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Showing posts with label FSW 2014. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FSW 2014. Show all posts

29 August 2015

MM2C XPerience: A Fatal Mistake on Reference Letters for FSW Canada

Contributor: DLS

Applying for FSW 2014 was one of the greatest experiences in my life as I did not ever expected that the application would be successful. 

Currently, I’m in the preparation of moving to “Toronto, Ontario”, the land of Ben’s dream.  

Ben is one of my inspirations, and I have learned about how kind he is, as he always shares information to everyone.

The Fatal Mistake on My FSW 2014 Application
I applied for the FSW 2014 from Indonesia on June 2014.  During that time, I tried to follow all instructions that were provided from the CIC website. One of the requirements was to provide a job reference letter that states an additional information, beside the period of employment and position, such as job description, type of employment (permanent or full-time) and the annual salary.

As this format was uncommon for the Human Resources Department in most of the companies in Indonesia, they requested me for the draft (I had more than two employments in the past). So I prepared the draft and sent it to each of the HR Departments. 

However, it seems that most of the HR personnel had just copied my draft, filled-in the job description according to my role, printed, signed and stamped, and handed it to me. I was not aware that it would be a fatal mistake for my FSW application. 

So I sent those reference letters to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), without giving any supporting documents such as employment contract, salary slip or personal income tax report.

I got the Positive Eligibility Review (PER) on September 2014, but then I waited for a few months...and no result. The status in the website had only stated that my application had been received by the Immigration. 

Then, in early January 2015, I was so happy to receive an email from the CIC. But when I started reading it, I was so stressed and disappointed because it mentioned that the Case Officer was not satisfied with all the reference letters that I had provided. 

He said that they all looked similar and suspicious that they might be copying from a single format and needed more explanation with additional proof to show that they were all original. The Visa Office Singapore gave me two months to prove it.

The Solution
Thankfully, my previous bosses were so kind and helpful, that they provided me with a statement letter stating that my reference letter was original.  So I sent it with the employment contracts, salary slips, and personal income tax reports as additional supporting documents (all were certified copies), on early March 2015. 

At the end of March 2015, I was so grateful to receive the request for Medical Examination.

Two Important Tips To Avoid Suspicion
Because of these technical issues, it had delayed my application process by two months. So, what I learned from this case was that:

       1. You could get the same experience as me, as you might not be from an English speaking country.  Your HR Department might not be familiar with the reference letter template. If you have to prepare a draft for the HR, make sure that the format for each company should be different in style, and ensure that it consists of all the required information from the CIC.
       2. Enclose all the supporting documents such as employment contracts, salary slips, and other supporting documents related to your job. Make sure that all of them are certified copies.

By providing these documents completely, there's a chance that would not delay your FSW processing time and would not be suspicious to the Case Officer.

Thank you, everyone! I hope that this experience would be useful for you.

Regards,

DLS

****
Share your stories and experiences with MM2C XPerience.  Your experience means a lot, you can share with us where you're now in your application.  Give some advice and lessons learned during the process.

To be a part of the Me Moving To Canada Experience, "MM2C XPrience (#MM2CXPerience)", you can contact me or share through these media.

1.  Blogger - send me an email to benalagnam@yahoo.com if you are interested to be added as a contributor to this blog.

2.  Facebook - Post your experience on my facebook page (BenAlagnam.com).

3.  Email - send your written experience to benalagnam@yahoo.com, let me know if you want your name and initials published or remain anonymous.

4. #MM2CXPerience - use this hashtag when you post your experiences in Canada.

Helping one another through sharing will make the process of immigrating easier.

I'LL WAIT FOR YOUR MESSAGE!

Will this be helpful to you or other applicants, please tick the LIKE button below.

26 August 2015

Helping Other Applicants: Be An MM2C Contributor

It's been two years since I first wrote my first post, Moving To Canada: A Dream.  At that time, I was not sure if my application will pursue because of my repetitive failures of my previous FSW applications.

Sharing my experiences made me more confident in expressing myself to my readers.  Even though my English was not that good, but at least the thought was there.  

Because of this blog, I know that I helped some people along the way as they themselves kept in touch with me sharing their good news.

It's been a fulfilling part of my life when I had helped people along their way on getting their FSW Visa.

I can feel the anxieties and excitement felt by applicants during the process of their application.  The moment they emailed me that they have received their Visas, me and my world cheered with joy.

I made this post, to let you know that Me Moving To Canada is open for FSW applicants to share their experiences.  Let's share our experience to others and help them succeed and be part of the MM2C community.

Your experience means a lot, you can share with us where you're now in your application.  Give some advice and lessons learned during the process.

To be a part of the Me Moving To Canada Experience, "MM2C XPrience (#MM2CXPerience)", you can contact me or share through these media.

