I’ve now been living in Canada for 16 months and yet still get asked at least once a day, ‘Is that an Aussie accent?’
NO, no its not. Nor is it South African, Irish, Dutch, Kiwi or (my particular favourite) a speech impediment-it’s an English accent. You would think that after 12 months of this I would have tired of it. I’m not going to lie– it did begin to erk me just the teeniest little bit after 11 months. However, come January when I was facing the prospect of having to pack up my bags and leave behind the life that I had built for myself in Canada over the last year I began to grow almost fond of being asked. The reason for said ‘rose tinted glasses’ on issues that used to get to me was the fact that immigration would be kicking me out of the country some eight weeks later. I did not want to leave Canada, I wasn’t ready.
Aside from marrying a Canadian, my options were very few-and by few I mean none. It’s surprising that a country who claims such ties and bonds with England is so strict for non-students and non ‘academics’ on work allowances. One year, and that’s it…forever. No exceptions. Now, I can’t imagine that immigration offices anywhere decide to dramatically change their policies and laws for working visas particularly often, which I why I almost couldn’t quite believe it when I happened to stumble upon an Internet page detailing the planned changes to becoming a temporary worker in Canada. They were planning to allow anyone under the age of 30 to work for two years (together or apart) in Canada, and the extra bonus for me was that anything worked up until the changes didn’t not eat into these two years.
Quickly skim-reading the page, I realised these changes were coming into effect THE NEXT DAY. Exceedingly aware of both the limited amount of visas available and of the increasing amounts of British and especially Irish people heading to this side of the pond due to the recession effects I went into a panic of researching all the documents and forms I’d need to apply, and where to. Now of course, when you are in a hurry for things of this importance it’s never easy, and no one knows anything about the new changes. Frantically calling and visiting immigration offices all over Ottawa, I was no further ahead of the game trying to figure out what I needed to gather together. Eventually the Immigration Canada website (bittersweet kindly!) posted everything you needed to send in, and where to.
Phase 2 of complicated process begins. Once I realised that I needed to get a new police review and signed passport photo before I could actually send off the application to the Canadian embassy in Paris. I was looking at three weeks minimum, easily six if I didn’t go for express postage. Express it was, I was not going to risk missing out on this opportunity. A tense six weeks passed before I found out I had received the new visa (where I managed to loop-hole certain insurance requirements when getting my visa, due a trip to the US over a land border…resulting in me not getting some later much needed insurance…I’m sure that story will come out later!).
I guess I feel like I’ve received a ‘buy one get one free’ year in Canada. This summer has now become a far more exciting prospect, knowing that I can relive all the things that I got to do and see and visit last summer plus so much more! All those things that I missed out on last summer because I was away, or working, forgot or didn’t know about I get to do this year. I get to see the snow melt and re-fall again, experience the sweltering summer and see another Stanley Cup final.
In other words, those rose-tinted glasses I mentioned, looks like they’re back on for the slightly longer haul than originally thought…