Your gateway to Canada


Immigration Newsweek

By Atty. Henry Moyal


Q. I am a nurse and currently living in Saudi Arabia in a worker’s compound. We cannot leave the compound unless we are accompanied by our employer. I work over twelve hours per day and it is not easy to simply travel to the Canadian Embassy to file an application. Internet capability is also difficult to get when I finish work. I have relatives in Northern Canada and they always encourage me to apply to come to Canada but I do not know what to do. From what I have read there are several types of categories but I am not sure what is best for me. Can you help?

A. I agree that most people find the application process to Canada overwhelmiing. There are so many categories, so many forms and many rules. As well, as soon as you think that you qualify for one category then all a sudden one requirement puts you in doubt and you look to another option. I also must admit that the requirements over the years have become more complex. There was a time when anyone, any skill or occupation had a good chance of coming to Canada. Nowadays, one must be very careful in selecting the appropriate category that mostly fits your qualifications and your goals.

As a start, you need to decide if you are seeking to enter Canada on a temporary basis or a permanent basis. In other words, do you want to simply visit or work temporarily in Canada or is your intention to live your life in Canada as an immigrant? If you are seeking to only visit Canada then you should obtain an original notarized letter of invitation from your Canadian relative/friend detailing your plans and your stay. You can then apply at the nearest Canadian Embassy. If you are seeking to work in Canada you must first obtain an offer of employment from a Canadian employer.

If you are seeking to become a permanent resident in Canada the applications become more cumbersome. While a job offer would help it is not always required. If you are an educated and skilled professional, it may be possible to apply without the assistance of an employer. In some cases, a relative in Canada can sponsor you depending on the place of residence and degree of relationship. If you have training caring for children or the elderly there is another option available – the live in caregiver program. This is a unique program which allows you to automatically apply for immigrant status after two years of work in Canada. It should be noted that most permanent resident applications are now centralized in Canada. In other words, regardless of where you live in the world, the application first must be filed inside Canada. It is therefore strongly suggested that you contact a Canadian lawyer living in Canada for eligibility and processing.

Q. I’m a live in caregiver in Canada. I arrived three years ago and recently completed my required work in order to apply for permanent residence. I was married in 2004 to a man for a short period of time. Shortly after our marriage, I went to work in Saudi. I have lost contact with him and do not know his address. When I applied for my work permit I stated I was single since I have never really felt married. I do not know what to now say to immigration when I apply for permanent residence. A friend of mine has told me to write down the whole story and explain it to Canada Immigration and perhaps they will forgive me.

A. They may forgive you but that does not necessarily mean you will be successful in obtaining permanent residence. They may have compassion for the innocent lie made when you applied for your work permit but Canada Immigration is not likely going to exclude a family member because you say that you can’t find your husband. The fact is that your spouse is still your husband. You are not divorced or annulled and therefore you are still legally married. If you are married you must declare your spouse on the application. Once he is declared he must complete his own application and undergo a medical exam. This is the law regardless of whether he is accompanying or non-accompanying.

You have stated that you cannot find him, so the question is how can he complete applications? The answer is that you need to strategize now because simply writing a letter to immigration explaining the circumstances will likely not be fruitful. If there has been marriage breakdown then you should consider obtaining a divorce. A divorce will exclude the spouse from the application. If you do not know his address then you can bring a motion for substituted service to satisfy the court. Remember, your spouse does not have to agree to the divorce – he only needs to be notified.

Q. I have been working in Canada as a medical lab technician for over one year. I do not have any relatives in Canada and my English level is moderate. I want to apply for immigration to Canada but my occupation is not on the demand list. I am also concerned that I will not have sufficient points to pass because my English level is not fluent. My employer has told me that he cannot extend my work permit indefinitely and that he prefers that I be a permanent resident. I do not know which approach to take. Should I marry a Canadian? Is that faster?

A. I am not sure if you are asking about marrying a Canadian because you are genuinely in a relationship or because you think that it is the easier way to become an immigrant. If you are not in a genuine relationship then do not marry and do not submit a sponsorship application. If you are in a serious relationship, then yes, a family class application will be faster.

Nevertheless, you do not seem to be aware that your occupation is not required to be in demand in order to apply for immigration. You have been working in Canada as a skilled worker and therefore you can apply directly for permanent residence now. Your English does not need to be fluent.

Q. I applied to sponsor my wife and the application was refused. I appealed and won. The file is being processed again but I just found out that my dependant daughter had a baby out of wedlock. Can I bring my grandchild to Canada with my daughter?

A. If your daughter is single and has a child you can add the grandchild to the application. However, since your child has a child you must meet the income requirements for the family size. When a person sponsor’s a spouse or child – no income level is required. In your case, you must meet the financial criteria (because you have a dependant child who has a child) or else you might be refused – and facing another appeal.

Attorney Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed immigration lawyer in Toronto, Ontario.The above article is general advice only and is not intended to act as a legal document.Send questions to Attorney Moyal by email or call 416 733 3193