When Brian Owens was contacted about a career move to Calgary, he did a fast double-take about moving from Nashville, Tennessee to Alberta, Canada. Brian and his husband Michael Dettner were open to an international move - but hadn’t considered moving North to Canada. But the opportunity as Artistic Director for the Calgary Film Festival was a dream job, and Brian accepted his new role in August and was able to start work in Calgary a few weeks later in September. As an international organization, the Calgary International Film Festival retains Ackah Business Immigration Law for guidance on immigration matters.
Brian’s Story: Skilled Foreign Worker
Prior to offering Brian the position, the Calgary International Film Festival worked with Ackah Law to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) which is a document Canadian employers need to demonstrate that no Canadian worker is available to perform a specific job, and that gives the employer permission to hire a temporary foreign worker.
After receiving the LMIA, the Calgary Film Festival recommended that Brian contact Evelyn Ackah at Ackah Business Immigration Law to manage his immigration application. A few days after accepting the position Brian called Ackah Law. The artistic director for a film festival is a very specific, rarified position that has unique skills that very few people possess, and Brian qualified based on his experience with the Nashville Film Fest.
From the first phone contact in August until they met the “incredibly responsive” Ackah Law team in November, all contacts and meetings were conducted via phone and email. When they eventually met the Ackah team in person, it was like seeing family - everyone at Ackah Law was warm and friendly, but also incredibly professional and proactive.
Brian qualified to move to Canada under the Labour Market Impact Assessment category for highly skilled senior workers and he obtained his two-year work permit at the airport upon landing, just 3-4 weeks after Ackah Law filed his immigration application.
Michael’s Story: Spousal Sponsorship
Michael is a psychotherapist with expertise in online content writing and management. He arrived in Calgary in December:
“We sold or donated everything that wouldn’t fit in a small box, and I drove here from Nashville with our 13-year-old miniature pinscher, Phoenix. It took her a few weeks to adjust but now its Phoenix’s home too.”
Michael worked with the Ackah Law team for his open spousal work permit and also received a 2-year Temporary Resident work permit.
Arriving in Canada for a pre-move visit, Michael encountered a few snags at the airport:
“Once you get your immigration approval by way of LMIA, Evelyn is very pro-active about what paperwork you need to cross the border, whether by plane or car. At the airport, the Customs Agent was having a bad day. He asked to see our marriage license - which Evelyn had told us to bring - but didn’t want to give me the Work Permit.
I gave him our immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah’s mobile number and said she is available 24/7 and she said I need to get the Work Permit at the airport. Once I said her name, he gave me exactly what I needed - Evelyn’s name carries a lot of weight.”
Michael is actively seeking work in Calgary but is impressed with the government-funded programs for recent immigrants. Career Connection at Bow Valley College has full services for immigrants looking for work that is completely, 100% free. Michael says once you enroll, you can just walk in at any time and to use their “unbelievable” employment services.
Easier Than We Thought
After Brian’s 1st contact with Ackah Law in August, Brian arrived in September in time to be involved with the Calgary International Film Festival and to meet patrons and supporters of the organization. The entire immigration process for Brian was 3 to 4 weeks.
“Ackah Law made it much easier than we thought it would be,” said Michael.
Brian and Michael Are Loving Life in Calgary
“It’s a beautiful city - we feel like we’ve lived here all our life. Before leaving the US, we sold our cars, and live steps from public transportation - its a very walkable city.
We’ve met people at the Anglican Cathedral Church, and have met many of our neighbors in the building. The snow is still a novelty: it’s going to be cold and we deal with it.”
Brian and Michael advise anyone who wants to immigrate to Canada:
“Call Evelyn Ackah! - she is worth every penny. They were our first friends here. We had a lot of questions and a lot of anxiety, and they were so patient and accommodating.
For other Americans thinking of moving to Canada, its easiest if you find employment first. Many Canadian companies are looking for very specific foreign workers - Americans - to fill jobs. I love this city and my co-workers; we were looking for a new opportunity and we couldn’t be happier.
We plan to work with Ackah Law again to apply for our Permanent Residence.”
Evelyn Ackah and the Ackah Law team loved working with Brian and Michael. Evelyn explains,
“I know first hand, it’s not easy to pick up and move your entire life to another country.
It’s a privilege to help bring wonderful people like Brian and Michael to our beautiful city, and see them contribute to our quality of life here in Calgary. Skilled, educated foreign workers are so important to the economic growth of Alberta and all of Canada. All of us at Ackah Law want to make the immigrant experience as smooth as possible for newcomers.
Whether you are moving to Canada to be with family, an individual seeking new career opportunities, or a business that needs to move employees easily across international borders, we work hard to make a very stressful time for our clients as easy as possible.”
Ackah Business Immigration Law wants to make Crossing Borders Seamlessly a reality – not just a tagline.
Evelyn Ackah is a US and Canada immigration law expert and founder and managing lawyer at Ackah Business Immigration Law. Business immigration law focuses on helping people move into new opportunities — both personally and professionally. Ackah Immigration Law helps you to navigate the complex maze of rules and regulations involved with Canadian, U.S. and international immigration law with confidence. Headquartered in Calgary and with offices in Vancouver and Toronto, Ackah Business Immigration Law provides legal immigration advice for those looking to move for work, education or personal reasons.
We provide expertise in all areas of immigration law ranging from corporate immigration to personal and family immigration matters. We provide comprehensive immigration services to clients around the world representing corporations, institutions, not for profit organizations and individual clients. As your immigration lawyers and paralegals, we provide you with timely and strategic advice relating to the constantly changing immigration laws and regulations.
Calgary: (403) 452‑9515 Vancouver: (604) 985‑9512 Toronto: (416) 643‑7177
North America: 1 (800) 932-1190