Finally…PR!

So yet again it has been a while so an update is needed. The big news is…I got my Permanent Residency Yay!! I have been reluctant to talk about my PR journey through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) aka: Citizenship and Immigration, Canada (CIC)  – I just didn’t want to jinx it. I’ve noticed the last post was before Christmas where I talk about job letters and language tests etc.

If I backtrack to November, I actually entered the Express Entry pool in November (after clearing my one year of Canadian work experience). I had to input information about myself, my education, my skilled work experience, my language test results – I did the ‘International English Language Testing System’ (IELTS)**. The profile took around 30 minutes to fill in and then I had to create an account at Job Bank.ca (it is a requirement if you don’t have a job offer /’Labour Market Impact Assessment’ – LMIA) – my honest thought on Job Bank is that it is a waste of time and hardly anyone gets job offers through it.

**If you want to know a bit more about IELTS, please read this post

My profile was successfully added to the Express Entry (EE) pool of candidates under Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

I finally got my Invitation to Apply (ITA) under FSW in early December with 468 points (based on age, education, work experience and language test results) – this is also known as the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). I then had the wonderful task of submitting all documentation within 60 days.

This was by no means an easy task as outlined below:

Like the IEC application online, it followed a similar format where you upload particular documents in each section as required:

Education – My Education Credential Assessment (ECA), Degree certificate and University transcripts

Passport – Copy of the bio page and any pages with stamps/visas

Digital Photo – like the photo for the IEC application

Police Certificate – UK police certificate (you have to get one from every country where you have spent 6 months or more altogether since you were 18)

Medical – You have to have an upfront medical for PR application. I had already has two done for the IEC so I knew the process but it still cost me $300. I upload the proof of medical sheet as the designated clinic sends the results onto CIC

Employment Records – Each work experience (skilled – NOC A, B or 0) had to have a reference letter stating salary, dates worked, job positions held, job duties (very important as these had to match with the NOC code but NOT copied and pasted – many people get rejected for this) on company letter head and signed by the HR representative/Direct Manager.

I had 3 letters to get all for the same NOC code. I only had issues with one letter, where the HR Manager was annoyed I had written the drafted the letters myself (despite me sending web links and scanned documents to show why I needed the information) and took out most of the job duties as he ‘didn’t want the letter to go over 2 pages (despite the fact that it did already). I asked him to put this back in and explained I could get rejected if CIC did not feel my experience reflected the NOC code but he refused. Instead he allowed me to submit the Job Description when applied for the job (I usually keep these and use them to write my cover letters when applying) – I submitted all of this information as well as screenshots of the email communication between him and myself and giving me permission to use the job description. I explained all of this in my Letter of Explanation (LOE) – more on this later.

As well as the letters, I also submitted my T4s/tax information for my Canadian jobs, pay slips to show proof of working (usually one at the beginning of the job, one at the end/most recent and some in between).

Financial Support – This is not required for CEC, although you still have to upload a bank statement but there is no minimum proof of funds. For FSW however, the minimum amount is$12, 164 (for 2016) that you must have held or at least 6 months prior to your application. You need to evidence this by getting letters from your banks stating when the account(s) were opened, average balance over the last 6 months and printed on headed paper, dated etc. This was the most challenging part of my application as it requested ALL financial institutions, even if you had the minimum amount that CIC want to see in one account.

My Canadian banks (TD and CIBC) were fine although I did have to pay $15 each for the letter lol. It took 3 attempts to get the correct letter from Nationwide Bank in the UK as I contacted them visa the web and they then wanted me to go into a branch to get the letter. When I explained to them I wasn’t in the UK they did do it on my behalf and sent me the letter I needed with all the required information but I was concerned for a while.

CIC also want to know about loans and debts so I included my credit card information.

Student Loans is a difficult one to say for sure. On the one hand, it is considered a debt, on the other side of the argument, UK student loans are income assessed (whereby you only pay back an amount based on what you are earning). When you go for mortgage advise in the UK they only take your repayments that you you make each month, not the entire debt. In this particular example, student loans (from the UK) is not the same as a house  or car loan as it does not affect your credit score. Many immigration forum post if you do a search advise that CIC are not so concerned about UK student loans debt. It is up to you how you wish to proceed with this (I know that I have had a few debates with people over this) but I believe if you already have at least the minimum funds required they are probably not going to refuse you just because you owe the government $30,000  from trying to get an education. Other countries may view their own student loans as commercial debt.

