Your gateway to Canada


Immigration Newsweek

By Attorney Henry Moyal


Q. I’m a Canadian born man who has met a Filipina online. We chatted for many months before we married in 2011 but we never met until my trip to the Philippines last winter. I want to sponsor her for immigration but I was told that we need to wait a few years to develop the relationship. We do not have any children and it is hard because my visits to see her are only for a short period of time. She is younger than me but we get along great. When is a good time to sponsor her and what should I expect to happen after the sponsorship is approved?

A. You can expect, at a minimum, an in depth interview by an immigration officer asking several questions pertaining to how you met and your relationship. There is no magic number as when you should file the sponsorship but waiting years to “develop the relationship” makes little sense to me. If the relationship is genuine and you can prove it then there should nothing to develop. If the relationship is still new and weak then you are likely going to be refused – especially if there is an age gap and you met on an internet chat site. Canada Immigration has become very suspicious of marriages of convenience and will not hesitate to refuse a case if they feel that the relationship was entered into in bad faith. If that happens you are facing an appeal which can take over a year to be heard in court. Therefore, make sure you use the new requirements for such spousal applications and obtain the proper legal advice before it is filed.

Q. I applied for permanent residence and added my spouse as my dependant. The Canadian Embassy is asking us to provide a record of marriage/certificate of no marriage. The problem is that my current spouse was actually married to someone else before we married. I agreed to marry him because his first wife disappeared and could not be found. I am afraid that his previous marriage will be a problem. Can we just file for an annulment now?

A. Filing for an annulment will not help your current situation. Firstly, an annulment can be costly and time consuming. Second, an annulment does not negate the fact that (a) your spouse committed bigamy and (b) your misrepresented yourself on the application by stating that your spouse is your husband when legally he is not. He is not legally married to you and is not your spouse. It would have been best to inform them that he was your common law partner in order to avoid this unfortunate scenario.

Q. My application at the Canadian Embassy has been ongoing for about 4 years. I’m a Certified Nursing Assistant. I know of several people in my workplace that filed their case one year ago and are already in Canada. Why am I forced to wait years and they get to fast tracked? I thought it is first come first serve?

A. In theory, your argument makes perfect sense. However, the problem is that laws changed in 2008. In that year, the minister announced changes that gave priority to several occupations. CNA is one of those demand occupations. As such, demand occupations are processed fast. The result has been that all pre-2008 cases were left in a backlog and the government does not have the resources or manpower to work both streams quickly. The result is that backlog cases are taking longer and longer to process. You may wish to consider withdrawing the old file and starting a new one under current laws.

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 phone 416 733 3193 or email