1.  Blogger - send me an email to benalagnam@yahoo.com if you are interested to be added as a contributor to this blog.

2.  Facebook - Post your experience on my facebook page (BenAlagnam.com).

3.  Email - send your written experience to benalagnam@yahoo.com, let me know if you want your name and initials published or remain anonymous.

Helping one another through sharing will make the process of immigrating easier.

I'LL WAIT FOR YOUR MESSAGE!

Will this be helpful to you or other applicants, please tick the LIKE button below.

14 June 2015

Options on How to Bring Your Settlement Funds to Canada


Bringing the big amount of money with us in Canada was risky.  We are not talking of hundred of dollars here, it's thousands of dollars.

The settlement fund is the fruit of an immigrant's labor and maybe the only asset that had accumulated for many years of employment and/or a small business.

After the Visa, an immigrant was tasked to bring the settlement funds to Canada to be able for her/him to survive for at least 6 months without a job.

How will someone bring the settlement fund?  

It's an email that brought me to make this post, which came from Mr. F.

Here's his concern.
Hi Sir Ben,
It's me again. 
Good news! We have received our visas last week! Praise God!:) 
Now we are preparing for our transition there, and one matter that is not yet clear to me is bringing our settlement funds. 
How did you do it sir? is it through demand draft? traveller's cheque? or cash?  
If it is through demand draft, do you have any idea how long will it take for a Canadian bank to clear/encash it?  
Thank you very much! 
Regards, 
Mr. F. 
To Mr. F., thanks for this inputs cause this is one of the issues that immigrants encounter. It will give you an idea on how to bring the hard-earned settlement funds to Canada.

Options on Bringing the Funds to Canada
There are few options on bringing your settlement funds to Canada.  In this post, I will only give you two that I know. It is in the form of cash or bank draft.

Bank Draft
At first, I planned to bring a bank draft or demand draft.  It is a piece of paper and usually a cheque, depends on the bank.

To get this, you have to inquire at your local bank.  You will then deposit/pay the money, your settlement fund, with the bank and in return they will give you a signed cheque with the value equivalent to that amount.
It is just like buying a piece of paper.
If you have an existing account with that bank, it will be easier for them to do the transfer from your account and write the cheque.

Now, you can bring the bank draft with you on your way to Canada.  It is safe because if you happen to lose it, it can't be withdrawn from your account.

Disadvantage
When you arrive in Canada, you have to open a bank account and deposit that cheque.  But, the bank will hold it for 15-30 days.  You can not withdraw any amount until the end of the holding period.

The following are the banks that you can open an account in Canada.  You can click each link to know how long will be the holding period is.









The reason of the holding process is because the bank draft is issued from a foreign bank and the Canadian bank had to verify that it is legitimate, the local bank and the cheque.

So, I recommend that you only get a bank draft or demand draft from a reputable bank in your country.

Cash
I had chosen this option.  I exchanged some of my Singapore Dollars to USDollars while I was in Singapore.  It was easier there rather than in Philippines.

When I went back to Philippines, I changed all my Philippine Peso savings to USDollar currency.  Why?  It's because US Dollar is widely used currency in the world economy.  The exchange rate of a US$ does not fluctuate that much compared to a Canadian Dollar.

So, I brought along a small bag full of cash.

For your information: A US$10,000 worth of cash with a US$100 bill denomination is approximately an inch thick.

The cash was placed in a sling bag and I put it around my neck down to my chest. This way, someone needs to kill me first before they can get my hard-earned cash.

As we arrived in Canada, we went to the bank to open an account and deposited the cash in it.   It's fast and easy to withdraw anytime.

Disadvantage
It can be taken from you anytime and will be lost forever...

How to bring the fund is up to you.  There may be other options out there, but the important thing is to have a liquid asset with you so you can use it as soon as you need it.

Once you're here, the expenses will increase exponentially for the first few months of your stay.

If you think that this post was helpful, tick the LIKE button below. It will help me know that I'm doing a great job.  Thanks!

14 May 2015

Reasons Why I Left My Country and Live in Canada

In my heart, I am a proud Filipino.  Philippines is my mother country where I had planted my roots since I was young.   I was born with 100%-born Filipino parents and who are also happy to be one.

I grew up in Manila 80% of my lifetime and had visited provinces particularly from North to South of Philippines.  We made road trips from Ilocos to Manila, to Davao, Cagayan, and Zamboanga.

I've been in countries such as Japan, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, UAE (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), and China.  I've seen the lifestyle of people in each country and the beautiful unique environment where they live in.

Why am I saying this and what's the relevance of these things on my post today?

Because of these travels, I had learned some of the people's lifestyles and the environment in these places.  Each had its own advantages and disadvantages.

We have our own priorities and perspective in life.  Our way of thinking and accepting the environment, people, politics and the likes are different from one another.

