Your gateway to Canada


Immigration Newsweek

By Attorney Henry Moyal


Q. I entered Canada as a visitor recently and this peaceful, rich country has really impressed me. It is my first time outside the Philippines and although I have a steady and good earning job, I am thinking about make a life change and moving to Canada. I have many relatives in Canada and I work for a multinational corporation that has a branch in Canada. How long do you think it will take to immigrate? I cannot remain as a visitor for long and must return home so time is important. How long would it take to become a permanent resident of Canada?

A. We recently published an article on the ten most popular questions. Your question on processing time could have easily made that list. In other words, the question of “ how long does it take?….” is a big concern for many and a very common question. The answer however is not that simple. Processing times depend on several factors including place of processing, type of application, backlog at the embassy and proper completion of application.

While many are opposed to the immigration system in the USA, in my opinion the quota system in the USA is a little of a relief to applicants who are seeking to apply in a specific category. Applicants in the USA wait to wait for their priority number and applicants know ahead of time of how it will take (even if it is years). Canada does not have a quota system per se and it is unknown how many applicants are applying on a daily basis which obviously increases inventory at a particular embassy.

However, a few facts are clear:

1. Applications that are filed in the jurisdiction of the USA are processed much faster than in Manila.
2. Applications in the family class are processed faster than skilled worker applications
3. Applications that are filed with deficient documents or errors will be returned and delayed

Other than that, no one can determine with any scientific certainly of exactly how long an application will take. For example, we recently obtained visas for an applicant residing in the Philippines within six months. The six month clock started on the day the application was sent by courier to the date the visas were issued. Quite exceptional. In this particular case, there was no interview. In other cases, clients can wait much longer and face an interview. Having to attend an interview (which is determined by the visa officer) can delay a case as an applicant must wait in queue.

Q. How does Canada treat same-sex relationships? We are a same sex couple and we are interested in immigration to Canada.

A. In general, Canada permits same sex relationships the same as heterosexual relationships. You have not indicated if you are being sponsored or whether you are both non-Canadians. I will deal with both scenarios. If one of you is a Canadian Citizen or permanent resident, then that person (the sponsor) can marry you (in a jurisdiction that permits it) and then file an application on your behalf. The same sex marriage is acceptable in Canada. If you do not wish to marry but have lived together for one year, then the sponsor can sponsor you as a common law partner.

If both of you are non-Canadian citizens/residents then one of you must qualify as a skilled worker. If so, the other partner will be a dependant and included on your application on the condition that you are married or common law partners.

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 fax, phone or email