Now It Can Be Told
The Other Good News: I can finally breathe and enjoy this good news without worrying that I might have to turn the job down after all, because:
As of 1:30 AM today, after a midnight trip down to the border with several hastily-assembled documents, I have a work permit that will enable me to stay in Canada and work at that job, until the Very Important Piece of Paper that will Enable Me to Land as a Permanent Resident (Which Despite My Obsessively Detail-Oriented Preparations For This Immigration And Move I Did Not Realize Was Very Important, And Thus Lost or Misplaced) is found by me, or replaced by the inscrutable veiled presences at Immigration in Buffalo.
This whole process has been much more nervewracking than I have perhaps let on. Immigration almost didn't even let me--or the 26-foot truck full of all our worldly goods--through the border last Monday because I was missing that important document. (They finally let me in on a visitor's visa, and RW imported all our goods as a returning Canadian citizen.) And tonight, at the border again, the Immigration Officer was very concerned that it was lost, though she ended up giving me the work permit after all.
I have called the main Immigration phone number, and been told regretfully that they can't help because the document was processed in Buffalo, not in Canada. I have called Buffalo, and listened to the recorded message stating that they do not respond to telephone inquiries. I have repeatedly faxed and emailed Buffalo, and received in reply only a single cryptic line stating that they will look into my case.
What made all this particularly harrowing was that, until the immigration officer waved aside my eagerly-proferred visa and demanded to see this piece of paper last Monday, I had absolutely no knowledge that it was essential in order for me to land. I have not been slapdash about this procedure: RW and I read all the guides and instructions carefully; we took months to assemble documentation and fill out the numerous forms; we had a lawyer check everything over. And once my passport was returned to me with the all-important Permanent Resident sticker attached, I kept track of its whereabouts at all times.
I vaguely remember receiving this other document, but if I'd had any idea of how important it was I would have filed it with my passport and never let it go misplaced for a moment. Instead, it got lost. It might be somewhere in our 180+ boxes...or it might have been inadvertently recycled in the mass purge of papers that preceded our move. We don't know, and we might never know.
We did a hundred things right, and we got this one thing wrong. And this one thing turns out to be the most important thing.
Somewhere in all those guidebooks and instructions there must have been the information that YOU MUST HAVE THIS IMPORTANT DOCUMENT IN ORDER TO LAND, YOU DOPE. But somehow I missed it. And this oversight is unusual enough that there's no simple procedure for doing something about it. There is a form to send in to Buffalo requesting a replacement copy of the document, but the form assumes that the applicant has landed already; apparently losing the document before you even immigrate is completely unheard-of.
In other words, I have the distinction of being, despite my 11-page list of Goods to Import and my meticulously labeled and indexed accordion file full of documentation, officially too flaky to become a Permanent Resident of Canada.
Well. At least I'm distinctive.