Dear Phil . . .

November 11th, 2016

I was in communication with an American friend of mine this week. It has been a tough few days for Phil, who lives in Ohio. Not only did his home state fall into the Trump column on election night, but the President-elect won enough states to claim victory, leaving many U.S-based residents looking for solutions. For many, that solution is life in Canada, and people like Phil are serious about making the move. Phil gave me permission to reproduce here the same advice I gave him about taking the first steps towards Canadian permanent residence.

Dear Phil,

I am hopeful that in a few months you no longer feel the need to leave the country you call home.

However, if you still do, there are steps to take and documents you need to collect before you can apply for a permanent resident visa. As I tell people often, it is better to have your documents and not need them, rather than need documents and not have them.

I try to help my clients collect all their documents simultaneously, but here is a brief list of what you can do to collect some of the more time consuming documents, putting you in the best possible position to apply within weeks or months:

Write the IELTS General Version and Have Your Spouse do the Same

Please do not be insulted. Even if you were an English professor at Oxford you would need to write an accepted language test to prove your proficiency and qualify under most immigration programs, including those under the Express Entry system. The general version of IELTS is the only accepted English test outside Canada for Express Entry, as well as other economic programs. Alternatively, you could also write a French test if your French is strong enough.

It costs more than $200 for each of you to write the test, but if an immigration program opens up and you want to apply, these test results can be the difference between you being able to apply or not. Since married couples can immigrate together with either partner as a principle applicant, it could maximize your options for both of you to write the test.

Many of Canada’s economic immigration programs use points-based systems and award points for human capital, including applicant and spouse language proficiency. Doing well on the test can get both of you many points.

Your English is perfect, and documenting it now can get you the credit you deserve within a month.

Have your Education Assessed

Canada’s popular Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, as well as many other federal and provincial programs require candidates to have an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) done by a third party in order to determine the Canadian equivalence of a degree. This can also appear demeaning, especially for graduates of well-known American schools, but the requirement applies to all who studied outside Canada. Requesting transcripts can take time, and an ECA also costs upwards of $200. However, like the IELTS, if you and your spouse obtain this document now, it allows you both to get the credit you deserve for your education and puts you in position to apply quickly. (To learn more about the five designated organizations, click here.)

Collect your Other Documents

Even though work experience letters are not always needed at the first stage (for example for the FSW program), they can take time to collect. Begin organizing and collecting documents that show who you are and the work you have done, and ask your spouse to do the same. Some programs require work reference letters right away, while others only give candidates very short windows to collect their documents after they are requested.

Look at Jobs In Canada

As an American, it can be quite easy to come to Canada and learn about the labour market. You do not need a visa to visit, and as long as NAFTA still exists, you can easily move to Canada temporarily if you have a job offer in an eligible field and are qualified to practice in that field. By beginning to look at jobs in Canada, you may find a way to get a temporary work permit and/or obtain permanent residence quickly when you are ready.

I know Canada will be lucky to have you as a newcomer, but I also hope that you are able to immigrate here because you want to, and not because you feel you need to. The above steps can put you in a strong position to apply when you are ready.

If you want to discuss your concerns and objectives with like-minded people, our Canada Immigration Forum has a new section dedicated to moving to Canada from the U.S. It is worth your while to register on the forum and discuss your Canadian immigration project. In addition, I encourage you to subscribe to our Canada Immigration Newsletter; our team will send a bimonthly newsletter alert to your email inbox with all the latest news and analysis in Canadian immigration matters.



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8 Responses to “Dear Phil . . .”

  • On November 11th, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    David, for heaven’s sake don’t encourage them. I lived through the great American invasion of Americans in the 1970’s and they brought all their less likable traits with them, especially their cultural imperialism. They shamelessly and with great hubris took over the Creative Writing Department, including most positions of professors and lecturers and the TAs were almost without exception, Americans. They insisted that we have a strike within the department which none of the Canadian students wanted, but it was the American way, so off they went with their ridiculous and very un-Canadian plan, and even brought in one of the Chicago Nine to run around with a pig in protest of who knows what.
    All TAs were paid and, of course their tuition was zero, a very yummy situation. When I looked into taking a Masters in San Francisco, it was to cost me in excess of $12,500 American. So, as I suggested, don’t encourage them. Their cultural hegemony appears to rage through their veins, with no cure in sight.

