Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The big silence

Ever since we did our medicals back in October it has been the big silence from the Paris embassy. Even though I saw on the Forum Immigrer that some people who have passed the medicals on the same day or right after us already received their notification letter I guess we will have to be patient a bit longer. The application status on the CIC Site still shows "in process" - my hope is that it will change to "decision taken" on January 9th!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

RPRF paid

This morning I went to my bank to make a wire transfer to the embassy to pay the right of permanent resident fee (RPRF) which must be paid before the immigrant visa is issued or before the applicant becomes a permanent resident in Canada. For my wife and me we had to pay 1380 Euros, it's CAD $975 per person as you can see on the CIC Canada Fee Schedule Page. The corresponding amounts in Euro for those who apply like us through the Paris embassy can be found at the embassy's immigration fees page.
The immigration service asked me to submit some additional information as well and now that I have posted everything the waiting can go on.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Some vocabulary and expressions from Quebec

Just found this French blog, I'll have to take a closer look when I have some more time: L'immigration au Quebec d'une tite francaise!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Another step done: medicals passed

So last week Friday my wife passed the medical examination and I did mine before yesterday. Everything more or less alright except my wife had a urinary infection that she wasn't aware about so we'll probably receive a request for additional exams for her from the embassy. The actual examination consisted of a long questionnaire and then the doctor looked at things like eye-sight, anatomy, hearing, heart condition and all the usual stuff that is being done during a medical check-up. It took about one and a half hours for each of us plus we had to do the blood analysis and chest x-ray in two different labs. We're happy that this is done now and go into another waiting period...

Monday, October 03, 2005

This goes soooo fast!

Today we already received the instructions for the medical examination, about two months earlier than we anticipated. Probably we'll have our permanent resident visas by December.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Small centres will benefit from immigrant influx

Another interesting article at

Existing studies show immigrants who settle in smaller places experience labour market advantages over those in the larger gateway cities.

In British Columbia, for example, recent immigrant men who settled outside the large cities earned several thousand dollars more annually than their urban counterparts in
Vancouver or Victoria. In addition, the labour force participation rates of newcomers in non-metropolitan areas are similar to those of locals and higher than those of immigrants in Vancouver or Victoria.

A final interesting component of Volpe's proposal is that he wants to "put in place a process that allows for the integration process to begin at the moment an application is deemed to be ready."

This component of Volpe's plan should include foreign credential recognition, job search and settlement assistance. When immigrants can apply their skills and receive decent wages on the day they arrive in Canada, they will not have to rely on the low-wage labour market of large cities as a survival strategy.

Instead, they will have greater flexibility of settling in a wider range of communities.

- the writer concludes: "Let's make sure that plan stays on track."

Monday, September 26, 2005

Immigration overhaul

Ottawa announces overhaul of the current immigration system.
Canada's current immigration levels would rise 40 per cent within five years under a plan that will soon be presented to the federal cabinet, The Canadian Press has learned.

Prime Minister Paul Martin described immigration in a speech this week as key to Canada's economic success in an era defined by low birth rates, an aging population and an ever-deepening shortage of skilled workers.

Read the full National Post article here.

More details can be found in this Globe & Mail article:

(Immigration Minister Joe Volpe) said his department has focused on five themes: Increasing the overall numbers. Providing better service both in bringing in immigrants and issuing visas. Matching immigrants with jobs needed to fill gaps in local markets. That also means allowing potential immigrants to get matching credentials in Canada before they apply, or before they are accepted. Regionalizing so that areas outside major centres can recruit people they need. Mr. Volpe said that many communities envy the numbers that head to Toronto, because they see it as a “wealth-creation dynamic.” Keeping people who are already in Canada, for example by making it easier for people with student visas to stay after they graduate.

Federal AR

Today we had a nice surprise in our mailbox: the letter from the embassy acknowledging receipt of our application has arrived. It seems that everything is OK and a file was opened. Within the next three months we should receive instructions for the medical visit.

Friday, September 16, 2005

New MICC guide "Apprendre le Quebec"

It seems that this new guide helping to prepare for a new life in Quebec is only available in French. Just a bookmark to this PDF so I don't forget reading it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Canada ranks second behind Australia as world's favorite nation brand

This Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index ranks power and appeal of 25 Nations:
The second quarterly NBI report analyzes the brand values of more countries (25 compared to 11) than the first report published in May 2005. Australia, a new entry in the NBI, has replaced Sweden as the world’s strongest nation brand.
Canada is ranked number two, Switzerland three and the UK is fourth, with Sweden fifth. Overall, the U.S. is now eleventh, rather than fourth; Russia and Turkey remain at the bottom of the overall ranking at 24th and 25th, respectively.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Canada not all about Mounties, mountains and moose?

Ontario immigration funding

The Star has an article about Ontario's struggle to obtain federal funding to help immigrants find employment, get language training, move into an apartment or upgrade their qualifications. Read full article here

Quebec's housing affordability improves

RBC's analysis suggests that housing affordability in Quebec is improving:
"Quebec's homeownership costs improved as a combination of weaker housing demand and rising supply put the brakes on house price growth," said Allan Seychuk, RBC economist. "Across our four housing types, prices rose one perc cent or less from the first to second quarter, dragging the annual rate of growth down to the single digits from the double-digit range that prevailed at the end of 2004."
The full RBC Housing Affordability Index report is available online as a PDF file.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Euro to Canadian Dollar Exchange Rate

I hope that the exchange rate EUR-CAD will go back to the level of the beginning of the year until we have to exchange our savings next year!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

We were getting desperate...

During the last days we were preparing ourselves for the worst. As the postal acknowledgement of receipt for our federal application hadn't arrived after over a month we already filed a complaint at our local post office and decided to gather all the documents again to resend the application. That would have meant to get new police certificates and to pay again for their translation... yes we were quite demoralized. But then, this morning someone rang on the door. It was an elderly man living down next street, he handed me the acknowledgement of receipt and said that this might be important for me. I was so happy! Actually the postman delivered the mail to the wrong street. So now we're really relieved that our application is on track.
Since a week or so we have Internet access at home, so I am planning to update this blog a bit more regularly.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

By the way...

Back in march I posted about the freezing winter temperatures in Quebec. I have been following the weather reports closely and was very surprised to see that cities like Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto had even hotter weather than the already hot Barcelona during the last 30 days.

Federal application ready to be sent out

Today my wife will go and post our federal application. Yesterday I went through all the paperwork for the gazillionth time making sure that there is not one single tiny mistake... everything OK. That until my dear wife found that I mixed up two birthdates on one form. I rapidly corrected the mistake and now hopefully everything should be complete and to the entire satisfaction of the visa officers at the Canadian embassy in Paris who will have the hard task (or should I say honor?) to evaluate the application.
We were not really in a hurry to post the application since we received the selection certificate from Quebec immigration, we are timing it a bit because we only plan to leave after next year's summer. But now that it's done we'll be happy/anxious to wait for the first signs of life from the embassy's immigration service!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

How to start building a credit history before arriving in Canada

Today I applied for an American Express card here in Spain after learning that this could be the easiest way to start building a credit history that you can transfer to another country. Big credit card companies such as Visa and Mastercard don't seem to offer anything similar to the Global Card Transfer by American Express. Theoretically this should be quite a nice possibility to build a credit history that we can take over to Canada once we move.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Ottawa Citizen - Gatineau housing prices on the rise

I am keeping a closer look on what happens in Gatineau as this city is one of those we are considering to settle in. The Ottawa Citizen had this article today commenting the real estate situation in the Ottawa and Gatineau region. Housing prices are rising but still very affordable compared with what we have here in most parts of Europe.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Finally got it!

Yesterday evening, coming back from work I see a big white envelope sticking out of our mailbox. My heart beating faster I rush inside and rip open the envelope… scanning the first lines of the cover letter I quickly understand: we just received our Quebec selection certificate!

Wow! Even though it has only been 56 days since we sent in our application we were kind of impatient to get some news. This is probably the best news we could expect… and we don’t even have to go through a selection interview!

However, I quickly discovered that my name was misspelled on the certificate so I called the Quebec Immigration Office in Paris this morning and they instructed me to send back the certificate along with another photocopy of my passport and that they would correct it.

While waiting for this correction we’ll probably get our federal application ready.