Despite everything, we all have a common goal and that is to be stable and make someone special in our life be contented.

For me, I need a stable source of income, a family that loves me unconditionally, and a supportive government.  These are my priorities.  It may be different from you or to other people.

We are here in Canada for more than 5 months now and I had achieved and experienced my goals.  I am not expecting that this will be forever but at least once in my life, I had experienced this type of feeling.

Reasons Why I Decided to Immigrate to Canada
Again, this is my own preference.  Some may want a nice customized car, 5-bedroom house, lots of jewelry, a collection of shoes and many other WANTS that we can think of.

Well, I am not that type. For me to be happy, I only need a loving family, a stable job to sustain our basic needs, and a safe environment well monitored and supported by the government.

1. Obvious Corruption in Private Sectors 
I've been handling a Sales team back in the Philippines.  In this type of field, we have to be in contact with corrupt people.  They usually ask 10% or more than we profit for every project.  I don't like this kind of business wherein the customer and supplier relationship is only about bad money.  Most of my clients want to be part of this system, which I politely declined.

If you've been working as a supplier, you know what I mean.

2. Lack of Implementation of the Government's Law
Let's face it, there are lots of rules in our country, but the problem is how it's being implemented. From the simple "No littering" sign to the voting procedures (e.g. No flying voters, No buying of votes, etc.)

I started listening to news and commentaries from the AM radio and grew fond of it since I was 12 years old. Back then, it's unusual for someone my age to listen to AM radio. Other children my age would normally listen to music on FM.

Ever since then, topic of news anchors and commentators about corruptions  hasn't changed for decades. Different laws had been approved but because of corrupt and lack of discipline from the officials themselves, it's just there as a law with poor implementation. 


At least PNOY (President Noynoy) is cleaning a bit of it as of the time being. But 6 years of being a president is not enough to clean a country that's been corrupted thrice his presidential term. It's like cleaning a house for 30 mins after having a week long celebration of your child's party... or cleaning a whole arena after having a huge concert...I think you all get my point. 

3. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)
It was 1967 when my Aunt left the Philippines and even asked my mother to go with her in Canada to work as an OFW. But my mother declined, she cannot bear leaving her loving husband and children behind.

After 4 decades, history repeats itself... but this time, I need to sacrifice my own emotions for the sake of the future of my kids. Our joint finances (me and my wife's salary) couldn't match the growing expenses we had back then. So off to Singapore where I worked for 5 years.

When I was there, I recalled what happened to my mother and I asked myself, "Do we really need to do this in every generation? I don't want to have my son working, as an OFW like me, in the future leaving his family behind in the Philippines.

It's very difficult being an OFW. It pains me a lot every time I step at the entrance of the airport, say goodbyes to my wife and sons, after a few days visit in Philippines.

4. To be with my Family 
It's a good thing that nowadays we have means to communicate with our loved ones through Skype and Facebook. In this way, I could talk to them and see my sons grow up. But it's not much of a fulfillment as a father. Why settle for a virtual image, if you can hold them very close to you every time you came from work?

Fathers and Fathers-To-Be, should I explain more? You know what I mean.

Why not Live in Singapore?
It's easier said than done.  I attempted to apply for a Permanent Residence in Singapore and was declined without giving me reasons.  They said that I can apply again if I want to. But, how can I improve my application if I don't know where my mistakes are?

Let's say that I've been approved, will I be a citizen for the next five years or so?  I have lots of Filipino friends who stayed PR's for more than 5 years and still have that status until now.  What happens if they don't renew the PR status?

I understand that this is how the government balances the number of PR and citizens.  But, waiting to be included in the bell curve was something that I can't do.

I love Singapore, it's cleanliness and discipline is way better than in my country. It's a Fine City as what some call it. They even have printed shirts that indicate the penalties if you did the following:

Spitting in public places
Bringing Durian inside the MRT
Chewing gums
Littering
Urinating in lifts
etc...

They made it from 3rd world to first, the perfect place to live in Southeast Asia.

Well, it's been a blessing in disguise when they haven't approved my PR, it's because Canada wanted me here.

Now, I'm in Toronto, Did I Get What I Wanted?
I'm writing this today, May 11, 2015, so I have the record of what I'm thinking right now.

We've been here for more than 5 months now and we had survived the harsh Winter.  I looked at our window, looking at the beautiful and colorful blossoms at far, still asking this questions.

"Am I really in Canada?" 

To tell you the truth, I can't believe that I'm already here in Canada.  Sometimes, when I go to my sister and/or at gatherings where all came from my homeland, I thought that I'm still in the Philippines.

But, when I'm driving alone, I just smile as wide as I could, cause nobody looks at me while driving, and I say to myself...

"I AM IN CANADA!!!" :D

When I'm with my wife, and kids in the backseat.  I hold my wife's hand and glance at her, saying...

