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Spousal sponsorship advice - Canuck/Aussie [complicated!]

Spousal sponsorship advice - Canuck/Aussie [complicated!]

Old Aug 13th 2013, 7:22 am
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Default Spousal sponsorship advice - Canuck/Aussie [complicated!]

Hi All,

I'm asking this on behalf of a good friend of mine. Sorry in advance for this being a long [and complicated] post!

My friend Nat (27, F) and her fiancee Liz (36, F) met online about 10 years ago. They have oodles of emails and chats and skypes etc, kept in touch lots during this time. Other relationships during that time but stayed in touch. Nat is Canadian, Liz is Australian. No kids, no bankruptcies, no criminal histories.

(I know this is British Expats, but the processes are similar for Australia, and they just need a few opinions on what options they have!)

A year ago they decided to meet up. Liz went to Toronto to meet Nat, and they spent a month together and decided in that time they wanted to be together. Liz went back to Australia after that month, and Nat went to visit for 2 months (Nov and Dec 2012). Liz then visited Nat for 6 weeks in June/July 2013, and during that trip Liz proposed to Nat. Nat will be going to Australia in about 2 weeks on a 1-year working holiday visa.

Nat is partway through her masters, she's taking a break from it to go to Australia. Liz is a project manager in research and collections (museums)... that is, she coordinates research projects, writes communications, was an internal journalist for one of the Toronto museums this past summer.

So the question they are running into now is what to do come August 2014 when Nat's year in Australia is up. I've been talking to them about different options, but would appreciate a bit of advice from you guys around here. For reference, CIC has the outland processing time for family class applications out of Sydney at 11 months. They obviously want to minimise the time they have to spend apart, with one of them unable to work. Inland is the standard 16 months.

Option 1: Apply as common-law in August 2014, looking at having PR granted in August 2015 (outland) or December 2015 (inland).
They'd have the 12 months living together to apply as common-law, which helps to address that they haven't spent a ton of time together in person, but results in a lot of time that only one of them would be able to work.

Option 2: Same as above, but Liz gets an LMO/TWP
This still lives the common-law time... but I don't know enough about the LMO/TWP process to give any sound advice on how likely it is for Liz to get a positive LMO in her area of work.

Option 3: Get married in December 2013, apply as spousal, looking to have PR granted in December 2014 (outland)
This is their preferred option as it means Nat would only have to go the 4 months between August and December 2014 unemployed, however there is a question about whether getting married in December 2013 would raise other flags and cause more problems and delays.
(Nat could also come back to Canada in August 2014 to continue her masters, and then Liz would join once PR has been granted.)
Worth noting here, if they did do this option, they'd have a small ceremony (would have to go to NZ for it - no same-sex marriage in Australia) with family and close friends, and would have a larger "proper" wedding in Canada in summer 2015 once they were more settled (and could afford it!).

So that's kind of the view of things... I'd love to know what you guys think of the various options, how the marriage vs common-law situation stacks up, if there are other options that we haven't thought of (study was brought up, but the international tuition for Liz would be unaffordable, even with the option to work 20h/week).

Appreciate any thoughts/advice/input! Thanks!
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Old Aug 14th 2013, 9:25 pm
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Default Re: Spousal sponsorship advice - Canuck/Aussie [complicated!]

Have been chatting with Nat, she has another question:

"We are leaning towards Option 3. The worry we have is that CIC will get grumpy that we have gotten married rather quickly. Do you think getting married in December will cause us issues?

Also, someone told me that we can get married at the Canadian High Commission in Sydney, does anyone know if you can do that?"

(SchnookoLoly: I didn't think you could, but then was second-guessing so am looking for input here!)
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Old Aug 15th 2013, 7:09 am
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Default Re: Spousal sponsorship advice - Canuck/Aussie [complicated!]

If they've known each other for 10 years and can show evidence of their relationship, the wedding is going to be by far the most straightforward route. My wife and I were married within 15 months of starting to officially date, having known each other since we were 3 years old, and I'm sure there are a ton of people on here who have even quicker timelines from dating-to-wedding without the back history. Just tell them to start making a portfolio of information, evidence of Skype calls, e-mails, letters, etc., take photos of the wedding (we enclosed a photo showing everyone in the church who was there to witness ours), and anything else that shows the relationship is genuine.
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Old Aug 15th 2013, 7:31 am
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Default Re: Spousal sponsorship advice - Canuck/Aussie [complicated!]

They've known each other for 10 years, but only met in person last summer. So if they get married in December, they would only have known each other in person for about 1.5 years, and only about half of that in person. The wedding would be small, as that's all they could afford right now. They'd do a bigger "proper" one in Summer 2015 in Canada.

What do you think?
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Old Aug 15th 2013, 7:34 am
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Default Re: Spousal sponsorship advice - Canuck/Aussie [complicated!]

I think that they will see two people from first world countries with a back history and a marriage certificate, and will stop caring past that point... They have bigger fish to fry than married couples applying for residency, which is why they get processed so quickly.
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Old Aug 15th 2013, 8:22 am
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Default Re: Spousal sponsorship advice - Canuck/Aussie [complicated!]

Originally Posted by SchnookoLoly
They've known each other for 10 years, but only met in person last summer. So if they get married in December, they would only have known each other in person for about 1.5 years, and only about half of that in person. The wedding would be small, as that's all they could afford right now. They'd do a bigger "proper" one in Summer 2015 in Canada.

What do you think?
I think they 'should' be ok as they have known each other in person for at least a year - anything less than that 'could' raise a few questions.

From OP2:

5.50. Internet relationships

An Internet relationship alone, without other convincing evidence that the couple has established and maintained a conjugal relationship for at least one year and spent time together, will raise serious concerns as to whether a conjugal relationship exists. Conjugality should be assessed based on the elements of interdependency as set out in Section 5.26 above.

I think they will need to ensure that they can document the ongoing nature of their initial friendship and then relationship, to prove that it is established.

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Old Aug 15th 2013, 3:05 pm
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Default Re: Spousal sponsorship advice - Canuck/Aussie [complicated!]

If they wish to marry then that is by far the best route as there certainly seems to be a genuine relationship to support their application.
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Old Aug 16th 2013, 2:33 am
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Default Re: Spousal sponsorship advice - Canuck/Aussie [complicated!]

Thanks for your replies everyone, I've told Nat and Liz to have a read through this, I'll post back if they have additional questions.

Thanks times a million!
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