Citizenship and Immigration Canada – CIC Website

Citizenship and Immigration Canada – CIC is a Canadian Government site that deals with Immigration and Citizenship. It offers a variety of valuable resources on the related topics including general information on immigration, commonsense tips, guidance for potential immigrants, new laws affecting the immigrants…

CIC – Canadian Government Source of Citizenship and Immigration

Have a question about immigration to Canada? Interested in Canadian Citizenship? Any question on moving to Canada? Almost all the time, you can get your answer from the official website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Commonly know as CIC, the site is maintained by the department of Canadian Government that deals with Immigration and Citizenship. It also links immigration services with citizenship registration.

The site is the true Bible for any information on Canadian Citizenship as well as immigration to Canada.  It offers a variety of resources on the related topics including general information, commonsense tips, guidance for potential immigrants, latest news on the subject, the new laws affecting the immigrants and so on. There are different sections addressing different aspects of immigration and citizenship. Continue reading “Citizenship and Immigration Canada – CIC Website”

New immigrants’ guide to the United States of America

There is a comprehensive guide issued by the U.S. Government as an official publication. The guide is titled ‘Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants, Washington, DC’. The information come straight from the horse’s mouth: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Citizenship, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services .

There are a variety of sites, advertisements and even misleading information about the resources available to a new immigrant in the United States of America. Some of them promise your skies and stars, while others cut and paste from the official website of USA Homeland Security.

Whenever in doubt, always go to the source of the information. The purpose of this article is not to spoon-feed you the guidelines and rules, but share the source of such information.

There is a comprehensive guide issued by the U.S. Government as an official publication. The guide is titled ‘Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants, Washington, DC, Revised Edition’ and the information come straight from the horse’s mouth: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Citizenship, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, .

This guide is a welcome document for new immigrants or for those who plan to migrate to USA in the near future. “Adjusting to your new life in the United States of America will take time. This guide contains basic information that will help you settle in the United States and find what you and your family need for everyday life. It also summarizes important information about your legal status and about agencies and organizations that provide documents or essential services you may need.” Continue reading “New immigrants’ guide to the United States of America”

Online American visa application for Indians

USA has just introduced an online non-immigrant application for Indian nationals. Starting February 1, 2010, for all non-immigrant visa appointments, applicants will need to fill out the new online DS-160 form.

US rolls out new online American visa application for Indians

USA has just introduced an online non-immigrant application for Indian nationals. This is to meet the increased demand for American Visas in India. The same online process is being rolled out in others countries as well, but with different launch dates.

The American Embassy released a statement outlining the initiative. As one can expect, the main purpose is to improve and speed-up the process as number of visa applications being filed continues to grow exponentially.

Starting January 19, 2010, the American Embassy and its consulates in India will introduce a new DS-160 form, which will be available online. Starting February 1, for all non-immigrant visa appointments, applicants will need to fill out an online form. The DS-160 Online, Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application, replaces current non-immigrant application form DS-156, and certain other related forms. Continue reading “Online American visa application for Indians”

UK Visa Rules Tighten for Indian IT Workers

Starting January, 2010, Britain tightens the immigration rules for Indian IT professionals seeking to migrate to the UK under inter-company transfers,

Tougher UK visa rules for Indian IT professionals

The British PM Gordon Brown has announced the plan to tighten the UK immigration rules for the Indian IT professionals seeking to migrate to the UK under inter-company transfers. This tougher rules take effect from January, 2010.

From 2010, workers in this category – inter-company transfers – will need to have at least 12 months of experience. At present, the professionals in this category only need 6 months with their employer before they can be transferred to UK.

Also, the immigration category will be closed as a route to permanent settlement in the England.

What this means is quite simple: IT professionals who come to England under inter-company transfer rule will not be allowed to settle permanently even after the mandatory stay of five years, as in the past. Continue reading “UK Visa Rules Tighten for Indian IT Workers”

2011 USA Green Card Lottery Program – Last call

The annual USA Diversity Visa Program makes visas available to persons meeting simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. A computer-generated, random lottery drawing chooses selectees for DVs. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration…

Note:The contents of this article are outdated. For information on latest schedule and deadlines for current year, please visit U.S. Department of State ELECTRONIC DIVERSITY VISA LOTTERY

According to the US Department of State,
“The annual DV program makes visas available to persons meeting simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. A computer-generated, random lottery drawing chooses selectees for DVs. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and with no visas going to nationals of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the period of the past five years. Within each region, no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year.”

