An Update on “Chiruza Canadiense”—The Road to Permanent Residence is Long

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Chiruza Canadiense - Dreaming of Canada

Chiruza Canadiense – Dreaming of Canada

Remember “Chiruza Canadiense”? I interviewed her over a year ago, in March 2013. Back then, she had applied for permanent residence under Quebec’s skilled worker category and she was stuck in processing limbo.

She was kind enough to share an update. Below is the email she sent me.

When you interviewed me, I had been waiting for 15 months with no news (see question no. 3 on the interview). Eventually, I reached a point where I was so upset and so tired of wasting time, money, and energy on French classes that, in June 2013, I decided to stop attending classes at the Alliance Française until I receive some serious news from the BIQ. I felt like I had no more energy left to keep on fighting. Besides, I had nothing to hold on to.

Fast forward to September 2013, month 22 of waiting. I had just started a new job and life was busy. When I least expected it, I received an email from the BIQ. Finally, something! The BIQ asked me to submit (again!) practically all the documents in my dossier (immigration file). Why that? Because the rules had changed. When I first applied in November 2011 you were required to send copies of your supporting documents. The BIQ didn’t need the documents to be translated or certified. The rules had changed and they were applied retroactively to my dossier.

BIQ - Request for documents

BIQ – Request for documents

The letter scared me. I had 90 days to send all the documents again translated (to either English or French) and certified or I’d be automatically rejected. The whole thing came out of the blue and on top of that, it was extremely expensive (hiring a translator, having the documents certified and sent via DHL/FedEx, etc.)—it cost me a whole month of income. Ouch.

I ran all through Buenos Aires, working with the translator’s schedule and rushing. It took a couple of months to get that done.

On November 2013, I sent all the documents again. It was happy it was done. I checked the tracking number and the documents were received four days later.

At this point, I was so fed up with the immigration process that I welcome the fact I had no news from the BIQ.

Then I started to count the months again. Two days before months 5 after sending the documents, I received another email from the BIQ—and I was expecting it.

Chiruza Canadiense reacting to the email on a Facebook group

Chiruza Canadiense reacting to the email on a Facebook group

Let me explain. It’s not like I have special powers whatsoever, but I’m in touch with a few applicants and they all received it. So I knew my “bomb” was coming….

Many of these applicants had received a letter of “intent to denial” (lettre d’intention de refus). The BIQ basically told them they didn’t have enough points as to be selected, so unless they send new supporting documents to help their case within 90 days, they’d be denied. And that after waiting patiently for almost 3 years!

So, in my case, the BIQ assessed my application (at last!). It stated I qualified for a référence en francisation. Basically, I’m in between the letter of denial and the preselection for the selection interview (!) with the conseiller d’immigration!

As a single applicant, I need 49 points to be consider for the interview. And according to the BIQ, I’m two-point short with 47 points.

The BIQ gave me 18 months to get these two points. Plenty of time… many people told me how lucky I am.

So I decided it was about time to hire the services of a government-approved immigration consultant. I will have a one-hour chat with him to explore my options, the best way to gather those points, where should I be careful, whether it’s a good strategy to make a 14-day trip to Québec or not (that would give me one extra point out of the two I need), etc.

So, that’s where I’m at! Still waiting, but there is hope.

The email from the BIQ she finally received

The email from the BIQ she finally received



About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. The persistent thought, when I read about experiences like this (and thinking to what I’m about to do) is: will it be worth it? I keep answering yes, but the question keeps coming up… I mean, this is definitely not like buying the wrong pair of shoes 😀

  2. Chiruza Canadiense on

    Hey Zhu,

    I just wanted to thank you again for letting me share an update. And for lending me your blog to speak about my immigration process ! xD

    I already had (last Monday !) the meeting with the government-approved immigration consultant….and we’re already working together on my immigration profile.

    He told me he has never seen a dossier being assessed the way they assessed mine ! Go figure ! :O

      • Chiruza Canadiense on

        No, no, Zhu….it was all the way around !

        The BIQ considerer my university degree as an engineering one….even though I’m not actually an engineer ! And they considered I have a priority profession, which gives me 12 points ! That’s a lot !

        Besides they assigned me points in both my English and French skills, even though I (still) didn’t send any of the international languages exams recognized by the BIQ !

        And on top of that, they gave me 18 months to get the 2 remaining points !

        The immigration consultant told me that, among all his clients, he has never seen a dossier having points assigned to English / French if the candidate didn’t send the exams ! And that the BIQ was extremely generous by providing me 18 months to work on my case….he told me most cases he has seen lately, had a reject intention letter with only a 90-day term to work on their case !

