THE BEST MOVE I EVER MADE WAS TO MY NEW HOME IN CANADA.
Living in Canada was never on my bucket list until I met the love of my life ten years ago while on vacation. Once I made my move to Canada I never looked back and still haven’t been back to the UK only because starting a new life in Canada has been hectic for the wife and I.
Our years have been so busy for us in Canada that it’s taken me this long to get on my feet financially and in a career that I love after going back to school for a second time. Since coming to Canada and going back to school, starting a new career and having a baby we’ve also paid off our mortgage and are debt free. Life is good and we are thankful for everything. We do have plans to head back to the UK for a visit in 2017 but for now we will continue to live the Canadian dream or at least, our dream.
As the stock markets tumble after the shock of the UK Referendum (Brexit) where voting determined that the UK was pulling out from the European Union (EU) I received a couple of emails from fans which I expected. I don’t know if they were fans before the referendum but they wanted to learn about my move to Canada, the process and how long it took me to get here from start to finish.
Global stock markets lost about $2 trillion in value on Friday after Britain voted to leave the European Union, while sterling suffered a record one-day plunge to a 31-year low and money poured into safe-haven gold and government bonds.
In my 5 years of blogging I haven’t talked much about my experience with becoming a permanent resident (PR) in Canada and my dealings with the Canada Immigration Services. I’ll be upfront with you from the start and tell you that we paid not even a penny to an immigration lawyer to help us with the process of applying for my PR status in Canada. We completed the entire large package of immigration documents to become a PR in Canada by ourselves that took time but we got it done.
I will do a two-part series in the next little while to break things down a bit more for everyone as it can be a fairly detailed post. Today I’m just going to talk briefly about where we searched for information about making a move to Canada, how we went about it and how fast the results came in.
One of the biggest sources of information came from the website British Expats as there are tonnes of experienced people on the forum along with immigration lawyers and other consultants that you can ask questions to. The best part is reading about personal experience and how they like living in Canada like you are with me right now reading this post.
Determining Your Eligibility
Before we decided whether I was going to move to Canada or my wife was going to move to the UK with her EU Passport we needed to check our eligibility. Now that the UK has pulled out from the EU we will have to see what’s in store for the EU passport in the future. I think it will be a rocky year or so in the UK but things will get back to some sort of even ground eventually.
We reviewed immigration policies and my eligibility to move to Canada under family sponsorship. There are other ways you can apply to move to Canada which revolve around a Canada Point System.
- Express Entry
- Quebec Selected Skilled Workers
- Immigrant Investor
- Provincial Nominee
- Start Up Visa
- Family Sponsorship
You can check your eligibility to apply and ultimately move to Canada by filling out the online form at Immigration Canada.
Do you want to work, study, visit, travel through or live permanently in Canada?
Answer a few questions to find out what immigration programs you can apply for. Each immigration program has different application and eligibility requirements. You will need about 10-15 minutes to complete the form.
Dating a Canadian Girl
My wife and I dated for over a year before I popped the question to her. I was ecstatic when she said YES with the biggest smile on her face. My parents were happy, my siblings were thrilled as were my wife’s parents and siblings. We did quite a bit of flying back and forth to see each other and plenty of MSN chat during this period.
It’s amazing how much you can learn about someone by chatting to them online as opposed to just going on dates. This was a new experience for the both of us and one we won’t ever forget. All the chatting helped bring our story together for Immigration Canada which I will explain more in another post.
I spent some time in Canada so we could work on our immigration paperwork together which ended up being the size of a large encyclopedia. We were both naked to immigration as they want to know just about everything about us which is part of the process which we were fine with. We just wanted to be together as husband and wife so we could start our lives together.
In this time we managed to put together with the help of family and friends a lovely grand wedding which was so much more than we expected. Unfortunately I decided not to stay in Canada and apply for a Visa so I could work or apply for my PR so I flew back to the UK to start the process.
I was able to work and make money while I sorted out my half of the PR immigration paperwork in the UK which made things easier. I couldn’t work in Canada if I applied for PR if I had chosen to stay here. I was able to work and stash away as much cash as I could before I made my final move to Canada by going back to the UK which made more sense to the both of us.
Sorting Our Lives
I did keep a bank account in the UK with all of my money along with my UK Pension and while in Canada I opened a PC Financial Bank account with my wife. I needed to build a credit rating in Canada since I didn’t have one so this was my opportunity. I was also fortunate to open a Sears MasterCard with a $500 limit that helped with my near perfect credit score today.
Over the years I’ve transferred most of my British pounds over to Canada but left a bit for when we do some travelling. I sold my house in record time I thought which helped take a load of stress off my back.
