It's been a while since I last updated my post. It has almost been 2 years (2 years as of 23APR17!) living here in Quebec, Canada.
Whilst the visa application process for permanent residency under the Family Sponsorship has been arduous, I'm glad to state that the application process is finally complete! as of writing this post, I am awaiting a phone call from the Montreal Immigration Office to schedule an interview appointment to finalise my visa/status.
I am writing this post today to share my personal experiences on my journey so far.
When I first arrived, I came in under a tourist/visitor visa which allowed me 3 months stay and the application alone for this visa was quite extensive. Instead of finding a service to assist me with this application and pay for extra fees, I was quite adamant in applying for it all on my own (I was a travel consultant at the time and wanted a challenge!).
The best way to start off with any visa is to answer the questions as honestly as you can, on the official immigration page here.
Since I started on the tourist visa as a Malaysian citizen, I had to gather a shitload of documents proving that my stay was legit, pay an expensive visa fee (around $120-ish AUD at the time? I cannot remember) for a 3-month period.
In that time, I had to also apply for the extension of this visitor/temporary resident visa (tourist) whilst I applied for permanent residency.
Both these processes were done online (tourist & extension only): Based on my answers, I was able to submit & pay for my application online.
This was done when I was back in Australia, so it made it even more complicated on my part. Once everything was approved, I had to send my passport to get a physical visa label glued in. 😒
[NOTE]: The online account accessing part is SHIT. For some reason, I have issues logging in (re-directs me to the homepage, and not where it shows your application status). I had to have 10+ tabs open and re-submit my credentials to get to just check messages/status.
Applying for a visitor/temporary visa extension was easier than the initial application as you should already have the required documentation proving why you're in Canada to begin with, so I'm not going into details for this.
As for the in-land permanent residency visa, I suppose, if you have ever applied for visas elsewhere they mostly ask you for the same shit (especially if you are applying under a Family Sponsorship: Spouse/Common-law or Conjugal Partner): proof that you are married/living together/legit relationship, you and your spouse's history, and etc.,. And, it's all done via the old-school way: mail.
Personally, I had most of the documents lined up from my previous Australian 450 visa. The one thing to consider when doing it yourself: they make it hard AF. The steps are clear-ish but confusing simultaneously (maybe cause I was applying to be a Quebec resident as well).
For those intending to reside in Quebec: You apply for the Federal part first - they re-direct you to Quebec website for more documents & fees ($220 CAD), which is then sent back for Federal processing (this process might change at time of reading and/or if your instructions state otherwise; please adhere to the updated process).
If you are having a hard time reading or comprehending this whole process, I'd probably recommend that you find a migration agent, as this process was not the simplest of task.
During the time that I have the visitor visa extension granted (PR application received), we had to fork out extra $$$ for another application so that I could work - Open Work Permit. I personally find it stupid and greedy that I had to apply for this whilst awaiting a 26 month period for the permanent residency process - this should have been given. Greedy bunch they are.
Personal rant: When I applied for permanent residency under this specific class, the processing time was an estimate of 24-26 months (in-land applications) from when the application was received. Recently, they've shortened it to 12 months as of 07DEC17 #fuckyou:
Just my luck...
In January 2017, I had finally received a correspondence, stating that I had to 1) proceed in performing a medical check-up, 2) finger-prints & Royal Canadian Police background check (I paid close to $100 for this) and, 3*) pay for the Rights of Permanent Residency fee (RPRF).
*I would personally recommend paying the fee straight-up along with the application as it makes life a whole lot easier, as their description to where you can pay for it/notify them of the payment is pretty damn vague. A lot of research time was spent on this for applicants like me who chose to pay towards the end of the application process. This was based on my personal experience only.
Further notes to consider:
1.) If in your Malaysian passport, if it does not specify your surname and first name, they will automatically put your entire name as the last name.They had issues locating me until we figured out why in some cases, they cannot locate me in their system at all.
2.) For those intending to reside in Quebec: If you are planning on applying for the health card during this period, please note that you are required to be employed on a full-time basis despite having applied for PR (despite having a Social Insurance Number (SIN)). Yes, it's not stated anywhere in that link until you decide to call them up and they hand you the disappointing news.
Once you gather the necessary proofs & contact the RAMQ, they will then provide you with the information of the nearest CSLC where you are able to submit your application to be covered health-wise.
I hope this helps! I wish that someone was able to guide me through this process, but guess I am glad I was successful in applying for it on my own.
Good luck to whomever happens to stumble on this post, cause you wouldn't be here if you weren't searching! 😂