The “I like dating this person but we’re not quite ready to get married so please don’t deport me” Visa

australia-canada-flags

After 4 years of living in Toronto, 13 months of Visa limbo hell, $3500 Canadian Dollars, 16 forms, 7 tearful calls to a Lawyer, 2 police checks, an Expensive english test, a medical (and a partridge in a pear tree… no… wait…) I became a Permanent Resident of Canada on July 4th, 2015 (thank fuck).

It was a touch and go race against time, a tricky maze of paperwork, and bureaucratic hoops to jump through.

The immigration laws in Canada for Australians used to be super relaxed. There was such a thing as a “Working Holiday” visa, open to all Australians between 18 and 30, who met the criteria (no criminal background and with at least $3500CAD in the bank) and the visa was good for 2 years at a time, renewable until you no longer met the criteria.

Until this year.

The Canadian government, notorious for it’s open arms approach to Immigration has begun cracking down and changing policy. Laws have begun changing and I luckily slid in just before these changes had the opportunity to affect me.

At the time of applying and back and forth with the Canadian Immigration Centre, I was (understandably) nervous that if my application was rejected, I would have had to leave Canada.

That was a shitty situation considering I have a pretty built up life in Canada with friends I love, an Industry I am heavily involved in, a family member who also lives here, and oh yeah – a Canadian boyfriend.

At the time my Visa application began to look a bit dicey, my boyfriend and I had been dating for about 3 months. We were at the shy “I love you” stage, but we were definitely not at the, “lets get married so you can stay in the country with me” stage (although this was suggested to us as the last last option).

I felt pretty awful about the whole situation and lost a lot of sleep over it (and gave myself an ulcer I think). At the time, things were starting to get serious with Jason, and it just really fucking sucked that it seemed like our only options were, breakup, get married, or leave Canada.

Thankfully, my Permanent Residency worked out and our relationship was allowed to progress at a normal pace without making any make or break decisions.

But my story is not unique, and the struggles faced by International couples are very real.

On our recent trip to Vietnam we met Taylor and Richie, a fantastic duo who had been travelling the world together for 3 years after they met in New Zealand. Taylor is American and Richie is a Scotsman. When we asked them where they would be heading when their globetrotting adventure ended (shortly after Vietnam) they told us: Richie was headed back to Scotland and Taylor was going back to the States. There was no working visa for either of them to live and work in each others country (I have since read Taylor’s awesome article for Verge magazine which tells us that she is in Scotland with Richie for 3 months on a tourist visa… yay love!).

The same deal with my two friends Conor (Irish) and Amanda (American) who met in Toronto and who need to figure out where they can exist as a couple in the same place at the same time.

These couples are everywhere, and are constantly trying to make love work across international borders. But it’s not easy. Many people I know simply cannot make it work without a clear concrete destination where they can both live normal, unmarried lives, and still figure out if their relationship is headed down a more serious track.

So.

What is my point?

Aren’t countries always looking for a way to continue fostering great relationships with other nations?

What better way to do that than to encourage couples from different continents to continue loving each other, fostering ties at the most basic level?

This is from the internet... I do not know these people but they add to this blog and prove a point so thereeeee, yay internet

This is from the internet… I do not know these people but they add to this blog and prove a point so thereeeee, yay internet

The traditional notion of belonging and “home” is evolving as globalization and international nomadry (not a word) become more and more prevalent. Doesn’t it make sense for governments to reconsider booting someone out of a country if they have a life, a loved one, a family? It seems even my married friends are struggling with Visa constraints on their partners. It doesn’t make sense and this issue needs to be readdressed.

Hashtag ParisforPresident.

Uggggghhhh Days that suck

As someone who has pretty much had everything handed to her/been sheltered from the tough gritty crappy bits of the world and everyday life, ‘Days that Suck‘ come as quite the surprise. I can only liken them to a person who enjoys swimming in a glittering, warm pool every, single day, who is suddenly shocked when a giant dead squid rises from the depths and into their face. It’s smelly, its slimy, you feel uncomfortable and you just want that thing OUT of your life and for it to return to normal.