While living with my family back in the UK I was working 7 days a week (surprise there I bet) to keep my mind occupied and to make money. That was all I was doing, making money and spending time with my family because I wasn’t sure when I would be back to see them again. Thankfully my parents have been to Canada since my move and I get to see my friends and family via Skype.
Saying good-bye at the airport was one of the toughest things I had to do apart from saying good-bye to my wife each time we made the trip back and forth to see each other while dating and after we got married.
My wife didn’t have too much to sort on her end as her life continued as normal. She would go to work, workout, hang with her friends and chat to me. At the time she had sold her house which became too much for her to handle and decided to rent for a while until she was ready to buy again.
Related: Is it better to rent or buy?
Then I came along.
I moved in with her when I finally got my PR and made my move to Canada which worked out great. Renting was less responsibility for the both of us while we organized our lives and both went back to school to change careers.
I had to complete a medical in the UK which is another reason I went back after we got married. I had a full medical completed along with HIV testing and chest x-rays. I got the all clear which didn’t take too long at all and the medical reports were sent to the High Commission in the UK for review and then to me to include in my immigration paperwork.
If you want to move to Canada under family sponsorship which I did you will have plenty of paperwork to fill out. Honestly, the paperwork is straight-forward and didn’t require us to make any calls for legal advice to anyone.
I will caution to make sure review EVERYTHING with a fine tooth comb and include what they want or you will get your package sent back and possibly end up at the bottom of the pile when you re-submit. Some people can wait years to get their PR status others it happens quickly and most often it boils down to errors and how busy they are at Immigration Canada.
We kept our paperwork organized, numbered and used colour tabs to separate each section of the application form. The easier you make the job for the immigration officer reviewing your family sponsorship submission the happier they will be and quicker it will be processed.
Some of the things we included along with the paperwork were photos, chats, letters from family and friends, plane tickets, receipts of all sorts from our time dating and so on. Our submission was standard as we didn’t have any children, medical was clear, finances were up to snuff, no divorces or anything that would take a bit more time or leg work to get through.
My wife had to take on three years of financial responsibility for me which meant she needed to have a good income, long-standing employer, employer letter from HR, money in the bank and faith in our love. She had nothing to doubt as we are still madly in love to this day.
In the event we did divorce and I was not working I would have not been able to apply for Welfare assistance in Canada. My wife would have had to support me financially until I found work or up until the three-year financial responsibility was completed. That’s a big role to take on even if something were to happen and I’m honoured she put so much trust and faith in our relationship.
Time Frame From UK to Canada
All in all it took us about 5 months from start to finish after applying and sending the entire package to Immigration Canada along with a $1000 fee ( I can’t remember the exact fee) to have our paperwork reviewed for approval. Always send your application via Purolator so you can track where it is at all times. We also kept a copy for ourselves in the event it went missing. The last thing you want is to re-do the entire application over again. I’m sweating just thinking about that, ha!
The application arrived and was confirmed!! Now the wait began.
We were tracking the package online after we were sent a tracking number by Immigration Canada who informed us that they received it and they were reviewing it. The scariest time was at that point because we were nervous that we may have messed something up. We didn’t though as it was truly meticulously organized and in great detail with lots of evidence of our love for each other and a valid marriage in Canada.
To prep the entire immigration application it took us over two months while I was in Canada visiting and then a further month of paperwork when I went back to the UK. It was a bit daunting to get it all done but in the end a huge weight was lifted from our shoulders.
It was during my wife’s last visit to the UK after we were married that I got the wonderful news via Royal Mail that my PR was approved and I was ready to move to Canada. This took over 100 days somewhere around 158 days I believe. I had a certain amount of time to do so but I was ready to start my new life and be together with my new wife.
I handed in my resignation to my employer which they were fully aware knowing I was making a move to Canada. I then boxed up what I had left after many boot sales and shipped it to Canada in a container on a boat via a local shipping company. This is not cheap and some people ship furniture and other heavy belongings so choose wisely what you decide to bring.
My stuff arrived a few weeks after I made the move to Canada which was fine as I had packed what I needed in my luggage and carry on. All of my stuff went to my in-laws for storage until we were ready to get our own place. Since moving in our house I still have most of my stuff in boxes in our basement which I rumble through every now and again.
When I arrived at Toronto Pearson Airport I was pulled aside and brought to a room to be welcomed to Canada as a new PR. It was a wonderful experience as the immigration officers explained to me what was going on and gave me a package about my arrivals in Canada and things to expect. My actual PR card came in the mail a few months later but I had a legal document from immigration Canada that stated I was in fact a PR. One of the prettiest plastic cards I own.
This is the short-version as much more happened in between and after to bring me to where I am today in Canada. I honestly can’t say that I have had any bad experiences in Canada besides my struggle with drivers that don’t care about the rules of the road. That’s another post though, lol.