The State Department Web site for the 2011 Diversity Visa Program (DV-2011) has been open sinces early October. The entry submission period for DV-2011 is from 12:00PM EDT (GMT -4) on October 2, 2009 to 12:00PM EST (GMT -5) on November 30, 2009. The entry form is available for submission during this period and this period only. Entries will not be accepted through the U.S. Postal Service.

So three more days before the submission period ends.

Please note that natives of many countries including India, Canada, China mainland, England…, are not eligible for this visa program: Continue reading “2011 USA Green Card Lottery Program – Last call”

British Prime Minister outlines tougher UK immigration rules

The British PM Gordon Brown outlined the policy changes toward a strict immigration rule for new skilled workers, more stringent entry laws for new students, and a point-based system for citizenship.

Gordon Brown unveils tougher immigration rules for England

On Nov 12, 2009, the British PM Gordon Brown outlined plans to tighten the UK immigration rules. From his speech on immigration, the key points and policy changes include:

  • Reduction in the number of professions recruited from outside Europe
  • Limit the numbers on student visas
  • Point Based citizenship

Reduction in the number of professions recruited from outside Europe
The PM promised a tougher market test that will force employers to recruit immigrants from outside the local workforce for a skilled job only if they can show that no suitably qualified settled worker can fill the role. The job vacancy must also be advertised for two weeks locally before an migrant can be recruited. In future, the job will have to be advertised for local employment for a month.
“I do want to ensure that we give British people looking for jobs the best chance of filling vacancies that arise as we come out of the downturn. But where there are vacancies that have been advertised here and are unfilled, it is necessary for businesses and for the economy to be able to recruit more widely.” The Prime Minister explained. Continue reading “British Prime Minister outlines tougher UK immigration rules”

How to overcome the Culture Shock abroad

Adaptation is not a quick or overnight thing; getting used to the new place can take a long time. However, here are 10 tips on how to overcome or minimize the culture shock abroad:…

10 tips on how to overcome the overseas culture shock

The overseas culture shock is common for anyone traveling or migrating abroad. Some of us are quick to adapt, willing to accept the change. Others hate it and don’t like customs or traditions of living a life different that what they are used to growing up.
The fact is that it is not a matter of one or two days; if you plan to live abroad, you should be willing to adapt to what comes with it – the new culture, a different society and an entirely different everyday life.

Adaptation is not a quick or overnight thing; getting used to the new place can take a long time. However, here are 10 tips on how to overcome or minimize the culture shock abroad:

1. Accept the change: Change is part of life; it is a part of the journey. Don’t resist something just because it is different. Give it a try. Millions and millions before you have gone through the same experience abroad. You may actually like the ‘new you’ if you try.

2. Learn the local language: This step is very important, actually the most important. If you really want to adapt to the new place, learn the local language, the local way of communicating. This includes getting used to the new accent and losing the old accent; the local way of pronunciation and the local slang – the whole nine yards. And, don’t forget to learn the art of small talk in a new society.

3. Venture out and try first hand: Don’t isolate yourself from the local culture. Expose yourself to the local common places where social life breathes. The shopping mall, the hair salon, the barber shop, the community center, the local parks….. – go be a part of the day-to-day outdoor life. The best way to adapt is by trying it firsthand. Continue reading “How to overcome the Culture Shock abroad”

The overseas culture shock

The culture shock is the feeling of being overwhelmed and emotional discomfort that one suffers when moving to another country or a place that is very different in customs and social tradition.

Culture shock for new immigrants abroad

“The wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water moulds itself to the pitcher” ~Chinese Proverbs

The culture shock is the feeling of anxiety and emotional discomfort that an immigrant suffers when moving to another country or another place with very different culture, customs and social environment.

No matter how open minded we are, it is hard to ignore the differences around us when we first venture out to a foreign land. Be it as a student or as an immigrant, the vast difference in culture and customs is a part of the new encounters, and the early experiences in a new land.

The surroundings and the social settings of the new country are always dramatically different for a newcomer. Everything that was once taken for granted in home country is up for recalibration: the language, the accent, the skin color, the dress code,…. Everything is new; everything is different. The system works differently; the food is not the same, the traffic laws are confusing…

All of a sudden, our own way of life, our own way of speaking and our own customs become a foreign concept in the new land. This radical change and the sudden differences everywhere in the new country is what we call the culture shock.

