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Friday, September 21, 2007


Work Permit

A conversation held in the immigration department of the Canadian Government Offices (Open one day a week for four hours only with one solitary clerk on duty). We take our place in the queue and chat to a few other hopefuls until it comes to our turn.
“We’d like some help finding out how to get a work permit.”
“Do you have a job?” Says the clerk.
“Well, not yet, we need work permits.”
“I can’t help you. You have to have a job.” She responded.
“Oh, but we keep getting told that we need a work permit before we can get hired.”
“You’re a Permanent Resident of Canada?” She asked us.
“Erm not yet, no. We’ve applied.”
At this point Mrs S digs out her old ‘Landed Migrant’ status card and Canadian Social Insurance number. “I grew up here, and I have these, but we got told that I’ve been out of the country too long.”
“That’s correct, you have to have spent at least three out of the last five years in Canada.”
“I’ve got my Canadian Social Insurance Number here.” Mrs S hands over the original. “It’s in my maiden name.”
The clerk typed the SIN number into her computer. “Oh.”
“Is it valid?”
“I don’t know.” Said the clerk and then ran a Computer search on my wife’s ‘Landed migrant’ status. “It’s too old. It’s not in the system.”
Mrs S tried another tack. “What if we started a business here?”
“You can’t do that, you’re not permanent residents.”
“So no job, no permit, and we can’t work self employed?”
“Not really, no.”
“But we can open a bank account, yes?”
“Is it okay for us to buy a house, car, that sort of thing?”
“Oh yes.”
“Can we do voluntary work?”
“So long as you aren’t paid for it, yes.”
“But we can’t legally work?”
“Not without a work permit, no.”
“Oh.” Thoughtful pause. “So what is the actual process of getting a work permit?” I asked carefully.
“Well, you can’t apply for a work permit within Canada.”
“Ri-ight. I thought you had to be here to apply according to your web site.”
“That’s incorrect.”
“Oh, that rather puts the tin lid on it. Say I was offered a job, what would I have to do?”
“You’d have to leave the country.”
“Say again?”
“You’d have to apply at your port of entry for a work permit.”
“You could do it this way. Say you get offered a job, your would be employer writes to us for a market opinion to make sure you’re not putting a Canadian out of a job. We write back to them, you go down to the US border and leave Canada. Then you come back across the border and apply at a main border crossing for a work permit.”
“So that is how to get a work permit?”
“Providing the market opinion is favourable, yes.”

We left. You know it’s funny. You want to work, make money and contribute to the local economy and there’s stuff out there to do that is screaming out for your talents, but then there’s this seemingly huge adamantine wall of bureaucracy in the way.

On a similar subject; last week I was listening to a radio interview of a First Nations Project Manager who seemed to be having similar problems with the Governmental rule book. The First Nations elders ended up just ignoring the rules and went straight ahead and completed the projects anyway. The permissions came through in the end. They have a word for it. It sounds like “Wa-ey-ya”, which translates as “Just do it.” This is very tempting.

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Blogger Derek said...

Bill, glad to see you're enjoying my native land, but surely from your previous work you shouldn't be surprised by the officious, self-important types.
Stick to it. Eventually you'll wear them down.

Oh and you haven't been across Canada until you've been to my hometown, St. Johns, in NF.

Anyway keep it up. Still enjoying the blog.

Friday, September 21, 2007 5:30:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Bill, it's even harder for a Canadian in the UK. You have to get the job then the employer applies for a work permit then you have to leave the country and RE-ENTER FROM CANADA. Yep, you can't just hp over to France or Ireland and come back. You have to shell out for an overseas trip. Ay yi yi.
You'd think they didn't want educated (2 degrees) tax-paying immigrants.

Saturday, September 22, 2007 1:14:00 pm  
Anonymous Old Man said...

Don't let them get you down.

Saturday, September 22, 2007 6:33:00 pm  
Blogger Bill Sticker said...

I'm sometimes down, but never, ever, out.



Sunday, September 23, 2007 10:01:00 pm  
Anonymous Old Man said...

Roll On

Monday, September 24, 2007 2:43:00 pm  

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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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