There is something about ignorance being bliss that people like. I'm not sure what it is really but this idea that out of sight, out of mind allows a lot of people slack off on issues that can literally change their geography for lack of knowledge. I've had quite a few friends miss great opportunities because they don't know immigration procedures or understand their status. Each one sucked more than last.
I'd like to share some info on the little I know so as usual,
There are five things that can impact your immigration status;
- Location & Country policy/laws
Ultimately you don't get to pick your family so this one you can't really control. Your immigration status will generally start where your family is. As with most things in your childhood, you can't change the conditions here. However, if your family's status changes while you are under 18, yours will also change along with it.
Seeing as you're an a new adult now, this should not impact you as much anymore. In fact, as you get older you can change the status of your family.
Say, you become a Permanent Resident of a Country like Canada, your status can affect that of your parents. They can apply for a Super Visa because of you.
Another prime example of this is getting married. This is the only person you will ever pick in your family, the rest get assigned to you. Naturally, this will impact your status.
I strongly encourage you not marry for immigration by the way.
Don't do it. It is illegal.
PS. But if you do it, send me jollof rice from the wedding. I can promise you any anonymous tip to the Immigration Office has nothing to do with me. It must be mere coincidence.
This is, in my opinion, the best way to emigrate from your home country to a new country. When you join a new community, it is best to learn skills within that community so you can adapt to the social and economic context of your new environment. What is a better way to do this than through formal Education?
Most countries will grant you a study permit and visa to come study at their universities. Some countries may also allow you to work while studying under certain conditions. Every country has different conditions to fulfill for an immigrant to legally work.
Let me talk to my fellow Immigrants for a second.
- Don't start working while you're a studentUNLESS you are absolutely sure you have the permit.
- If in doubt, don't work. You can be deported for working without proper documentation.
- The moment you graduate, your Study status expires, EVEN IF you still have months left on the visa. You are no longer a student.
- Make sure you make adequate plans to apply for a work permit, get further education to remain a student or return to your home country BEFORE your permit/status changes.
I know many won't listen so let me beg you,
It's not when your study permit expires that you start running helter-skelter.
Know what dates are what. Put it in your calendar!
Don't spend thousands of international dollars and then go home empty handed without your degree because...
"YOU DIDN'T KNOW"
In our adult lives, work and career aspirations will take us to numerous countries and various foreign destinations. It is therefore very important to understand that we must become aware of work restrictions and the implications of work visas. If you need to move for work, by all means be sure you have proper authorization. In some cases, you will be allowed to switch employers.
So somethings to note,
- There are Tax implications of working in a different country; Know & pay your tax.
- Restrictions of employers; your work permit might be restricted to one employer.
- If you have an open work permit, you can switch employers as needed.
- You cannot go to school while you are on a work permit. Except you have a valid study permit too
Country Laws & policies
Country laws can impact your immigration status in the most significant way. Politics of country leaders can also dramatically impact the movement and status of people. Countries have alliances that make movement easier for example, Americans and Canadians cross borders like it's hopscotch. While others can have issues, think Israel & Egypt.
While you're in a new country or have plans to go to another country, it important to be aware of how the country treats minorities.
Why? Once you're an immigrant, you're a minority. A minority the government cannot really represent. Any other minority can complain about representation, immigrants cannot.
Democracy does not represent you, the government does not represent you, the law of the country does not represent you. Immigrants can't vote each other into office, they can't vote or be voted for.
This makes you an easy target for any problem in the country you're in.
Lack of Jobs, Declining infrastructure, Crime rates, you name it. Governments and Politicians will quickly find US vs Them propaganda when the need arises.
So, because you're an immigrant, it is important that you know immigration policy more than citizens and other non-immigrants. It is also important you know that crimes and legal trouble will impact you more than non-immigrants.
For the same crime, a citizen might get a slap on the wrist, an immigrant will get kicked out of the country. Don't join petty foolishness like fights at the bar; one thing leads to another, knives come out and you're on the plane home because someone spilled your drink.
Trust me on this, Citizens have ZERO clue on immigration policy.
But in all fairness, why should they?
They say time heals all wounds... if it is treated.
I used to get so pained about how immigration is not fair. How it's not fair that I miss out on job opportunities ONLY because I was an immigrant. By the way, it is perfectly legal for employers to separate immigrants from Non - immigrant candidates for a Job. Same goes for financial service providers too.
I can't begin to tell you the countless career tabs I've closed after seeing "Permanent Residents and Citizens only." In fact, it got to a point, I would get to the job description and first search the keywords. Don't let me waste energy reading paragraphs about needing 5 years experience, the fire of a dragon, the horn of a unicorn and the sacrifice of my first child before accepting I won't qualify.
Time spent in wrong place or under the wrong status will end up being a waste. I know a lot about Canada because of my personal experience.
If you are student, make sure you apply for your Post Graduate Work Permit the moment you know you will graduate. Don't wait, don't hesitate.
You have 90 days from the date you receive confirmation of degree completion to apply for this permit.
You then have 3 years at the most with that permit, to complete requirements to apply for Permanent Residence.
So if you spend 5 years being an undergraduate student and person X spends 3 as an undergrad, you and person X have the same immigration advantage in the journey to applying for permanent residence (all other things being equal).
In Canada, if you're already in the country and you apply to change status, say from Student to Worker. When you apply and await the decision from the government, you are allowed to work under implied status.
HOWEVER, if the government does not approve your application, stop work immediately. If you are approved, continue and congratulations!
Visa vs Permit,
Visa allows you travel and move across borders and usually allows temporary stays.
Permits allow you stay within a certain country for a specific purpose.
Say your Visa expires but your permit is still valid, you can continue your purpose(work/study) in the country. You can leave the country, you can't come back even though your permit is valid.
If your Permit expires but your visa is valid, you have no reason to continue your purpose(work/study). You can leave the country, you can come back BUT your status has expired so you will be denied entry. Unless your Country has some sort of agreement.
Last last, always have an immigration lawyer's number handy.
You never know.
Mr Olalere (613)-799-7572
Tell him Tolu 'the guy with the highest IELTS score he has seen' gave you his number.
He'll be happy to help if you need it.
Your favourite Immigrant,
When you finally become a Permanent Resident