For Anyone Looking into Emigrating out the the U.S.?
I'm just back from my vacation/info gathering trip to British Columbia. I met with an immigration solicitor. He was very kind and well informed. We had a long chat in which I confirmed several of the recent horrors under our current regime.
It's a bit of a mixed bag for those of us over 55, not impossible, but over 60 it absolutely is not doable.
Canada's immigration rules are geared towards their goals which include:
-Offset declining birthrate
-Increase skilled workers
-Humanitarian for those in extremis
-Expand the national and provincial economies
My best advice for all of us is to convince our kids to try and save themselves, pending this and 2020 election activities. Student route is best option AT ANY AGE. But don't expect them to be able to chain any of us in if they become citizens - Canada only does that rarely. Or consider getting that MBA or PhD you've been considering. All you need is an acceptance letter and an application that you present at the border, and they automatically give permits to spouses and minor children (all of whom can earn more points as they go- more on that below).
The usual path involves a point system. I won't bore you with details, but typically involves things like age, health, education and skill set (plus other stuff). To be able to file for perm residency, you need to acquire a total of about 450 points. He ran my numbers and right now I stand at about approximately 380 points, so I'm in the ballpark. Speaking French fluently earns me an extra 30-50 points. Getting a speech pathology job can be anywhere from 50-100 points. I have a bit of a catch-22 for SLP work in that while Canada is reciprocal with US certification, I would need to be a member of the BC SLP association, and every job listing I have seen requires BC SLPA membership as a pre-req, but you can't get into BC SLPA without a job offer.... so that would be an issue. They want people who are on the "NAFTA List" of desirable professions. SLP is on it, sales not so much, but biz consultant is.
There is a back door where you can set up a LLC and employ yourself, but you need a Canadian citizen partner for that to work, because your partner would have to essentially employ you because self-employment earns no points. The solicitor advised against trying the BC Entrepreneurship Provincial Nomination Program. Bottom line - you have to invest $500k, you risk losing it all and even if you succeed, no guarantees you'll be invited to apply, let alone be granted, residency.
No one can retire to Canada. You can "snowbird" there, but you'd have to pay for any medical issues that occur while there, and you'd have to pay taxes in both countries. And BC in general is San Francisco expensive. Bottom line, they don't want anyone using resources who didn't grow up there. US citizens can live in Canada at their own expense for up to 6 months at a time without visas or permits.
Personally, I loved it up there. We even sat in to observe the Provincial Legislature - so refreshing! So civil! The people were lovely, and I CAN confirm that the most important word to use is "Sorry". The rainforest was especially beautiful... even in the rain...I especially loved Vancouver Island. Vancouver the city not as much, but I'd be ok there. Unfortunately my husband is adamant that he will never leave the US, so I have to abandon my BC plan, try to talk our daughter into it before it's too late for her (she's 19), and then create a more at-hand plan that involves networking with people in my community with close ties over the border in Mexico. At least there I could blend in...lol...
So bottom line - Olds? Fuhgeddaboutit! Millenial? Go for it!
Thanks for posting this Laura. It is helpful and clearly laid out for people who are considering leaving the US for Canada.
Yes, I also was told to consult an immigration lawyer in the host country. I spoke with a lawyer in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada's capital city, who referred me to a lawyer in Montreal because the rules are different for Quebec.
You mentioned the importance of going earlier in life, especially as a student. That is also what I found for Quebec. I learned that it was nearly impossible for seniors unless you were bringing close to $2 million to inves
There are countries in South America that make it much easier to immigrate for seniors than Canada so perhaps others here will share what they know— the pros and cons as well. I have a friend who moved to Cuenca, Ecuador where there is a large ex-pat U.S. community. She loves it there. I don't think she gave up her U.S. citizenship, though.
Thanks, Jeanne, for giving my post a new topic.
I have also looked into Uruguay, but haven't consulted a lawyer there, but here is my understanding of US immigration to Uruguay:
- US citizens are welcome to move there without visas
- US citizens are welcome to own property (residential and/or commercial)
- If you have school age kids, they can go to school there free of charge
- Once established "on the ground" it's not a big deal to become a permanent resident
- All residents, temp or perm, can obtain healthcare at the same rates as citizens
- Speaking Spanish is encouraged but not required (you mentioned Quebec - pretty sure you have to be fluent in French there)
- Climate is similar to Southern CA
- Marijuana completely legal
- You can be dual citizen there, you don't have to renounce US citizenship (although I'd advise doing so, we're the only country in the world that makes ex-pats pay US taxes)
For now, I have decided to cross Uruguay off my list, because I fear that with the bad changes to neighboring Brazil's government, it will destabilize the whole area somehow.