Category Archives: canada

On this page:
  • Took the IELTS
  • Work permit on its way
  • Okay, I can solve that
  • Paperwork hassles
  • Paperwork progress
  • Not panicking about paperwork

Took the IELTS

Canada’s skilled worker point system includes points for language
proficiency, which can be proved either through a letter or through a
standardized test. I decided to go for the standardized test so that
it wouldn’t be a potential hiccup in my application. The most
convenient option seemed to be the IELTS. I did that test today.

The IELTS wasn’t difficult, although the writing section was somewhat
tiring. I had just enough time to do a little composition and
revision. I’m reasonably happy with the quality of the essay that I
wrote. The speaking test was a lot of fun, too. The questions asked
happened to be related to a topic that I’d read a lot about lately, so
I not only had a strong opinion, but the facts to back it up. ;)

W- and I enjoyed joking about the test preparation. A website I
checked out last night advised strategies such as using “high-quality”
words in the essay portion in order to impress examiners. “Apropos”
was one such “high-quality” word proposed by the website. Although
I’ve been teased about my vocabulary before, I don’t do it to sound
educated, and I refuse to use the word “utilize” when “use” is fine.
We had much fun making up sentences with lots of buzzwords and jargon,
though! (Should be good preparation for IBM! ;) )

Random Emacs symbol: c-nonlabel-token-key – Variable: Regexp matching
things that can’t occur in generic colon labels,

Work permit on its way

A CIC official called me two days ago to clarify something on my
application for a post-graduate work permit. When we cleared that up,
she told me that my work permit should be done that day. Yay! I’m
looking forward to getting it in the mail. Of course, that probably
means less time to work on my book, but it’ll be good to work. =)

Random Emacs symbol: ccl-encode-euc-tw – Variable: CCL program to encode EUC-TW encoding.

Okay, I can solve that

I think I can deal with the temporary resident visa through mail.

Now the only thing I need to figure out is whether it’s
damn-the-cost-we’re-flying-home, or whether we can find something that
works out better…

Random Emacs symbol: bbdb-legal-zip-codes – Variable: List of regexps that match legal zip codes.

Paperwork hassles

This is more complicated than I thought.

The post-graduate work permit I am getting is most definitely not an
entry document, which means that if I step out of Canada, I’m going to
need to apply at an embassy for a temporary resident visa to get back
in. If I had applied for a work permit outside Canada, then the visa
would be automatic, but I don’t have the time.

I can apply for a temporary resident visa outside Canada. However,
this involves mailing my passport off. Which I’m going to have to do
anyway, so I might as well do it as soon as I’ve cleared the
requirements for my post-graduate work permit. Buffalo, NY is
reasonably fast – 43% of cases in 2 days or less.

I can apply for permanent residency through the consulate in Buffalo.
However, the process takes a while. Buffalo will only respond to
status checks after 18 months. Manila is even worse: “Applications can
be expected to be reviewed only 48 months (four years) from the date
we acknowledge receipt of a complete file.”

Other people have done it. I have to find them. Sometimes I’m tempted
to just throw my hands up in the air and take the easy way out. I can
build a life in the Philippines. It will be a pretty good one. It
might even be easier. I can’t fully explain my reasons for wanting to
explore to build this life bridging Canada and the US, but I *want* to
have that kind of life, so let’s make that happen.

So here’s what I need to sort out:

  • Post-graduate work permit: that’s the first thing I need
  • Temporary resident visa: good to have
  • Permanent residency application: as soon as the ink dries on my IBM onboarding papers
  • Renewal of work permit (two years)
  • US visa: good to have

Okay. I can do this.

Random Emacs symbol: strokes-describe-stroke – Command: Displays the command which STROKE maps to, reading STROKE interactively.

Paperwork progress

Clearance was surprisingly easy to do. My quest for signatures took me
to labs I’d never once set foot in, like the machining lab in the
basement. Cool stuff!

I’m still a little nervous about the timing of my post-graduate work
permit. I’ll breathe easier once I get that sorted out.

I’m a little less disappointed in Yiorgos the Cobbler, who (once
again) didn’t have my shoes ready when I dropped by to pick them up.
He finished them in ten minutes, though, and I was happy to see that
the rubber heels were secured by nails instead of just glue. That
should be sturdier than the heels I had repaired in Chinatown. We’ll see.

Library run: dropped off a whole bunch of books. Picked up 6,
including one on photography.

We’re celebrating J-’s first day of school by making chicken fried
steak with mashed potatoes and fried corn for dinner tonight. We
enjoyed a lot of good conversation while preparing dinner, and I look
forward to even more while eating. I wish my family could have had
this. I guess there are some downsides to growing up with cooks,
although food at home *was* always excellent…

Tomorrow: Go to IBM and work on social computing booklet. Maybe
schedule driving lessons?

Thursday: Driving lessons, pick up letter (if I’m lucky; if not,
Friday), work on social computing booklet.

Random Emacs symbol: life – Command: Run Conway’s Life simulation.

Not panicking about paperwork

Being an international student is tough. I’ve been trying to figure
out my paperwork requirements for the next few steps. My Canadian visa
is about to expire, and for a moment I worried that meant I had to hop on the next flight home.

According to this U of T FAQ, I only need the temporary resident visa when I enter Canada. I just won’t be able to leave Canada until I’ve fixed my paperwork, which will make short trips home a little harder to arrange. I hope to have this matter cleared up by Christmas, or by August next year by the latest.

Life shouldn’t be this complicated! I am, however, less
panicky now that I’ve figured out that I *probably* won’t be an
illegal alien. I’ll call the government help line tomorrow in order to
confirm my understanding.

The paperwork for the post-graduate work permit’s down to two weeks of
processing time, which gives me a *little* bit of breathing room, but
I’m still worried about it. My supervisor should get back to me today
or tomorrow with the final okay, though, and then it’s off to the
printers. The end is near!

Random Emacs symbol: font-lock-unfontify-buffer-function – Variable: Function to use for unfontifying the buffer.