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Open Work Permit via spousal sponsorship in Canada

Open Work Permit via spousal sponsorship in Canada

Old Oct 3rd 2009, 5:38 am
  #1  
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Default Open Work Permit via spousal sponsorship in Canada

Hi All,

Here’s a bit of a long winded story with some questions at the end. I am really hoping someone on this great forum might have been in a similar situation and can offer some advise.

My partner Kathryn and I decided to come to Canada for a few years of adventure before returning to the UK to start a family. I didn’t think I would have a problem getting a work permit based on my engineering background. I run a company in the UK which specialises in Air Traffic Control Systems Engineering. Kathryn discovered she could get a work permit reasonably easily as she has 10 years experience as an Intensive Care Nurse. She found a job at St Pauls in Vancouver and started the application process in March 08. I decided that I wanted to switch careers and become a float plane pilot. I had a Canadian private pilots licence from a previous trip to Canada 11 years ago. After much research I decided that the best option for me was to enter Canada as a visitor and get my Commercial Pilots Licence and then apply for a flight instructor Visa. We entered Canada in Mid January 09. I competed my flying training in 4 months then headed back to the UK to attend a wedding. I returned on the 15th of June 09 and requested another 6 month visitors Visa in order to build hours towards my licence (you need 200hrs). My company is doing OK in the UK so I don’t need to work. I explained this to the immigration officer at Vancouver airport and he gave me another 6 months visitors Visa.

Through friends we discovered there was a better way for me to get a Work Permit.

This was: apply to change my status from Visitor to Open Work Permit as Kathryn’s common law partner. This would give me an open work permit. This works better as I could work for several flying companies or do something else if the pilot market was poor. It also seemed quite straight forward. We collected all the evidence that showed we were in a common law relationship for 20 months plus current evidence (joint mortgage on a house in Vancouver, joint accounts etc) and got the declaration of common law form notarized. I filled in all the change of status forms and sent them off to CIC Vegreville. They arrived there on the 24th of June.

About a week ago I received a letter from CIC Vegreville dated 2nd Sept stating “your application has been transferred to the CIC in Vancouver for processing”. I called the CIC helpline and a helpful gentleman explained that this usually happens when further investigation is required. I thought this was likely the result of my declaration of a minor criminal record from 11 years ago. The gentleman on the phone said it was unlikely that this was the source of the investigation as it was a minor offence (caution) and was over 10 years ago, hence rehabilitated. On the forms and covering letter to Vegreville I had stated everything to do with the criminal record.

He did some investigation for me and determined that the most likely cause for the investigation was a doubt over our common law status:

“If we were applying for an open work permit now why didn’t we apply as common law partners with Kathryn’s original work permit application?”

The reason is that we had only been living together for 8 months at the time of Kathryn’s application and we didn’t know that I could get an open work permit as Kathryn’s common law partner. My application went in over a year later when we had met the requirements for common law.

He said that the wait time for Vancouver to review my file would be 12 weeks (so likely to get a response sometime in December). He also said that it was highly unlikely that we would get called in for an interview or asked to provide further evidence. He said it was more likely that we would get a Yes or No answer.

So my questions are:

a) What are the chances of getting a No?

b) Is there any way of sending Vancouver CIC more explanation and supporting evidence which might improve our chances of a Yes?

c) Could we request an interview? I’m sure if we were to talk face to face with someone it would be obvious that we are common law partners.

d) We are going back to the UK at the end of November for 3 weeks. If we haven’t heard anything by the time we come back in December would I still get in as a Visitor (showing proof of funds and the letter from CIC Vegreville)? I had hoped to have the work permit by then.

e) Would a No cause problems accessing Canada in future?

If the final answer is No then we probably won’t fight it. Kathryn is happy to get home early to start a family and I’ll just be annoyed that I couldn’t fly float planes professionally. I now have my commercial licence and float rating.

Any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated to put my mind at rest and allow us to plan for next year.

Thanks,

Rory

P.S. Many thanks to Jim Humphries for his advice. I contacted him separately to see what he thought. Here is Jim’s (as always) worthy advise:
I do not see why you should be refused but there will obviously be
questions about the sincerity of your relationship due to timing of
the application. I think CIC Vancouver will call you for interview
before deciding what to do with you. You are going to the UK
shortly. I am sure your record will be available to the border
officers so be prepared. Do not try to mislead or misinform them.
If they decide no it will be on your record but would not affect an
overseas application. These are just my thoughts. JH
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Old Dec 15th 2009, 8:26 am
  #2  
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Default Re: Open Work Permit via spousal sponsorship in Canada

Hi All,

Here's an update. I'm in Vancouver and I have an Open Spousal Work Permit!

I didn't hear back from Vancouver CIC. I just went back to the UK with my partner for a holiday as planned. On returning we went to the work permit/ Visa desks at Vancouver airport and requested the open spousal work permit. We showed all relevant paperwork and after about an hour of questions, jokes and typing by the officer I received my open work permit. I’m delighted and surprised it was so easy. In fact I could have done this 6 months ago if Kathryn had been with me.
The lesson learned is that applying in writing with all the forms was the wrong thing to do. We should have just gone down to the States for a day and then come back and apply. The helpful immigration officer confirmed as much. When you can actually talk to someone things happen much faster.
I hope this helps someone else in a similar situation.

Rory
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Old Dec 15th 2009, 10:13 am
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Default Re: Open Work Permit via spousal sponsorship in Canada

Originally Posted by rodogs
Hi All,

Here's an update. I'm in Vancouver and I have an Open Spousal Work Permit!

I didn't hear back from Vancouver CIC. I just went back to the UK with my partner for a holiday as planned. On returning we went to the work permit/ Visa desks at Vancouver airport and requested the open spousal work permit. We showed all relevant paperwork and after about an hour of questions, jokes and typing by the officer I received my open work permit. I’m delighted and surprised it was so easy. In fact I could have done this 6 months ago if Kathryn had been with me.
The lesson learned is that applying in writing with all the forms was the wrong thing to do. We should have just gone down to the States for a day and then come back and apply. The helpful immigration officer confirmed as much. When you can actually talk to someone things happen much faster.
I hope this helps someone else in a similar situation.

Rory
For the honest application for relatively normal circumstances then "flag poling" is far less hassle than a written application but if it doesn't work you are kind of stuck in no-man's land. Also flag poling is only easy if one lives relatively near the US border. It could be a bit of a bore from Smithers or Fort McMurray!!
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