Your gateway to Canada


Immigration Newsweek

By Attorney Henry Moyal


Q. I read that if a person is a university graduate and has several years of work experience they are eligible to qualify as a permanent resident in Canada. I also read that an applicant does not need to have a sponsor to petition them and a person can apply on their own. Is that true? If so, how long does it take to process such an application. My old classmate is living in UAE and she told me that she has applied in 2007 and is still waiting. Does it really take that long and why?

A. There are two main issues to your question: eligibility and processing time. You are correct, under current rules an applicant can apply on their own merit without anyone’s assistance and qualify if they are under 50 years old, educated, fluent in English and with work experience. However, the processing time will likely be long for such “regular” applications as there are so many of them. It can certainly take several years to process depending on the embassy that is processing the application. It should be noted that an embassy can only accept to process a person’s application if the applicant is a national of that country or if the applicant has resided in that country for at least one year.

While some applicants at times prefer a long processing time (i.e. children to finish school, completing a work contract) there are other avenues available to expedite an application to about one year. Firstly, the most direct way to expedite a permanent resident application is to file the application via a close family’s sponsorship. In essence, the close relative in Canada will assist the applicant upon arrival and as such these types of applications are given provincial priority. It should be noted that the close family member must reside in a particular province for a certain period of time to qualify as a sponsor. There are several programs with separate rules. Examples are:

An applicant with a close family member living in Saskatchewan for at least two years will be eligible to file under that province’s family stream
An applicant with a close family member living in Manitoba for at least one year will be eligible to file under that province’s family stream. A first degree cousin is considered a close family relative in Manitoba.

The second most direct route to expedite an application is by having a job offer from a Canadian employer. Once the job offer is approved by the local human resources office in Canada, it serves as a ticket to expedite the permanent resident application.

Q. I applied for permanent residence about five years ago while I was living in the Philippines. Last year, I entered the USA on an H1B visa. Shortly after I came to the USA, the Canadian Embassy sent me a letter to attend an interview in Manila. I ignored it because I was here in the USA. I assume they just closed my file. I want to re-activate it. It seems that my company may not be in a position to continue my employment for two more years given the poor economy. I now want to immigrate to Canada. Will they be able to re-open my file?

A. I would have to say no. Firstly, if they called you for interview and you did not attend, they likely assumed you were no longer interested in immigrating and closed the file. Secondly, that file was in Manila. Do you really want to go back to Manila just for an interview? It is best to re-apply and file in the USA. From the information provided, you may be eligible for the fast track under the Federal Skilled Worker Category and you can be an immigrant in 6 -12 months.

Q. I entered Canada over a year ago as a live in caregiver. I have never stopped employment and I will be eligible to apply for permanent residence by next summer. I am now involved with a same sex Canadian citizen. My partner wants us to get married and for me to leave my employer. I do not know if that if best for me as I feel reluctant to file a same sex application. Will immigration refuse my work permit application when I renew it if they know I am married? Is it best to apply as a sponsored spouse or should I wait until next summer?

A. Since you have worked for over a year under the live in caregiver program you may wish to consider having both applications going on at the same time. I do not know if your fiancée will like that but it is probably in your best interest. That is, try not to leave the live in caregiver program unless you are absolutely sure of the marriage. While it is rare, if the sponsorship breaks down and you leave the caregiver program, you will have nothing left. I therefore suggest you get married and file the sponsorship but keep on working as a caregiver. On the other hand, if you have no reservations about the genuineness of the relationship, you can marry and file for permanent residence as a spouse of a Canadian and then change your current work permit to a visitor next time around.

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