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Canadian Immigration Questions & Answers with Attorney David Cohen

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Every month, Attorney David Cohen will answer a few general Canadian immigration questions submitted by our readers. Here are this month’s questions and answers:

On average, how much time does it take to prepare an application for the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

Most of the time taken to prepare an application under the Federal Skilled Worker Program is associated with collecting supporting documents. For example, the applicant is required to obtain an Educational Credential Assessment for all educational credentials obtained outside Canada. This usually requires the candidate to have the educational institution send copies of transcripts directly to the Assessment Agency. Similarly, applicants are required to take language tests to prove their language proficiency in English or French. How quickly a test is available varies depending on which test and which part of the world you are resident in. In our experience, applicants require between one to three months to gather documents. Once all required documents and forms are made available, an application can be prepared for submission in five to ten business days.

What are the pros and cons of inland verses outland sponsorship of spouses?

Inland Spousal sponsorship is only available if the sponsored spouse is physically in Canada. Outland sponsorship is always an option since an applicant has the right to submit an immigration application to the Visa Office responsible for their country of citizenship. One of the benefits of inland sponsorship is that the sponsored spouse is entitled to an Open Work Permit after the application has received first stage approval. However, there are many Visa Offices that process outland sponsorships in less than one year, whereas the total processing time for inland sponsorships is currently reported as 18 months. Moreover, if the spouse being sponsored on an inland application leaves Canada before the permanent resident visa is issued, he or she may be denied re-entry as a visitor. This would complicate the application as the applicant would no longer be physically in Canada and not in compliance with the program’s requirement.

Can I extend my temporary work permit indefinitely, or is there a limit?

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) imposed a four year maximum limit on work permits with effect from April 2011. Once a foreign worker reaches the four year limit, they must leave Canada for at least four years before they are entitled to work temporarily in Canada again. However, there are presently many exemptions to this limit. For example, people working in Managerial (NOC 0) or Professional (NOC A) Occupations or NAFTA work permits are not subject to the four year limit. In all cases, however, CIC has the right to refuse to extend a temporary work permit at any time if the officer reviewing the application decides that the foreign worker has become permanent and no longer has the intention to leave Canada.

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