I have written before about why we decided to emigrate but as yet I haven’t written about our emigration process so today I thought it was time to start.
Eldest Son was in his first year at secondary school and Youngest Son was at the beginning of Primary school when we applied for permanent residency. We decided to apply under the skilled worker category: my husband’s engineering qualifications, our age and my husbands Canadian relations gave us the required amount of points. We knew this was a lengthy process but we wanted the comfort of knowing when we landed we were in Canada for as long as we wanted rather than being at the mercy of someone else’s decisions like you are when you are on a work permit. The current waiting times were 36-40 months which would allow Eldest Son time to finish high school before we moved, perfect timing.
In May 2007 our initial forms were submitted and the waiting game began. We were determined not to let our application alter our lives so we tried as hard as we could to put it to the back of our minds and carry on a normal life, we knew we wouldn’t hear back from Immigration for at least a couple of years so we lived our lives as if nothing had changed. Often we would be asked if we’d heard anything and our reply would always be the same “No, not yet”. We didn’t know if we would be accepted as the criteria to get in was very strict so it would have been foolish to expect to be accepted. As time went by more people found out about our application and the amount of older people who said to us “ I always wanted to go to Canada” or “I wish I’d done that when I was younger” was staggering. We became more determined to go if we were given the opportunity. We weren’t going to be the people who spent their lives regretting not giving it a try. The global economy played a huge part in our decision too. Life in the UK was getting harder for young people. We watched my Husbands younger siblings struggle to get a foot on the property ladder and begin their adult lives and that worried me. My Husband and I were lucky enough to start our family and buy a house when we were very young but there were many people our age or slightly younger who were still unable to afford their own home. If things were so hard for young people in their twenties and thirties what chance would our boys stand? The economy in Canada was much more stable and it confirmed our feelings that Canada was the right place for us to be.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2009 that things started to happen. We were asked to submit up to date information to Immigration Canada, as the information they had on us was over two years old. This was when the stress began…the information they wanted was so detailed it took months to get it all together, we needed to explain everywhere we lived, every job we had since we were 18 along with every detail about our parents and siblings, we also needed to prove our education, our financial situation and even that we had family in Canada which meant getting copies of birth certificates, marriage documents the list was endless.
Finally in November 2009 our paperwork, a bundle two inches high, was submitted and the processing began.
The winter of 2009/2010 came and went with no news of our application. The Immigration website would just say ‘processing’ and still we were no further into knowing if we had been accepted or not. So we continued with our every day lives as best we could, trying not to keep thinking ‘what if’. Eldest Son began his GCSE courses and we attended careers nights ‘just in case’. Unfortunately, he began to slack off in school and began to do the bare minimum to pass, His friends were working towards college places and A’ level’s but for us the future was still unknown. The whole process began to take its toll during this time. Youngest Son would often get upset about leaving his friends but I would remind him that when we were in Canada we always had such a wonderful time that none of us wanted to go home. We struggled with thoughts of leaving the UK but hated to leave Canada when we were there.
Eventually, in April 2010, I came home to find a letter from Immigration Canada sitting on the doormat asking us to get our Medicals examinations done. We knew this was one of the final steps in the visa application process that meant we were nearly in.
Finally in July 2010 we were asked to submit our passports and when they were returned to us in August 2010 (39 months after our initial application) our Visa’s were inside.
So with a mixed bag of emotions from extreme excitement to nervousness and outright panic we began to plan our new life abroad.