Sunday, 6 June 2010
OKAY, where was I? Oh that's right, I was going to explain my rapid descent from being an up and coming, shit-hot reporter (in my eyes at least) to potential illegal immigrant.
Like many people my age in Ireland at the moment, I decided to sample the weather, wares and ultimately one of the women of a foreign land this time last year. Canada seemed like as good a place as any to try so I got myself a one year working visa.
Although that did involve dealing with the dishonest, incompetent and evil folks at USIT, it was a relatively easy task to get the visa. Getting a second one however, is an entirely different kettle of fish.
You see, Canada is fine with letting you in to enjoy the hockey, the skiing and the poutine for one year. But after that you really have to show your worth or Canada will dump you like the drag-arse boyfriend you truly are.
In short, you have to prove to the Canadian government that you are not robbing another Canadian of a job if you want the country to grant you an extension of your visa. This requires being qualified and quite capable in your field of employment, or at the very least having an employer who is both keen on you and well-versed in the ways of bovine excrement.
Landscaping, as it turns out, is one of the hardest professions in which to get yourself sponsored by an employer for a visa extension. Not surprising really, it would be hard to convince even the most gullible of immigration officers that my lawn-mowing prowess is without equal throughout Canada.
And seen as I had no luck in getting work elsewhere, I thought I was destined to be forced to leave the country, leaving a nice lifestyle and a devastated girlfriend behind. That was until I heard from a fellow Irish immigrant in a pub late on night that apparently the goalposts had moved somewhat in the year that I had spent here.
"You shheee, de goidelines have schanged Howgy," my inebriated Dublin-born informant told me.
He went on to point out that while most recipients of my visa can never again be granted that kind of visa again, there are exceptions. Up until this year, those exceptions were applicants from the UK and Australia, but close examination of the Foreign Worker Guidelines showed that indeed Ireland had been added to the list. The jackeen was right.
So three days before my first one year visa lapsed, I submitted an application for a second one. I was told by a worker in an immigration office that while my application is being processed I have "implied status" meaning I can stay in Canada but can't work. She didn't seem certain though so I won't be going on any more shopping trips to the States until I'm certain that I would be allowed back in when the time came to return to Vancouver.
At this stage, I don't have a clue what to expect. It does state clearly on my visa that I cannot be granted a second one but that was before the change in regulations. Then again, I'm wondering if the new law only applies to applicants who were granted their first visa after this change was made.
Life is a little purgatorial at the moment since I am jobless, on limited funds and have an uncertain status but at almost half way through the 60-day processing time on my application I'm staying positive.
If, however, another big gap in correspondence occurs in about a month's time it may not necessarily be because of another bout of apathy on my part. I may have just gone underground following my rejection by Canada. The descent continues.