"We're really here!!!"

These are the feelings that no Proof of Fund can pay.  One of the priceless moment that I felt in my life.

Here are the things I got as an FSW Immigrant in Canada:
  • Free Education for my Kids
  • Free Hospitalization
  • Free Vaccination for my Kids
  • Free transportation for my Kids (12 years old and under - free fare
  • Safer Place to raise my family
  • More Disciplined Drivers
  • We are here as an ideal family, because Canada is a Family-Oriented country.
  • Prices of commodities are way lower than in Philipines in terms of salary to prices-of-goods ratio.
  • My salary now (new job) is higher than in Singapore and with the same benefits.
  • Most of my friends says that there are three most protected individuals here in Canada.  They are women, animals, and children.  Their rights are well respected here as compared to some other countries.
  • Nobody asks about my status here.  Well, in Singapore, while working with clients, they'll always ask me if I'm a PR or a Work Pass holder and I never knew why they ask me that.
    To get the idea about Toronto, Canada from My personal view, let me give you the recipe...

    1. Get the beauty and cleanliness of Singapore.  Include the Expressways in Singapore and mix a bit of the bumpy roads of Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia.  

    2. Sautee the nice Spring weather in China, Baguio in Philippines, and Japan.  Gather the food in Singapore and take out a small portion of Halal and Chinese food but add the great service from the Philippines.   

    3. Get the transportation system in Singapore.

    4. Bring in the internet connection speed of Singapore but higher the price by 50%.  Include the banking system in Singapore but reduce the convenience (transacting) by grade level 2.

    5. Include the safety of Singapore but garnish with a very small amount of killings by guns from the Philippines.

    6. Gather and sprinkle the beautiful faces of women and men from Dubai or Abu Dhabi with a slice of pretty ladies and gentlemen from Southeast Asia.

    7. Top it all up with a huge serving of freebies from the Toronto Public Health and Toronto Public Education. Even the Toronto Public Library have free movies, arts and crafts, and other fun filled activities for both young and young at heart. :) 

    Is this Helpful? Please tick the LIKE below.

    16 April 2015

    MM2C NEWS: MM2C Subscriber Got A Very Good News!

    Helping someone achieve his dream is the best feeling money can't buy.  Few days ago, one MM2C subscriber emailed me to share his good news.

    Before I start sharing,  I want to let you know that few months ago, when I was in Singapore, I met him and made a post about it.

    Meeting with an FSW Applicant and MM2C Subscriber


    What is the Good News?
    He sent me an email...
    "Hi Ben,
    Just want to share with you, I got my PPR.
    I have sent my passport using VFS to Visa office and now I am waiting for the passport to return to me with the visa on it hopefully. 
    Now, I am worried about finding accommodation in Canada. One of my facebook friends who is living in Vancouver told me that he has room to rent in his house. But I am not sure Vancouver is the right place for new immigrant who is looking for job.
    If you have time, please share what is the best option of accommodation for single new immigrant like me. 
    How is your life in Canada so far? "
    If you are still not familiar with the FSW abbreviations, like PPR, it's a PassPort Request.  When you get this request, that means you had passed the Medical Exam and Police Clearances.  

    Then, Canada will give you the most important sticker in the world, the VISA!  Here's my experience with it...




     My Answer to His E-mail
    "Hi Friend,
    WOW! Congratulations!
     
    I'm so happy to know that you have your Passport request and soon to receive your Visa.
    My suggestion for you, since you have a friend in Vancouver, that you stay there first and try to find a job.  Your friend can help you settle there in every step of the way.  
     
    The good thing also is that you can have a room to rent with him.
    Compared to living in Toronto, it's difficult for you to settle here if you don't have someone to stay with.  
     
    Although there are lots of apartments and basement houses here that you can rent, but you will be with a complete stranger.  It will cost you around C$500-$1000/per month to have a 1-bedroom flat here. It might cost you around C$300-500 for a bedroom or in a basement.  This is only my estimate. 
    I am not familiar with the employment in Vancouver. But in Toronto, there are lots of survival jobs here especially when you land during school time.  You can work in factories while applying for the perfect job. 
    For now, I'm working in my field, not an assembler anymore. My job is the same in Singapore, my NOC, which is Instrument Technician and mechanic.  My salary is higher than in Singapore.   
    If you have read my wife's post in my blog, she is now a full-time housewife.  We can still have our savings with this setup with the help of the Free education for my kids and allowance from the government.  For now, we are good and happy! 
    It's up to you to decide and let me know where you want to land."
    Federal Skilled Worker application was the most difficult program that I've been through.  A lot of time and money I'd sacrificed.  All I can say for now is that...

    IT IS WORTH IT!!!

    Please tick LIKE below if you agree!

