Common-law/Conjugal/Spouse Advice

Old Jun 21st 2011, 3:33 pm
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Default Common-law/Conjugal/Spouse Advice

Hi guys,

I'm hoping for a bit of advice here. Its been a rough day!!

So I've had the pleasure of working in BC for approx 3-4 years of the last 5. I've worked as a snowboard instructor, a food server, a revenue represenative and a landscape gardener.

I had an approved AEO come back in April however one month later the business changed hands and I have no relations with the new owner.

I applied for an IEC two months ago, when my old LMO visa expire, and got to the london stage only to receive a letter this morning saying it was refused (very unhappy face). It has been refused because the officer dealing with my case does not believe I will leave Canada by the end of the authorized period.

Originally I had hoped to return under the IEC work permit and return to work at the restaurant the AEO approved. That way I could continue with the FSW application.

Obviously this is no longer a possibility. So trying to move on -

I have been with my Canadian girlfriend since February 2010. We have lived together since August 2010. However her name is not on the lease. She has however been receiving all her "official" mail (tax stuff) to our address. We also set up a joint bank account but that did not happen till January 2011.
I left canada June 10th 2011, which at the time was only meant to be for a month while the IEC was being processed.

So at the moment we are approx one month short of the one year needed for common law. Plus i'm worried we don't have enough evidence to show "...proof that you and your common-law partner have combined your affairs and set up a household together."

Now the questions (sorry for the wall of text):
Assuming our evidence would be accepted; is common-law still what we would apply under considering in June and July I won't be with her? Would it then be conjugal instead?

With conjugal it says "you have maintained a conjugal relationship with your sponsor for at least one year and you have been prevented from living together or marrying because of:" does this mean that we have to marry if iits possible?

Any thoughts would be appreciated at this point.
Thanks
Al
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Old Jun 21st 2011, 3:42 pm
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Default Re: Common-law/Conjugal/Spouse Advice

You can't apply as conjugal - that's only for people that cannot live together for serious reasons (i.e. homosexuality is illegal in their home country etc). As you're currently living together, it hardly applies to you!

For common-law, you need to prove that you've been in a committed 'marriage like' relationship for at least a year, and living together. CIC are looking for stuff like joint rental agreement, bank account, insurances, wills naming each other as beneficiaries, life insurance with the other as a beneficiary etc. Basically, you need to show that you haven't just been housemates, but have 'combined your affairs' - stuff like her having her tax documents sent to the address unfortunately don't prove anything, and she could just be your housemate with that, so it really needs to be things in both names.

Assuming that you have enough proof that you are common-law, then you can just apply in a month's time when you'll have done the 12 months living together. By the time you've had your medical, got all your forms completed, etc, that would probably be the earliest you'd be ready to apply anyway.

So apply for PR as soon as you are eligible, and the only other possibility if you want to keep working whilst you wait for it, is to get your potential employer to apply for a LMO. This will still mean you can't work for a short period, but hopefully not as long as waiting for PR.

HTH, good luck.
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Old Jun 21st 2011, 3:53 pm
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Default Re: Common-law/Conjugal/Spouse Advice

At the moment I am in the UK and she is still in Canada. I came home June 10th to pick up my work permit, that never came.

So we're not living together right now. I have been forced to leave her because of visa issues.

As soon as she wakes up, i'll be calling her and i'm sure we'll have to start looking into her getting a work permit for the uk.

I guess my question is: because we've been unable to continue living together because of this work permit being refused and she can show she is being active in trying to come to live with me in the UK can we still apply as common-law?

Thanks
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Old Jun 22nd 2011, 8:51 am
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Default Re: Common-law/Conjugal/Spouse Advice

Hi all, Im having some issues with this too. Im a UK citizen and have been with my Canadian boyfriend now for 3 and a half years- however we met whilst both working on cruise ships, and have been working on cruise ships together ever since, but now I am back home in the UK and he in Canada. We have no evidence of living together as we lived in tiny cabins on a ship, we want to live together in Toronto but I need a visa to live and work- obviously. Would we be eligible for the conjugal partner visa as we have been unable to be common-law due to circumstances beyond our help? thanks in advance :-)
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Old Jun 22nd 2011, 9:31 am
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Default Re: Common-law/Conjugal/Spouse Advice

Originally Posted by sotla
At the moment I am in the UK and she is still in Canada. I came home June 10th to pick up my work permit, that never came.
Ah, sorry, didn't realise you were currently in the UK. If you've only come back briefly, that won't make a difference - you can be apart as long as it's not for a long time. So just apply asap.

Originally Posted by lbob
Would we be eligible for the conjugal partner visa as we have been unable to be common-law due to circumstances beyond our help? thanks in advance :-)
No, because you *did* live together! So you can't claim that you were unable to for serious reasons, which is what conjugal is for. What evidence do you have? Are their ship records of you sharing a room, or would you be able to get a written statement from your previous boss to that effect? Photos, emails, things addressed to both of you (i.e. invitations etc - doesn't have to be bills)?

