August 12, 2009
Why Can He Not Work?
Q. My daughter married a young man from Scotland in August 2008. They were already engaged and planned to marry in 2010 when she finished upgrading her education. They had been back and forth each several times trying to get a work visa for him. They gathered the paperwork (for a sponsorship) required from Scotland and copies of other documents as soon as possible and provided them to the lawyer in December. They signed the final papers at the end of January 2009. They live with us and she works two jobs seven days a week to meet their expenses because he cannot work until he gets his visa. I do not understand why he cannot get a temporary work visa until this process is completed. How can we expect a man to sit around while his wife works and he cannot? It is very humiliating and I think our system should be changed. It’s very difficult for our family, especially my husband who cannot understand why he can’t work to support our daughter. Our families immigrated to Canada in the late 1700’s and my daughter has signed that she will support him for ten years. What more can we do?
A. I receive many questions from frustrated spouses in Canada who must work to support two or more people depending upon the presence of children while their spouse cannot contribute. The issue however is somewhat complex. As these are members of your family you are intimately aware of the genuineness of the marriage. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is not and thus must complete its due diligence. Otherwise, if a person who presents with a valid marriage certificate to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident could automatically obtain a work permit this would unfortunately lend itself to fraud and abuse. The problem is with the increasing length of time to process the applications. In principle, one may apply for a work permit at the same time as the In-Canada sponsorship application. The work permit though cannot be granted until the sponsorship is approved in principle. Very few applicants apply at the same time and spousal sponsorships which are given priority processing nonetheless require several months to receive an approval in principle. So like many things in life better resources would allow CIC to assess genuine marriages and common law unions more expeditiously so people could move forward with life in Canada. So file that work permit now and albeit not a perfect solution, it will save time. Good luck!