth boosting the CRS points by claiming false data because later every detail has to be proven by documents and misrepresentation earns 5 years ban from Canada and during these period any kind of visa application would be refused.)

I made a short summary of all the previous selection/invitation rounds conducted by IRCC:

 

Number of invitation rounds

Highest cut-off

Lowest cut-off

Invited applicants

2015

23

886

451

31 063

2016

27

786

453

33 509

until 5th 2017*

11

468

415

39 789

*data closed on 5th May 2017 therefore 2017 is incomplete

Until May 2017 there have been 61 selection rounds. Here are my thoughts about the past invitation rounds and I try to predict the future as well:

  • The Express Entry was launched in January 2015 and we saw some really high CRS cut-offs during the year. The lowest CRS was 451 which was far too high to for us to be invited.
  • In 2016 the invited number of applicants decreased in the first 10 months but after the paper based applications – which were filed before Express Entry – were processed the IRCC gradually started to raise the number of ITA-s to 3500-4000 invitations per round and the CRS points started to decrease to a level of 453 which was still too high for us without our Ontario Provincial Nomination.
  • In 2017 the invited number of applicants reached almost 40.000 in May and the cut-off plummeted to 415 which means that an ordinary applicant with a good command of English or French and higher educational degree has a good chance to be invited without LMIA or provincial nomination. My prediction is that in 2017 the cut-off would remain around the level of ~400 unless the number of invited applicants increase even to a higher level.

Here you can find some really useful info about the number and geographical and other distribution of EE applicants. When I was in the pool I really appreciated the mid-year and end-year Express Entry reports published by IRCC because it provided a good insight of how many applicants are in EE system and what is the distribution of their CRS.

http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/reports/ee-midyear-2015.asp

http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/reports/ee-year-end-2015.asp

http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/reports/ee-year-end-2016.asp

How to get permanent resident status in Canada? (Part 2.)

Federal Skilled Worker Program

Before going into details about Express Entry scoring I would like to share some thoughts words about the Federal Skilled Worker Program because EE is only a selection framework and an permanent resident aspirant has to be eligible for at least one federal immigration program to submit an application under the EE stream.

FSW program details: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/apply-who.asp

Please be advised that this information based on the criterion which was effective in 2015, when I filed my Express Entry application.

So in 2015 there were 6 selection factors to assess the applicants in FSW. Here is our result:

  Max points Our points
Language testing / first language 24 24
Language testing / second language 4 0
Education 25 23
Experience 15 15
Age 12 9
Arranged employment in Canada 10 0
Adaptability 10 5
Total 100 76

According to the FSW regulation 67 points out of 100 is required to be eligible for FSW. The acquired points above 67 don’t provide extra chance to get permanent residency earlier because the application will be assessed by the applicant’s Express Entry CRS point level.

There are serveral other federal programs to immigrate to Canada. You can find a detailed description of each program’s eligibility requirements here:

http://www.canadavisa.com/canadian-immigration-visas.html

In the next post I will tell info about the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

How to get permanent resident status in Canada? (Part 1.)

It was around August 2014 when I started to learn about the Canadian immigration system.  In April 2014 I found different and still existing federal immigration programs such as the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Trades and the Federal Skilled Worker Program. (there are more of them but I focused on these).

It took me a couple of days to get familiar with the conditions of these programs and after that I realized that I was eligible for the FSW program based on my education and my working experience.

To file my application I had to take an advanced level IELTS exam and had to assess my education credentials which looked impossible before the available 25.000 FSW places were sold out. I was right because it wasn’t the end of 2014 when the CIC announced that Canada didn’t accept any more applications for the actual year.

Therefore I decided that I would rather wait for the introduction of the new immigration system (called Express Entry) which was expected to start in January 2015 and until I take an IELTS exam and have my Hungarian higher education credentials assessed to support my application.

Immigration Canada

What is Express Entry?

(Please be advised this info was written before some major changes implemented in the CRS system in late 2016)

In January 2015 Canada changed the ‘first (application) in first out’ or the so-called FIFO method which they had used previously to assess permanent resident applications. The newly introduced Express Entry system was intended to use for ranking the permanent resident visa applications based on a point system approach. I think this was an important improvement because under the previous FIFO system a ‘weaker’ candidate could have sidelined a more potential one if he/she had filed the application earlier.