The thing to remember is that for common-law it's not just having lived together, it's that you've 'combined your affairs', so basically you need to show that you were in a serious relationship rather than just being mates that shared a room. But iirc, you are currently applying for a WHV? So just use that year to live together and gather proper proof if you don't think you'd be eligible to apply yet.

HTH.
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Old Jun 22nd 2011, 9:38 am
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Default Re: Common-law/Conjugal/Spouse Advice

Thanks for the advice christmasoompa!!

To prove a serious relationship; presumably the officer who is dealing with the case will look at all the evidence to determin if you have "combined your affairs". I assume the more evidence the better.

We have a joint bank account; but we did not set it up until the start of 2011, simply because we did not need to. Question: Will the start date of the joint bank account, in the eyes of the officer, be the start date of our "combined affairs"? Or would he/she be open to having a long term, 'combined affairs' relationship without a joint bank account?

Thanks again.

Last edited by sotla; Jun 22nd 2011 at 9:40 am.
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Old Jun 22nd 2011, 9:44 am
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Default Re: Common-law/Conjugal/Spouse Advice

Originally Posted by sotla
Thanks for the advice christmasoompa!!

To prove a serious relationship; presumably the officer who is dealing with the case will look at all the evidence to determin if you have "combined your affairs". I assume the more evidence the better.

We have a joint bank account; but we did not set it up until the start of 2011, simply because we did not need to. Question: Will the start date of the joint bank account, in the eyes of the officer, be the start date of our "combined affairs"? Or would he/she be open to having a long term, 'combined affairs' relationship without a joint bank account?

Thanks again.
Depends what other proof you can provide. What else have you got other than the bank account?
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Old Jun 22nd 2011, 9:51 am
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Default Re: Common-law/Conjugal/Spouse Advice

Other than sharing the same address all we really have is the testimonials of all our friends, family and employers. As well as our landlord who is happy to write a letter on our behalf stating that we were a couple when we entered the property.

Flimsy?
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Old Jun 22nd 2011, 9:59 am
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Default Re: Common-law/Conjugal/Spouse Advice

Is that really all you've got - how about things like photos or receipts from shared holidays (showing only one bedroom), emails to each other, cards or invites addressed to both of you, wills naming each other as beneficiaries, utility bills, joint insurances (car?) etc?
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Old Jun 22nd 2011, 10:07 am
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Default Re: Common-law/Conjugal/Spouse Advice

We have photos, telephone records and an invite to a wedding for both of us. Utilities unfortunately are paid by someone else in the house, we dont have a car and I dont have a will, perhaps I should.

Presumably anything we do now wont count. Ie life insurance, wills.. etc??
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Old Jun 22nd 2011, 10:11 am
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Default Re: Common-law/Conjugal/Spouse Advice

OK, so the photos, telephone records, invite etc, will help. Emails? They'd be really useful at showing you are in a relationship (at least I assume so, depends on their content!). Plus get a statutory declaration done and notarized.

You're correct, anything you do now won't help, so all you can do is gather as much evidence as possible and try.

Good luck.
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Old Jun 22nd 2011, 10:21 am
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Default Re: Common-law/Conjugal/Spouse Advice

Thanks
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Old Jun 22nd 2011, 1:57 pm
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Default Re: Common-law/Conjugal/Spouse Advice

Originally Posted by sotla
We have photos, telephone records and an invite to a wedding for both of us. Utilities unfortunately are paid by someone else in the house, we dont have a car and I dont have a will, perhaps I should.

Presumably anything we do now wont count. Ie life insurance, wills.. etc??
Hi
I'm in a very similar position to you, although I will be able to prove a continuous year living together, albeit with one 2 week break due to me going to the UK. Thought I'd share what I am going to send.

