Your gateway to Canada


Immigration Newsweek

By Attorney Henry Moyal


Q. I am an illegal immigrant in San Francisco. I was working as an engineer for many years in Qatar until I came to the USA to visit my ailing father. That was three years ago and he has passed on. I resigned from my job in the Middle East and I have not been back to the Philippines for over a decade. I do not know where to go and my status in USA has expired. I heard that there is going to be an amnesty for illegal workers but I heard that story for two years now that I do not feel that will ever occur. Can I obtain a visa to Canada?

A. One of the hottest immigration topics in Canada and USA the last few weeks has been the state of illegal immigrants in each country. In the USA, the current immigration bill includes provisions which permit illegal immigrants to obtain work permits and then permanent residence. While in theory the principle is practical, the logistics of same are not. As many are not aware, an illegal immigrant must fulfil certain criteria and then apply for the visa from their home country. In other words, those who have been illegal for several years now must return to their country of origin and be processed for permanent residence. It will be interesting to see how many would take advantage of these strict provisions if they become law. However, yhe current USA immigration bill is not even close to being passed and the senate is still in a deadlock and analysts have said that it will not even pass to the House of Representatives in the current year or even after.

In a similar fashion, the status in illegal immigrants are also in a state of uncertainty in Canada. The Canadian Federal Government has not mentioned any laws regarding an amnesty but recently they have halted deportations and have been in discussions regarding the shortage of workers in the construction and hospitality industries.

In my opinion, the lack of initiative of both governments dictate that you continue to process an application that you are qualified for now. Clients repeatedly tell me that the worse thing is the uncertainty. As such, as it seems that you qualify now, I suggest that an application for permanent residence be filed as soon as possible.

It should also be mentioned that the USA government is looking into changing its criteria on how one can immigrate. For the last few decades, permanent residence was obtained via employment or family class. Now, serious consideration is being sought to change it to a merit based system whereby applicants will be assessed points for their education, work experience, etc….Sounds familiar? The merit based system (or point system) is the system Canada has been using since the early 1990’s. It seems that after all these years the USA government is now turning to Canada to learn how good the immigration system and universal health care system work north of the border.

Q. My brother is over 30 years old but has been living with my parents his whole life. I want to sponsor my parents but do not want to leave him behind. He is an adult but has developmental delay. I am afraid that he will not pass the medical exam. If he doesn’t pass, what happens to my parents’ sponsorship?

A. A medical exam is required by all applicants who apply for immigration to Canada. If it is determined that a person has a disease that is dangerous to others or has a condition that will cause an excessive demand on Canada’s health services, the applicant can be refused for medical inadmissibility. Further, your brother must be determined to be a dependant child in order to included on the application. If he is not a dependant child, no medical is required and your parents’ application will likely be approved (assuming you meet the financial eligibility criteria for sponsors). It sounds like your brother may be able to meet the definition of dependency and will likely need to do a medical. You mentioned that he is the last one left in the Philippines. Therefore, if he unfortunately gets refused for medical reasons, it is suggested that you appeal immediately on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

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