This culture shock basically comes from the significant differences in the cultural and social settings as one migrates from one place to another. These resulting effects of all this could include anxiety, confusion, lack of direction, the feeling of not knowing what to do, or how to do things in a new country…. Not knowing what is appropriate or inappropriate, what is accepted and not accepted etc. are the daily dilemmas.

Migrating to another country is an adventure that involves many ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ – the culture shock being one the very first ‘downs’. 🙁

The feelings and symptoms of culture shock: This mental and emotional phase of confusion from culture shock comes with many new feelings. Depending on the personal tolerance or attitude, the feelings may include: Continue reading “The overseas culture shock”

‘Bollywood Heroes’ Vs ‘US Customs and Immigration’ : The duel goes on!

Come on Bollywood heroes! You can single-handedly kill an army of villains in the movies; demolish anything that crosses your path or that of your lover! You can jump out of high rise buildings, dash out of flying planes and come out winners without a scratch. And yet, you are scared of an immigration officer at a US check-point?

The US Customs and Immigration affects Bollywood travels to US

Shahrukh Khan
Shahrukh Khan

SRK stopped by US Immigration office for additional questioning; he blame US immigration for profiling based on Muslim name!….. – 8/11/09
Salman Khan is concerned about the US Immigration office; cancels his US trip!…- 8/28/09

Salman Khan has cancelled his upcoming trip to New York. The bollywood star was planning to visit USA to promote his upcoming movie ‘Wanted’. One of the main causes for this cancellation is quoted to be the recent incident where US immigration stopped Shahrukh Khan for additional questioning at Newark airport.

There has been much reported on this SRK immigration incident. The whole thing is blown way out of proportion by the media with so many twists and turns. Many are of the opinion that the agenda was to promote ‘My name is Khan’, his upcoming movie about experiences of a Muslim in USA in post-9/11 era.

The US Customs and Immigration denies any profiling and called it a routine stop, mainly because his baggage was delayed. You decide- who is right and who is wrong.

Salman Khan
Salman Khan

As a part of security measure of modern days, every country including USA is being extra careful as to who crosses their borders.We all know, the US Immigration and Customs check-point is last place to find friendly faces. The custom officers’ job is to probe everyone who enters the country and try to separate the good guys from bad ones. They frequently stop all kind of travelers –white, black or brown- for additional questioing and screening. The officers do tend to be a bit authoritative, and many may consider them ‘rude’; but that is the nature of their job.

So there you have it! Two Khan’s-the Bollywood mega stars vs. the US Customs and Immigration…. It is hard to fathom that Bollywood is so much worried about ‘not-so-friendly’ US Immigration officers. These Bollywood heroes, whose daily job description is to overcome the hurdles and fight big bad bullies and villains in the movies, seem to shy away when it comes to passing through US Immigration and Customs. Is it that the real life drama is more intimidating than a Bollywood script with a pre-planned favorable outcome?

homeland_security_75

Come on our Bollywood heroes, you can do better than that! We are so used to your bigger-than-life persona, your bare-hand fights against evils of all sizes! You can single-handedly kill an army of villains in those movies; demolish anything that crosses your path, or that of your love-interest! You can jump out of high rise buildings, dash out of flying planes and come out winners without a scratch on your body. And yet, you are scared of an immigration officer at a US check-point? Where is all that bravery that we are so accustomed to witness on the big screens? We all thought that you are tough enough to put up with some questions from a non-smiling customs officer in real life! Continue reading “‘Bollywood Heroes’ Vs ‘US Customs and Immigration’ : The duel goes on!”

Shahrukh Khan is god; so is US Immigration Office: The lessons learned

This incident of SRK’s additional questioning and detentions by the immigration office at Newark airport is still getting so much coverage in the news. Here are the lessons we learned from the whole thing:…

USA Immigration and Customs Office is god:Yes, god, but still with a lower case ‘g’…

Shahrukh Khan
Shahrukh Khan

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” ~ Mark Twain

This incident of SRK’s additional questioning and detentionis in Newark is still getting so much coverage in the news. Actually, this was the main topic of discussion during Independence Day celebration in USA.

Here are the lessons we learned from the whole thing:

USA Immigration and Customs Office is god:Yes, god, but still with a lower case ‘g’. Nobody worship them, but they don’t care. So lets not tangle with someone with this kind of attitude. We can admire them or hate them from a distance. When going through the customs,  if you are over-friendly or over-nervous, they will suspect something is wrong. ‘Suspicion’ is their middle name.