Our landlord refuses point blank to add me to the lease - says he is not legally obliged to do so. All our bills are paid as part of the rent. I am going to explain this to CIC as part of the application. My partner supports me, as I cannot work, so I'm going to send copies of his bank statements for the 12 months to show he has paid the rent , food bills, car insurance, phone bills and everything we need for life for the last 12 months. In addition to this I will be explaining that I didn't have a Canadian bank account until Jan, but will provide statements for my UK bank accounts + credit card that detail purchases here, which will clearly illustrate that my partner is the one supporting us. We tried to get me added to his BMO accoutn, and then later to his Presidents Choice one, but both wouldn't allow it because I didn't have a SIN - I am going to add this reasoning to the application.
In addition I am sending 2 x wedding invites to us both (one for Sep 2010 the other July 2011). Plus piccies from us at the weddings.
Emails to and from each other illustrating our daily lives - I have one detailing us both trying to sort out my phone when we first moved intogether as it was part of his company program, but also just normal stuff like 'we're going to have pork chops for dinner tonight' or 'can you pick up some bread on your way home please'. It might seem mundane, but it shows we're not housemates.
Emails between myself and my aunt in Ontario detailing our visit to her a little after 2 weeks after i arrived + again at Thanksgiving. Also photos and emails we/she sent after the trip. Think it really helps to illustrate our relationship.
Christmas cards to us both + postcards
Valentine's cards and birthday cards we sent to each other.
I've downloaded a record of our Skype conversations but will use this mainly for proving how we maintained our relationship before I moved over. Same with emails and text messages.
Copies of both our driving licenses registered at the same address (albeit I only got mine in Jan...again, I just didn't need it because my partner uses the car for work). Plus anything else I have addressed to me/him. My name is on the Rogers bill and the car insurance. I also have some other mail.
Flight tickets from our Xmas trip to his parents - he paid, so again I shall be highlighting that.
Flight tickets to Montreal - my Xmas pressie to him. I'll be highlighting that.
Photos from stuff we have done together whilst we have been living together. Hockey games, basketball games, football games, Christmas parade, meals out - Ticket stubs etc. I've collected a lot of stuff!
Plus flight tickets, hotel bookings etc from all the trips we have taken.
I've amassed loads of stuff, and would rather send a lot than not enough. I realise we don't have things like the tenancy agreement, and am annoyed with myself that I didn't open a bank account sooner or change my drivers licence over, so I feel like i have to show other, perhaps more personal/emotional evidence, but I still believe it is valid.
Good luck.
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Old Jun 22nd 2011, 3:01 pm
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Default Re: Common-law/Conjugal/Spouse Advice

Originally Posted by victorfoxtrot
Hi
I'm in a very similar position to you, although I will be able to prove a continuous year living together, albeit with one 2 week break due to me going to the UK. Thought I'd share what I am going to send.

Our landlord refuses point blank to add me to the lease - says he is not legally obliged to do so. All our bills are paid as part of the rent. I am going to explain this to CIC as part of the application. My partner supports me, as I cannot work, so I'm going to send copies of his bank statements for the 12 months to show he has paid the rent , food bills, car insurance, phone bills and everything we need for life for the last 12 months. In addition to this I will be explaining that I didn't have a Canadian bank account until Jan, but will provide statements for my UK bank accounts + credit card that detail purchases here, which will clearly illustrate that my partner is the one supporting us. We tried to get me added to his BMO accoutn, and then later to his Presidents Choice one, but both wouldn't allow it because I didn't have a SIN - I am going to add this reasoning to the application.
In addition I am sending 2 x wedding invites to us both (one for Sep 2010 the other July 2011). Plus piccies from us at the weddings.
Emails to and from each other illustrating our daily lives - I have one detailing us both trying to sort out my phone when we first moved intogether as it was part of his company program, but also just normal stuff like 'we're going to have pork chops for dinner tonight' or 'can you pick up some bread on your way home please'. It might seem mundane, but it shows we're not housemates.
Emails between myself and my aunt in Ontario detailing our visit to her a little after 2 weeks after i arrived + again at Thanksgiving. Also photos and emails we/she sent after the trip. Think it really helps to illustrate our relationship.
Christmas cards to us both + postcards
Valentine's cards and birthday cards we sent to each other.
I've downloaded a record of our Skype conversations but will use this mainly for proving how we maintained our relationship before I moved over. Same with emails and text messages.
Copies of both our driving licenses registered at the same address (albeit I only got mine in Jan...again, I just didn't need it because my partner uses the car for work). Plus anything else I have addressed to me/him. My name is on the Rogers bill and the car insurance. I also have some other mail.
Flight tickets from our Xmas trip to his parents - he paid, so again I shall be highlighting that.
Flight tickets to Montreal - my Xmas pressie to him. I'll be highlighting that.
Photos from stuff we have done together whilst we have been living together. Hockey games, basketball games, football games, Christmas parade, meals out - Ticket stubs etc. I've collected a lot of stuff!
Plus flight tickets, hotel bookings etc from all the trips we have taken.
I've amassed loads of stuff, and would rather send a lot than not enough. I realise we don't have things like the tenancy agreement, and am annoyed with myself that I didn't open a bank account sooner or change my drivers licence over, so I feel like i have to show other, perhaps more personal/emotional evidence, but I still believe it is valid.
Good luck.
I think you are doing well with your supporting documentation. I wouldn't worry about the bank accounts and lease not being in both names, just explain the reasons why.

My OH and I applied common-law and we didn't have our joint bank account until we moved to Canada 10 months after we started living together in the UK. We just explained that we didn't see any reason joining our UK accounts when we were planning to move to Canada.

My OH is now a landed Permanent Resident so it worked out for us.
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Old Jun 22nd 2011, 3:12 pm
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Default Re: Common-law/Conjugal/Spouse Advice

Thanks or sharing you experiences.

I am slightly worried that our supporting evidence isn't as compelling as it could be. I just checked my emails - i've only received three from my OH ever. Insane!

This is the first time we've been apart from any length of time and neither of us work at a desk. I'm hoping I can get records of our text messages to each other, as thats where all our mundane daily communications will be.

All we can do is apply and hope its enough.
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