Moving to Canada advice

Old Mar 3rd 2021, 8:10 pm
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Default Moving to Canada advice

Hey all,

I was wondering if I could ask for some advice around gaining access to move to Canada. My girlfriend is Canadian, and we'd like to move to BC as soon as possible. There are a few options that I've found, but it would be great to get some clarity on some of the different visa options, and maybe any other routes that I might have missed.

First is Express Entry, I'm 32, I have a first class honours bachelors degree, and around 10 years of industry experience in software engineering and web development, as well as English being my first language and currently live in London, UK. I get 67 on the selection factor points and 425 on the CRS calculator. This seems quite low? How likely is it that I would get through express entry on this score? I have my english test booked for next week and I'm sending off my application for an ECA tomorrow.

Second is Common Law. Unfortunately, we don't have much proof that we live together, but we have some bills etc in joint names, along with a joint bank account. However I'm not sure if this enough. I'm looking into adding her onto other accounts such as insurance etc. Are there any key documents that would be key? I currently own my house and she lives with me without a contract etc, so we don't have a joint mortgage or leases. This has also been for less than a year.

Third I can think of is looking at provincial nomination with the express entry, however I need to secure a job which subscribes to this, along with juggling timelines when living abroad, so this seems a bit unlikely. Has anybody had experience with this process?

Does anybody have any advice in what I should do? The documentation on the different visa types are pretty overwhelming and I'm struggling to figure out what would be the best option for us, or if I'm likely to get any chance of moving based on these.

Many thanks
Will

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Old Mar 3rd 2021, 8:39 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Canada advice

You best (and most certain) route (IMHO) would be spousal sponsorship as common law (if you meet the criteria and can prove it to CIC's satisfaction). Your GF would also have to 'prove' intent to return to Canada. The up side is that there is no quota for spousal sponsorship, if you meet the criteria and get the forms and enclosures right, you are in.

Have you spotted the wiki section of this forum yet? A great piece on spousal sponsorship that will likely answer your questions about this route here:

https://britishexpats.com/wiki/Spous...lication_Forms

It used to take anywhere from 5 - 12 months from sending the pack off to getting the necessary approval, but that was pre-Covid, best to 'budget' on 12 to 18 months now I would guess.
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Old Mar 3rd 2021, 9:29 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Canada advice

Thank you for the reply Hurlabrick. Yes I came across that wiki, it is a wonderful resource and cleared up a lot of questions I had. My main concern about Common Law is that we don't have enough evidence right now to submit an application to prove we've been living together for a year. I will add her to extra bits now, but having to wait for year before submitting an application, then for another year for the application is tough to swallow. Do all the documents we submit need to prove living for a year, or are there any documents we could use that could show we are in a committed relationship?
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Old Mar 3rd 2021, 9:36 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Canada advice

Originally Posted by willjameston View Post
Thank you for the reply Hurlabrick. Yes I came across that wiki, it is a wonderful resource and cleared up a lot of questions I had. My main concern about Common Law is that we don't have enough evidence right now to submit an application to prove we've been living together for a year. I will add her to extra bits now, but having to wait for year before submitting an application, then for another year for the application is tough to swallow. Do all the documents we submit need to prove living for a year, or are there any documents we could use that could show we are in a committed relationship?
No not ALL documents need to prove it, but you need some good ones to establish the start date for 'the year', then some 'better' ones to establish that you are in a 'marriage like relationship' and that your financial affairs are intertwined. Joint account bank statements, joint council tax bills, drivers licences showing the same address, insurance policies showing the same address (cars, house etc.), joint energy bills etc. would 'prove' the start date. I am pretty sure I am correct in this, but others may well chime in (for me I was married, so didn't have to 'prove' the start of our relationship as such).

Alternatively, you could of course get married......

But hey, you are young, what's the hurry? Use the time to plan properly and build up your finances, the move will likely cost a lot more than you think.....
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Old Mar 4th 2021, 12:51 am
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Default Re: Moving to Canada advice

Hello and welcome to BE!
Spousal sponsorship will be the easiest way..

Do have a really good read over the various 'spousal' sponsorship sections in the wiki (both new and older) together with the requirements on https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration...ete-guide.html

You may find this of use - this is what they will look for, and how they assess how genuine a relationship is..
https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration...ationship.html

You will need to show that you have lived together 'as if married' for a period of a minimum of 12 consecutive months, without a break. In addition to the advice HB has given, you can draw up wills naming each other (a simple online one will be sufficient) - name each other as beneficiaries of any insurances you may have - name each other on any benefits or similar that you have from work; get letters from your family / friends, look through your photos to find pictures of yourselves together..