  • On November 12th, 2016, mustafa bozi said ...

    Sir David
    I am very pleased to count I read this article and I want to express to you my sincere appreciation for the sincere feelings toward Mr. Phil and I from the tireless and observers of suggestions
    I am a follower of migration and asylum Canadian and I’m trying constantly to participate in these programs and until now I have not had any positive result
    I have become my Visa Card From this moment I can take advantage of legal advice and services you’ve sent you a message via Facebook
    Please help me as much as possible in this area and legally
    You appreciate
    Syrian refugee Mustafa Buzi

  • On November 16th, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    You know, a lot of us who are contemplating this move are not “cultural imperialists”. We accept the culture shock, and that we would be guests of Canada. We’re not invaders.
    We’re deeply concerned that the culture of our home country has become unsustainable and openly violent towards those who are different. I’d prefer to stand and fight for the ideals that it claims to hold, but there’s a significant chance of losing.
    Have you ever considered that we’d rather live in a nation that reflects our values? And that we’re willing to make the necessary cultural adjustments? So please, enough xenophobia. There’s plenty to go around already.

  • On November 17th, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    To “On November 11th, 2016, Anonymous said …” Unfortunately you are correct about that typical american attitude. But then that mindset has been passed down from generation to generation. It will never change. The sad thing about this truth is that not all americans are like that. As a matter of fact, there are americans that hate that attitude as much as you do. If one never travels outside the usa having lived there all their lives one is apt to come to believe that the usa is the end and be all of all other countries in which to live. Nothing could be further from the truth. I my self have learned to adapt and tolerate the pervading mindsets forced upon you living here in the usa. I pray that I am able to discover a place where I can feel that I belong and finally live out my life with some semblance of balance cause it is not to be had here.

  • On November 17th, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    Dear Anonymous, Please don’t paint all Americans with the same brush. Or all people of any nationality for that matter, what is it they say about assuming? At any rate, academics are insufferable all over it seems.

  • On November 18th, 2016, Gary West said ...

    Many Americans have retracted their intentions on moving to Canada because of the Election results . I spent 4 months studying both Trump and Clinton . Either deserve to be President . Clinton was by far the worst choice .America is broke (cannot be fixed ) corrupt government and causes wars for money . The illegal immigrants have taken over the country. Canada is going deeply in debt and has a PM that does nothing but spends lots . Trump will be good for America. He cannot make decisions without conferring with his cabinet first. This will keep him in check .PM Trudeau should of brought in 30,000 skilled workers to pay taxes instead of 30,000 Syrian Refugees . Would Syria take in 30,000 Canadians ? 116 million people votes of the two worst possible candidates ! Now is alot of stupid people ! Come to Canada . Canada needs workers . Give Trump a chance as you may be surprised. Trudeau may force you out through taxation .

  • On November 23rd, 2016, Phyl Dirt said ...

    To Phil and all other “Americans” who want to flee to Canada from what they consider a dangerous situation in USA because of a conservative and Republican landslide of epic and historical proportion at all levels of government, please get out of USA ASAP.
    These unwanted American “refugees” refuse to understand that thanks to Obama being around for 8 yrs, America is now in deep, deep trouble. Our election results are thrilling for over 60 million voters (who felt like fleeing when Obama was elected based mostly on skin color) who now see a chance for USA to become a great nation again, having rejected the alt-left and insidious progressive mindset. Canada should be forewarned that these people are not going to be an asset to you and your country. They are used to a culture of undeserved handouts and indolence. Good riddance to them and thank you Canada for taking them off our hands, if you can stomach it. It should be a boon to Canadian Immigration lawyers like Dave, though.

  • On November 26th, 2016, Niree said ...

    I appreciate your matured responses to the xenophobia raised. Honestly, we need to respect one another irrespective of the race as long we are working towards building a great nation and achieve our productive goals. I believe many Americans are not happy with what the current situations in their land.

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