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.