    07 April 2015

    First Flight Experience at NAIA 2 Airport as FSW Immigrant in Canada

    "This is it! "I whispered to my wife while we were at the car on our way to the airport.  We asked the help of our relatives for our baggages and to send us to NAIA 2.  The sun was shining, warming up the air, indeed, it was a good day for us.

    We had prepared our things few weeks back making it sure not to miss some of our important items. At the airport, we've doubled checked each box and bag.

    Honestly, I thought that preparing things to bring to Canada is simple, but I was wrong.  I'll tell you why as I go on with my flight story.

    Packing Our Things for Canada
    Before our Visa approval, I thought that gathering our things for Canada was a piece of cake.  I prepared a list in excel and planned each item carefully as not to miss any of our belongings.  I listed down and categorized it according to types and persons.  Each item has a tick box so I can check if it's ready and packed.

    After consuming four rolls of black duct tapes, compacted 3 luggage, and 5 balikbayan boxes with the dimensions of 20 x 20 x 20 inches, we weighed them in using our personal weighing scale before heading to the airport, making sure that it will not exceed the weight limit.

    Philippine Airlines allows 2 pieces (7 kilos total) of hand-carried baggage and 2 pieces (23 kg each) of check-in baggage.  We brought a total of 8 pieces of hand-carried bags for me, my wife and my sons' personal and important items.  This, of course, includes the bag for our documents.
    First Time Immigrant (Federal Skilled Worker): Our check-in baggage to Canada

    Here's how it looks...


    Money, Documents and How I Secured It?
    The second most important thing in our trip aside from my family is the money. I divided it into two and gave the other half to my wife.

    I put mine in a sling bag and I placed it under my shirt, specifically on my chest while my wife placed it at the very bottom of her bag. Though it looks like I have a big lump on my chest, but it doesn't matter, I just covered it up with a jacket.

    It was very stressful carrying a huge amount of money. The fear of losing it made me paranoid, checking it and my wife's every now and then.

    The next thing that I'd secured were our documents.   They were all placed in my hand-carried luggage. You can lose all the clothing but not this important luggage. I made sure that they were all accessible at any time once the authority asks for it.

    Tip for all Visa holders, before you go to Canada, you scan all your documents and place it in a USB thumb-drive or best is in Google Drive and iCloud.  This way, you can access it anytime and anywhere you want.   It's your backup for any kind of emergencies.

    Even if it's not the original copies anymore, at least, there were some kind of identification that you can show in case you lose them.  You don't want to be stranded in a different country without an identity, do you?

    Our Experience at NAIA Terminal as a Federal Skilled Worker in Canada
    We reached the airport 5 hours before our flight.  This is better than being there at the latest hour.

    It's our lucky day as there were fewer passengers departing at that time.  Our flight was scheduled in the afternoon, an ideal hour of travel.

    It's a mixed feeling at the airport because, for the next few hours, we were leaving our relatives in Philippines and be reunited with my sister in Canada.

    We used 3 airport pushcarts and each of us has our own hand-carried luggage.  We weighed our things at the scales located at the entrance door of the airport to make sure that we will not go over the limit.

    We got through the initial X-ray inspection smoothly without any questions from the authority.

    There were two areas for passengers at the airport, on the left side is for foreigners and the opposite is for Filipino nationals.  We then approached the Travel Tax payment counter and showed our Pre-paid Travel Tax receipt.

    After that, we headed to the check-in counter.  We were then confident that all our luggage are below the specified weight limit.  Got our boarding tickets for around 15 minutes.

    As our luggage went through the conveyor machine, we checked our watch and noticed that we still have enough time to eat lunch with our relatives, who were still waiting outside the airport.

    So, we presented our boarding pass at the airport Exit Gate and the guard got one of our pass in exchange for a number.

    Our relatives were eagerly waiting for us.  I can see them wiping their teary eyes as we go near them. Then, we went looking for a fastfood within the vicinity of the airport. Good thing we found seats in the crowded place of Jollibee. The joy and laughter we've shared at that moment were truly treasured.

    After eating, we exchange goodbyes again for the last time and gathered our carry-on baggage and proceeded to the main gate for the second time.

    Experience at the Immigration and Boarding Gate
    My 9-year old son was silent on our way to the airport until our lunch-time and started crying when I informed him that we're going in for the flight.  He began hugging his Yaya (Nanny for 9 years) goodbye and clinged on her until I convinced him that we'll gonna be late if he doesn't let go.

    On the other hand, my 3-year old was calm.  He was clueless that at the next few hours, he is going to a new country that will change his life.

    After bidding farewell to our relatives, we went in, paid our terminal fees, and have our documents cleared at the immigration.  By the way, this it the same immigration counter that I have been rejected and eventually cleared when I went to Singapore to find a job.

