More Paperwork

Just as I thought, get­ting the work per­mit was like a fir­ing pis­tol going off. Things have start­ed to change already. But before that, I’ll fill in the gaps from the last posting.

The Catch-22 I spoke of regard­ing Pam’s inabil­i­ty to get a work per­mit at the bor­der has to do with the pre­req­ui­sites to get­ting the per­mit. You can get a Work Per­mit as a Skilled Work­er immi­grant or as the spouse of some­one who is accept­ed as one. You can also, if you’re a per­son who is trained in one of the fields named by the NAFTA agree­ment (and has the diplo­ma to prove it), get a work per­mit imme­di­ate­ly with no ques­tions asked. How­ev­er, if you are the recip­i­ent of an HRSDC Opin­ion, as I was, the spousal work per­mit does­n’t apply. Appar­ent­ly, as the fel­low at the bor­der said “The Gov­ern­men­t’s opin­ion regard­ing a Non-Cana­di­an work­ing here is not nec­es­sar­i­ly for a skilled posi­tion. It could be for some­one work­ing in a Donut Shop.” While this may sound rea­son­able, con­sid­er that if it’s a non-skilled posi­tion, the prob­a­bil­i­ty of find­ing a Cana­di­an to fill it is pret­ty good. Maybe I’m miss­ing some­thing, but by def­i­n­i­tion, an HRSDC opin­ion is for a skilled work­er, because unskilled work­ers would nev­er get one in their favour!

At any rate, after we returned, Pam went to our Immi­gra­tion Lawyer’s office, and filled out some more forms, which will get her the work per­mit in 6 weeks or so. If she gets a job offer for full-time employ­ment (not a con­tract, because that’s clas­si­fied as Self-Employ­ment and hence, a dif­fer­ent cat­e­go­ry — Doh!), she can then also imme­di­ate­ly start work­ing. So it’s only a tem­po­rary set­back. If the guy at the bor­der had real­ized that all she had to do was fill out some oth­er paper­work, we could have done the whole thing right then and there.

We had no prob­lems what­so­ev­er get­ting Dri­ver’s Licens­es for BC, though. The Depart­ment of Motor Vehi­cles — here it’s called called Dri­ver’s Ser­vices (inter­est­ing how it’s explic­it­ly named to serve peo­ple who dri­ve the cars rather than the machin­ery itself) was well-run and not too crowd­ed. The per­son who served us was help­ful, had a sense of humor and got every­thing right the first time. We took some brief eye tests, had some pic­tures tak­en, and walked out with tem­po­rary ones. We’ll get the new licens­es in a week or two. Although renew­ing our licens­es did get bet­ter over time in Boston, I still have mem­o­ries (as do many Amer­i­cans) of the poor rep­u­ta­tion for the DMV. Per­haps this is anoth­er exam­ple of what tax­es can pay for. On the oth­er hand, we arrived home to find our first bian­nu­al Prop­er­ty Tax bill. For­tu­nate­ly, it’s not due until ear­ly Feb­ru­ary, so we’ll pay it from one of my ear­ly paychecks.

Final­ly, I called my future employ­er, and they want me to start in my new job this com­ing Mon­day. My life of leisure (and burn­ing through our sav­ings) is end­ing. I’m thrilled to be get­ting back to work, and hop­ing that I’m not too rusty. It’s been 10 months, which is about as long out of the work­force as I’ve been since I entered it. I’m also look­ing for­ward to set­ting more roots down here. Here’s to being a work­ing Vancouverite.