Monday, April 18, 2005


This morning I called the BIQ Paris because it has been 50 days since we sent in our selection certificate application and were starting to get worried because we still haven't received the acknowledgement of receipt. The lady I spoke to was very kind and confirmed that they have received our application and were currently reviewing it. She said that the processing times are up to four month for Quebec selection certificates and that we should not worry and will hear from them in time.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

CBC News Indepth: Immigration

Some interesting statistics in this article: CBC News Indepth: Immigration

Friday, March 18, 2005

Differences in climate

It will probably be quite hard for us to adapt to the climate in Canada. Today for example we have almost 20°C here in Barcelona and it's something like -10°C in most parts of Quebec. Brrrrrrrrrrr... and that's not even cold for them!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Our DSC has arrived in Paris

Today we received the postal acknowledgement of receipt with a stamp from the BIQ Paris showing that our package arrived on the 2nd of march. Now we're still waiting for the official AOR from the BIQ...

Monday, February 28, 2005

First waiting period begins

My wife just went to the post office and sent out our application for a Quebec selection certificate. The normal processing time for a CSQ is three and a half months but from what I have read in some forums it is sometimes only a month. First I was worried that the whole process would take much longer than I planned and now I start to worry that it will be too fast...
Once we get our permanent resident visas we plan to land in Montréal but lately I have started to look for information about the Gatineau-Hull region which seems to be quite nice.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The trouble with the photocopies

In order to apply for a Quebec selection certificate you have to provide certified photocopies of all the documents. Here in Spain it seemed impossible for us to get them, unless we were ready to spend something between 5 and 14 Euros per page to get them certified at the German or French consulate or at a notary. So finally we decided to drive up to France where, in my parent's hometown's town hall they certified us our stack of about 50 pages within a matter of minutes, for free! Before yesterday I went to my bank office to request a bank cheque in Canadian Dollars to pay the application fees. First they said "no, sorry, we can only make out cheques in USD", but after a short discussion and showing a printout from their website they said I can request the cheque over my online account, which I did that afternoon. I will check at the office today, normally it should be ready to be picked up. Now I still have to translate my resume in french and then I'll make a nice package to post to Paris in the next days.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

This looks better!

After about a week of careful reflection my wife and me decided to try our luck in Quebec, not in Ontario like we planned before. The processing times are closer to what we have planned and anyways, Quebec is maybe colder but I love snow and Montreal is a very nice city as well. I think we'll try to establish ourselves in the Montreal area and if we don't like it we can always think of moving elsewhere later.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

CIC Canada | Application Processing Times: Applications Processed Outside of Canada

On the 7th of february the processing times were updated again on the CIC site. It seems that they are getting longer and longer... In our case we should now expect between 27 and 40 months for an application in Paris. CIC Canada Application Processing Times: Applications Processed Outside of Canada

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Got my translations!

Today I received the translations that I was waiting for. Two work contracts, two police certificates, two residency number certificates and a bank statement, all in all about eight pages that were translated from spanish to english. I paid 190 Euros for 1650 words which is a pretty good price (0.12 Eur/word).
Hopefully by next week my manager will have some time to do the reference letter I still need and then I will be able to send out everything before the end of the month.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Interesting Article

I had read this article some weeks ago and just found it again. Very interesting! - Why Immigrants fare better outside GTA
UPDATE: The original article doesn't seem to be online anymore but I found it as well at:,05StarImmgFareBetter.html

Worries about processing times

Our project is to leave good old Europe somewhen between spring and summer 2006, but lately I am beginning to worry that this might be impossible. I have heard all kinds of different experiences now, people who get their visa in a year and those who wait for two years already. The processing times indicated on the website of the Canadian Embassy in Paris are between 24 and 36 months for federal skilled workers. The service standards on their application kit indicate a span going from 7 to 22 months. It seems that it really depends on every single case. Well, I am trying to get some other opinions now.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Waiting for translations

I just sent out some documents that need to be translated from spanish to english: my work contracts, spanish residence number, our spanish police certificates and an extract of our bank accounts. For these certified translations I found Ibidem Group here in Barcelona, they offer their translation service at a very fair price compared to other companies that sent me quotes.
The translations will be ready next week and I am only missing a reference letter from my current employer to complete our application.
Once I have sorted through all the documents I will give you an overview of what I needed for our application.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Who are we? - Part I

Let's say we are real Europeans. Born in Germany in 1977, I grew up there until my whole family moved to the south of France in 1992. After getting married to my wife Fadéla (24), who is french and of Algerian descent, we decided to move to Barcelona in Spain about 2 years ago. be continued...

Preparing the big adventure...

As me and my wife get closer to completing the paperwork needed to submit our application for an immigration visa to Canada I would like to share the experience we will go through from now on.
Why did we chose Canada? Where do we come from? What requirements did we have to fulfill? What are we looking for? be continued...