December 16, 2009
I Am a Municipal Pastor
Q I always enjoy reading your column in the 24H Wednesday edition. You give advice to people like me, so that we understand a little bit about these complicated procedures. I have a question about my situation in Canada: I am in Canada for almost 10 years and renewed my visa for all this time. I am a municipal pastor in a church and I would like to apply for permanent residency in Canada. What do I have to do?
A. To determine eligibility for permanent residency a number of factors are relevant. Do you hold a valid and subsisting work permit? How are you paid for your services? Are you on payroll? Generally speaking and assuming you have a valid work permit in Canada and are on payroll, the good news is that you should qualify for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). Although clergy is a distinct category and in most cases does not require a labour market opinion to extend status in Canada, clergy still qualify for the CEC class. Each case must be individually assessed but at the top of your to do list is to meet with a professional and ask if you qualify for the CEC class. If so, you will enjoy becoming a permanent resident without having to leave Canada. Good luck!