posted at 1:53 am
on Nov. 4, 2004
New Cell Phone Number, Same Crappy Service
Am I a Whining Pussy?
Because I’ve been asked by one or two (OK, nine) of you, I’m going to describe here how to move to Canada, as near as my non-expert opinion can do it.
Suddenly, for reasons still mysterious, it seems like I knew what the heck I was doing when I moved out of the U.S. into Canada last month.
If you’re one of the six billion poor bastards on the planet who is not a Canadian citizen already, there are four ways to do it.
1) Tell the nice uniformed man or woman at the border that you’re here to see the C.N. Tower, or the Rockies, or to do some whale watching. Then never go back.
OK, I admit, this is not a very intelligent way. It’s also illegal. But it’s cheap and easy and if you’re looking to hide out for a couple years, it just might work. You won’t be able to work legally—but that also means no paying taxes. Healthcare will be difficult to come by, but if you’re considering this seriously, I’m going to guess your American coverage wasn’t stellar either. And registering a vehicle may result in your arrest. But they have great public transportation. And there are a number of cash-based economies that you could get into.
2) Find a Canadian relative to be your personal sponsor and apply to become a permanent resident. This costs about $1,500 Canadian, or as I like to call them, dollarettes. Your sponsor agrees to support you if you’re unemployed or sick or lazy—which means it’s not something someone would enter into on a whim. Be charming and witty. Start by asking to stay in the guest bedroom for a week. Then make yourself useful cleaning and running errands. Next thing you know, they’ll be asking YOU to stay.
The sponsor promises to reimburse the government for any assistance program money you get for ten years after you arrive. Yes, that’s right, ten years. Well, unless you’re sponsoring your spouse, then the limit is three years. Like it’s more OK to boot out your hubby than your mom. Whatever.
And, consider this. If you do not have an aunt, uncle, brother, sister, parent, grand parent, niece or nephew who can sponsor you, you can get married to a man OR a woman to get sponsored—same-sex marriages are valid for the purpose of immigration. Of course, the marriage has to be built on love and trust, not for the sole purpose of immigration. That would be wrong—though in a odd way, more palatable to the religious fundamentalists that you’re leaving behind.
3) Come up here to work. There’s two sub-options in this category. You can be hired by a company that will have to prove that they really need to hire you because no Canadian could do the job. Look for something in a field that no Canadian wants, like dealing with American tourists.
Or you can come in as a business immigrant. Business immigrants can pledge to start a small business, usually with an investment of $300,000 or more—because we can always use another Tim Horton’s—or they can just hand the government $400,000 to “invest” for them—wink wink nudge nudge, in exchange for a business immigrant visa. They’ll give the money back to you, sans interest, five years from now.
Of course, if you have $400,000 that you can just hand over to the customs official, it’s unlikely that you want to leave the U.S. in the first place. And if you do, hell, let me sponsor you!
There is one more category of business immigrants called “Self-Employed,” which originally made me rub my eyes in wonderment when I read about it. This category, as near as I can tell, lets you get permanent resident status if you a) purchase and manage a farm in Canada, the size of which seems to be immaterial as long as you have farm-management experience, or b) completely support yourself in a way that is culturally or athletically rewarding to Canada. So, if you can show that you have been supporting yourself in a culturally valuable job for two years, you may get in. Would include people who produce television shows? I think the Canadian jury might go either way on that, —sorry, Rob.
4) Lastly, if you don’t mind never being able to go back to the U.S., not even for a Taco Bell run, you can claim refugee status. The somewhat expurgated definition is someone who is unwilling to return to their country because of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, political opinion, nationality or membership in a particular social group What about all of the above? And yes, I will tell you now that if you go back to the U.S. as a Canadian citizen, you will be mocked. It’s not pretty.
Will this refugee gambit work? Um, no. Face it. I mean, you can say you feel really glum and that people tease you and don’t let you serve on Senate committees, but it really won’t work. But that’s OK, actually, in the long run. Because while your case is being considered, you can come into Canada, and possibly work, go to school or get free health care. And if there’s enough of you, the backlog of cases might run for, oh, three years, just long enough to let you back down into the States in time for the next election.
Because I really don’t want you to miss voting in that one.
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