Since our special feature (in MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 5) on immigrating to Canada, we've received two letters telling us that getting across the border as a landed immigrant is absolutely the easiest thing in the world and that there's no mystery at all to the new point system of judging applicants.
We are pleased to receive and pass along this information for this Canada immigration guide . . . although we still wonder why the Canadian Consulates we contacted refused to answer our queries and—in fact—also refused to explain the point system to an official representative of the Canadian Tourist Bureau (and whom we happen to know).
Be that as it may, a most complete and noteworthy guide to Canadian immigration INCLUDING AN IN-DEPTH EXPLANATION OF THE POINT EVALUATION SYSTEM is available from Montreal Council to Aid War Resisters, Quebec, Canada for a nickle. The following is taken from that guide and the second paragraph under MISCELLANEOUS may explain the trouble we—and others—have had.
Canadian Immigration Screening Process
The Immigration Department determines whether or not an applicant for landed immigrant status is in a prohibited class through information in the application forms and, sometimes, through a check with American authorities.
There is now sufficient delay during the processing of all applications for the Immigration Department to do fairly thorough screening to determine whether an applicant falls in a prohibited class and whether information on the application is accurate and complete.
Immigration Application Procedure
The success of your application for Landed Immigrant status depends on many factors: Age, job experience or skill in performing a marketable service (teaching, tool and die making, etc.), educational level, financial situation, personal appearance and attitude.
One makes application for landed immigrant status either by mail with forms picked up at a Canadian consulate, by applying at the border upon entering, or from within Canada. At the present moment the best procedure for applications made in the Montreal area is at the border, specifically at Montreal International Airport. Applications made by mail have taken anywhere from 3 to 6 months to process. If you apply at a land border (by car, never by bus) you will wait for a medical appointment, and wait an additional period of up to 8 weeks for your immigrant card to come by mail, but you can get settled and start work while waiting. If you fly into Montreal your application will be accepted, you will be interviewed, and given your medical in a maximum of two hours. You will then be given a letter authorizing you to work, and will be called to return to the immigration office in approximately 6-8 weeks to receive your immigrant's card. You must get a direct flight to Montreal, with no Canadian stop-overs, as you are required to apply for Landed Immigrant status at your first point of entry into Canada. A flight from New York costs about $25. Note that Air Canada has a youth half-fare plan which can be used for travel between Canada and the United States. Montreal International Airport handles 71% of all immigrants entering Canada. Therefore they are prepared to handle large numbers of people in a fairly efficient manner and with the least amount of trouble.
Preparation When Applying for Status
Applying for status is a suit and tie affair. You must look clean cut and the epitome of middle-class standards. To be more explicit beards, long hair, loud or weird clothing decrease one's chance of acceptance.
If you are married, you and your wife should apply at the same time, as this causes less confusion. In most cases only the husband need make application, but the wife should be present for the process and to take the medical. If you have been separated or divorced you must have a copy of the court decree or separation papers.
We recommend that you have $500 in cash or bank statement when you apply and more if your qualifications are below standard.
It is highly recommended, especially if you are below standard in any of the criteria for acceptance, that you have a letter of job confirmation at the time you apply. This holds especially true if you have marginal or poor employment qualifications, whether on entering Canada you intend to teach in the public schools, work in industry, or in an office. This will practically guarantee your acceptance if all other qualifications are met. Information regarding teaching can be obtained by writing to the provincial committee aiding war resisters in the province of your interest.
List of Documents for Immigration Meeting
- Birth certificate or Baptismal papers.
- Academic Diploma (High School and College).
- About $500 cash, travelers cheques, or bank statement.
- Passport photos.
- Letter of Employment confirmation from intended employer.
Additional Documents for Immigration Meeting
- Certificates of academic standing, letters or recommendations, transcripts from college, etc.
- Letter of financial support from parents.
Employment: Act Now
In the less populated more northerly areas of Quebec there are job opportunities in mining, pulp and paper, and construction which rate high within the immigration point-system for occupational demand.
In addition, federal government departments such as Indian Affairs, Natural Resources, and Northern Affairs offer positions with isolation pay in teaching, geological and other surveys, community development, etc. for those willing to spend some time in the "North".
Miscellaneous and General Comments
Citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. do not need either passports or visas to enter Canada. They should have papers establishing their identity and citizenship (a birth certificate is best).
Some immigration offices seem to be running their own independent immigration policy. The activities of such immigration offices, and of isolated individuals in other offices, have led to rumors in the United States which are based on partial information and are generally misleading. The regulations appear to have been designed to eliminate much of the arbitrary or extralegal discrimination on the part of individual immigration officials.
Appearance and attitude may be important factors in any encounter with immigration officials, regardless of whether one is attempting entry into Canada as a visitor, student, or landed immigrant. The individual who has been respectable in appearance and straightforward and cooperative in manner, has had a much smoother crossing than the individual who presented another sort of face.
Persons who have acquainted themselves as thoroughly as possible with Canadian immigration policy and procedures, considered carefully how these relate to their individual situations, and then made all advisable preparations, have found themselves well-equipped to handle the process of entering Canada and acquiring the desired status from the Immigration Department.