I would suggest having a good read of our wiki on the subject - together with the above links, then start documenting your relationship and filling out the forms in 'draft' so when you are ready to submit the application you have everything ready. It's not just the proof of residing together for a minimum of 12 months - you also need to document the 'progress' of your relationship over the years

Once you meet the required time of living together and submit, it may not take as long as you think. Once you have 1st stage approval (sponsorship approval - i.e. approval for your partner to sponsor you), you can enter Canada under dual intent and reside in Canada while you wait for your PR to be finalised (although you won't be able to work). https://britishexpats.com/wiki/Spous...d:_Dual_Intent

425 points won't get you in under Express Entry at the moment, unfortunately.. perhaps check your score and post back in case you are missing something..
An alternative may be to apply under one of the IT / Tech streams for Provincial Nomination - such as BC IT pilot project - what is your NOC?
https://www.welcomebc.ca/Immigrate-t...PNP-Tech-Pilot
or with a job offer from one of the designated employers in one of the Atlantic Provinces Skilled worker Pilot projects https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration...igibility.html

Shout if you need any advice, lots on here have been through the process.

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Old Mar 4th 2021, 12:57 am
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Default Re: Moving to Canada advice

Originally Posted by willjameston View Post
Thank you for the reply Hurlabrick. Yes I came across that wiki, it is a wonderful resource and cleared up a lot of questions I had. My main concern about Common Law is that we don't have enough evidence right now to submit an application to prove we've been living together for a year. I will add her to extra bits now, but having to wait for year before submitting an application, then for another year for the application is tough to swallow. Do all the documents we submit need to prove living for a year, or are there any documents we could use that could show we are in a committed relationship?
Presume your girlfriend is on a visa as you say she is living with you in the UK. Just being a visitor/tourist will not be sufficient to prove 'living together'
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Old Mar 4th 2021, 1:25 am
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Default Re: Moving to Canada advice

Originally Posted by SanDiegogirl View Post
Presume your girlfriend is on a visa as you say she is living with you in the UK. Just being a visitor/tourist will not be sufficient to prove 'living together'
Umm not necessarily so.. to the best of my knowledge for Canada Immigration spousal sponsorship purposes - as long as they are residing together 'as if married' for a minimum of 12 consecutive months it won't matter what visitor / tourist visa status she has in the UK (or anywhere else), provided they have proof of actually living together as if married.
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Old Mar 4th 2021, 5:58 am
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Default Re: Moving to Canada advice

OK thank you everybody, I'll look into adding her to other documents. One of the reasons why it is tough to swallow, is that she needs to go back next year for personal reasons, so having to wait a year before we can even apply might mean that we're doing distance for the amount of time the application is going through. The duel intent is interesting though, I'll take a look into that. Out of curiosity, on some documents it says that I would get PR after 3 years of being in the country on a common law visa. Is that true? Before then, would I need to acquire a working permit etc? Or would PR be granted when we get the common law visa approved?

Provincial Nomination was something I was looking at, and was definitely interested in. However from what I could see, to qualify for the tech pilot scheme, I would already need a job offer, is that correct? My NOC will be 2173 - Software Engineers and Designers, I thought that fact that I'm a skilled worker in this area might help me.

I did the CRS calculator again, and it's the same result. 425. This is going on getting top scores on english, no french speaking, a 3+ year bachelors degree, 3+ years of foreign work, no Canadian specific work experience or degrees.
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Old Mar 4th 2021, 7:48 am
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Default Re: Moving to Canada advice

Originally Posted by willjameston View Post
OK thank you everybody, I'll look into adding her to other documents. One of the reasons why it is tough to swallow, is that she needs to go back next year for personal reasons, so having to wait a year before we can even apply might mean that we're doing distance for the amount of time the application is going through.
Ah. That would be a problem. To qualify as common-law spouses your cohabitation must be unbroken, even a separate holiday or business trip can be an issue, so it wouldn't work if she's moving and you're not.

Originally Posted by willjameston View Post
Out of curiosity, on some documents it says that I would get PR after 3 years of being in the country on a common law visa. Is that true? Before then, would I need to acquire a working permit etc? Or would PR be granted when we get the common law visa approved?
I don't understand what you mean by 'a common-law visa'. She would be applying to sponsor you for PR as her common-law spouse - so you would be a Permanent Resident anyway. As a Permanent Resident you can work in any job, set up your own business, retire, study etc. Are you perhaps thinking of citizenship? You would be eligible to apply for that after 3 years of living in Canada as a PR.

Originally Posted by willjameston View Post
Provincial Nomination was something I was looking at, and was definitely interested in. However from what I could see, to qualify for the tech pilot scheme, I would already need a job offer, is that correct?
Yes, most PNP's will require a job offer.

