Your gateway to Canada


Immigration Newsweek

By Attorney Henry Moyal


Q. I live in New York and I have visited Canada several times. I am in the process of applying for my USA greencard but I am worried that it may take too long leaving me with nothing at the end. Can I apply for Canadian permanent residence at the same time as my pending greencard application?

A. Yes, there is nothing in the law that stipulates that you cannot apply for permanent residence in Canada if you have a pending immigration case in another country. Regarding the timing, it is something you will need to decide for yourself. Meaning, on average a permanent resident application filed in the USA takes approximately 16 months. I do not have the specifics of your greencard case. If you obtain Canadian residence and the greencard application is still pending you will need to find out from the USA immigration authorities what will happen to the application.

Q. I arrived in Canada just before Christmas. I consider myself to be highly educated and an asset to any company. I am planning to relocate to Canada and I have been in contact with some companies who are interested in hiring me. They have stated that they will employ me but only if I have a work permit or if I am a permanent resident of Canada. On the other hand, my elderly aunt requires a full time caregiver and some people have told me that I should just apply as a caregiver. Can I obtain a work permit while I am a visitor?

A. There are several issues here. Firstly, let’s tackle the caregiver option. Do you have caregiver training? The regulations require you to have at least six months of training as a caregiver. If you did not obtain that training prior to your arrival then it is unlikely that you will be able to obtain that training in Canada unless you obtain a student visa. Be careful and do not attempt to obtain the caregiver training as a visitor (without a student visa) because it will not be acceptable when you apply as a caregiver. Assuming you have the caregiver training and you are qualified as a caregiver, it is possible to obtain a work permit while you are a visitor. It will require some strategy and good timing but it possible by extending your visitor status and simultaneously applying for the work permit in the USA.

Let’s now explore the job offer at the company. It is a common dilemma: how can the company hire you unless I have a work permit but the work permit can only be obtained with the assistance of the company. There a different types of job offers. Some lead to permanent residence and some lead only to a work permit. Each has its own criteria but each will give you a strong boost and added points on a permanent resident application. Again, the job offer that leads to a work permit can only be processed outside of Canada. If you are interested in filing a permanent resident application, there is no need to file for a work permit as long as you qualify under the current regulations.

Q. I was married to a man when I was young in the Philippines. We separated over 20 years ago and I do not know where he is. I know that he married someone else and so have I. Can I state on my application that I am married to my current husband?

A. No. It appears that you married your current husband when you were married to another man. You are not legally married to your current spouse. However, if you have lived together for over one year you can file your application as “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 phone 416 733 3193 or email