We’ve written about our personal experience moving to Canada, but Canada has hundreds of thousands of immigrants who all have their own story to tell.

We’re working on sharing the experiences of other people who’ve moved to Canada. Please leave a comment if you’re interested in giving an interview.

In 2010, Jorge was vacationing on a sailing cruise in Miami when he met the woman who would become his wife. They visited each other in Canada and Chile several times. Soon she decided to join him in Chile. They taught each other their languages (Spanish and French) and learned about each other’s cultures.

After a couple years she got a job offer she couldn’t refuse, bringing her back to Canada. As soon as Jorge finished his bachelor’s degree, he enrolled in a master’s degree program in Canada so they could be together. They got married a year later, in 2015.

Soon afterward they began the spousal sponsorship process. They decided to file themselves, without an attorney or consultant, since the process was pretty clear and straightforward. They’d been together for several years and had no worries about being able to “prove” their relationship was genuine, if need be.

He did the whole application on his own and it was only months afterward that he discovered Facebook Groups for Canadian spousal sponsorship. Even though he didn’t find himself asking for advice, it was helpful to know that he wasn’t alone in this. It was also nice to see people who were getting PR and sharing their timelines, reassuring him that things were actually moving forward. He’s an advocate for anyone who’s going through spousal sponsorship joining the group.

After waiting a year and a half, he met with his MP. He showed a Google spreadsheet from one of the Facebook groups showing the timeline and gave them a copy of his application. Two weeks later he finally got an update from the CIC.

The process took 20 months. They were never asked for any additional paperwork or interviews.

The worst part about the whole process was how long it took. As an international student, he had to pay higher tuition fees than he would have for the same program if he’d been able to get PR sooner. It also meant that most opportunities for financial aid were out of reach.

Jorge and his wife bought a house in Canada while his PR application was pending. While there was no doubt it would eventually be approved, it made it very difficult to get a mortgage. New permanent residents have special mortgage programs, but before that getting a mortgage can be nearly impossible.

The job hunt in Quebec is really about who you know. There are lots of people who come to Canada and can’t find a job in their field, even with great qualifications. It’s rare to get an interview from an online application, although it works for a lucky few. Most people are where they are because of references.

Because he had already visited his (future) wife in Canada several times before he moved up, it was fairly easy to settle into life in Canada. He already knew his wife’s friends and family before he came up, and being in a masters program made it easy to meet both new friends and professional contacts.

No matter how great a new life in Canada is, it’s still tough to leave behind a great life in Chile. He came here to be with his wife, which can mean missing important moments with his family back home. He and his wife are about to become parents and while his parents will be spending as much time as they can with them in Canada, it’s not the same as having them live nearby.