I should be packing, I know. January 3 is quickly approaching. The amount of stuff I’ve accumulated is a bit mind boggling considering I packed up my apartment in Chicago a mere three years ago…wait…yep. October 2008, when my lease was up.
While I was correct in predicting my lay off, and some use that as proof that I have a sixth sense, I didn’t predict that my ridiculous use of Twitter would lead to a job, a job that has evolved and is now moving me to Canada. When I tell people I have a job in Canada, they smile and say congrats. They ask doing what, I tell them. They ask where, I tell them, and there is a moment before they realize I’m not just moving north of the border, I’m also moving to the other side of the country.
Without fail, someone will ask: “What the hell made you decide to do that?”
The answer: a gut feeling.
But making such a huge move, such a huge commitment on a gut feeling alone isn’t enough for me. I’m a consumer of knowledge, and I like to know as much about what I’m getting into as I can. So once I made my decision, and let the company bosses know, I plowed head first into researching this thing known as the Immigration Process. And “process” is not a sufficient word.
Having gotten a pseudo law degree, as I call it, a Master of Science in IT and Privacy Law, I went straight for the legal information on immigration. When researching anything, Google is your friend. When researching law, Google is kind of your friend. It takes some time, but eventually I found variations of specific keywords to find what I was looking for. And I should note that, if you Google keywords relating to immigration from a US IP address, you get numerous results about immigrating TO the US. When you’re looking to leave the US, that is problematic.
So it took some time to hit on the right combination of keywords to find information on being a US citizen interested in immigrating to Canada. I found numerous websites, electronic versions of all kinds of immigration rules and regulations, and set to reading.
Now, I did a fair amount of legal reading during graduate school, but I already had a grounding in some technical terminology, and learning the legal jargon wasn’t that difficult. The thing I didn’t fully appreciate at the time was that technology law is still new, so you can easily piece together information and come up with a cohesive argument, or answer. And if not, you can make it up, so to speak, and precent solid evidence to support your argument. Immigration law, on the other hand, has been around much longer, and as such, is full of contradictions, exceptions and circular logic.
The other thing, too, is that government websites have not caught up to UI designs that make it easy to information. The Canadian Immigration website still has the template format of lots of text and links that make it a challenge to navigate for those unfamiliar with the various categories. I spent a couple of months wading through the links, documents and what not, would think I understood the next steps but then would read something else and have no idea.
After some thought, hiring an immigration lawyer made a heck of a lot of sense. I’d talked to some people, too, and learned that while an immigration lawyer wouldn’t guarantee anything, I’d have a better shot at avoiding pitfalls that can cause serious trouble in this post-9/11 world.
Fine by me. So the next question: do I find a US immigration lawyer, or a Canadian immigration lawyer, or does it matter?