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BUNAC --> PR via common-law sponsorship

BUNAC --> PR via common-law sponsorship

Old Jun 19th 2010, 11:00 pm
  #1  
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Default BUNAC --> PR via common-law sponsorship

Hello, everyone! I've been reading this forum for several months now and it's very helpful. Now I've signed up in the hopes of picking your collective brains with a somewhat detailed question. It's a lengthy beast, so thank you in advance for reading!

I am a Canadian citizen currently living and working in the UK. My boyfriend is a British citizen currently living in the UK. We are planning to move to Canada at the end of the summer (for the sake of this discussion, let's say 15th August); he has approval for a 12-month working holiday visa from BUNAC.

I would eventually like to sponsor him for PR as my common-law partner. Having just graduated from university this month, he has moved into my flat and will live here until we head to Canada. Because the BUNAC visa only lasts 12 months and PR sponsorship requires 12 months of continuously living together, we thought we should get a jump-start on the whole process and start our 12 months of officially cohabiting now so that we could apply for PR this time next year and still have a few months of a "buffer" between when we submit the PR application and when his BUNAC visa expires (we'd like to minimise, if not avoid all together, time during which he will not be able to work).

I am assuming that the 12 months of cohabiting can happen in more than one country as long as we can prove that it's continuous. Is that correct?

The problem here in the UK comes with trying to show that we've been living together as partners, not flatmates. We're going to sign a new lease together (staying in my current flat) for the remaining months here and I'm going to change my council tax status from single occupant to dual occupancy so it will at least be official that we are both living in and responsible for the flat. I am, however, worried that this won't be enough. Should I get him added to my bank account as well? Is there something else I can do that will assure the immigration officers that we have been living together as a couple? We have been dating for two-and-a-half years, so while we have some photos together and people who will happily vouch for us, I'm not sure that will help us in terms of proving cohabitation.

Also, to further expand the "buffer", when we arrive in Canada, he's going to ask not to have his work visa activated right away. For the first few weeks we'll mostly be trying to find a place to live and generally getting settled, then we'll head down to the States to visit some friends and get the visa activated on the way back. The hope, in theory, would be that the BUNAC visa would then be valid for something like mid-September 2010 to mid-September 2011 and we could apply for common-law PR in early July 2011. And then we would pray to the immigration gods that they'll process his application fast enough to get it back before the BUNAC visa runs out.

All of this is to say: Have people here found it especially difficult to get the immigration officers to allow you to enter as a visitor and then activate the work visa later? I know it depends on who you get, but I'm curious as to whether there is a general trend one way or another.

If you have gotten this far, thank you again for reading through everything!
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Old Jun 20th 2010, 5:17 am
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Default Re: BUNAC --> PR via common-law sponsorship

Sounds like a good plan. Things you could do while in the UK:
-get a joint bank account ... make sure you do the same thing when you arrive in Canada
-I'm assuming you at least have contents insurance on the flat you rent? What about auto insurance? If so, get him named on them.
-do either of you have life insurance? If so, name each other as beneficiaries
-all bills - electric, heat, water, phone, internet, cable etc - get as many as you can in BOTH names (both now, in the UK and once you get to Canada)
-give him (or he gives you or both) the 'additional cards' you can usually get for your credit cards
-keep all tickets etc from trips you take

None of this will *guarantee* anything. It will, however, be more "evidence" that it's a committed, marriage-like relationship, not just flat mates. The things that flat mates wouldn't normally do (bank accounts, credit cards, life insurance etc) might hold more weight than others, but it all adds to the whole.

You have the advantage that the relationship has been on-going for awhile now, not a last minute "gee, let's use this way to get a visa and go our separate ways" thing. Bunac has some restriction about having dependants when you get the visa, but I THINK, after careful reading of the terms when we took it out, it was when you GOT the visa, not after that fact. Which was where the loop hole came in allowing this process to work. Because you aren't common-law until almost the END of the visa, you meet the requirements when you get it.

As for coming as visitor and then hoping over the the USA and activating Bunac on the way back...we didn't do it so I'm not sure. I HAVE read of people on here coming as visitor and then activating it, but don't know any of the particulars. I'd say as long as you're willing to take the gamble that it might have to be activated when you arrive in Canada the first time, then there's no harm in asking!

Oh, and yes, I believe the time as common-law can be in different countries as long as it's continuous.
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Old Jun 20th 2010, 7:04 pm
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Default Re: BUNAC --> PR via common-law sponsorship

Originally Posted by Kynn
Sounds like a good plan. Things you could do while in the UK:
-get a joint bank account ... make sure you do the same thing when you arrive in Canada
-I'm assuming you at least have contents insurance on the flat you rent? What about auto insurance? If so, get him named on them.
-do either of you have life insurance? If so, name each other as beneficiaries
-all bills - electric, heat, water, phone, internet, cable etc - get as many as you can in BOTH names (both now, in the UK and once you get to Canada)
-give him (or he gives you or both) the 'additional cards' you can usually get for your credit cards
-keep all tickets etc from trips you take

None of this will *guarantee* anything. It will, however, be more "evidence" that it's a committed, marriage-like relationship, not just flat mates. The things that flat mates wouldn't normally do (bank accounts, credit cards, life insurance etc) might hold more weight than others, but it all adds to the whole.

You have the advantage that the relationship has been on-going for awhile now, not a last minute "gee, let's use this way to get a visa and go our separate ways" thing. Bunac has some restriction about having dependants when you get the visa, but I THINK, after careful reading of the terms when we took it out, it was when you GOT the visa, not after that fact. Which was where the loop hole came in allowing this process to work. Because you aren't common-law until almost the END of the visa, you meet the requirements when you get it.

As for coming as visitor and then hoping over the the USA and activating Bunac on the way back...we didn't do it so I'm not sure. I HAVE read of people on here coming as visitor and then activating it, but don't know any of the particulars. I'd say as long as you're willing to take the gamble that it might have to be activated when you arrive in Canada the first time, then there's no harm in asking!

Oh, and yes, I believe the time as common-law can be in different countries as long as it's continuous.
Kynn, thank you very much! I hadn't thought about contents insurance; I'll be sure to add him to that. I'll also look into adding him to my gas, electric, and landline bills. It's also helpful to know that I should make sure he gets a card for the shared bank account. (Once we're in Canada, I'm sure this will be a bit easier as we will put our names on everything together right away.)

And, yes, I triple-checked BUNAC to make sure we weren't doing anything illegal and that this plan would actually work. Since we've lived together for far less than 12 months and aren't even engaged, let alone married, all seems fine. :-)

I'll be curious to hear from more people about entering Canada first as a visitor, then going to the States, then activating the BUNAC visa on the way back. If it does get activated upon the first landing then we'll survive, but it'd be much nicer to have a little time before the 12-month clock starts ticking.
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