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In Canada, there exist various post-secondary possibilities for students. Two of them are college and university. With these two opportunities, many frequently question what the difference between the two is. For starters, universities concentrate on theoretical and professional programs. They offer undergraduate and graduate degrees which can advance to bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Meanwhile, colleges are focused on occupational training and trades. This indicates they offer hands-on training to qualify students for employment in their chosen field. Colleges offer certificate programs, diplomas, apprenticeships, and many of them have an option for Bachelor's degrees. Therefore universities are focused on theoretical programs and are degree institutions while colleges are focused on professional preparation and are diploma institutions.

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Québec is a province that has been always different in many ways. The renting process is not an exception. In this case, I rented a house directly from the owner. I was very lucky, he was a very thoughtful person and he delivered the house in mint condition. When the house had an issue that it would be considered "under warranty", he was there to fix it. I know, not every landlord was like him; there are several horror stories out there where landlords only answer with the painful legal path.

One funny thing about finding a house in Québec is the way they count the rooms. You will see things like 2 1/2 condo (it means a condo with a living room/kitchen, a room and a bathroom), or 6 1/2 house (could be one living room, one dining room, three rooms and two bathrooms). They count the number of rooms, regardless of the function they have.

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As soon as I landed in Canada and my family settled down., one of the very important things I had to do was to get a bank account, to be more specific a chequing account.  As an employee, I had to give a bank account to get my payments. My boss at that moment took me to TD bank, why? He claimed that that bank was the best (I had no arguments against that).

When I got the branch, it was pretty straight forward. I was asked for my work permit and in minutes I got my card and a bunch of papers including some directions on how to sign up to the web portal. I also got a chequebook under my boss's recommendation.

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I have more than ten years driving, and if you like myself, didn't get the Canadian way at first, let me tell you it is normal. Canadians drive in a different way than in Latino-Americans, they don't push themselves into the traffic. It is perfectly normal to see a car waiting for people crossing the street.

If you are coming to Canada, as a tourist you can drive with your still valid foreign driving license. However, you must follow the Canadian way. I will write here some details.

If your interest is more on how to get a Canadian license, you can read my article where I describe how to shortcut the process using your foreign valid driving license.

Hopefully this was my last visit for migration reasons. This was a very important and special trip to the border as I have already gotten my CoPR. I did this trip with all my family, as every family member is required to do the proper landing and sign the documents.

As always, I want to thanks my friend Jessica who drove us again.

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If you are from abroad as I was to Canada, you may hear about the myth that Canada pays you for having children. This is half true, because Canada does not pay for having children (it is a benefit), and it does not pay to everyone; only Canadians, permanent residents and temporal foreign works with 18 or more months living in the country can have this benefit, and of course, being a taxpayer.

I write here about how I did to apply for this benefit.

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After living for 5 years in Canada with three different employers and at least five work permit renewals, I finally got the permanent resident in Canada for me and my family. I will describe in this article how I did it and I will share a few tips.

Please remember I am going to write what to do, not how to do it. I will also describe my specific case, which will be useful for those who have a similar scenario. Please do not send me questions regarding how to do things or what if you have another profession different than mine, I will just ignore those comments.

I highly recommend the website of Katapulta Network, there you will find a lot of information regarding how to do some processes.

Renewing the work permit should not be a problem anymore. And I think the CIC is understanding this. Last time I wrote how I went to the border to get a new work permit with a new employer. Now, I am going to talk about the renewal process.

This time I decided to do it online. I have found that you will not lose your status if your work permit expires and the new one is being already processed. And since my situation has not changed, being in an implied status does not hurt at all.

As I have already written, you must become a temporal worker before applying for permanent residence (refugees are a different case, you must come from a country in war such as Siria). So, after being laid off, I found an employer willing to run the work permit for me. Please note that I will share what I did and my experience at that time. The first thing you should know is I am taking advantage of NAFTA. NAFTA allows US and Mexican citizens to come to Canada as a temporary foreign worker very easily. As for November 2016, because I am Mexican, this was the easiest and fastest way to stay longer in Canada but not the right path to become a permanent residence. In January 2017, if I am not wrong, the CIC change some pointing rules and NAFTA workers could get 50 or 200 extra points which may or may not help you with the pool invitation, but that is another story. Let us back to the main subject.

This time I did not hire a migration consultant. I felt confident enough to do it by myself.

There are three ways to apply for a work permit in Canada:

  1. Applying online
  2. Sending a request by mail
  3. Visiting the border

I write here about the third option. I went in November 2015.

Visiting the border is the fastest way I could get my work permit, however, I should warn you should know that because that decision must be done at that very moment, there are many factors that could play positive or negative in your application. Some things I can think at this moment are: making phone calls (someone must answer), and even if the agent who is evaluating is having a good or bad day. The current agent has all the power to accept or reject your application.

Please note I am not an Immigrant Consultant, and the content of this article and any others in this blog is to share my experience.

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After about 10 natural days, I got an email saying my exam results are ready. So I went immediately to review. All was good, I got minimum English qualifications for the NOC career I have. If you have a NOC A or 0 careers, your minimum qualification must be 7 in the CLB scale in all competencies.

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As I have explained before, I have a bachelor title in Computing Engineering and two Master's degree in Management & IT, and Telecom Management. Unfortunately, for the Government of Canada, my titles are not valid. Therefore, validation must be in place.

You may have the same question as I had once: why should I want a Canadian equivalency degree? The answer is easy, this process is needed if you want to continue studying or for migration purposes.

Simple Process to get your Educational Credential Assessment

Here it is what I did, just follow:

  1. I went to the website of World Education Services, there are others, but I found this clear enough to run the process.
  2. Start a Canadian Credential Assessment. I paid 325 USD approximately. The system asked me to start listing all your university, master or doctoral studies. I only input studies I was  100% I could get original transcripts from the University.
  3. I got my diplomas and do a photocopy. The website will show you the desired papers I had to mail to them.
  4. The website showed you a list of papers they need to get from the University. In my case, it was only the transcripts. I also downloaded an authorization form. I printed, signed, scanned and email it to each university.  Each University had to print it, fill the blanks and sign it. It is very important the school sends the signed form with the required papers in a closed official university envelope. Sometimes University will send you the transcripts and authorization form. The French University where I studied did that; but fortunately, they sent me a new envelope (with the university logo) so I put the papers inside that enveloped and send it. Yes, an envelope inside another envelope. I also wrote the case number outside, it is very important.
  5. After that, I started to get updates as the documents were arriving. Five days after the last document was accepted, I got my electronic assessment and seven days later a hard copy.

The paper you will get is more or less like this.

Some Things You should know about the Educational Credential Assessment Process

  • Only send the papers requested, nothing else.
  • Only declare the degrees you can get the original papers from the University. For immigration purposes, the highest degree is enough.
  • The process doesn't expire (or I didn't realize of it), if you can't find a paper or one University is stuck sending them, the process will be on hold until the last paper arrives.
  • The ECA is valid for 10 years.
  • Depending on your country or university, your local bachelor's or master's degree may not be a Canadian bachelor or master's. If this is the case, try to get an ECA with another agency. You just report the better result.
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As I have stated before, in Canada there are only two official English tests that the government will recognize; CELPIP is one of those.

This was the third time I took the CELPIP exam. The first one I failed (I missed 2 points for the minimum, I didn't know at that time that if you were less than 5 points below, you could ask for a special review), the second one got expired (I got enough points, but results only have 1 year of official validity), and now third time (with enough points, and hopefully, enough time before it expires again). I will write about my experience of doing the exam.