Sat | Mar 23, 2019

Immigration Corner | Can I add my nephew to my application?

Published:Tuesday | October 9, 2018 | 12:07 AM
Deidre S. Powell
From an early age, human beings learn to appreciate comfort and will do whatever it takes to find and maintain it.
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Dear Miss Powell,

I have been saving and planning to apply as a federal skilled worker to Canada. What I want to know is, how much money do I need to have for myself, my nephew and my mother. Can I add them to my application? My nephew is like a son to me, as my sister died four years ago and so my mother and I have been taking care of him. Someone said that I need a lawyer to help me as this will not be a simple procedure. Do I need a lawyer? Or are there just online forms I can fill out? Thanks for your time.

- PI

Dear PI,

If you qualify to apply under the Federal Skilled Worker programme to become a permanent resident of Canada, you are only permitted to add a spouse or common-law partner and dependent children under the age of 21. You cannot add your mother to the application. However, you may apply to sponsor her once you are a permanent resident or citizen of Canada.

Since you have care of your nephew, you will need to formally adopt him before you begin the application for permanent residence in Canada. You will not be able to just add him to the application, even if he is under your care.

Where is your nephew's father? Is he alive? Will he grant you permission to formally adopt his child? If he is alive, is he a fit and proper father? If so, you may have a challenge and so you should discuss this with a lawyer. If he is deceased or unknown, then you will need to provide documents to prove this.

How old is your nephew? His age will affect your ability to adopt him formally and add him to your application for permanent residence. Anyone who is 18 years old may adopt younger relatives, and only children between the ages of six weeks and 18 years old are eligible for adoption in Jamaica. You must first complete a pre-adoption form, which is provided by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA). The CPFSA will conduct a home study to ensure that your home is safe and that you are a fit and capable parent. Your nephew will need to be less than 21 years old in order for you to be able to add him to your application for permanent residence in Canada. You will need proof of the formal adoption.

 

LEGAL ASSISTANCE

 

While you do not need a lawyer to assist you in the process of adoption or for application for permanent residence in Canada, I strongly recommend that you get one, as the process is not a simple completion of online forms. As part of the application process, you will get an adoption order from the courts in Jamaica which grants full custody and guardianship of your nephew.

Some people find this process overwhelming and, therefore, I recommend that you meet with a lawyer and take all supporting documents, such as the birth certificate for yourself, your sister and your nephew, and your sister's death certificate. You should also provide details about your financial ability to take care of your nephew.

Documents may include job letter, reference letters, bank statements, proof of ownership of home and any other property.

This list is not exhaustive, as you will be assessed on your suitability as a parent, and your lawyer will prepare you for evaluation by the CPFSA. As you reveal the finer details of your case, your lawyer will also advise you of the additional documents required.

Once the adoption process is complete, then you should speak to an authorised Canadian immigration lawyer about your application for permanent residence in Canada. You will need to ensure that you have a minimum of approximately CDN$16,000 available for settlement funds for you and your nephew. This money will not be taken from you, but the Canadian government will need proof that you will be able to take care of yourself and your child once you have both been granted permanent residence status.

- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada Bars, with office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, real estate, family, commercial and administration of estates. Submit your questions and comments via: email: info@deidrepowell.com. Subject line: Immigration. Tel: 613-695-8777, Twitter: deidrespowell Facebook: jamaicanlawyer.