        So he actually told how lucky I am !

        He also said (among other things…we talked for an hour and a half !) that he thinks the BIQ assessed my application with certain “consideration and flexibility” because of all the time I waited (two and a half years !)

        • This is just… so weird! Well, all the better for you. Frankly, you have one of the most confusing application stories I have seen… not blaming you, though 😆

  3. I really enjoyed reading this interview. I didn’t know that applying for residency in Québec would be so long. I am just wondering why Chiruza didn’t apply for Ontario, since she seems to be already fluent in English. If I ever return in Canada, I would not let my husband apply in Québec. Good luck to her.

    • Chiruza Canadiense on

      Hi Vad,

      I can answer your question: I didn’t apply vía the FSW (Federal Skilled Worker program) since I don’t have the money they request. Let me explain: Regarding money / financial support, If you apply under Quebec skilled worker program, you don’t have to probe you have any of the money they request….they just ask you sign the “Contrar d’autonomie financière” form, stating that upon your arrival to Québec, as a single person you’ll have at least CAD $ 2.956.- to support yourself for the first 3 months. And that’s it.

      On the other hand, if you apply under the FSW program, when starting the process you gotta prove the Canadian government (with bank account statements, etc.) you already have approximately CAD 11.000 (amount as a single applicant) at your disposal. And it’s really hard (if not impossible) to gather that amount of money if you live in Argentina with our money having no value (thanks, devaluation) if you compare it against the dollar !

      That’s why I automatically discarded the FSW program, when deciding under which immigration program I’d apply.

  4. Chiruza Canadiense on

    Thanks so much for the compliment Zhu ! For me it’s an honour that you’re letting me speak about my (weird) immigration process in your blog ! So, the least I could do is answer to to your readers’ questions….. 🙂

      • Chiruza Canadiense on

        Guess what Zhu ? The immigration consultant told me sth. similiar to what you’re saying (“you filled out your “shit happpens” quota now, the rest of the process should be smoother”). While talking about my process, he told me that I wouldn’t believe him, but he promised my process would move forward much faster from now on.

        Guess what ? After waiting for two and a half years I told him that sorry, but I don’t buy that anymore…. 🙁

  5. Martin Penwald on

    Impressive. At least, rejected people know it is the end, but after so much time, I find that it is not very fair from Immigration Québec to delay your approval again. It adds to the overall cost, I guess.
    Seeing your highly educated profile, I am surprised that you still need to grab points a way or another. Even if you are not comfortable with French, it´s easy to live in Montréal speaking only English, but it is a bad idea to point to this fact in front of the conseiller d´immigration.
    It is weird to have to find points in 18 monthes because you will still be the same person at this date. Canada (including Québec) needs immigrants, especially skilled ones, so the decision making shouldn´t be that long in your case.
    Good luck.

      • Martin Penwald on

        Yes, from start to end, it took barely 1 year. I suspect that being French gave extra-point for Québec, because Chiruza Canadiense´s profile and status are very close to mine when I applied (30-ish, single, high degree in IT).
        Only difference, I suppose, was I had a truck driver licence.
        When I applied, I think truck driver was « un métier en demande » according to Immigration Québec. No need to be skilled if you can perform one of these specific jobs. But I find it odd that IT jobs are not in demand, I am pretty sure they were when I applied.

        Chiruza Canadiense :
        Have you a letter (a real one, not an printed e-mail) from a potential quebecer employer in your file ?
        I had one, and when I´ve gone to a canadian consulate in France to expose my project, the lady took this letter and check the format : it was a US letter/legal size and not a standard A4 (210x297mm, used everywhere in the world as an ISO standard except in North America), so it adds weight to my claims that I´ve really met someone willing to hire me in Québec (and there was the logo of the company on it too). It could maybe add some extra-points if you can obtain one.

        It happens that I worked for this company for 4 years, but I could have worked for another one when I received my permanent residency.

    • Chiruza Canadiense on

      Martin, I cannot decide when Immigration Québec will accept me (or not). I mean….it’s not up to me. It never was and it never will.

      I don’t think is fair the fact that they made me wait for 2 and a half years to assess my application….but that’s how this is these days with the BIQ México.

      You see, things changed. The rules changed, the immigration laws changed (thanks to Pauline Marois and Diane De Courcy >:( ) and, most of them, were applied retroactively to the dossier of those who were still waiting.

      It’s kinda difficult to explain it, since I still can’t find the coherence into this….I just can tell you that you have no idea how happy I am that Marois is not the PM anymore.

