Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.
All we wanted was to have our kids abroad – to give them an option.
We were TTC (trying to conceive) and knew more than anything else that we did not want to have our kids in Nigeria. We wanted to give them the opportunity we were not given (or so we thought) – citizenship of a prosperous country where the systems work and everyone has a seemingly “equal” opportunity to succeed irrespective of tribe, family name or affiliations.
Fortunately, we knew a couple who had had their kids abroad and we decided to seek their advise. What we got? More than advise. They revealed that they will be relocating to Canada soon and encouraged us to try out the process as well. They believed we had all it takes – age, education, work experience and “money”.
You know how people naturally think you have more money than you actually have!
They also told us about the new Canadian Express Entry immigration process, even though they didn’t have much information about it because this was not the process they used.
With this information began our journey. The research began! One worry we had but didn’t allow to deter us was getting the proof of fund (POF). We needed to have at least $16,000 (N4.3M) in the bank aside from the money we needed for all the other process. We had no one to borrow the money from, but we carried on!
December 2015, we applied to have our credential assessed. Slowly but surely we progressed in the journey and began preparing for IELTS. At this point, I already joined a WhatsApp group of people who wanted to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry and some administrators of the group were already in Canada and provided us with the much needed guidance, support and encouragement for which I will forever remain grateful.
March 2016, we wrote our first IELTS and our scores were not as good as we had anticipated. With our IELTS score, our CRS was 364 while the lowest score issued ITA (Invitation to Apply for permanent residency) was 389. Yes, we knew we had a long way to go and needed to exert ourselves to get our desired result. So we decided to re-write IELTS.
August 2016, our second IELTS was done! However, we felt nothing but disappointment when we still did not get our desired result. Then we began seeking provincial nomination. I was the principal applicant because my husband had less than 6 in his IELTS results and consequently wasn’t eligible for Express Entry. There were two provinces with my occupation in their list of occupations in demand – Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. So I began putting my applications together for these two provinces.
At this point, my husband’s motivation began to wane and he shifted has attention to the United States of America (USA). After all, we already had our American Visas. Even though I don’t mind going for vacation in the U.S, I knew I didn’t want to live there. I didn’t want to live in a country that has yet to accept their own with different skin colour, how much more, a foreigner.
While I was strategizing for provincial nomination, my husband was actively making plans for us to relocate to America.
June 2017, my Express Entry profile expired and I managed to convince my husband to allow me re-write IELTS one more time with the condition that if I don’t get the needed score, I’ll support his America immigration plan. He agreed! I guess he agreed only because he didn’t want me to nag him to death and not because he really believed I could pass. This time I knew a lot was at stake and I needed to pour the whole of me into preparing for this exam. I had almost two months to prepare for the exam. I unlearned all I had learned about English language and began serious preparation for the exam. Everyday, I spent at least 3 hours preparing. From British Council materials, to YouTube videos, past questions, simulations and speaking practice, not forgetting prayers. Yes, I’m an ardent believer in the “God factor”. I prepared for the exam to the point that I could recite give answers to the questions without seeing the options available. I learnt and practiced tips to answering IELTS questions that it became part of my everyday life.
The exam came and I had no doubt that this was exactly what I needed. When the result came out two weeks later, I was happy but not surprised. Yes! It was exactly what I had anticipated. Just the right score for CRS 476. I had no doubt that I’ll get ITA during the next draw. Exactly one week after I updated my Express Entry profile with my new IELTS score, I received ITA email notification at 12:45am and I went crazy with excitement. That kind of joy you can’t contain. I did not care it was in the middle of the night, the heavens heard my shout of joy. My husband had to hold me tight to keep me calm.
Finally, our efforts were not in vain!
Now the second phase of the struggle began – raising the money for POF. We had less than 60 days to raise the money and submit our application. Where do we get $16,000 (N4.3m)? We didn’t have rich family members or friends that could give us that kind of money or so we thought and so we were told when we bothered asking.
40 days post-ITA, we miraculously raised the money (story for another day) and were able to submit our application on October 12, 2017 and from there on, things moved so fast that by December 23, 2017, we had our CoPR (Confirmation of Permanent Residency) and one-time Canadian entry Visa on our passports. Unbelievable!
April 30, 2018 we left all that was familiar to us behind in Nigeria. May 1, 2018, we official became Canadian permanent residents. Embracing our desired but unfamiliar new reality – Canada.
The journey that began with the desire to make our kids citizens of America has ended with us as permanent residents in Canada.
Wish us well in the comment section!