Immigration Corner | Best option for same-sex couple
Dear Ms Powell:
I have been seeing a Canadian woman for the past three years and we are planning to get married. However, because of the current laws in Jamaica, we can't get married in Jamaica. My partner sent me an invitation letter so that I could visit her and get married in Canada, but I was refused a visitor's visa as they said that I didn't have enough ties to Jamaica.
I am a professional in Jamaica with a good job and I'm able to take care of myself financially, so I was surprised that I was refused since I have a USA visa. I just wanted to be with my partner so we can get married and she can sponsor me. It's getting to be very difficult as we spend so much money for her to visit on weekends as she only gets two weeks off at a time.
Can you tell me how we can get married so that she can sponsor me to go to Canada? You know what it is like for same-sex couples in Jamaica. I look forward to hearing from you.
I'm sorry to hear that you were not granted a visitor's visa to Canada so that you can attend your wedding ceremony. Did you plan the details of your wedding beforehand and provide a detailed explanation and proof of your upcoming wedding to the visa officer? The Canadian authorities are usually understanding when it comes to family reunification, and since your case is a unique one, they usually grant you at least a six-month one-entry visa.
Who can sponsor you?
You do not need to be married in order for your partner to sponsor you, as long as you have been in a serious committed or common-law relationship for a minimum of one year and have tangible evidence of your relationship, then your partner can proceed with an application to sponsor you.
In order for your partner to sponsor, you she would need to prove to Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that
1. She is in a serious, committed/common-law relationship with you;
2. She is single and not in a common-law relationship with someone else;
3. She has the financial ability to take care of you;
4. That she will be financially responsible for you and that you will not need financial assistance or become a financial burden to the government of Canada;
5. She has not sponsored anyone else within the last five years;
6. She has not declared bankruptcy and it is not discharged;
7. She has not defaulted on a court-ordered child-support payment;
8. She is not receiving social assistance, unless for reason of disability;
9. Neither you nor your partner has a criminal record.
SATISFY THE REQUIREMENTS
You indicated that you are a professional so there may also be other options for you. If you have a degree, are under 45 years old, and have a minimum of one year full-time work experience in a job as an accountant, administrative assistant, nurse, doctor, engineer, CEO, supervisor, or management position, to name a few, you could apply as a Federal Skilled Trade Worker under the express entry system.
Professionals or skilled trade workers who are able to satisfy the requirements are able to independently apply for permanent residence in Canada, and the application can be approved within six months. If you have a non-Canadian degree, you will need to get an Educational Assessment Report from one of the institutions approved by IRCC. A list of these organisations can be found on my Facebook page or my blog.
You will also need to sit an English language examination. The most popular is the IELTS, the General Training Examination that you would need to sit at the UWI. Once you have the ECA, IELTS results, work experience, and savings, you may apply under the express entry system as a Federal Skilled Worker to become a permanent resident in Canada. Since you have a common-law partner in Canada, you stand a significant chance of your application being successful, provided that you satisfy the other requirements.
I recommend that you consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer to provide him or her with full details of your case so that you can be advised of the best option for you and your partner.
- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars. Send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Immigration. Find her on Twitter: deidrespowell and Facebook: jamaicanlawyer. Call 613.695.87777.