    After being cleared by the immigration officer, we headed to the final x-ray wherein I assigned my eldest son as the second look-out for our carry-on bags and my wife, on the other hand, took care of our youngest.

    As we're waiting in line at the boarding gate, we were surprised to see that one of the officers who checks the traveler's documents was our high school friend, who was surprised as well to see us bound for Canada.  We've chatted for a while and then took our seats near the boarding gate.

    Federal Skilled Worker Canada: While we are at the boarding gate in NAIA Terminal 
    The excitement level was getting higher and higher as the time passed by. I still can't believe that we're here waiting to board the plane. It's as if I just filled up the IMM008 application form yesterday.

    Time flies so fast, in the next few minutes, we will be starting our journey to another land, CANADA.

    Do you like this post, or is it helpful? Please tick the LIKE button if you do.

    18 March 2015

    Consequences of Being an OFW and FSW: Is it Better or Worse?

    Every two months, as a foreign worker in Singapore,  I made sure to have a quick vacation in the Philippines.  It's a quick one because I only stayed there for 4 to 5 days.

    The good thing about my job in Singapore was the flexibility of my time.  Filing a leave was never been a problem 'cause each one has already been planned 6 months ahead of time.  So, I made sure that my leave of absence were filed 3 months before my next Philippine visit.

    Everytime I reached the NAIA Terminals, my two boys were there to greet me all the time.  They're so excited from the moment they see me from the glass-covered waiting areas.  They'll be jumping for joy.

    As I move closer to them, two sets of small arms, widely spread, reaches up towards me, with their small cute lips touching my cheeks.   The loneliness and depression that I got from Singapore vanishes as their soft baby cheeks touches my lips.

    I am not alone... many of my fellow Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Fathers are experiencing this burden, I'm sure.  This is true specially when a father and his child had a great relationship before the separation.

    Effects of Being an OFW on My 10-Year Old
    My toddler, now 10, was very close to me when I was working in the Philippines.  I always cry secretly when I remember our playful times together inside our house.

    He always sings in front of many people.  My wife and I also made sure that he speaks with other people with confidence.

    I left him when he was a confident little boy.  My excitement working in Singapore had isolated my thinking about the future effect of it on him.

    Skype or Facebook were our ways of communication. He was typing odd words and jumbled letters at the message window back then, until the time that he can create full sentences.  That's how time flies.

    We had video chats, almost everyday, but the loneliness deep inside was there all the time.   It'll get worse when we say our goodbyes.

    Years passed by until I learned that he was no longer singing in front of people and was so shy speaking to someone.  His voice was getting unconfident, dragging his self-esteem down.

    His teacher explained to my wife that he is experiencing a "separation anxiety".  This is the effect when two closely related individuals separate from each other.

    My son is not the only one with this type of issues, this is common on children that are away from their father or mother for quite a long time.

    Separated From my Baby Boy
    During my stay in Singapore, my wife and my 10-year old visits me every summer.  It's one of  my happiest moments in the Lion City.  We've visited a lot of places and food centres in every corner of the country.

    This is also the time when we decided to add a new member of the family.  A new baby boy was made in Singapore and born in Philippines. :D

    Back then, with the same setup, I thought that it won't have any effect on my little boy as he was born  without me.  He will have no separation anxiety and he will get used to it sooner.

    As usual, my frequent visit in Philippines gives me a chance to carry my baby boy and kiss him anytime I want.

    I remembered that he was so small back then that he fits in-between my elbow and wrist as I carried him to sleep.

    Time flies, and he grew up faster and heavier and spoke his first words of Daddy and Mommy.  He became aware that going to the airport is saying goodbye to me as I go back to Singapore.  This is what he was used to back then.

    He became strict with his mother, making it sure that I cannot hug her or kiss her with his presence.  The thought of me not having a chance to hug my spouse in front of our kid is surprising and unusual. It was not the case when our 10-yr old was at the same age.

    The worst thing was that he doesn't like my presence when he was going to sleep.  Seeing me beside him makes him irritable and eventually transfer to his nanny.  He also hated when I'm sleeping beside his mom.

    My 10 and 3 year-old After the FSW Immigration in Canada
    Low self-esteem and overprotective sons were the results of me working in Singapore for a couple of years.

    It seems that God saw my situation and blessed me with our FSW Visa.  But, it didn't stop there, He provided us jobs that will change the relationship between me and my sons.

    This is how it changed our lives...

    My wife was working as an operator in a manufacturing industry, also a minimum wage earner.  By the way, she is a licensed teacher with more than 10 years experience in a private school in the Philippines.

    She works in the afternoon until night and goes to bed at 2:00 in the morning.

    Well, for me, I worked for an 8 to 5 job from Monday to Friday.  My wife and I are having a hard time to talk or see each other on weekdays.  She goes home while I'm fast asleep and off I go for work while she was still sleeping.

