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Q & A: Family Class or Skilled Worker?

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Q. I have a European fiancée who has post-graduate education but no experience in her field (history) and is fully bilingual in our two official languages (…and speaks a few more!). I’m a Canadian PhD student living on scholarships, research grants, and study related jobs. Although I have never been unemployed since the age of 16 and have paid all of my student loans, I still don’t qualify as an “adequate sponsor” in the eyes of our immigration officers since I don’t make enough money.

We live together for most of the year (a few months here and a few months over there) but I’m trying to find the best way to bring her here with the right to work while I finish my degree.

What are her chances of getting a permanent resident status as an independent immigrant?

Answer: The only means of qualification as a skilled worker applicant would be by claiming any post-graduate research work that she may have as work experience. Without experience, a skilled worker is otherwise inadmissible without arranged employment.

It is not clear from your message that any such research work exists. Even if it does exist, there is no firm policy on the inclusion or exclusion of such experience, and the results may vary by case.

If you can demonstrate cohabitation for one full year, then there may be a chance of sponsoring her as a common-law spouse, in which case evidence of employment may not be as critical. Canada’s present immigration laws do not presently account for the possibility of a common-law spouse. The Immigration Department, however, does recognize that such unions exist, and have implemented policies which may allow for immigration on the basis of such.

Initially such applicants are considered in the skilled worker (or another independent) program. If the applicant does not meet the requirements of such, then Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds are considered.

The proposed Regulations, expected to be effective June 28th, do account for such relationships, but do still require the evidence of cohabitation.