Under the Express Entry stream one has to submit a preliminary application in an online system and based on the Comprehensive Ranking System the applicant gets a calculated CRS point. The ranking system was determined to give higher rank/score for more potential candidates. For instance if you have Canadian degree you will be ranked higher compared to people who don’t have such credentials because the government believes that a person with Canadian experience will more likely be integrated into the society than a person who is completely stranger to the Canadian system.

Moreover two joker categories were built-in the system such as the (1) Provincial Nomination or the (2) LMIA to secure a quick entry for those who have a bigger chance of adaptability because they are highly sought professionals or they are eligible for certain Provincial Programs.

  • The LMIA was introduced to provide a way for Canadian employers to prove that they weren’t able to satisfy their need for workforce within Canada. Unfortunately the LMIA process is proved too complicated and expensive therefore it is not popular among employers as far as I know. Only those employers are willing to pay for the LMIA who would like to recruit in sectors where they are really not able to find professionals (IT experts, healthcare workers, etc)
  • There are several provinces in Canada who implemented their own Provincial Nomination Program to fulfill their special need for healthcare workers, investors or immigrants with a special knowledge. Besides provinces usually prefer those people who are or have been living in the province and they are able to show some kind of connection to the province as well. This experience can easily earn a provincial nomination and an extra 600 points in the EE system.

If you are eligible one of the provincial programs you have to apply for a nomination directly at the selected province and after you get the nomination you will surely have enough CRS points to be invited in the next invitation round. (We were Ontario Provincial nominees and this way we secured an ITA for us.)

(In 2016 there were major changes were introduced in the CRS in terms of LMIA and Canadian education experience. I didn’t go into details to understand these changes due to the fact that we got an ITA  in 2nd November 2016, prior to those changes.)

 

Why Canada?

Until 2016 I worked for a multinational financial company which has several financial operations worldwide. In 2014-2016 I applied for some open positions but I didn’t succeed, moreover in most cases I didn’t even get response.

After realizing that I won’t be transferred to a foreign operation I tried to narrow my focus to some countries where I could find a job with my language skills and my expertise. But unfortunately it was the period when the long-term economic outlook in Europe started to crack ‘thanks’ to the Greek-EU disputes, the recurring Euro problems, low GDP growth forecasts and the looming immigrant crisis.

One evening I complained to my wife how difficult to rank the potential EU countries as destinations since the economic outlook of the whole continent looks quite gloomy. My wife listened for a while but as she is not interested in such topics like GDP growth or economic outlook she closed the conversation with a suggestion: if Europe’s is not the best place to invest our energy than I should check the Canadian immigration rules for instance. It was just a quick passing idea from her side but I incubated the thought for a couple of days and I realized that I like the idea.

ON-Canada-province

In 2014 I didn’t know anything about Canada except that the weather is considered terrible but I scratched beneath the surface and I found several advantages of moving to this country:

  • Canada is an English speaking country which fits to our language preference
  • The economy of the country is firm despite the challenging period caused by the plunging oil prices
  • Canada is considered to a wealthy country and therefore it is a tempting immigration destination for many people around the world. Moreover the existence of Canada was based on migration therefore the attitude towards migrants is better than in any countries in Europe. (or they just too polite to rage against migrants)
  • The geographical location of the country looks safer in terms of migration or global conflicts and meanwhile Europe has seen several conflicts in the 20th century there was not an armed conflict on the land of Canada in the last 150 years
  • In contrast to the USA the Canadian healthcare system is funded by the provincial governments and you don’t need to pay any money to be insured. (Of course if you want to have full coverage you need a good employer or a private insurance plan)
  • Canada is a bilingual country and learning English and French would be a real asset to our son
  • Don’t laugh: the fishing opportunities in Canada are far better than in Hungary. I watched awesome fishing videos from Canada and as a longtime angler I cannot wait to try the spinning opportunities near Toronto.

Ok I know reality could be worse but eventually we are going to figure it out soon.

 

Why Toronto?

One of our relatives asked why we picked Toronto. Here is the answer.

We are Ontario provincial nominees so it is advised to live at least one year in Ontario province to maintain our permanent resident status. Toronto is the biggest city in Ontario and it is not only the capital of the province but it is the economic centre of the whole region and considering the job opportunities it is one of most attractive destination for newcomers in Canada.