    This situation didn't bother me at all because it gives me the opportunity to bond with my children. When my wife is out for work, I had another full time job.  Here's the job description...
    - Taking care of my two sons
    - Become a single "Mom/Dad"
    - House cleaning
    - Dishwasher
    - Garbage collector
    - Putting my kids to bed
    These duties made me closer to my kids.  My 10-year old's self-confidence is getting better.   On the other hand, my 3-year old doesn't want to go to sleep without my stories of "Thomas and Friends" and requests me to sleep beside him every bedtime.

    Having the chance to be with them and seeing them grow for at least at their toddler and teenage years was the best reward of being a Federal Skilled Worker Immigrant in Canada!

    Do you Agree?  Please tick the LIKE button below this post.

    30 November 2014

    Immunization Record Requirement for Federal Skilled Worker in Canada

    In Philippines, we do have immunization for our kids and even for adults.  Some may avail it for free, but others prefer to have it from their private doctors.

    If you had been religiously following the vaccines for your child, that is a great move.  But having your child immunized is not good enough if you don't have the immunization record.

    Immunization Record is the way to trace and monitor your child's vaccine schedule and to know what's next.  This is helpful for pediatricians for them to assess the status of your child's health.

    What is the Importance of Immunization Records in Immigrating to Canada?
    If you are planning to apply for the FSW Canada or waiting for your Positive Eligibility Response (PER) from the Centralized Intake Office (CANADA) and has children below 16 years of age, please read this post further.

    Children are supposed to be immunized from deadly viruses and should be taken serious consideration from the parents.  Some countries don't have a proper concerns about this vaccinations and is taken for granted, passing the great responsibilities to parents.

    As a parent, we are responsible for the health of our children and should bring them to their pediatricians to have their periodic check-ups and immunization.  Usually, when we bring them to the doctor, all the medicines and vaccines given  to your child is recorded, it's either in index cards or computer database. It doesn't matter where they record the data as long as it is held and can be retrieved anytime.

    These records can be requested at any time.  It comes with a doctor's professional fee or may be FREE.  For me, I paid PHP600.00 for the immunization record.  I will place the link of the Immunization Record form below for your reference.

    Now, why do we need to secure an immunization record from the pediatrician?

    Canada takes a lot of effort to protect our children and adults from dangerous and deadly viruses.  That is why they urge parents to have their children vaccinated periodically.

    For new immigrants specially the Federal Skilled Workers or Provincial Nominees, we are required to submit the Immunization Record of our children who are 16 years of age and below.

    This is not required during our landing in Canada and Custom's inspection, but during the enrollment in schools.

    How does the Immunization Record Form look like?
    Usually, during the approval and stamping of passports for the Immigrant Visa, Canada provides an Immunization Record form that is readily available for the doctor's signature.

    Unfortunately, when our visa-stamped passports arrived, there is no Immunization Record attached with it.  Is it luck or just fate? Oh well...

    So, what did I do?

    I informed my sister about it and searched online for the form.  But, it's nowhere to be found.

    Luckily, she had the previous record of her son and so I asked her to show it through Skype.  It looks like this.

    Immunization Record Form for FSW Canada Immigrants
    It was written in the form that it can be photocopied, so I made my own form with all the similar details in it.

    I had uploaded the form to my Google Drive and if you want to have a copy of it, you can click the photo below and request for a copy.  This is what my form look like, have a quick look at it.

    Immunization Record (blank)
    Once you had requested the link, print it and have your pediatrician fill up the form and make sure to let her sign.

    Here is the link of the Immunization Record form at my Google drive.

    "For children attending school in Ontario, a written immunization record or proof of immunization is required, by law, for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella unless there is a valid written exemption."- OntarioImmigration.ca

    What we did with the Immunization Record?
    When we were still in the Philippines, we went to our son's pediatrician and ask her to sign the Immunization record.  She scanned though our child's baby book and records and wrote all the immunization dates in the form.  She then signed the space provided and asked us to pay PHP600.00.
    Tip: Bring along your children's baby books.  This is very important as some of the pediatrician don't have a proper filing of their client's records.  It is also possible that you have two pediatricians attending your child's care.
    After a few days of arrival in Canada, we visited the school and inquired about the enrollment.  The registrar gave us some forms and one of the requirement is the Immunization Record. After completing the forms and requirements, our son immediately was admitted to the school for FREE.

    Is this a useful information? Please tick the Like below.
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    03 September 2014

    How to Check the Number of Applicants for FSW CANADA 2014

    Updated: 23 September 2014

    Preparing for the documents and getting it ready for the big submission is tough.  The additional stress on the applicants is the quota for each 50 eligible occupations, there are 1,000 sub-caps for each.

