Your gateway to Canada


Immigration Newsweek

By Attorney Henry Moyal


Q. I came to Canada about 2 years ago as a visitor. Before leaving the Philippines I always intended on immigrating to Canada so I brought with me all my NBI police clearances, Master degree and work experience letters. I have over 10 years as a teacher in the Philippines. My mother is a Canadian citizen and she referred me to a consultant. The consultant reviewed all my documents and made me sign a form that I will apply for refugee status. My hearing was last week and I was refused. Now what do I do? All I want is to stay in Canada?

A. From the information provided, my opinion is that the consultant steered you in the wrong direction. It is mindboggling that there are still consultants out there who have the audacity to cheat highly skilled people like you and to convince them that the best thing is to file a refugee case.

You are highly qualified as a skilled worker and should apply as an independant. Filing a refugee case is probably the worst thing you could have done. If you would applied properly as an independant from the start you would perhaps be an immigrant by now.

Q. My wife and I are greencard holders in the USA. We were sponsored by our daughter who has been a USA citizen for two decades now. The problem is that our two other daughters are left in the Philippines and we all want to be together. My two children left behind are married and they could not be attached to our USA petition. I was told we could not sponsor our children and further that if my USA citizen daughter sponsored her siblings it would take about eight years. We do not want to wait that long. Can they immigrate to Canada where we can be closer to each other?

A. Actually, I heard that is takes about ten to twelve years for a USA citizen to sponsor a sibling ( I am not a USA attorney but I believe it is fourth preference). So, if you have information that is takes eight years, that is not bad considering US immigration. However, I must agree with you that it is still far too long a process. My suggestion is to have them apply for immigration to Canada if they are educated and have work experience. On average the case will take a few years and they will become immigrants of Canada. Once they are immigrants they can enter the USA easily and eventually become Citizens of Canada.

Q. Can you please explain the difference between Canadian immigrant status and Canadian Citizenship? How does one become an immigrant? how long does it take to become a Canadian Citizen? How easy can an immigrant or citizen enter the USA?

A. A person is able to obtain permanent residence in Canada several ways. Permanent residence or immigrant status or landed immigrant all mean the same thing and is equivalent to a greencard in the USA.

In order to become an immigrant one can apply for example as a businessperson or be sponsored or as a skilled worker. Once a person is a permanent resident, they still retain the citizenship of their home country and must show that passport plus immigrant status to enter the USA. Many people live their entire lives by remaining immigrant status and not becoming a Canadian Citizen.

After 3 years of being a permanent resident, an immigrant of Canada is eligible to apply for Canadian Citizenship and obtain a Canadian passport.

Q. How much does a person need to invest in Canada in order to become a permanent resident of Canada under the business category?

A. There are several types of categories embedded within the business category so it depends. For example, a self-employed individual does not require to show a specific net worth. A person wishing to enter as an entrepreneur does however require to show a net worth of at least $200,000US. The differences between the categories are complicated and it is suggested that you seek professional assistance from a qualified Canadian attorney before you proceed.

Q. If I have overstayed my visitor status in the USA can I apply for immigration status to Canada?

A. Yes. I need to know more about your background but in general, if you have no status in the USA, that does not bar you from applying for immigration to Canada. However, depending on your situation you may not be able to file the case inside the USA.

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