2017314-to-waterfront-today

On the other hand the possibility of finding a job relatively easily comes with a heavy price: the housing market of Toronto has become red-hot in the last years and I am sure that a significant part of our income will be paid for a proper accommodation. (Later I will write a post about the apartment renting possibilities since it will be a hot topic for us after our arrival)

I have not been thinking a lot about living in Toronto, but in my first 18 years I lived in a quiet rural town in Hungary and moving to Budapest was not a challenge for me. As far as I remember I enjoyed living in Budapest from the first moment therefore I think I could handle living in a city like Toronto (2,7 million inhabitants).

The difference for me is not Budapest vs Toronto, but living in our nice family house vs living in a tall apartment building in a densely populated part of Toronto. Everything has a price and sometimes you have to step back a couple of steps to gain momentum.

Why?

Our decision, leaving Hungary and restart our life in a foreign country based on several factors. Separately none of them would be enough to live 7.000 kilometers away from our family and our home but their accumulated effect was enough to make this leap.

Here are my personal reasons, in reversed priority

  1. I need something new

Before my resignation I had been working in my last role for 7 years. I was a respected leader of my team and in my first 5 years I really enjoyed my job. But after these years I wanted to change my ways. I invested huge energy into finding a new assignment within the company but I wasn’t successful. After several attempts and almost 2 years of waiting I had to realize that I would probably never have a possibility to be transferred to a foreign operation therefore I started to work out new possibilities.

  1. I am curious

The lurking feeling that I want to work and live abroad reached a conscious level in 2013. Initially leaving Hungary was my contingency plan if the economy failed to catch up after the 2009-2012 financial/economic crisis but I incubated my thoughts about immigration so long that it become a self-fuelling effect. The more I was thinking about it as a viable solution, the more energy I put it into to realize it. I firmly believe that some foreign experience would contribute to my carrier and it would transform me a more flexible person.

  1. I am afraid

I see several worrisome signs about my family’s long term opportunities if we stayed in Hungary. The period of 2009-2012 shed light on how vulnerable is the economy of Hungary. One of my former colleagues told me in 2009 that ‘we are going to lose a decade for this crisis and 10 years is a quite significant period in my life’.

Moreover I am afraid that the poor economic performance empowers nationalism and populism all over Europe which have already had devastating effect in the 20th century. I hope that I overestimate the magnitude of this risk but I do believe that being a global citizen could always help to find a peaceful spot for my family.

  1. I am a father

It’s interesting how the birth of my son have changed my priorities. Before that I didn’t think about future so much, but now my main goal is to provide the best possible life for my son. I believe that after some years in Canada he will speak English and hopefully French perfectly which would be a real benefit for him and I do hope that cultural diversity can transform him a flexible and tolerant person. This is a powerful asset in the globalised world.

Initial thoughts

Ok, where should I start?

Initially I started writing this blog in late 2015 when I was stressed out for the long and unpredictable waiting for an ITA (invitation to apply) to Canada. Writing helped me to sort out my thoughts.

In real-time it is May 2017 now (when I started to publish this blog) and we are landing in Toronto as permanent residents of Canada in early June 2017.

Between late 2015 and mid 2017 I have covered some topics about the long and exhausting application and planning phase so in the forthcoming blog posts I will introduce our journey from the initial idea to landing and eventually I will reach present time where I will hopefully provide insight into our life in Toronto, Ontario.

Why do I write in English despite the fact that my native language is Hungarian?

Writing in English helps me to improve my language skills which looks quite a sensible idea considering that I am going to live in a mostly English-speaking country. In Canada I will switch to Hungarian because primarily we write this blog to provide info about our new life for friends, ex-colleagues and for our close- and extended family and some of these people prefer reading in Hungarian language.

Who we are then?

I am a 39 years old guy and I was living in Budapest, Hungary before my landing in Canada. I have a BA degree in economics and I acquired a further education degree in law. For the last 16 years I had been working for the same multinational financial provider which I left in September 2016.

I have been living with my wife for the last 10 years. She has a degree in economics and in 2015 she acquired an MA degree in psychology as well. She was working for the same company where I worked and in 2011 she stopped being employed and we started our own business. For the last 6 years she had been responsible for managing our own yoga and fitness studio but eventually we sold this business due to our plans. I really appreciate the optimism, the energy and the consciousness of my wife and I am proud that we are strong allies to each other. Most importantly we have a wonderful son who was born in December 2013. He is the most important reason why we started thinking about moving to another country.