Should I return to Jamaica?
Dear Ms Powell,
I am a hard-working Jamaican man and my wife sponsored me to stay in Canada. She said I can't leave as I may not be allowed to return, and that could affect the application. I've been here over a year now and I can't work. I help out around the house, but that alone is not enough as my wife used to do two jobs and I can't do one.
My concern is that she is now pregnant and I can't sit around anymore. If I can't work, I may as well go back to Jamaica and work and send back the money for her, so she doesn't have to continue to work so hard. I know her family must be thinking it's not fair to her. Can you help us?
Persons who have already submitted an application for permanent residence under the Spouse and Common Law Partners in Canada Class (SCLPC) can now apply for an open work permit within Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced in December 2014 that it will begin issuing open work permits to qualifying spouses and common-law partners before the formal approval of your sponsorship application. You must have the same address as your sponsor and have a valid temporary resident status in Canada.
What is the procedure?
You should complete an Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker. This application may be done online, depending on the stage of your permanent residence application. Otherwise, the application should be mailed to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta.
You will be required to pay the requisite fee, submit a copy of your passport and provide details of your travels. You will also need to do a medical examination and answer pertinent security questions.
You will also need to state your qualifications and the kind of job that you would be seeking. If you have a job offer, then you should include that information in your application.
The application should be processed within four months and will be valid for two years or until your passport expires, whichever is earliest. Therefore, if your passport expires within the next year, I strongly recommend that you take steps to renew it before you submit your application to ensure that you maximise the time granted.
Continue to be a supportive husband, and I wish you and your family the very best here in Canada. Should you have issues or concerns about your application, consult privately with an immigration lawyer for additional information.
n Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with main office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, real estate, commercial, personal injury, family and administration of estates. She is on the roster of Mediators for Ottawa, Toronto, and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica.