The following information bulletin was handed out to Bhutanese refugees after their selection interview with Canadian officials for resettlement in Canada. The bulletin contains information about the next steps and life in Canada.
You have had your interview with Canadian officials about resettlement to Canada and you are probably wondering what will happen next. This bulletin tells you the next steps in the process and gives you more information about Canada.
What you need to know about the resettlement process
Your interview is an important step in the resettlement process, but it is not the last step. If you are chosen for resettlement, it could take six months or more before you come to Canada. Here is what will happen next.
- Before your application can be accepted, you and your family members must undergo a medical exam as well as security and criminality examinations. A Canadian official will then decide if you may come to Canada.
- It could take several months after your interview before you are asked to have a medical exam.
- Canadian visa officers will review your application to decide if you pass the security and criminality examinations.
- If you do not pass your medical, security and criminality exams, you may not be chosen to come to Canada.
- Canada will inform the UNHCR if your application is accepted. The UNHCR will then contact you.
- The International Organization for Migration (IOM) will tell you the date you will travel to Canada, and will buy a plane ticket on your behalf. You will, however, be required to pay back this money once in Canada, but you will have at least one year and possibly longer, depending on the amount of the loan, to pay it back. If you do not have a passport, the Government of Canada will give you a travel document.
- Once you have passed all examinations and your documents are ready, you will be scheduled to attend a five-day COA session in order to learn about your new life in Canada. These sessions will take place at the IOM training centre nearest your camp – Beldangi, Sanaschere or Birtamode. For sessions in Birtamode, the IOM will arrange your transportation to the training centre. Prior to your departure for Canada, you will stay at the IOM Transit Centre in Kathmandu for about four days. There, you will undergo a final medical screening to ensure that you are healthy enough to travel. You will be given study materials and attend a final session about travelling on the plane. You will also have the opportunity to attend a number of other sessions on life in your new country and about Canadian culture.
- IOM will then take you to the airport, help you check in and help you with immigration officials at the airport.
- You will not be travelling alone. Some of the other refugees going to Canada will be on the airplane with you. Officials may also be with you to help along the way.
Arriving in Canada
- Canadian officials will decide where in Canada to send you and your family. You will be sent to one of several Canadian cities that have services to help you.
- When you arrive in Canada, people will meet you at the airport and help you get settled. You will be taken to a house, apartment or hotel where you will stay for your first weeks in Canada. You will be given food, housing and clothing. People will help you find an apartment (a residence with bedrooms, a separate kitchen, dining space and a living room), in the city or town where you can stay permanently. They will also answer your questions about life in Canada.
Your immigration status
If you are resettled to Canada, you will become a Permanent Resident of Canada. This means it is legal for you to stay in Canada, and you will be given a document that says you can live in Canada permanently. You will be able to work or go to school, and receive free health care. After you have lived in Canada for three years, you may apply for Canadian citizenship. After you become a Canadian citizen, you may apply for a Canadian passport.
Rumours that you will be “sold” for slave labour or forced to fight in Iraq are false. It is also false that you will be forced to live in a refugee camp. There are no refugee camps in Canada.
Where you will live in Canada
You will live in a small or large city in Canada where there are services to help you. You will be free to move to another place in Canada, but we encourage you to stay in the same place for at least one year in order to benefit from the services planned for you.
Canada is a large country and is almost 68 times bigger than Nepal. You might be resettled to any one of a number of cities. Most of these cities are in the southern parts of Canada.
Help in Canada
You will get financial help to pay for your food and a place to live for your first year in Canada. Someone will also help you find a place to live. You will have free basic health care and free training to help you learn English or French. These are the two main languages spoken in Canada.
Finding a job
Although you and your family will receive financial help during your first year in Canada, it is a good idea to find a job and be able to take care of yourself and your family as soon as you can. The better you speak either English or French, the easier it will be to find a job.
Elementary school and high school are free in Canada. All children between 6 and 16 must go to school. It is the law. Most students attend high school until they receive a graduation diploma (around age 18). Many persons also attend university or college in Canada after they finish high school. College and university do cost money.
Food and drink
Water in Canada is safe to drink. Every home has its own hot and cold running water. You can get water any time of the day or night. All you have to do is turn the tap on and then off when you are finished.
People from many different cultures live in Canada. You can find most of the foods you usually eat, such as rice, green vegetables, spices, lentils and chicken, in a grocery store near you. Canada also has many other stores that carry specialty products, such as goat/lamb meat, which are not usually sold in most grocery stores.
Nepali-speaking people in Canada
There are some southern Bhutanese and many Nepalese people already living in Canada. Some of the settlement services are using their help for initial orientation, especially with Nepali language translation, so that when you arrive in Canada you may be able to receive these services in your own language.
In Canada, the law lets you practise your religion freely. You will not be asked or forced to change your religion. Freedom of religion is one of Canada’s basic freedoms. There are many Buddhist and Hindu temples, and Christian churches across Canada. In many cities, you can invite Hindu Pandits home for religious ceremonies. Many services, such as cremation, are also available.
There are four different seasons in most of Canada: spring, summer, autumn and winter. The temperatures and weather in each season can be different from one part of the country to another. Spring (March, April and May) is a rainy season in most parts of Canada, and the weather can be cool. In summer (June, July and August), the weather is very warm in most parts of the country. During the day, temperatures are often above 20°C and can sometimes rise above 30°C. In the autumn (September, October and November), the weather cools and it can also be very rainy. During the winter months (December, January and February), the temperature in most of the country usually stays below 0°C, day and night.
Temperatures in some parts of the country sometimes drop below -25°C, while along the West Coast, the temperature rarely drops below 0°C. In most of Canada, snow will be on the ground from the middle of December to the middle of March.
During even the coldest months, buildings and houses are well heated and comfortable. To stay warm in winter when they are outside, people wear outdoor clothes like an overcoat, boots, gloves and a hat. They also wear several layers under their outdoor clothes such as an undershirt, a shirt and a sweater.
Sponsoring your family
Canada tries to keep families together. If you get married or have a baby after your interview, you must tell a Canadian official so that your spouse or child can be included in your application. People who are not listed on the application might not be able to come to Canada in the future.
Once in Canada, you might be able to sponsor other family members back in Nepal. But you should know that the process could take a long time and you might not see your family for many years.
If you have family or friends who are completing their Declaration of Interest forms, remind them to tell the UNHCR officers and the Canadian officials that they want to resettle with their family. They must list all their family members (including their spouse and all children, brothers, sisters and parents), even those who don’t live with them, on their application form.
Although Canada will be resettling people over the next few years, there are a limited number of spots. It is very important that anyone who wants to resettle to Canada completes a Declaration of Interest form as soon as possible.
You may have many other questions about resettlement and Canada. Many of these questions will be answered nearer to the time you leave for Canada. In the meantime, Canadians are also beginning to learn about the Bhutanese who will be coming to Canada and are getting ready to welcome them.
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