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Immigration Issues/sponsoring my spouse+kids into Canada

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QUESTION: Hello,

My wife and I met online about two years ago.  We immediately fell in love and got married on my first trip to Taiwan to see her in person.  (We got by through daily Skype sessions before that.)  Our wedding took place summer of 2011 in Toronto; was attended by 300+ guests including family from both sides. She returned home after honeymoon to continue full-time work in Taiwan while I remained in Canada, more on that in a sec.

We now have one newborn boy. Plan to have 1-2 more kids in the next 2 years.

Being a mature student, I am mid completing an bachelor's environmental engineering degree with 2 years "co-op" work experience under my belt by graduation( 2 years from now) and will likely have a small student loan of $15k to pay off then.  She has 4 years of medical school in Taiwan under her belt (didn't finish) and has been working full-time in Taiwan for the past 6 years as a life counselor (associated with the Church of Scientology) and has assets currently valued at over CAD $200k and likely to accumulate more over the next few years time.  Neither of us have criminal records nor debilitating or serious medical conditions. Lots of evidence to prove "genuineness" of our marriage--marriage cert, thousands of e-mail exchanges over the course of past two years, flight tickets to Taiwan, to Toronto, wedding + wedding photos + videos, children.  She also has an older sister in Ottawa (married to a Canadian) who has been a citizen since 2005.

Considering I plan to join my family in Taiwan for one more year after graduation before we plan to immigrate everyone over (3 years from now), I have a few questions:

1) WHEN is the best time to apply for sponsorship of her + kids?  Is now too early?

2) WHAT application should I use?

3) WHAT others things do you suggest I pay more attention to in the near future to make sure we get it right on the first application??

Michael
Toronto

ANSWER: Hi Michael,

Thank you for your question.  Congratulations on your marriage and your new baby. Regarding your question about WHEN to apply to sponsor your family, you state that you plan to join her in Taiwan after your graduation and stay for at least a year, you have a couple of choices.  But first I should ask if you are a Canadian citizen.  If you are, then your child has inherited your citizenship and you can apply for his citizenship now through the Canadian trade office in Taipei.  The instructions are here:  http://www.canada.org.tw/taiwan/consular_services_consulaires/living_traveling-v

So assuming you are a Canadian citizen, the answer to your first question leads to another question.  When do you want your family to come to Canada to be with you and settle in Canada?  Do you want them here during the next two years of your schooling?  Or, as indicated in your question, are plans to settle permanently in Canada likely 3 years away?  Unlike the citizenship certificate for your son which can be processed in Taipei, the application to sponsor your wife will be processed in Hong Kong.  Current processing times for this visa office are listed at 19 months.  It can be faster if your application is well prepared but you need to consider this time frame.  So likely you would want to apply to sponsor her about 1.5 years from now so that by the time you have completed all of your plans, your wife's permanent resident visa will be ready for you both to return to Canada and settle.

With respect to the applications to use, you can find the link to them here:  http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/fc.asp

You should note that if you are NOT a citizen of Canada but are a permanent resident, you cannot reside outside of Canada during the processing of this application.  However, if you are a citizen, you can reside outside of Canada but must prove your intent to re-settle in Canada once the PR visa is issued.

I will also provide you with a link to Overseas Processing Manual 2 for your research to see how visa officers assess these applications and what they look for.  Please see here:
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/manuals/op/op02-eng.pdf

I hope this helps.

Sincerely,

Roxanne Jessome, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
www.joincanada.com

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks Roxanne.  Appreciate the fast and specific reply!

Yes, I am a Canadian citizen.  

Yes, you are correct - we want to permanently settle in Canada 3 years from now.  

Would you also recommend applying 1 year from now (1/2 year earlier than you initially mentioned) to have some "breathing room" in case the first application is rejected for whatever reason then we would have another 6 months to prepare the next one?

Answer
Hi Michael,

No, I wouldn't recommend that.  I would recommend putting together a very thorough application that addresses any "red flags" about your relationship up front and shows lots of proof of our commitment to each other.  Hong Kong is not the easiest office to deal with so you might want to seek legal representation or advice but it's completely up to you.  If you feel that you can put one of these together in very complete manner that will leave a visa officer NO doubt about the genuineness of your relationship, then by all means do that.

I do these applications for clients a lot and I also do some volunteer work with people who choose to do them on their own.  I just provide some explanations of legal terms, and the intention behind some of the questions.  What I've found is that those people who invest a LOT of hours into researching how to prepare these applications in the BEST possible way before submitting their own will have an easier time and experience faster processing.  Since they are neither educated or trained in immigration law, there is a big learning curve to understand both the legal implications as well as the process.  I'm not trying to sell you an services here but since I am educated and trained in this area of law, I know the information that a visa officer needs to see, how the application needs to be organized and how much is "too little" or "too much" in these applications.  Even if you hire a representative, work will be required on the part of yourself and your wife.  It is a TEAM effort.  But the results for my clients have been very fast and positive thus far #knock wood#.  A well prepared application is EASIER for a visa officer to assess.  Now hiring someone does NOT guarantee you will have faster processing or a positive result.  It all depends on the facts of the case and frankly, the quality of the work provided by your representative.  

You do NOT want a refusal at all.  It's not as simple as getting refused and reapplying.  Do NOT even consider that as an option.  If that happened and you simply reapplied, you would be refused again unless you addressed the specific reasons for refusal based on changes in circumstances or information previously undisclosed.  So don't even think about that.

Sincerely,

Roxanne Jessome, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
www.joincanada.com

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Roxanne Jessome

Expertise

I can answer questions pertaining to Canadian Immigration laws, policies and procedures as well as Canadian citizenship.

Experience

I am a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant specializing in the areas of family classes (spousal sponsorships, parents and grandparents), economic classes (federal skilled worker, provincial nominees, Canada experience class), and temporary entry (temporary foreign workers, visitors) and permanent residency obligations and citizenship requirements.

Organizations
Immigration Consultants Regulatory Council of Canada Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants

Education/Credentials
Graduate of the University of British Columbia, Certificate in Immigration Laws, Policies and Procedures.

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