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:
Does the temporary foreign worker moratorium affect individuals already in Canada on a work permit?
On April 24, 2014, the Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) announced an immediate moratorium on the Food Services Sector’s access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Accordingly, ESDC stopped processing any new or pending LMO applications related to the Food Services Sector. Foreign nationals already working in Canada who have submitted an application to extend their work permit will have implied status if their application was submitted prior to the expiry of their present work permit. This means they will be able to remain in Canada and continue working for the same employer that appeared on their original work permit. They will continue to have implied status until a final decision is made on their application.
My partner of three years and I have been unable to cohabitate due to circumstances outside our control. Can I still sponsor him for permanent residency?
Under normal circumstances, “cohabitation” means living together with your partner. A couple must continuously live together in the same household or dwelling for at least one year in order to be considered common-law partners for the purposes of Canadian immigration.
There is one exception to this rule. The obligation to cohabitate may be waived if the couple has been unable to live together because of persecution or external restriction. For example, there are countries where homosexual relationships are forbidden and same-sex couples are not permitted to live together. In such a case, the couple may still be able to apply for immigration. However, the couple would still have to prove that they have been in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. If you have not been able to live with your partner for personal reasons (ie. you study or work in different cities), you may not benefit from this exception.
I am working in Canada on an LMO-based work permit. Can I use that LMO as a basis for an Arranged Employment immigration application?
On May 4, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) stopped accepting arranged employment opinions (AEO). Employers seeking to hire a foreign worker for a full-time, permanent position are required to apply for a labour market opinion (LMO). In addition to supporting a permanent resident (PR) application, the new ‘permanent duration’ LMO may also be used as the basis for a work permit (WP) application. An employer can now submit a request to ESDC for a LMO for:
temporary duration to support a WP application only;
permanent duration to support a PR application; or
a combination of permanent and temporary duration to support both a PR and/or a WP permit applications.
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