Shahrukh Khan is god: Many worship SRK, so no quarrel here. Problem starts when our Desi god collides with a foreign god, like an Immigration personnel in this case. While you can decide which one of the two would be villain (I think I know your answer 🙂 ), you don’t have to. This is no epic battle of Mahabharata where good and evil are already defined; sometimes nobody wins in these battles of today. In this incident, I think both sides won, in their own words, of course. SRK got publicity for the the new movie and US Immigration officers showed that the law applies to everyone.

VIP Treatment not everywhere: VIP treatment in US is very limited. Actually people get upset when they see a VIP getting special treatment in a public place. Totally different culture, let us not fuss about this. Remember, most of immigration officers don’t know much about our big shot celebrities. Continue reading “Shahrukh Khan is god; so is US Immigration Office: The lessons learned”

SRK, “My Name is Khan”…umm… too bad!

Shahrukh Khan goes thorugh additional questioning at USA Customs and Immigration..SRK claims that he was singled out due to his Muslim last name – Khan…This incident turned out to be a very good publicity for him and his upcoming movie.

Shahrukh Khan goes through additional questioning at USA Customs and Immigration

SRK and Kajol to star together in 'My Name is Khan'
SRK and Kajol to star together in ‘My Name is Khan’

Shahrukh Khan (SRK), the iconic Indian Movie Star and the king of Bollywood, was subject of additional inspection and questioning by the immigration officers at the Newark airport, New Jersey. He was en route to Chicago to attend an event related to Indian Independence day celebrations.

SRK claims that he was singled out due to his Muslim last name – Khan. He added that the immigration officer was not convinced with any of his explanation about the trip.

The US Immigration and Customs office denies that his last name had anything to do with the additional questioning; he was stopped due to missing baggage. As per the statement from the Customs, everything was done professionally and by the book. It is common for a customs officer to ask someone to step aside for additional inspection if they are not satisfied with the interview.

It is ironic that SRK was in USA earlier this year shooting a Hindi movie titled ‘ My name is Khan’. The film is about the experiences of a Muslim in America.

Another remote possibility is that it was all planned by SRK; a thought that I could not resist.Considering how good an actor he is, he may have staged the whole drama. This incident turned out to be a very good publicity for him and his upcoming movie. Everybody is now talking about ‘My Name is Khan’ all of a sudden, which will be released worldwide soon. Continue reading “SRK, “My Name is Khan”…umm… too bad!”

The growing problems with NRI Marriages: A wake-up call!

The NRI marriages are getting more and more negative press. The problem is not just opportunistic NRIs, but also those who put their trust in someone whom they have barely met….there are too many sad stories of NRI marriages gone bad everyday…

NRI Marriages gone bad: the issues with the NRI Weddings

“My daughter, who is an attractive girl, has done masters in English and now she is working in a bank with salary____. She is a lovable, cute and calm girl.she has great respect of our tradition and culture. Interested persons can contact us at____ Must be a Non Resident Indian (NRI) with legal and valid residence in US or Canada….”

“She has a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology and is just finishing masters in Computer Science; very outgoing, friendly and caring person. She likes making friends and gets along with people easily. Looking for an NRI living in …..”

There is something fundamentally wrong with these matrimonial advertisements all over the Internet and on-line marriage portals. Many of these ads are nothing more than fishing for NRIs living overseas. As you can see for yourself, the primary qualities for match-making are often overlooked. What happened to the need for decent human qualities; may be a search for compatibility, honesty or other values? These advertisements don’t seem like for a wedding but more like a business proposition: would you take our pretty/handsome daughter/son for a green card? The greed is written all over these NRI matrimonials.

Similarly, on the other hand, you can also find plenty of ads starting with ” Looking for a suitable match for a well settled NRI overseas…..” or something like that. Being an “NRI abroad” is the main quality being touted again and again. I guess, as long as people are willing to be exploited, there will be exploiters.

More and more problems are emerging with these NRI marriages. The problem is not just opportunistic NRIs, but also those who put their trust in someone whom they have barely met. The personal gains take priority over any consideration for the long term well-being of the bride/groom. We can blame the NRIs for failed wedding, but the fault lies with both sides. Actually, the blame lies more on those who get married to someone just because he/she is an NRI.
If you are lucky, you may find a decent match; Yes, there are lots of success stories. However, it is too much to be left on luck alone; waging everything on blind trust and chances alone is no wisdom.

