By Atty. Henry Moyal
Q. I’m a permanent resident of Canada. I landed in Ottawa, Ontario in 2005 and had a good paying job. In 2011, I returned to the Philippines to care for my ailing father and I have not returned to Canada since. During my stay in the Philippines I met a woman and we married a few months ago. I want to come back to Canada and bring my wife with me. Can I start the sponsorship now? I read that I must have a job to sponsor my wife but I resigned from my job long ago and I do not know when I will be able to land another job in Canada. Do I stay in the Philippines and sponsor? Do I need to return? Please help.
A. There are a few legal issues here. You have stated that you are a permanent resident of Canada and not a Canadian Citizen. As such, that triggers two important points. Firstly, you have a PR card that has an expiry date. You will not be able to board a plane with an expired card. To obtain a new card you must have been in Canada for two years within the last five. This seems to be a problem. As well, as a permanent resident you cannot file a sponsorship while abroad. You must be in Canada to sponsor your spouse (Canadian Citizens by the way can live abroad and remain abroad while sponsorship a spouse). Therefore, you need to return to Canada to file the sponsorship application and you can do so even if you do not have a job. The financial requirements are waived when sponsorship a spouse as long as you can demonstrate you are able to support yourself without collecting social assistance. In rare cases, your spouse may be able to obtain a visitor visa. If so, you can enter Canada together and then file the sponsorship from inside of Canada.
Q. I’m a nurse from Saudi Arabia and I already applied for permanent residence. My application is almost complete and my husband has completed his medicals and we submitted our passports. To our surprise, we just received a letter from the Canadian Embassy telling us that they want to refuse the application because they discovered that my husband was married to another woman before he married me. I did not know about this. I confronted my husband and he told me that he was under the impression that it was annulled. He has a document showing he filed the annulment. We have sixty days to give a reply so this is urgent.
A. I suppose the most important thing to find out is if the annulment was finalized and there is a final judgment. If there was a final order of annulment before he married you then this can be fixed easily. If however, there was no final order (regardless of whether he filed the application) then legally your husband committed the criminal act of bigamy (because he married a person while already married to someone else). If so, this becomes problematic because his inadmissibility becomes your inadmissibility that can render a refusal for everyone. I suggest you have a discussion with your husband on why he did not inform you of this, on whether you want to include him on the application and obtain professional advice on how to deal with this with the Canadian Embassy.
Q. I’m a live in caregiver and I already have my open work permit. I met a man during my vacation in Los Angeles last year and we recently married in Las Vegas. Do I need to add him to my application or should I sponsor him after I become an immigrant? If I need to add him how is this done?
A. You absolutely must inform the immigration authorities of the change of your marital status. It is crucial. You cannot become an immigrant until your husband completes applications and does a medical exam. Failure to do so will mean you will not be able to sponsor him in the future. To add your husband he must complete the generic application and send photos with processing fees.
Q. I’m a Canadian Citizen living in New York. I am in the process of sponsorship my same sex partner under the common law partner category. My partner was married before and has one child from that marriage. The child is ten years old and living in the Philippines with her grandmother. We have run into an obstacle because the father of the child does not want to sign any consent allowing the child to immigrate to Canada. How can we bring the child together on the application if the father refuses to give this consent?
A. In short, you have a problem. Under the Hague Convention the Canadian Embassy must obtain consent from the father allowing a child under 18 years of age to immigrate. The father must complete a special consent letter and provide his ID. In my experience the Canadian Embassy will not budge. Therefore, try your best to convince the father that it is in the best interests of the child. If the father does not consent then you must make a decision to perhaps leave the child behind, have partner immigrate alone and then sponsor child at a later date ( when father provides consent or when child turns 18).
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 email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free 1 888 8472 078