Your gateway to Canada


Immigration Newsweek

By Attorney Henry Moyal


Q. My parents sponsored me and my brother to Canada over 10 years ago. I remained but my brother returned to the Philippines to care for our grandmother and family business. He only stayed in Canada for one year after obtaining his permanent resident visa and has not returned since. He now wants to return. He is now nearly 50 years old and does not know whether he should re-apply or whether he can reactivate his permanent residence.

A. It may not seem evident to you but in reality your brother is still a permanent resident. A person’s permanent residence does not simply vanish or evaporate after years of absence. A person remains a permanent residence until a final determination is made by immigration or whether he surrenders it. In this case there is no mention of him surrendering it so technically he is still a permanent resident. The question now is, how can he return to Canada ? If he is able to return to Canada and maintain residence for two years out of the last five years, then he should be fine.

The procedure is a little cumbersome. It sounds like he never obtained the new PR card and still holds the long paper IMM1000. Therefore, he cannot get on a plane. Therefore, he has a few options. He can apply for a travel document at the local embassy. The visa officer will likely see that he has been absent for so long and then refuse him. He can then appeal that decision and “reactive” his permanent residence if he has sufficient compassionate grounds. Secondly, he may be able to enter the USA if he has a USA visa.

Q. I applied for permanent residence in the year 2005 and I am still waiting for my visa. My children are getting older and my status in the USA is about to expire. How can I speed up the application? I checked on the government site and there is little information about my case. It only states that it is in process. Is anyone actually looking at my case?

A. You have not told me where the application is being processed. If you filed in the USA then there is a problem and you should immediately write to the office for information. The USA offices are more efficient and are working on 2005 cases. If you filed in Manila, then you need not worry so much. There is backlog in Manila and it is likely that they have not even looked at your case yet but will soon. Keep your mailing address current with them. The on line services in the government site is not very descriptive and does not provide up to date information. I would not rely on that exclusively but it is always a good idea to check is periodically.

Q. What is the fastest way to bring my sister to Canada. She entered the USA in 2000 and overstayed her visitor visa. Can she obtain a visitor visa to see me? She originally entered the USA to attend a medical conference. If we send her an invitation letter do you think she will get the visa?

A. I cannot make the final determination but in my opinion she will be refused a visitor visa. The Canadian Consulate in USA will see that she overstayed her visitor privileges in the USA so they will naturally think she will do the same thing in Canada. She will have better luck returning home and applying at the embassy in Manila. In the alternative, if you wish to apply for permanent residence (and not just as a visitor), I think she would have a better chance of success.

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