Immigration Corner | Hoping to escape Trump
Dear Ms Powell,
I'm an undocumented person living in the USA. I have a degree and several years' experience. Can I apply to become a permanent resident of Canada? I have a Canadian visa. Can I just go there and apply to stay? I just can't take the madness with Trump in the USA.
Canada has one of the most generous and efficient immigration policies in the world. Most of the individuals who are granted permanent residence are highly educated, have work experience as a professional or tradesman, and obey the law. Many professionals are able to become permanent residents of Canada, if they are able to provide the requisite proof and are not deemed inadmissible under Canadian laws.
To apply under any of the immigration programmes you will be required to show proof of your country of birth and if you are not currently residing in your country of birth, you will need to show documents to show the reason you are not residing in your home country. Most importantly, you will need to show that you are authorised to live in the country where you are.
Why are you undocumented?
You did not state the reason for being in the USA and the circumstances surrounding your undocumented status. There are several questions that you would need to answer in order for your situation to be properly understood and for any lawyer to provide you with advice.
What are the circumstances surrounding your presence there? Are you a refugee claimant? If so, what circumstances are you seeking refuge from? What is your birth country? Did you enter the USA as a visitor, worker or student and just stayed without applying for the requisite permit to remain? Have you ever submitted an application to the US immigration authorities? If so, what type of application and what was the reason your application was denied? How long have you been there?
You indicated that you have a degree and several years' experience. Where did you get your degree? If your degree is from a non-Canadian school, you will need to get an educational credential assessment report from an authorised institution.
In what field do you have your work experience? Did you gain this experience while you were in your country of birth? Was this experience as an undocumented individual? If you are claiming work experience in your particular field, you will be required to submit a letter from your employer to confirm the dates, salary, and duties while you were working there. Would your employer provide that proof?
If you were self-employed, you will need to submit proof of company registration, contracts or billings and also tax returns. There are programmes for self-employed individuals. To qualify as a self-employed person, you must have two years of relevant experience and show that you intend to become self-employed in Canada. This experience will need to be properly documented and legally registered in the country where the business is operated.
How old are you? Do you have relatives such as spouse or siblings living in Canada? How much savings do you have? Do you have experience operating a farm?
Finally, you should be careful not to act in breach of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations. So you should not just come to Canada on a visitor's/ temporary resident visa with the intention to "just stay and apply to become a permanent resident". Your motives for entering Canada may be scrutinised at the border and you could be prevented from entering Canada and risk not being able to do so in the future.
- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. You may send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put in the subjectline 'immigration'. You may also find her on Facebook.com/jamaicanlawyer or call 613-695-8777.