So that was the documentation but there are also forms to fill in online before you can submit:

Personal Details – Name, DOB, Nationality etc.

Contact Details – Address, Phone, and Email etc.

Address History – Everywhere you have resided in the last 10 years. I included all my Canadian addresses including the hostel when I first arrived but forgot about student hall when I was at university.

Study and Languages – University information/ ECA and language test results (IELTS or CELPIP).

Work History – Only put the work history you want points for (skilled). If you put that you worked in a bar in Ibiza in August 2006 then CIC will want a reference letter. This was where I put my 3 jobs information.

Personal History – Everything you have done in the last 10 years with no gaps – work, traveling, studying, military etc. CIC want the month and year, what you were doing. No gaps and no overlaps otherwise the form won’t save properly.

Travel History – This is by far the biggest pain in the ass. CIC want EVERYWHERE you have traveled to outside of your country of birth/residence within the last 10 years or since you turned 18 (if less then 10 years). This is where you look at passport stamps, flight conformations, hotels booking etc to get those precious dates. Luckily I had kept a lot of that information but struggled with some European trips (no passport stamps). You have to put the exact/approximate date/month and year, country traveled to, purpose of travel and where you visited.

The travel history is also where CIC can catch you out as if they work out through the dates that you have spent over 6 months in a particular country AND you did not submit a police certificate for that country they can reject the application or ask you for that document.

Letter of Explanation (LOE) *optional – this is such an important document as mine was 30-40 pages long. This is where you tell CIC about anything else to do with your application. For example – if you can’t get a police certificate from a particular country, issues with work experience letters, any extra qualification certificates that ECA would not accredit, and any extra financial information. I think at some point I will make a separate post about this as I swear this is what got me through and lessened my chances of rejection.

Once everything is filled in and uploaded then you pay the application fee ($550) and everything gets sent to CIC. About 24 hours later I got an Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR) stating that they had received my application and would begin processing my application within the timescales (6 months for Express Entry).

The online page, when you log into myCIC is similar to the page for the IEC

application progress

This was what my application looked like a week later after the medicals were passed and my background check went ‘into progress’ – usually this is a good sign for people who are ‘outland’ (applying outside of Canada) as it means the Passport and Photo Request (PPR) is just around the corner. Not in my case though.

I didn’t hear from CIC until end of April when they asked for my Right of Permanent Resident Fee (RPRF), which is another $490 per person named in the application. You can pay the RPRF at the time you submit and CIC also advise you to do this as well.

I still believe that if I had paid my RPRF at the start, my PPR request would have come through at the end of April/start of May but because I didn’t, I had to wait another 2 months for this. I have ordered my notes (known as The Global Case Management System – GCMS) associated with my application. This is where you make a privacy request to CIC to find out everything that has been written about your application by the officers. Many people do this if they have no update for a while or are just curious to see what is happening with their application. I didn’t want to do it and worry about things written on it but now I really want to know just for shits and giggles 🙂 – please note you can only order these if you live in Canada otherwise you have to get someone to order them by request (Lawyer/representative). GCMS is free under ‘Privacy Act’ for people who live in Canada and $5 under ‘Information Act’ and for people outside of Canada. It does take around 30 days to receive them though, so I have a bit of a wait.

The last 2 months were agonizing. I didn’t know if they would request further information or documents and if my application would go over 6 months.

Fortunately, I received the PPR request and the same day went down to London Drugs to get my 2 photos and then a couple of XpressPost envelopes from Canada Post (CIC only send your Confirmation of Permanent Residence – COPR) in one of these pre-paid envelopes so you include one within your application. You would have thought with all the money you have given them; they could at least pay your postage costs lol. I also had to send a copy of my passport bio page but it depends on which country you are from as some countries require a visa and so you have to send your passport off as well.

Luckily the envelopes can be tracked and I could see online that CIC had received my package. A few days later, myCIC account was updated to ‘Closed and Approved’

application approved

Then a few days later, the tracking number for the pre-paid envelope was activated and my COPR arrived yesterday 🙂

So there you have it!

