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Immigration Newsweek

By Attorney Henry Moyal


Q. I have been an illegal immigrant for a few years now. I consider myself young, university educated and experienced with much to offer to the work force. I made the mistake of listening to too many people and before I knew it my status expired. I then tried to appeal and was refused. I am working “under the table” to feed my family and children. I do not want to live in this manner my entire life and want to legalize my stay. What can I do without being put in detention. My parents think that I am a permanent resident as I lied to them about my stay. I am too ashamed to tell them that I have no status all these years. I need your advice and would appreciate it if you did not contact immigration about my situation.

I find your letter quite interesting as it touches upon several areas and quite helpful to others in similar circumstances. I believe the utterly most important aspect of your letter (as least to me) involves the relationship between a lawyer / client / immigration. Some people are of the opinion that immigration lawyers are simply a branch of the immigration system and the government. This is not true. Immigration lawyers (as with all lawyers) are on your side. Immigration lawyers will not stab you in the back and contact the government to secretly deport you. Lawyers take instructions from their clients and act on behalf of their clients. Therefore, there is no possibility that I would ever contact immigration without your permission.

Secondly, you have mentioned that you are illegal and want to legalize your status. From the information provided, I can pinpoint a few options:

1. You have stated that you are working to support your family. Are you married to a permanent resident or citizen? If yes, it is possible that your spouse can sponsor you, regardless of whether you are illegal.

2. As an educated and experienced worker, it may be possible for you to apply directly as an immigrant. You do not need a sponsor. You also do not need to be legal to file the case. You do however need to qualify under the category.

3. If you are working at a company and the employer is able to demonstrate that your skill is in demand and cannot hire locally, it may be possible to obtain a work permit.

Finally, my utilizing some of your options it will be unlikely that you will be detained. However, by not acting fast you will eventually be caught. There is no way of knowing when immigration will come after you so timing is crucial.

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