…How we liking that imagery? Yeah…it’s pretty offbeat, but I think i’ll keep it.

If you read my blog frequently (and statistics say that you do*) you will have read many instances of my whiny rumbles about this and that. I try to make it fun for both of us by saying WIDLY inappropriate things and throwing in funny instances from my wacky childhood. (Oh you!)

So strap yourself down because here comes another family-friendly rant about why my fairly cushy pampered life sucks.

I mentioned a few blog posts ago that I was annoyed to discover a mistake on my visa (once it was issued) and because I am apparently not detail oriented at all (must take that off my resume) I didn’t notice for 14 months. It has been two weeks since then, and I have been waiting patiently for the errors made (not by me) to be fixed.

2 weeks and it still hasn’t begun to be processed…

My lovely friend Kate (also an Aussie and also my main access to calm at the moment) tells me that these places are CRAP and that I shouldn’t sweat it and we all know they suck and blah blah blah.

But if you know me at all (and statistics say that you do*) then you’ll know that there has not been a day in my life where someone would describe me as patient. In fact if you could turbo charge the word IMpatient, attach lasers to it and get it to roll around on the floor like it was having an epileptic fit, then thats what I would be described as. Is there a word for that in the English language? Hum.

I’m tired of sitting at home on my increasingly fat ass like a dole-bludger but with no dole and no TV. Today, inspired by my Mother, who is always right and who I should listen to more, I got tough and contacted people. I was in a frenzy for two hours (don’t take no for an answer! My mother yelled, like a battle cry) and finally got someone at the Visa call centre to process a complaint on my file. Now an agent must call me. Why didn’t this happen a week ago? I look forward to the agent who is calling me in 24-48 hours. But oh how I wish my mother was here to give them a piece of my mind (because I’m kind of bad at that, i’m like, here…would you like some of my mind? A piece perhaps? My Mum is like HERE IS ALL OF MY FUCKING PIECES, YOU WILL TAKE THEM AND YOU WILL BE THANKFUL AND YOU WILL ASK FOR SECONDS.)

Surprisingly saddened by the fact that my consulate here in Toronto was very unhelpful. I spoke to a guy who sympathized with me two weeks ago. I called back and got the same guy (how many people are working there?) and with my “don’t take no for an answer!” attitude, was put on the phone to a scary lady who told me the exact same information and said it in that lovely Bitchy tone that some middle aged Australian women can use:

Think the mean girls from Porpoise Spit from the movie ‘Murials Wedding’ (if you don’t get that reference, go get that movie, Toni Collette is amazing in it.)

Now I think I’ll go eat the rest of the nutella out of the jar.

I know I am not the first person in the world to be unemployed/a sad sack, but its a true shock for someone who has always had the easiest ride.

UNIVERSE REVEAL YOUR TRUE PLAN!

When I went to the fountain of wisdom (my mum) and asked her if she thought all this was a sign I should leave Canada, she told me that I should kill a chicken, look at it entrails and there I would find the sign the message that the universe has been trying to tell me… LIFE FUCKING SUCKS AND IS HARD SOMETIMES. Deal with it.

Oh okay.

I’ll try that

Plot twist – Oh but of course

In a surprising turn of events that isn’t really, in any way, a shock – because my life sometimes reads like a bad D grade Screenplay, it turns out there is a mistake on my Visa.

Is it really a big deal that the legal document that allows me to work and live in the great white north has a mistake on it, made by some moron at the Border over a year ago when I arrived? Yes. I’d say my answer to that would be yes.

It’s not really a long story, but I’ll speed it up for you anyways. As an Aussie in Canada under the age of 30, I am eligible for what is called a “Working Holiday Program Visa”, which allows (if I meet the criteria – which I do) for me to work for any company in any field in any part of Canada (pretty sweet I know…but now you know why almost the entire population of Whistler is from Down-Unda. Add to this amazing visa the fact that you can renew it again and again while you still meet the criteria…and…well… now we know why there is such a love affair between our two great nations.

Imagine my surprise then when yesterday afternoon working my retail job (which – let’s be honest, I hate) I was busily unpacking a box of HEINOUS new button up shirts and was told I would have to leave immediately.