My timeline was within the 6 months but this is the breakdown:

Entered the EE pool – November 8 2015
ITA received under FSW – December 8 2015
Application submitted and AOR – January 6 2016
Medical Passed – January 15 2016
Background Check ‘In Progress’ – January 15 2016
RPRF Request – April 26 2016
PPR – June 20 2016

Application Approved and Closed (Decision Made) – June 25 2016
COPR – June 29 2016

This is the approximate breakdown of costs (CAD$) for the documents and fees for the PR application for myself but it depends on what documents you require and if any need to be translated. All of mine were in English so there was no need:

IELTS language test– $300
ECAS through WES (World Education Services) – $200
Transcipts from University to send to WES including international postage – $100
Financial letters from banks – $30 (TD and CIBC charged me)

Medical – $300
CIC PR Application Fee – $550
RPRF – $490
Passport Photos for PPR – $15
Xpresspost pre-paid envelopes (Canada Post) x 2 – one to send and one for CIC to send COPR back – $40

So altogether just over $2000 and if there is more than one person (spouse/family etc) then the cost is much much higher.

The last thing I need to do now is ‘land’, which like the IEC means I need to leave Canada and re-enter via a Port of Entry (POE). However, instead of flag poling at Point Roberts, I have an appointment at the Vancouver CIC office to do an ‘inland landing’ – this is an option for people already legally working or studying in Canada. I booked this through the CIC help line and after being on hold for 20 minutes I got through to a human who passed on my request for an appointment. 3 hours later I get an email from the Vancouver office informing me the time, date and what documents to bring.

I will then need to go to the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) office in Vancouver to show my ‘Goods to Follow’ list. This is where if I decide to bring any large items/personal possessions from the UK, I need to declare them at the time of landing otherwise I will have to pay taxes/duty on them in the future. As it happens I do have books, CDs, DVDs and photo albums that will have to come over in the future so presently my mother is going through all my crap to let me know what there is.

Also after I have ‘landed ‘ and am officially a Permanent Resident then my residency obligations begin – being present for 730 days (around 2 years) of every 5 years to keep my status.

I will do another blog entry after I have landed and updated my SIN and all that lovely stuff. 

 In the mean time, these are my tips for the Express Entry PR application:

1. You can get some documents whilst you are waiting in the EE pool before the ITA. These can include: work reference letters, doing your travel and personal history, any police checks that will take over 60 days to get (e.g. FBI).

2. The LOE is a very important document, put anything you wish to add or that you feel would help your application. Likewise if they’re any issues with any documents that you can’t get hold of or information is missing – TELL CIC!

3. Be honest – its simple I know but don’t lie in your application because if they find out you can be done for misrepresentation and banned from the country.

4. Pay the RPRF at the same time you submit the PR application. It means you pay over $1000 in fees but I think it speeds up the application processing time. Mine took an extra 2 months to go from RPRF to PPR and I think it is because they just left my application in a while and worked on other applications where they paid this at the start – only the GCMS notes will confirm if this was the case for me.

5. Just on the GCMS notes, I wouldn’t bother ordering them unless you go over the 6-month processing time. They take 30 days to come through and I have heard of people ordering them 3 weeks after AOR – what exactly are they going to say at that point?

6. Lastly, utilize immigration forums but be aware that there can be a lot of incorrect information/advise and scare mongering. I used British Expat Forum, which has been very helpful for my IEC and PR and I will use in the future for my Citizenship application. Other online forums are not always like that.

I would like to say to anyone reading this GOOD LUCK on your journey to live in Canada

🙂

Useful links:

IRCC/CIC Express Entry Information

IRCC/CIC Express entry completeness information as of January 2016 – This information is very useful in showing you exactly what CIC are looking for especially in regards to the information required for the financial letters and work experience letters.

Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) – Eligibility and minimum requirements. You also need 67 points as well as your points in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)

Canadian Experience Class (CEC) – Eligibility and minimum requirements. You DO Not need to show proof of funds for CEC

GCMS notes – Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) If you order by selecting ‘Privacy Act’ then there is no charge otherwise under ‘Access to Information Act’ the cost is $5. You must already be residing in Canada in order to order your GCMS notes.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – One of the accepted organizations for English Testing.

Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) – The other accepted organization for English Language testing. You can only complete this test if you are in Canada

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57 thoughts on “Finally…PR!

  1. Thanks this is sooooo useful! I can start getting some bits together ready for when i have my one year of work experience. I found my job code on servicecanada site but cant see a specific list of duties?? Im gunna start by getting those employment letters and my english test booked and making a list of dates in and out of countries.

