It was Sep 2014 when I reached office one day (I used to work from home most of the time) when my friends and colleagues Bhushan and Rohan informed me that they were planning to apply for Canada immigration and that they went to meet a Canadian immigration lawyer who was in Bangalore a day before. They were quite excited and said that the people who apply before Dec 2014 would have great chances of getting through than those who apply Jan 2015 onward for two reasons – CIC (Citizenship & Immigration Canada) is accepting 25 K applications in 2014 against 50 NOC codes and from Jan 2015 a new program called Express Entry will come into effect that is more tougher than the existing policy.
Both were trying to book the IELTS exam slots none were available at that time in entire India that could help them in meeting Dec 2014 deadline. A few slots used to open up upon cancellation but they used to get booked within minutes. They asked me whether I am interested in applying. Though I had one of my closest friends, Amit, in Canada for past 15 years and in spite of him trying to convince me several times to apply, I never tried to do so. My wife, my daughter (who was in 6th grade then) and I were never interested in immigrating to any other country. So I immediately told both of my friends that I am not interested and requested them to go ahead without me. Three of us used to meet about 3 times in office during coffee breaks and both of them used to discuss about the IELTS slots opening and then disappearing after sometime. It was a time when they had to book the slots immediately to avoid missing Dec 2014 deadline.
The next day when I reached office and met my friends during coffee break, both of them were at the same stage and were discussing about opening and disappearing of IELTS slots. I suggested them to bring their laptops and join me in a conference room. Now, three of us are sitting in a conference room with laptops. My friends again insisted me to rethink. I called my wife, explained the situation and asked her opinion because it was a gamble of roughly about USD 4500 at that time (all expenses included). I always had plans to have my daughter complete her higher studies from US and I told my wife that in case we immigrate to Canada we’ll be closer to our daughter while she’ll do her higher studies from US or Canada. She agreed during the call and I decided to apply. Now three of us with our credit cards ready were geared up to book the IELTS slots as soon as any slot opened in any city. We kept refreshing the IELTS website in individual laptops and as soon as we saw any slot available, we booked the slots and made the payment. Bhushan and Rohan got the slots in Mumbai on two different dates whereas I got the slot in Hyderabad which was about two weeks later than my friends’. So, I was already late by two weeks than my friends.
This was the time when three of us got serious about filing our applications. I always felt that until you have something important at stake, you keep postponing. This is why, I insisted on paying the IELTS fee so that we cross the first hurdle and start moving toward our goal. Exactly the same happened and our things started rolling. The next milestone was clearing the IELTS exam with minimum score required for filing the application. We all booked our air / train tickets because our exam center was in another city. Bhushan and Rohan cleared the IELTS with good score and now I was the only one still waiting for the test date. I have two dogs, Bruno (Labrador – 5 yrs old then) and Buddy (Doberman – 2 yrs old then). Both my wife and I had to go to Hyderabad on two consecutive days because IELTS is conducted on two days. Since we did not want our daughter and our dogs to stay alone at home, we left from Bangalore to Hyderabad by flight in the morning, took the written test came back to Bangalore the same night and again left next day early in the morning and came back in the evening after taking speaking test. I then waited for the IELTS result before continuing further application process. In the mean time, Bhushan and Rohan had started their process of getting the certificates attested by the university because it was a lengthy process of about two weeks. After about three weeks, my wife and I got the IELTS result and we were relieved that we cleared it. Now it was the time for me to start the process of getting my certificates attested.
My friends had decided to file their application through Immigration Lawyer. The charges were
about CAD 2800 per person. I asked my friend Amit whether I should do the same but he suggested me to file my application myself. Here, I started on a different track i.e. filing my application myself whereas my colleagues started the communication with the immigration lawyer in Canada through email. I called my university and checked with them about the certificates’ attestation process. I got to know that the process takes about two weeks in my university as well. I didn’t have that much time left before the Dec 2014 deadline. So I decided to take a chance. I booked my return flight tickets from Bangalore to Pune for the same day. I reached my university with my original certificates and two sets of certificates’ copies. I met the clerk at assistant registrar office, explained my situation and requested him to attest the photocopies of my certificates immediately. To my luck, he agreed to do so and called me after two hours to collect the documents. I was free by lunch time and my flight was at 8:00 PM. So I called one of my college mates who used to live in Pune. We met after about 15 years and had a good time in the evening before taking flight back to Bangalore. I sent the attested copies of my certificates to WES for credentials assessment and in the mean time started compiling other documents – all CIC forms, birth certificates, photos, passport photocopies and experience certificates etc.
All my documents and CIC forms were ready and as soon as I received the credentials assessment certificate from WES, my packet was ready to be couriered to CIC Canada. We all had about 14+ years of experience and therefore our experience was matching with three different NOC codes. Here we did some analysis on CIC website. CIC, though not frequently, keeps updating on its website the number of applications received against each NOC codes. Two out of three NOC codes were filling out fast and almost touching the ceiling of 1000 applications whereas third NOC code which was also matching perfectly with our work experience was filling quite slower than other two. So we all decided to file our application against that NOC code. My friends had to send their packets to the immigration lawyer in Toronto whereas I had to send my packet directly to CIC Nova Scotia. It was about Dec 15th when our application was received by CIC and we were happy that we made it just before CIC staff starts going for Christmas vacations.
Then the long waiting period started…
In April, 2015, I received an email from Warsaw office stating that my application was received by CIC Nova Scotia on Dec 15th and that I can now check my application status online. I was the first one who got this acknowledgement followed by Bhushan who got similar email that was forwarded to him by Immigration Lawyer’s office. This email was the confirmation that all the required documents were received and our application was under process. After a couple of days, Rohan too got the acknowledgement email, not from Warsaw but from Columbo, Sri Lanka office.
In about five weeks after receiving above-mentioned email from Warsaw office, I got another email from Warsaw office with three medical forms attached that I along-with my family had to take to the hospital for getting our medical checkup done.
While Bhushan too got his medical forms from Warsaw office after me, Rohan had to wait for about two months to get his medical forms. This was a slightly tough time for him because he started losing hope. But finally he too got the medical forms and all three of us got the invitation to apply for the visa through VFS. I got the visa in May 2015 whereas Bhushan got it in June 2015 and Rohan got it in Sep 2015.
I want to thank Bhushan for convincing both Rohan and me to apply. To know more about what happened further read pages <My First Short-Landing Experience In Canada>, <Our Experience While Relocating Permanently To Canada>, < The Reasons That Made Me To Re-Think & Take Plunge>, <How I Brought My Two Dogs From India To Canada> and <My First Four Months In Canada>