    But how do you know the number of applicants had successfully submitted their documents in Canada?

    Below, you can now monitor the number of applicants and estimate on how long you need to complete your application.

    The FSW Canada application is a race.  Even if you are eligible to apply, if the cap for your occupation had reached its quota, your document will not be processed.

    As of 23 September 2014, there were 4,003 out of 25,000 applications received at the Nova Scotia, Canada.  This will be updated at least once a week.

    The Top Occupations With the Highest Number of Applications

    To monitor the up-to-date number of applicants, you can visit the link below.


    ___________________________________
    If you have any questions regarding this post, you can leave a comment below or email me at benalagnam@yahoo.com.

    Important: Please read the DISCLAIMER Page

    For questions not related to this post, leave a comment at the ASK ME.

    If you want to know more about my life in Singapore, visit my blog at BenAlagnam.com

    How much you need to prepare for the applications, visit EXPENSES.

    Check on what are the documents you need to prepare and more info on RESOURCES

    31 August 2014

    FSW Canada 2014 Application Rejected: What's Next?

    You were done with your full application and was so excited to go to the courier station.  Few months after, you received a correspondence from the Centralized Intake Office (CIO) in Canada,  informing you of their decision.

    You were so excited opening up that email.  As you clicked the message, it turned out to be....
    "...unfavorable decision, it's a Negative Eligibility review."
    You have failed to show that you are eligible to apply for the Federal Skilled Worker 2014 maybe due to the following reasons:
    • lack of evidence to show that you are eligible to apply for the FSW2014.
    • your points has not reached 67, etc...
    • The occupation has reached the quota
    You begun to ask CIO's decision and started to get depressed.  The world seems so cruel that you don't want to make a move anymore.  Then you heard this song on the radio...
    "...Why you gotta be so rude? Don't you know I'm human too!" - Magic! 
    You begun to question all the authorities of Canada at the back of your mind.

    You then swear not to lodge any applications anymore and do a bit of sour graping.  The worst thing is that you don't want to eat for few days, leaving the worries on your family.

    STOP!!!

    There is nothing more depressing than having been rejected by FSW Canada 2014.  This is your dream, yet was taken away from you just because of mere technicalities.

    Before you continue with your depression, let me share you my story...

    My Federal Skilled Worker Canada Application

    My journey to Canada have not started on 2013, when I sent my full application to Nova Scotia.  It actually started on 2003 and it's when I paid an agent to help me with my application.

    During that time, I have to submit all my ORIGINAL documents together with the full application forms to the agency in preparation for the FSW 2003 Canada and will wait at least 2 years to know their decision.

    Busy at work, lack of proof of funds, and a strict rules implemented by the agency, requiring me a lot of original documents and an almost perfect Job Descriptions, my application was not submitted at the Canadian embassy and was stuck at the agency's document vault.

    Four (4) long years past, on 2007, the agent made a call and informed me that Canada had a new set of rules regarding their immigration.  This time, its simpler, so simple that they call it the Simplified Application Process (SAP).

    Burning with excitement, I jumped out and informed my agent that I need to go to their office to apply for the new process.  As usual, I have to take a leave of absence just to sign a new set of forms.  My agent would never let me bring the forms back home.

    I only filled up the SAP forms and the agent submitted it to the Canadian embassy with the processing fee in a form of a cheque..  It was estimated that it will take 2-3 years for the whole process, then the Canada Embassy was supposed to send us a request of update.

    Two years past, then 3, until 2011, Canada surprisingly announced that they will return all applications that were submitted before 2008.

    Guess What?  My application was included on that new set of rules.  You can't imagine how depressed I was, taking in consideration of my 4 years of lost waiting time.

    It seems unfair but we can't do anything.  Some of my batch-mates had filed a case against the Canadian government.  They took the service of a foreign lawyer. Oh well, good luck to them!

    While working in Singapore, I waited for the return of my application fee.  It's my hard earned money and was sleeping for 4 years.

    Then, another set of rule was released on 2012,  I prepared my IELTS and since my documents are ready, I just filled up the new set of forms.

    Another setback, although the caps has not reached the quota under my NOC, Canada stopped to receive any application until May 2013.

    By the way, I applied for a Permanent Residence here in Singapore.  Unfortunately, it was rejected.

    On 2013, I never wasted any second of my time. As soon as Canada released the May 2013 new set of rules,  I immediately sent my credentials to WES and filled all the forms.  Then I submitted my full application on July 1, 2013 and the dates followed...

    It's Not Your Perfect Time Yet

    Every application failure is not the end of the World. It is just not your time yet , maybe there's a perfect plan for you out there.

    That is why I've always emphasized that if you have the opportunity today, do not hesitate to apply as soon as possible.  This may be your chance.

    If you agree, please tick the LIKE button below.
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