Your gateway to Canada


Immigration Newsweek

By Attorney Henry Moyal


Q. I am currently in Canada with no status. I arrived over 3 years ago as a live in caregiver but was not able to apply for permanent residence because I did not accumulate 24 months of employment. My work permit has expired but I now have a new employer who wishes to hire me. Actually I have been working for her for the last 6 months. Can I re-apply for a new work permit in Canada? If not, where and what are my chances.

A. You are illegal in Canada and you are not authorized to work. As such, if the immigration department finds out you will not likely obtain a new work permit. A new work permit must be filed outside of Canada. In your case, in USA or Manila. If you file in USA you will be required to obtain a USA visa to enter that country which can be tricky. You need to remember that a work permit (like a visitor or student permit) are temporary visas and the applicant must demonstrate that they will leave Canada after its expiry. If you did not comply with the terms of the first issued work permit then it is possible that the next visa officer will not believe you that you will comply this time around.

Q. I entered Canada as a visitor four years ago. I obtained my immigrant visa two year ago. When can I apply for Canadian Citizenship?

A. To qualify for Canadian Citizenship a person must have resided in Canada for three years in the last four years preceding the application. Anytime spent legally in canada before permanent residence will count as half the time (up t one year).

Q. I live in California. I want my nephew to be closer to me and I am interested in having him immigrate to Canada. He is married. Both he and his wife are nurses in Dubai. We have several close friends in Ontario but no relatives. Since I do not live in Canada I am afraid I will not be eligible to sponsor him. Without a sponsor or a relative does he stand a chance?

A. Yes, he does. Actually, he stands a very good chance. I have recently returned from a business trip to Dubai. I experienced that there are several qualified Filipinos who are working for substandard wages and are highly qualified to immigrate to Canada. Even if you resided in Canada you would not be able to sponsor him. Canadian immigration laws does not permit siblings to sponsor one another but have more relaxed laws on allowing skilled workers to obtain permanent residence in Canada on their own merit.

Education and work experience are key factors in applying. Having a relative is not required. It appears that your nephew and wife (who are educated and working as nurses) have a solid case.

Q. I am engaged to a Canadian woman. We want to marry but there are two problems. Firstly, I do not have any legal status in Canada. Secondly, I was married before in the Philippines. There is no divorce in the Philippines and an annulment will take too long. I do not know what to do. Can I just say that I am single and marry my fiancée and then apply for Canada Immigration?

A. I will deal with the second question first. I do not advise you to lie on your marriage licence application. While it may result in a marriage that marriage is void since you did not have legal capacity to marry. Therefore it is invalid and is of no use to you. As well, upon applying for immigration the Canadian government will surely check with the NSO and discover the first marriage. After that your case will fall apart and be refused. So why go down that route.

You should consider obtaining a divorce. After that marry your fiancée and commence a sponsorship application. It may take a while but it is your only choice. If you have no status you need to implement the correct strategy.

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