    • I would also do a check on your points on cic website. It’s age, education, foreign skilled work experience and Canadian experience – I know you are working on that one.

      base your scores on if you have that year of experience in Canada

      If your not scoring over the 460ish then it might be worth waiting to do the English test as its $300 and it only lasts for 2 years. The work references and travel/personal history are great to get though 🙂

  2. Congrats!! We’re just starting to look into this now (wish I had gotten around to it months ago!) and have a million questions. First off though, English tests – how hard are they? I’m slightly nervous of being over confident and then failing!

      • Hi Bex, im in quite the funny position. I have lived in Canada for 18 months now. I worked 15 months on an LMIA for an employer. Which i hated so i got a IEC and moved to Ontario. Things with my last job ended so badly that i have had to report him for malpractice. To which he knows it was me directly. So safe to say were not on talking terms whatsoever, So how am i going to get around this employee reference? I mean i worked for the man in Canada for 15 months so its something thats very valuable to my application and so i need to somehow work around that. would you recommend not getting a reference but using t4/tax receipts/pay checks to prove this and just state that “i was unable to obtain a reference?”

        thanks
        Joe

      • Hey Joe, I think the T4s and pay cheques will help to show the time period you worked for the company and they are definitely helpful. However CIC/IRCC are more likely concerned with the job duties as they want to make sure it matches the NOC code. Do you have a copy of your job description when you applied for the job or as part of your contract?

        The other thing would be to add this in your Letter of Explanation (LOE) about making the malpractice complaint. Any evidence you have showing the complaint would also help as it will show the reasons you are unable to get a reference letter.

      • Hi Bex, thanks for the response!

        I can provide a original signed contract of employment, my t4, pay checks and a record of employment from when i left. I’m hoping that information will be suffice. obviously ill make a point of making it clear why i cant get a legit letter of reference. its just not a viable option to go back to him.

        Thanks for all this help! were are you based? Im in Toronto. i would legitametly consider hiring your help nearer the time if you were interested 🙂

        thanks!
        Joe

      • I’m based in Vancouver. I just give me advise for free based on my own experiences and after seeing others go through the process. Best of luck with the application 🙂

  3. Hi Bex, Congrats!! Is there any age limitations for Entry express? What if you were self-employed or owning a company for more than 10 years? I already have the IEC and want to get into Entry Express, any advice? Thanks

    Nicky

    • Hey Nicky,

      There are no age limitations with Express Entry but be aware you lose points after you turn 30 and each year after that.

      I don’t know about self employment evidence required but if you click on the link in my blog regarding the completeness check on CIC’s website that might give you some information.

      • Yes I know that, I´m gonna be 35 soon. But on the other hand I must gain some points on my work experience. I´ve been self employed for more than 10 years and owned businesses, restaurants, real estate, etc…

        One more thing, do you know if ECA (educational credential assessment) is necessary?

        Thank you for all your help

        Kind regards

        Nicky

      • The ECA is mandatory for FSW route, it isn’t required for CEC but if you want the extra points for your education then you have to get it done regardless

  4. Hey Bex, sorry to be a pain!!! I´m having trouble with the ECA. There are three sections and each section has some money to select underneath. I thought it was only C$200. Is this for three differrent certificate or for three different level of education?? Can you please tell me the best place to get it done. Sorry for all these questions… Thanks

    • Hey Nicky,

      So this the link to the page to order the ECAs from WES (I’m guessing that is who you are using?)

      http://www.wes.org/ca/eca/

      The price is $200 for the report and then you have to pay $7 for delivery or you can chose to pay $25 for courier.

      It should be $200 for the report regardless of education level and you will get sent the report and can access it online.

  5. Hey Bex,

    I calculated a similar score to yourself. My education background is a 3 year degree, but I also have a professional diploma done outside of School or University to be certified in my current profession. This is now actually for the job I am doing in the skilled worker category. It appears that WES may not evaluate non academic certifications. Just curious if you had this issue?

    • Hey Paul, yeah I did with my NVQ Level 3. In the end I just added the NVQ certificate and transcript for it in my LOE and explained that it could not be assessed.

      If yours is to be registered/able to work in your profession, it might be worth looking at other ECA organizations that may assess them.

      Also look at your NOC code and see what it states under education requirements – if it doesn’t require the extra diploma or registration then you could be ok.

      • Thank you!

        How do you submit your degree certificate to WES after paying the fee? Do you have to mail it or can it be done online?

        Also, is just the degree certificate enough to send? Then the University sends the transcripts right?

      • Yep you just send a copy of your degree certificate to WES. You have to mail it in.

