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Work and Study Permits

Can my girlfriend come to study?

Q. I am a regular reader of 24 Hours and find your “Immigration Advice” section of the newspaper very useful and educational for many readers, including myself. I want to thank you and please keep doing what you are doing now. I hope you could help me to clarify a few questions about Student Visa. I am a Canadian citizen, two years back I met a wonderful woman on-line who lives in South East Asia and we both formed a very strong relationship. A year ago, I tried to bring her to Canada under short stay visitor visa but unfortunately, her visa application was rejected. Now I am thinking of bringing her under a Student visa to study in a community college. Can I bring her under the student visa then marry her while she is inside Canada and process the legal papers for Permanent residence? Does her first visitor visa refusal affect her student visa application?

A. Visitor visas are very discretionary and people from South East Asia are often refused, as this part of the world is a pool of potential immigrants to Canada and the “risk” of the applicant not returning home after the visa expiry date is high. If somebody cannot demonstrate strong ties to the home country, most likely the visitor visa will be refused. Of course, your girlfriend can apply for a Student Permit, on the condition that she complies with the requirements for this type of visa, has the required funds, which are higher than for a permanent resident and is accepted in principle by a college or university in Canada. She must be truthful in her application and write that she applied and was refused a visitor visa. This should not affect her Study Permit application, as every application must be assessed on its own merits. Assuming she is approved for her Student Permit, in Canada processing for spousal sponsorship is permitted. Thank you for your questions.

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