Canada Day is next Friday July 1, 2016 and I’ll be spending it with my family watching the fireworks and enjoying the festivities of the day. I’m honoured to live in such a beautiful country with so many opportunities for me to take hold of to help conquer my dreams.
If you have any specific questions please email me or leave a comment on this post and I will add them into my future posts which I hope to be a bit more in-depth for you. If you want to know about what I brought, what I sold, how I did something specific and how my life in Canada is and was after landing, I’ll tell you.
Please read other immigration posts under the Immigration category here at CBB.
You can also read how to immigrate to Canada at the Government of Canada Website where you will find information that may include new rules for Canada Immigration since I made my move to Canada.
What did I do this week?
This has been a very busy week for me even though I was home for a few days. We ended up buying a swing set for our son that was used for a fantastic deal for $80. I sanded it down and am now adding some bits to it for him.
I found a really cool idea online to help kids with their hand and eye coordination that I’m going to make. It’s a piece of plywood with all sorts of gadgets on it such as chain locks, bolts sometimes called a Trinket Busy Board similar to the one below from the website http://noreimrreason.com. I’ll add quite a bit more to the board I make but this is the idea I’m working from. I will attach it to the inside of the play structure to weather protect it but have the ability to take it in over the winter.
Other than working on this project and cleaning up the back garden and a few trips to the park we made a special trip to see friends of ours who had their first baby, a boy with lots of hair. Both the mother’s are excited and thrilled like any other parents especially after many tries with IVF which can be financially draining but worth it in the end.
We loaded up on goodies for the little guy as we have tonnes of stuff here that we never even opened after our son was born. We also offered to pass along boys clothes to his lovely mums which they were more than happy to receive. He reminded us just how small our boy was when he was a newborn. They sure do grow up fast.
Next week, more swing set duty, swimming and heading out for Canada Day festivities for a few days with the in-laws and some friends. We wouldn’t miss Canada Day festivities for the world.
Have a wonderful week my friends.
Awesome posts I published this week
Just in case you’ve missed any of my blog posts this week I will share them all below. If you are looking for past Saturday Weekend Review posts scroll down to the bottom of this post where I will list up to 5 previous weeks for you to read.
If you have a question that you would like to ask Mr.CBB fill out the Contact Mr.CBB form on the blog home page and I’ll do my best to reply to each one. If you want to share a story via a Fan Question please ensure that there is minimum 500 words and lots of details…we love details! I’m more than happy to chat via email to bring your story to life.
New: If your story submission gets chosen and published you will be entered into a yearly draw for a $25 Gift Card or $25 CDN via PayPal if you are from the USA.
Right now CBB is posting Tuesday (Grocery Game Challenge), Thursday (Personal Finance Post), Saturday (Personal Finance and Weekly Wrap-Up and a Frugal Recipe on Sunday!
Top performing CBB Post this week : How much should my Grocery Budget Be?
- Big thanks to Rob Carrick for sharing my post, “Why You Should Always Ask For Your Grocery Receipt” at The Globe and Mail Online.
- Copy Cat Dairy Queen Chocolate Dipped baBananas
- Why Free Food Offers Are Attractive Temptations For Consumers
- How to Spot a Money Smart Woman
Fan Budget Brags
You got WHAT for HOW Much?
Submit your Deal or Brag:
Saving money while grocery shopping is essential in the CBB family and that’s why we share our grocery shops every week in The Grocery Game Challenge .
Join the Budget Brag Challenge 2016 and WIN!!!
What I love the most is when my fans share their amazing shops with me whether it be groceries or other deals they find at a garage sale, online or freebies! In 2016 if you send me your Budget Brag you will automatically get entered into a yearly draw for a surprise gift card.
If your Budget Brag gets chosen you get an extra ballot! So start sending in your brags with a photo and tell me about your deals. If you are from the USA and win I will PayPal you the money in CDN dollars. Open to Canada and USA only.
Email me at canadianbudgetbinder@yahoo.(ca) < remove brackets) or fill out my contact form by Friday each week to have your brag considered for the Saturday post.
Hi Mr.CBB and Fans,
I have some more awesome Garage Sale deals for you this week!
Here are today’s deals:
- Brand new bracelet craft $2 (for a birthday gift)
- Skating aid $1
- Puddle Jumper flotation device, 2 pairs of pj’s, swim shirt, rugby shirt, fleece sweater (brand new with tags) $5 (asking was $10)
- 2 diaper genie refills and girls shorts (new with tags for a birthday gift) $10 (asking was $13)
- Bag holder for green bin $1.50 (asking was $3)
Total spent: $19.50 (less than the cost of one puddle jumper).
Awesome job Jen! I should go to garage sales with you, the master negotiator.