        Your university needs to send the sealed transcripts direct to WES

  6. Okay done! Thanks again.

    Did you get invited under FSW or CEC?

    I need to make sure I get an ITA under the CEC as I don’t have the required funds. Any idea how I can find out if this is possible?

    • I got invited under FSW.

      I was elligable for CEC as well but back in December 2015, they made it random.

      I believe now if you are eligible for CEC and FSW they will give you ITA under CEC. However if you get an ITA under FSW you can refuse it but it means waiting

  7. Pingback: GCMS Notes on PR file with CIC | Bex in the city

  8. Hi Bex! Thanks so much for this great post. There is one thing I am wondering about in your application history, perhaps you might be able to clarify: is there some reason why you decided to file for PR after you cleared your first year in Canada? I am asking because I just got a 1-year visa through EIC and I am wondering if I need to wait until it has run its course to start my application. Thanks again for your time in writing this and congrats on your PR!

    • Hey! I waited a year as I wanted the extra points for one year of Canadian work experience. I was also on an IEC but would not have had enough points without the year of skilled work.

      If you have enough points without the year then go for it 🙂

  9. Hi Bex,

    Great that you made a post about your whole experience, such a help! I talked to an immigration consultant and she told me I couldnt do anything until I would have a full year of skilled experience in Canada. (Im from Holland, stayed a year in Canada on working holiday visa and right now Im working full time in a skilled position). However, I got a bit worried lately since I didnt know whether or not I could get an extension of my visa after my Young Professional visa would be over; like if there would be a visa to bridge the gap between my YP visa and my application time for PR? What would you recommend other than getting some of the documents/tests etc ready?

    Many thanks,

    Niek

  10. Hey Bex! Im right now in the same process and I really like that you shared your experiences on your blog! I arrived on a WHP, am now using a YP visa and hope to go for PR. I met this immigration lawyer and she told me I cant really do anything until I get my full year of skilled work experience; is this true or are there things I can already arrange at this point? What I was also curious about is whether or not I can stay on a type of visa in between the YP visa ending and the process of applying for PR; how did you deal with that?

    THanks a lot for your time and congratulations!

    Cheers,

    Niek

    • Hi Niek,

      A full year of Canadian work experience will give you extra points otherwise it’s just better language test results or upgrading education, which will help to boost your points.

      You can’t get implied status on an IEC. The only option for implied status is if your IEC runs out AND you have submitted your PR application already

  11. Hi Bex!

    I received an ITA on Jan 4!!!! Your post helped me a lot. Now, I have almost all docs ready for submission, but I don’t have a LOE. Could you please share the template of yours? I am quite lost…I don’t know exacly what is relevant to add in mine.

    Thank you so much,

    Clarissa
    aguiarclarissa@gmail.com

    • Hi Clarissa, it might take me a little bit of time to find the LOE template I used but in the meantime I’ll let you know some of the information included.

      To start with I made sure I split in the information into headings so something like: ‘extra information regarding personal history’, ‘extra information regarding education’ etc.

      The LOE is anything extra you want to add to your application for CIC. For example in my personal history I had some part time jobs relevant to my NOC code but couldn’t overlap in the personal history.

      I also included my IELTS certificate (although I have been told this can go in the education section).

      I had an issue with one of my work references where but they didn’t include the full job description so I explained this and add the job description I had when I applied for the position as part of extra info on work history.

      My financial information (bank statements showing appropriate funds) was also in my LOE as the file was too big for the full info in financial info placeholder.

      Basically if you think it helps support your application and/or if there is a document you can’t get hold of put it in here.

      I hope this helps for know 🙂

  12. Hi Bex!

    I’ve read your article a few times and it’s been incredibly informative and helpful! I was wondering if you’d be able to provide a bit of advice for my situation as I’m so lost. My boyfriend is currently in Canada on an IEC visa (from the UK). It looks like he’ll be getting a job as a dishwasher to get his year of work experience done, but it looks like it won’t even qualify under skilled work? My question is do you need a certain type of job to be able to have this 1 year Canadian work experience count?

    Thanks so much 🙂

  13. Hi Bex! Congrats! That’s awesom!!!

    I have a question about medical certificate. Do we have to get it no matter under what skilled type we are(Example: Administrative officers)?
    And one more question. What if my YPV expires and I’m still in Express Entry process. Do you have any suggetion how can I extend my stay?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Kristy, everyone had to get a medical exam to submit for Express Entry but I wouldn’t get the exam done until you get an ITA (Invitation to Apply). I’m
      not sure if you are at this point or not?

