Your gateway to Canada


Immigration Newsweek

By Attorney Henry Moyal


Q. I am a caregiver who just arrived in Canada six months ago. I am aware that I need to work for another 18 months for a total of 24 months before I become an immigrant. The problem is that my work is very hard and my real passion is to work in a hospital. Both me and my husband in the Philippines are head nurses in our city hospital. Can I change my work permit to an immigrant visa?

A. Yes, you can. In fact, it is probably a good idea for you to start calculating the time frames it would take to become an immigrant. You mentioned that you arrived six months ago. There is not guarantee that you will accumulate 24 months of work within the exact same period of time of arrival. For example, what if you change employers or you are released? In any event, assuming you complete the program in two years that does not mean you are an immigrant immediately. You must then apply for permanent residence, complete medicals, family in Philippines also must complete medicals etc… On average you can add about 12 – 18 months to the processing.

Therefore according to my calculation it will take another 2 to 3 years to actually become an immigrant. If you are qualified as a skilled worker now (and it seems you are) then it is a good idea to look into filing a new application directly as an immigrant. It will save you time in the long run. If you can add a validated job offer you could be an immigrant in less than a year. With your reputable credentials it is worth looking into.

Q. I recently passed my interview and my immigrant visa was issued last week. I have another 8 months before I need to go to Canada. My wife is expected to give birth in April 2005 and I want to know how to add the baby to the application. My wife cannot fly at this time so it is not likely that she will land before the birth of the baby.

You have a problem. Read carefully because there are some options and perhaps you should consider professional assistance. In brief, because the visas are already issued then you cannot get them replaced and just ” add the baby” . If you do not land before the expiry date, then the file is closed and you will have to return the visas.If you have the baby and then inform immigration, the same is true. File is closed and you need to start again.If you have the baby and not inform immigration and then land…. this is representation and you will never be able to sponsor the child in future. For this reason it is always a dangerous situation when applicants give birth to a new child between visa issuance and landing.

Q. I am a failed refugee claimant. Can I still apply for an immigrant visa? If I return to the Philippines now will my refugee claim refusal be a negative factor in returning to Canada ?

A. Claiming refugee status from the Philippines is in general not a good idea. In fact, it is quite a bad decision. In 2004 ,. there were a total of 765 refugee claims from citizens of the Philippines and only 4% passed. ( Compare that to 3851 claims from citizens of Pakistan and an 81% success rate from Colombia ) . In any event, if you are deported you will not be able to return to Canada. If you have a strong case, it is indeed possible to return to Canada by filing an ARC application. Be ready to explain why you were so foolish to apply as a refugee. It is sure to be a question at your interview.

Attorney Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed Immigration Lawyer in Toronto, Ontario. The above article is general advice only and not intended to act as a legal document. Send questions in confidence to Balita or to Attorney Moyal by fax, mail or email