My first reaction was confusion, the Manager that approached me was not being a bitch and told me that it wasn’t personal, but that head office had called after checking my visa and that I wasn’t eligible to work there anymore. My second reaction was fear, I instantly started sweating, HAD I somehow done something wrong when I entered the country? But i’d been working just fine for the same Summer Camp company with no drama’s. My third reaction was panic (naturally) I left work and sat for what felt like 3 hours on the train trying to get back to my apartment to check my documentation and work it all out.

I always thought I was quite good under pressure. Nope, turns out I am a hyperventilating, snivelling, cry baby. Thank god for level-headed friends like Kate who came over with her own Aussie Passport and her calm nature. We called all the right people and figured out that this is what happened:

The guy who entered all my information into my visa fucked up.

Where my visa should say “Employer: Open” this douche-bag (who I remember so clearly by the way – even though I had been awake for 36 hours and was all alone in a foreign country – I knew this guy seemed so disinterested and pissed off) typed the name of the company I was planning on working for the summer (AND he spelt it wrong. Ass-hat).

So the people in Ottawa have to fix it now. All the paper-work has been sent off, but of course I cannot work until the visa is fixed and back in my passport. I cried and cried to the call centre with the information, but the only help they could give me was a form and a suggestion to write URGENT on the front. Good stuff guys. Great work.

No one is able to write me a letter to say “Hey um…we messed up…lol…sorry, she can work” to show my employer, so I am effectively terminated from retail until further notice.

Hum.

The timing of this is immaculate. I may have to steal this episode from my own life and implant it into a screenplay somewhere. Girl: 23 turning 24 in one week, hates job, wants to change life, is giving a week-a month (yep that’s what the time period is here…AHHHH!) of time where she can’t work. Watch how she changes her life and realizes what she was looking for was in front of her the entire time!

It is genius. Thanks Universe, you deserve a medal.

So here is a list of things I could do in a week-a month where I am unable to fold clothes and put minimum wage in my bank account:

LIST OF THINGS TO DO WHILE YOU’RE WAITING AROUND FOR IDIOTS TO MOVE THEIR ASS:

  • Finish the Screenplay I started in a fever last month and which I haven’t started since
  • Get my Youtube channel up and running, I have an idea for a comedy thing, (not sure how it will be received as it just involves me ranting at the camera and maybe puking)
  • Study for and ACTUALLY BOOK to sit the written drivers test in this country. OH GOD I’m going to be another year older and still drivers license-less
  • Apply for more jobs I don’t hate
  • Do all the menial boring jobs around the house I’ve been putting off, like donate that huge bag of unwanted clothes in our living room
  • Do my tax return that was meant to be done in May
  • Maybe do my Australian Tax return just to let them know I don’t live there any more (due..?!?)
  • Do some exercise and stop eating Pringles for breakfast
  • Go to the cheap Rainbow Theatre’s cinemas and see all the movies that are out that I want to see
  • Watch the entire first season of Deadwood
  • Finally go to the doctor and get my hormone levels checked so we can figure out this neck beard thing
  • Visit some friends in another part of Canada (leaving the country is out at this stage unfortunately…)
  • Throw myself into my internship and get more experience
  • Start day drinking
  • Read all the books I took from a free book giveaway a year ago that just sit on my shelves
  • Wander around the city and take in more sites (possibly shoeless and smelly, just to get the true homeless person experience – because that’s what I feel like I am right now)
  • Cat sit my friends new kitten
  • Learn to cook something that doesn’t suck

WOW! Look at all the things I could do!

I can’t help thinking about that AWFUL book that I read 6 pages of and then potentially on purpose lost “The Secret” which told me that the Universe listens to the vibes you are putting out (so the people on the Titanic were…what?) and about how much I have been complaining about retail lately………….

Universe? Are you listening? I’d like a writing job on SNL if possible? And an apartment overlooking Central Park in NYC…and a chocolate fountain in my bedroom and Tina Fey for a best friend…are you getting that? Hope so!

 

Paris