      The fact that I’m short with 2 points, has nothing to do these days with my highly educated profile. For instance: If you have a good English level, but you didn’t take the IELTS (and therefore, you didn’t send them your IELTS results), you’ll get 0 points assigned to your English skills (no matter how good your English skills might be). Same goes with French: If you didn’t send them an international recognized French exam showing that you have at least a B2 level, you’ll get 0 points no matter how good your French skills might be. So it’s not that easy to add up points now as it was in the past.

      Emmigrating via Québec became way too difficult, way too belated, way too expensive. I wouldn’t recommend anyone these days to start an immigration process via Québec…

      I don’t understand how come for you I’ll be the same person in 18 months from now…I actually expect NOT to be the same person ! That would be so sad ! I mean, I expect to keep on evolving, always ! In 18 months’ time, I expect to at least have passed the IELTS, to have obtained the French B2 level (and to have passed an international exam to be able to prove it !), to have earned more months of work experience…and to have sent all of that to the BIQ, so they’ll admit me.

      I don’t expect to stay quiet in these 18 months….but all the opposite.

      • Martin Penwald on

        What I mean is that you have the skills in english and in french, but not the tests to prove it. Passing them won´t change you, only your score, which is the goal, but technically, it is just administrative paperwork.
        Semantically, learning new skills do not change fundamentally who we are. They change our CV, they can eventually change, through experience, the way we see the world, but I don´t think it can completely shift one´s personnality.

        • Chiruza Canadiense on

          You’re right Martin, I do have the skills…but not yet at the level the BIQ requires. So it’s like if I didn’t have the skills at this point. That’s why they’re giving me 18 months….so I can both improve my skills and take the test.

          To give you an example, the BIQ considered I have an advanced A2 French level, and I need to get a B2 level. So the 18 months are for that: To keep on studying, to keep on improving, to take the test, and to send them the results.

          So passing the tests will change me, since I have to improve my skills to take that test.

          I dont’ agree with you: I do believe that learning new skills changes me. I’m definitely not the same person I was the first day I put a step at the French Alliance….I evolved since that (thank God).

          And, honestly, regarding the subject we’re talking, I don’t think anyone gives a damn about my personality. Not the BIQ certainly. That’s not what they’re assessing in my dossier.

          • Martin Penwald on

            Ok, I see what you mean. And I see why one tells you are lucky by some ways, because they could have rejected you, but they choose to let you improve your languages skills.
            In fact, it looks that there is hope, even if it is long.

  6. Chiruza Canadiense on

    Hi Martin,

    Yes, you’re right…I could have been rejected and they were extremely flexible and considered while assessing my application.

    On the other hand…I waited for two and a half years !! So I sort of consider I earned that flexibility.

    The “reference en francisation” is an option / a decision the BIQ took in order to provide certain level of flexibility to get the French B2 level to those who had applied a while ago and, whose dossier, had immigration laws applied retroactively (as it happened to me).

    The next 18 months to come are gonna be busy in my life, I know that for sure…I already signed up for the IELTS (taking it on June 21st…yay !), and on June 6th I’m resuming my classes at the French Alliance, with the Advanced 1 level.

    At the same time, we (my immigration consultant and I) are discussing and evaluating whether it’s viable to send a letter to the BIQ requesting to check again the points I’ve been assigned in my work experience, since I considered they gave me 2 points less than those I should have gotten.

    Told ya…busy times to come !

    • Martin Penwald on

      > I waited for two and a half years !! So I sort of con­sider I earned that flexibility.

      Exactly. That’s what is bothering me since I read your story : if Immigration Québec rejects you after these coming 18 monthes, it will be really disgusting from them.

      Considering your points, I have no idea what is possible. I apply for Québec 6 years ago, but I have no idea how much points I had.
      When I was summonned at the BIQ in Paris for the interview, I received my CSQ the same day, and I am not the only one for whom it happened. I don’t know if the interview decided of my acceptation, but curiously, I have the feeling that it didn’t weight that much.
      Unfortunately, rules and politics have changed since then, so I don’t think that old processes can be used as a comparison for new one’s.

      For french/english learning, how do you do (except going to the Alliance Française) ? I know that watching shows in english (with subtitles) help me for oral understanding, but interacting with real persons in every day life raises my comprehension of english more than just watching TV shows.
      But I acquired this competence after coming in Canada. However, I consider myself as a not very good foreign-language learner, I am still not very confortable in a english-spoken conversation.

      So, fingers crossed.

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