Making a difference (MAD)
Welcome to the 2016 Making A Difference series! Join the networking movement of Personal Finance Bloggers around the world. If you are a personal finance blogger (anywhere around the world) and would like your blog to be MAD featured simply drop me an email and I’ll explain the process to you. I’m currently booking for July and August.
This is my way of giving back to the personal finance community through networking and sharing knowledge with my fans. Today it is my pleasure to share with you the blog, House of Tre!
Hey CBB Readers!
I’m Tre from the House of Tre blog. I’m originally from Vancouver, BC but I’ve been lucky enough to live in many parts of the USA for Mr Tre’s career. We recently moved to New England (hopefully our last move).
At the end of 2015 I resigned from my management position in the finance industry to work as a consultant. There have been some challenges along the way, but I don’t regret leaving my job.
House of Tre is a blog about branching out from debt to wealth. I write about life and the sometimes messy financial parts that no one talks about. I work in finance and I studied finance, but that doesn’t mean I’ve always made the best decisions when it comes to my personal finances.
On the blog I openly discuss dealing with the challenges of the poor decisions I made in the past, paying back my student loan debt, building wealth and dealing with the unexpected financial challenges that come with life.
Hopefully reading the blog will help someone realize that we all make mistakes – even those of us that are considered financial professionals – most of us just don’t want to admit it. The key to getting your personal finances on track is recognizing your mistakes and creating a plan. But don’t get too comfortable with that plan because life has a way of throwing you curveballs.
Yummy Recipe Find
Food and grocery shopping are relevant to us because food is a large part of the budget which people struggle the most with.
We all have to eat to survive but just because we have a budget doesn’t mean we can’t eat delicious home-cooked meals that are drool-worthy.
If you are someone who would rather buy convenience foods consider cooking homemade meals or baking from scratch. Not only will you save money but you will be proud of what you’ve accomplished and you’ll see that from the smiles on those you feed.
For the past 2 years I’ve had a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot where I exclusively share recipes from Food Bloggers around the world. I also share recipes on the blog on Sunday either made by home cook and mom Nicola Don or myself.
This week our Top Recipe Pick goes to Alyssa over at Good In The Simple for her Chocolate Peanut Butter Heaven, No-bake dessert. This looks very light and creamy and something that is hard to stop eating.
Top Pinterest Idea
Canada Day is July 1, 2016!
We wanted to make some Canada Day crafts with our son for the house and I found these super easy Canada Flag Windsocks over at Creative Mama on a Dime. I can’t wait to make these and the cost is so minimal…Dollar store here we come!! Thanks Susannah for the great Canada Day Craft Idea!
Every week I will pick a blog post of the week from around the web that I found interesting and want to share with all of you. Please head on over and give the post a read and let them know that Mr. CBB sent you if you comment. Thanks.
Editor’s pick (That’s me Mr.CBB) This week I read a post written by Lara Rutherford-Morrison over at Bustle.com about How Each Generation Wastes Money which I found interesting since eating out topped the list for all 3 generations. See how it compares to your guilty pleasures.
Baby boomers, Gen X-ers, and Millennials all have eating out, uneaten or expired food, and groceries in their list of top five money wasters.
Finance Quote Of the Week
Every time I read this quote it haunts me only because the last 2 years I’ve worked pretty much non-stop. Our lives have been on hold ever since but I still make my family a priority when I am home with them. I pray that something good happens for my career so I can be home to get back on track with our lives.
CBB Google Search Laughs
Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. Any spelling errors below are because I share with you the exact way they typed their search engine query to land on my blog. Some of them are serious and others are meant to have a laugh.
- Can I return an item to Bulk Barn?– I don’t actually know and this is a good question. I’m going to say no if it’s a bulk product because it’s accessible and you can twist tie it back up. Other products that are sealed, likely. Just call.
- Can I get stuff out of Home Depots Dumpster?– Probably not a good idea
- Is pasta safe to buy at Dollarama? – I’m pretty sure you will be safe
- Code 33 Superstore– Everyone duck!! I have no idea, do you?
- Cheapest grocery list– What an odd thing to look for.
That’s all the fun for this week, thanks for dropping by and we’ll see ya all again next Saturday!
Subscribe to the blog by entering your email address on the home page of the blog. Once you’ve subscribed you MUST activate your subscription via the email sent to you from Canadian Budget Binder. Open that email and click YES Subscribe me.
Don’t forget to Follow me on Social Media by clicking any of the Icons below!
- The Saturday Weekend Review #173: Fun Frugal Adventures for the Victoria Long Weekend
- The Saturday Weekend Review #174: Why Personal Touch Matters When Selling Your House
- The Saturday Weekend Review #175: How to Host A Community Garage Sale Successfully
- The Saturday Weekend Review #176: Forever Debt: Spend Money Like You Have It
- The Saturday Weekend Review #177: Inexpensive last-minute Father’s Day Gifts