      If your current visa expires after you have submitted your PR application/received your AOR (Acknowledgement of Receipt) I believe you can extend, however I am not sure how this process works as I still had another 16 months on my IEC when i submitted my application.

  14. Hi Bex!

    Thank you very much for the reply. Welll I haven’t start yet becasue I have to do english test and education credential assessment. How long did you wait for ITA? And what’s the deadline to submit everything?

    Thanks again Bex!

    • Hi Kristy, I entered the pool on 8th November and got ITA on December 8 so one month. I waited as the points were still a little high for a few draws.

      You have 60 days from accepting the ITA to submit your PR application.

  15. Hi Bex, how long did it took for you after the PPR (PASSPORT REQUEST)
    can you please explain, what are the steps after the paspsort request? do they send you COPR with passport?
    how long it took for you go get back the passport?
    i currently live and work here in BC, but not sure how to flag pole or do i need to go to US and come back (i have my USA visa)
    please help

    • Hi Aryan,

      I took me around a week to receive my COPR after PPR request. The steps for COPR are addressed in a letter that comes with the request. I did not have to send my passport as I’m from a country where I only had to send a photocopy of passport bio page so I don’t know if you passport comes back with COPR or separately.

      You can flagpole at a land border or you can leave Canada by air and travel back in. Another option is you can make an appointment at your nearest CIC/IRCC office and do an internal landing.

      You can book this after you have received you COPR by calling CIC/IRCC helpline.

      🙂

  16. Hello Bex

    Thanks for the informative post.

    Thankfully, I’ve received my ITA and I am in the middle of getting my documents ready for e-APR.

    a. I have already applied for my PCC and hopefully, I’ll be getting it soon; the average processing time here for the PCC is around 7-10 days.

    b. I have also got my upfront medicals done two days ago; the panel doctor gave me a sheet with UMI number which I am supposed to upload with my e-APR.

    c. I have my IELTS, University Degree, ECA from WES, University Transcript, Reference Letter from Employer stating my designation, working hours per week, starting and ending date of work, the office where I was based in, my jobs and responsibilities, my salary along with the fact that I didn’t take any extended leave, I signed and adhered to a Non-Disclosure agreement with the Employer’s Client (who was outsourcing his work to my Employer), and Salary Slips i.e. Pay Stubs. The thing is that the Employer I worked with was a startup and doesn’t have any HR; so, I got my reference letter from my Manager who happens to be Tech. Lead which I hope will be sufficient as it is on a letterhead and is stamped and signed with all the contact details – address and phone number of the Employer along with my Manager’s contact number and official email address.

    I have started filling the e-APR forms diligently but I’m very tense as I have been waiting for my PR for almost two years. There is a query which I have and it has taken away my sleep for the past week. The query is in the Personal Activities section of the Personal History form. I’m 27 years old and as you are aware of, I have to fill details in this section from the day I turned 18 till today without leaving any gaps whatsoever. Now, in my Express Entry profile, I claimed points only for my work experience with one employer as I worked with them for 3+ years and that was suffice for me to make the cut; I quit from this job around 2.5 years ago post which I have been travelling and freelancing with a company which has been making payments to me through cheques – these cheques have been at irregular, erratic intervals. The thing is – I DIDN’T claim any points for this work experience with this company in my Express Entry profile; so, for the time period under consideration – which personal activity shall I select?

    The options available for “personal activity” are –

    * Educational Activity
    * Employment
    * Government
    * Military
    * Organization
    * Incarcerated
    * Unemployed
    * Homemaker
    * Retired

    Looking at the options mentioned above vis-a-vis my actual activities i.e. freelancing and travelling during this period, I’m considering to select the following options –

    “Activity Type” – Employment
    “Start Date” – The date when I quit my first job
    “End date” – Ongoing
    “Please describe what this person was doing during this period (e.g. job title, position etc.)”
    Remotely freelancing as ….. (designation)
    “Please provide the name of the company, employer, school, or facility as appropriate.”
    Name of the company with which I freelance.
    “Country where activity took place”
    Country where my permanent address is situated
    “City/Town where activity took place”
    City of my permanent address – Different from the city where the company is situated.