Originally Posted by willjameston View Post
I did the CRS calculator again, and it's the same result. 425. This is going on getting top scores on english, no french speaking, a 3+ year bachelors degree, 3+ years of foreign work, no Canadian specific work experience or degrees.
OK, definitely not an option then as you're a way off the minimum scores unfortunately. I agree with everybody else, from with you've said spousal sponsorship is the obvious answer. As far as proof goes, you need to look at it from an immigration officers point of view and make sure you provide proof that you are in an a 'marriage like' relationship, and have 'combined your affairs'. So things like a rental agreement would be useful but don't really help in proving that - as it's something housemates would have too! So to qualify as her common-law spouse you need to think of things that housemates wouldn't normally have i.e. joint bank account, wills or life insurance naming each other as beneficiaries, named drivers on each others car insurance, personal stuff addressed to both of you at the same house as a couple (i.e. a wedding invite) etc.

Failing that, as above, a wedding would do the trick!

Good luck.

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Old Mar 4th 2021, 7:50 am
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Default Re: Moving to Canada advice

Originally Posted by Siouxie View Post
Umm not necessarily so.. to the best of my knowledge for Canada Immigration spousal sponsorship purposes - as long as they are residing together 'as if married' for a minimum of 12 consecutive months it won't matter what visitor / tourist visa status she has in the UK (or anywhere else), provided they have proof of actually living together as if married.
Yep, this. A lot of people go over as tourists to Canada to live with their partners for a year so that they can qualify as common-law spouses, it makes no difference for a Canadian spousal sponsorship PR application.
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Old Mar 4th 2021, 1:05 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Canada advice

Ah. That would be a problem. To qualify as common-law spouses your cohabitation must be unbroken, even a separate holiday or business trip can be an issue, so it wouldn't work if she's moving and you're not.
Yeah that's why I feel the pressure in terms of finding a way in time However in theory, when she does have to go back, I could go with her on a tourist visa. I could maybe even convince my work to allow me to work remotely from there for 6 months and carry on the common law process from there?

I don't understand what you mean by 'a common-law visa'. She would be applying to sponsor you for PR as her common-law spouse - so you would be a Permanent Resident anyway. As a Permanent Resident you can work in any job, set up your own business, retire, study etc. Are you perhaps thinking of citizenship? You would be eligible to apply for that after 3 years of living in Canada as a PR.
Ah I see my mistake now over PR and citizenship. Thank you for clarifying!

Yes, most PNP's will require a job offer.
Definitely going to try and explore this route, see if any employers in Vancouver would like a senior software engineer! It might be challenging finding one who would want to go through the PNP system, and also wait while I go through express entry with provincial nomination. I'd imagine most would only want employees who already have a right to work.

Thank you for your help everybody, the whole thing is overwhelming and anxiety inducing, but having you all here to talk through and answer questions has been a life saver.
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Old Mar 4th 2021, 1:08 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Canada advice

Originally Posted by willjameston View Post
Yeah that's why I feel the pressure in terms of finding a way in time However in theory, when she does have to go back, I could go with her on a tourist visa. I could maybe even convince my work to allow me to work remotely from there for 6 months and carry on the common law process from there?
That sounds like a good plan. As long as you're not taking a job away from a Canadian (i.e. you're working for UK employer) then that's fine, you don't need a work permit to do that.

Originally Posted by willjameston View Post
Definitely going to try and explore this route, see if any employers in Vancouver would like a senior software engineer! It might be challenging finding one who would want to go through the PNP system, and also wait while I go through express entry with provincial nomination. I'd imagine most would only want employees who already have a right to work.
Worth exploring, but that'll still take 6 months or so even if you can find an employer pretty quickly. So personally I'd get a common-law app in asap so that's at least underway.

Best of luck.
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Old Mar 4th 2021, 3:03 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Canada advice

Minor point worth planning for. IF you do come over under 'dual intent' and stay in Canada as a visitor, you will not be covered under Canadian provincial medical insurance while still on 'visitor' status. You would either have to arrange for your own medical cover or risk it.
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Old Mar 4th 2021, 5:13 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Canada advice

Originally Posted by Hurlabrick View Post
Minor point worth planning for. IF you do come over under 'dual intent' and stay in Canada as a visitor, you will not be covered under Canadian provincial medical insurance while still on 'visitor' status. You would either have to arrange for your own medical cover or risk it.
Another minor point also is won't be able to work for a Canadian company either and no guarantee will be admitted under dual intent or be given 12 months as a visitor. Yes he can do online work for the UK company as long as no Canadian clients as previously indicated by another poster.

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