I passed by the International Student Centre to ask about work permits, and I'm thrilled to report that the process of hiring me will be *really* easy for Canadian companies.
Because there's a special category of work permits for international graduate students (how convenient!), Canadian companies can treat me like any other Canadian when hiring. They don't have to do an extensive job search or be of a certain size. They just have to decide what they want me to do.
The permit allows me to work in Canada for one year. Applying for a proper work permit after that should take me around four months. The six-month performance review is a good time to get started on that paperwork. The second work permit will allow me to work for an additional two years. When I have more work experience, I'll easily qualify for a skilled worker visa, which will let me become a permanent resident. The government will credit a maximum of one year from non-permanent residents, so after two more years of permanent residency, I'll be able to apply for citizenship.
So I'll probably complete the process four years from now: 2011. I will be 27 years old, maybe 28. Yes, that sounds like a good plan. It'll open up more opportunities for me, and I can use those opportunities to help others.
I still love the Philippines, and I'm glad that I can become a dual citizen instead of giving up my Filipino citizenship. I'm looking forward to being one of the examples of people who manage to bridge both worlds.
My next step is to apply for an off-campus work permit so that I can start work before I graduate. This will be handy after I finish my thesis, because I can do a maximum of 20 hours of work while waiting for the rest of the university paperwork to clear. By June I need to have a chosen job offer firmly in my pocket.
Hmm. I woke up my network a little early, then, but that's okay. I'm the kind of person job ads are rarely written for. It's early in the year. People can start planning for me. That way, when I'm ready, they can create a position if they don't already have one!
There'll be no lack of things I can do in Toronto. The only thing is to find the best fit: the best fit for the company, and the best fit for me. I know I can do the technical stuff. I want to learn more about the people side of things: customer relations, public relations, sales, marketing, and even management. I can learn new technologies and tools through experimentation and from documentation (and source!), but people skills are the ones that will really make me wildly successful. =)
Life is good.