There is no wonder why the NRI weddings are getting increasingly negative press. Everywhere in the news and media, there are too many sad stories of NRI marriages gone bad everyday: Continue reading “The growing problems with NRI Marriages: A wake-up call!”

13 Unlucky reasons to go abroad!

There are many good reasons to go overseas; but there are plenty of bad ones too. Some of the worst reasons to go abroad are summarized..

NRI Tips: Worst reasons to leave India and go overseas!

As discussed in a previous article, there are many good reasons to go overseas; but there are plenty of bad ones too. Going overseas is not a guaranteed golden ticket; there are lots of sad stories of broken dreams and heartache. Some of the worst reasons to go abroad are:sxcparadise_torn_paper_white

1.Illusions of Paradise: The overseas land of riches may be rich, but it is no paradise by any means. Adapting into new culture and a new place is not an overnight thing. So, especially for a new immigrants, the challenges could be overwhelming.

2. Blind Job hopes: With global recession everywhere, the unemployment rate in Europe and America is highest in decades. The job and career opportunities have diminished significantly. The demand for foreign work visa is actually down; people are starting to realize the the challenges abroad.

3. Second try might work: If going abroad did not work the first time and nothing has changed, the chances of better encounter on second try are minimal. Many people keep trying again and again, wasting their entire savings; it is just sad! Continue reading “13 Unlucky reasons to go abroad!”

Top ten reasons to go abroad!

There has to be a good reason to leave India – your own home, the family, the culture… Here are the ten best reasons to go abroad:..

NRI Tips: 10 reasons to leave India and go overseas – From desi to desi-NRI!

No matter where it leads to, our journey always starts at home. There has to be a good reason to leave the comforts of home – the family, the culture, the country. sxc-big_step_to_success_2501Here are the ten most common reasons to leave home and go overseas:

1. Travel: Traveling to visit different places is one of the best reasons to go abroad. It is a fun and exciting experience to go places, emerging in other cultures is rewarding and adventure. It is the best of the both worlds. If one can afford it, traveling abroad is always full of adventures and new experiences. There are all kinds of online sites that can guide you to match the places with your interests. Traveling is something we don’t do enough.

2. Education: Good schooling is a big investment for our future. One should never under-estimate the value of good education, it builds the base of our lifestyle; it pays life-long dividends for every penny we ever spent on studies. Going abroad to study is not new. Studying abroad is truly an eye opening experience.

3. Family: Many times, family sponsorship is a reason to go abroad – to unite with rest of the family. The immigration rules allow spouse (and in many cases parents along with their younger siblings) to be brought over in many countries. Lots of people go abroad to re-unite with their family. Continue reading “Top ten reasons to go abroad!”

NRI Tips: Key hurdles to overseas adaptation and adjustment!

Why is it that so many of NRIs find it so hard to adjust abroad? One of the key reasons for our failure to adjust; our inability to adapt to the local language and norms. Here are the key hurdles to overseas adaptation and adjustment:…

NRI Tips:  The habits that hinder our adaptation abroad

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” ~ Maria Robinson

Migration from India to a foreign land is often considered a grueling process, probably one of the hardest thing ever for a new NRI; right?
Not really, it is just the start :). Once we get to our new destination abroad, -USA or Canada or England…- the things are not as we imagined. As mentioned before in NRIs and India diaspora – the key challenges abroad!’, the most difficult part is adjusting to the new society, the new culture; and then building a career that matches our professional background and education.
Why is it that so many of Indians find it so hard to adjust abroad? Even after years, we feel strangers in the land that is dubbed a ‘melting pot’ of multi-culture society.

One of the key reasons for our failure to adjust, even after years, is the isolation from the American society and western culture; our inability to adapt to the local language and norms. Many of us find it hard to carry on a real conversation with locals; the conversation that involves local slang and local style.
Here are some of the main reasons that hinder a desi immigrant from being a ‘Roman while in Rome’; the key habits that won’t let us adapt to overseas’  life:

1. Self isolation:This is a natural tendency of early days in foreign land that becomes a habit, a habit of hiding from everybody and everything that is not India; living in an Indian bubble. If our social circle and desi passé speak no English,- not the kind they speak on the street anyways- there is very little hope for a quick adaptation to the new place. Continue reading “NRI Tips: Key hurdles to overseas adaptation and adjustment!”