Alan and I had been living in the midwest of the United States since 1989. We were there on a business visa, owning and running a small restaurant. The terms of the visa were very strict, our children could only remain while in full time education, we could not work in any paid position outside of our own business and most restricting of all, it was a temporary visa. There appeared to be no way to change from non-resident status to resident (also known as 'green card') status. Of course, we could have considered getting divorced and marrying Americans but as I am sure you know from the movies this is illegal and anyway I had just got Alan trained up to where I liked him.......
For a number of reasons we wanted to try to find a way to stay in north America so in October of 1994 I started searching the Internet for a solution to our problem. I was browsing through a newsgroup called misc.immigration.usa when I noticed a post by the Manitoba Citizenship Division that had been crossposted from misc.immigration.canada. The content of the post was an invitation to consider Canada, and Manitoba in particular, as a place to live.
'Alan, I think I've found something....
I could tell he was fascinated by my discovery as he continued to watch football on t.v.
'What about Canada?'
'What about Canada what?'
'Someone in Manitoba says that if we have managed to be approved for visas to the US then we probably qualify for Permanent Residence of Canada.'
After we had looked up Manitoba on the map and discovered it was directly north from where we were living and even I couldn't get lost trying to find it, we decided to research further. I e-mailed our details to the Citizenship Division and started to search the web for anything else I might be able to find. Within hours we had e-mailed replies and a follow up telephone call. So the next day I faxed a request to the Canadian Consulate in Buffalo for the application papers. That was the very last time anything happened fast in the entire process.
Go to Chapter Two