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Work and Study Permits

Why Cannot He Work?

Q. My daughter married a young man from Scotland in August 2008 on the advice of an immigration lawyer that a spousal visa was the quickest one to get. 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. As the lawyer requested, they gathered the paperwork 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, 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 may take longer for a refugee to get residency, but at least they can work immediately while they are being processed. I think this should be the same for someone who wishes to immigrate, especially in the case of marriages. After all, if he is denied and they have to move to Scotland the job is forfeit. Is there any way to speed up this process so he can be working before she returns to school in the fall? 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. You hit the nail on its head! We get so many questions regarding this topic, especially from frustrated spouses in Canada who have to work hard to support two people, when the sponsored spouse is not allowed to bring his/her own contribution to the table.

In principle, you may apply for a work permit at the time of the In-Canada application and the Immigration guide says that such a request should be assessed on a case by case basis. One can also submit both In-Canada Spousal sponsorship application and the work permit at the same time. Once the sponsorship is approved in principle, the work permit would be also approved. But very few apply at the same time for both. It is also true that spousal sponsorship is given priority processing and it takes approximately six months to receive the approval in principle. Once you have this, the applicant may apply and most likely receive the work permit. But, it is frustrating and you are right, probably the legislation should be changed


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