    Is it the right approach, as in, is the activity type, the description of the activity and the selection of the country correct? Actually, all this time, I was not only freelancing – I was also travelling which will be evident to them from my travel history; so, saying that this activity took place in any particular one country wouldn’t be accurate but selecting my home country is the “best” solution I could think of. Please let me know your opinion and let me know if you have any suggestions as to, should I add a letter of explanation, should I add a reference letter from the company with which I freelance or not? If yes, then –

    a. Can you please share a draft of the LOE which you used?
    b. Should the reference letter for freelancing be that elaborate as the letter which I got for my first full time job?
    c. Should I add other supporting documents too, as in, bank statement showing the encashment of cheques, pay stubs from them?

    Thanks for being patient and reading this! I’ll be looking forward to your reply.

    Regards
    DT
    dt@yell-low.in

    • Hey. I’m not quite sure what questions you are asking apart from the three at the bottom so I’ll answer them:

      A) LOE is easy enough to do. Split it up into each section ie ‘extra information on education’ ‘extra information on financial proof’ write and input any scanned images into a word document and then save as PDF and upload in LOE placeholder.

      B) the reference letters (for any jobs that you are claiming points for should contain all the information IRCC require. If you are not claiming points for the freelancing work then only include it in your personal history and NOT work history.

      C) any supporting documents you have are always good to put in your application as evidence. I included a selection of payslips with my three jobs.

      Hope this helps 🙂

      • Thanks for a quick reply, Bex.

        Below are some of things which I seek clarity on –

        B) the reference letters (for any jobs that you are claiming points for should contain all the information IRCC require. If you are not claiming points for the freelancing work then only include it in your personal history and NOT work history.

        I didn’t mention it under Work History prior to getting an ITA and haven’t mentioned it there now in my e-APR “Work History” form. However, I will be mentioning about this activity in “Personal History” form as

        Activity type – “Employment”
        and adding the activity description – Part time freelancing as SSE from a remote location OR Part time freelancing as SSE remotely.

        “Part time”, “Freelance” and “remote” are the keywords which I consider important here as

        a. This activity wasn’t a full time thing.
        b. This activity was in a freelancer’s capacity
        c. While engaging in this activity, I was based at my permanent residence (as mentioned in my Address History) and travelling too (as mentioned in my Travel History) – I had 5 trips abroad during this time.

        I believe a description like the ones mentioned above would do justice and wouldn’t amount to any kind of misrepresentation or anything of that sort whatsoever.

        Yet, I’m thinking about a brief and concise LOE explaining about this activity wherein, I will include a reference letter from this company with which I freelance along with all of my stamped visas during the period, so that I can explain – that the activity I was truly engaging in this period was travelling + freelancing.

        Thanks for reading this. Please let me know your opinion.

      • If you didn’t mention the freelancing in your work history and are not claiming points for it then you don’t need a reference letter.

        You do need to add it in your personal history and I did this for other jobs not skilled and/or work I didn’t want points for.

        I see you were doing this freelancing abroad? Just make sure it was all above board and you were legally able to work in this other country. (I.e you had the right work permit and/or you were paid in your country of origin) – otherwise this could be red flags for IRCC even if it wasn’t related to Canada

  17. > I see you were doing this freelancing abroad?

    >> No. I was freelancing for a company based in the country of my citizenship; the only reason why I have been using the term “remote” is that this company has its office in city C1 and I was freelancing with them being in C2 wherein C2 is the city in which my permanent address is situated i.e. the one I mentioned as the address of my stay during this course of time. Yet, C1 and C2 are both in the same country.

  18. This is a GREAT blog post, thank you for sharing it! I have one question about the medical exam – when you say ‘up front’ what does that mean? I was about to schedule mine but then wondered if you meant we have to have them AFTER we get an ITA. Or can we do it any time before then? Any help would be great. Thanks!

    • Up front means getting the medical done after receiving ITA. There isn’t any point getting a medical before ITA as people don’t know how long they will be in the express entry pool

      • Gotcha, thanks. Was just worried that someone had mentioned a several-month wait to see one of the approved doctors so I was wondering whether it’s best to just get it done now. But that makes sense. Thank you!

        Actually, one more question – what does the medical involve? I’ve never had one and fully suffer from white coat syndrome!

      • You shouldn’t have to wait more then a few weeks. You can check the list of approved physicians that are based closest to you. I would ring some of them up to get prices because they can vary quite a bit.

        Medical involves x-ray, blood tests, physical exam to check chest and reflexes, checking ears and eyes. You do a urine test as well. There is no prodding or poking anywhere

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