MyCanadian spouse had to move back, how to rejoin?

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Subject: MyCanadian spouse had to move back, how to rejoin?
  OK - here´s the story:

I fell in love with a Canadian citizen four years ago, and we married almost a year ago. He was living and working in the USA at the time. Two years back, I began to study to be a nurse. The plan was that he´d live and work in the US until I got my nursing degree and successfully had that transferred to Canada. Then we´d both move up together.

Then, a few months ago, he developed heart problems on top of his chronic, unidentified autoimmune condition (which had already been going on for years). At the same time, he got laid off, so his American health insurance ran out. Since he was in and out of the Emergency Room, we started running up big medical bills, which we couldn´t afford since I was a poor student and he was unemployed. We both decided he should move back up to Canada to get back on to the free health care system. I stayed to finish out my school term and to research how I was going to join him, and found a full time job as well so I can earn money towards the bills and the immigration fees. He´s been pretty sick since he got back to Canada (flu), but when he gets better, he´ll do the same.

I was about two years away from finishing my nursing degree, so no transferable skills there yet.

My thought was: at the end of the school term, or when I´ve saved enough money to cover expenses, I´d go for my six-month-long visit to where he is (the Yukon) and then apply for jobs, get a job offer, get my work permit, then save towards immigration fees and start that process.

However, in my French class the other day, several people who had relatives who applied for Canadian citizenship in the past told me that if I applied for a work permit before I became a permanent resident, I´d have a lot of trouble getting my residency. This scares me since I know it takes at least six months for that to go through, and I wouldn´t be able to live with him during that time since we can´t afford for either of us to be unemployed for that long. Besides, with his health, I´d prefer if he didn´t have to be the only breadwinner.

I´m also scared because the immigration process might take longer for me since I have some criminal charges (all dropped, no convictions) mostly from my days as a protestor/activist, but all in all I was arrested four times and am worried that will hold up the works.

On the plus side, I already have a Bachelor´s degree, am a top-notch student, and have years of history working with children and the disabled. Also, my last arrest was six years ago.

I would love to do this all the exact right way, and am looking for advice on where to go next, and also for stories about similar situations and what it took to resolve them.

I´d also really love to know, for planning reasons, how long these situations took to work out!

Thank you all in advance, and thank you for reading.

[19-04-2009,15:43]
[***.225.67.88]
Serena
how to rejoin (in reply to: MyCanadian spouse had to move back, how to rejoin?)
Work Permit - may not be easy only because a work permit is technically a temporary status but the fact that you have a Canadian spouse sort of implies your intent is not "temporary". But if you do have an employer who is willing to go the distance to secure a Labour Market Opinion to hire you - you can come here and work - and your husband can apply to sponsor you from within Canada. However, you may encounter the same admissibility issue (see below).

Spousal sponsorship (from outside Canada) - takes about 8 months to a year in total (with no complication). Your spouse is eligible to sponsor, as long as he is not on social assistance, for other than disability.

Admissibility: The only complication with your application are the arrests ... charges may be dropped but I believe you still have to list it on the application and if that is the case, you will be made to jump through hoops to get official documents pertaining to all the arrests and officer will assess it to the equivalency to Canadian Criminal Code (for example, just because an Act is non-indictable in the States, doesn´t mean it is not in Canada). However, it is better to be upfront and attached the relevant records with your application ... if the officer is satisfied that your arrests will not deemed you "inadmissible", you may not have to apply for criminal rehab (more cost and time added to application). If criminal rehab is necessary, you may be looking at closer to 2 years for the application to be finalized.

[19-04-2009,18:12]
[**.59.144.88]
PAL
Thank you Pal, and one more question (in reply to: MyCanadian spouse had to move back, how to rejoin?)
Thank you. Your answer was very helpful, because at least I have a few ideas about how to proceed now. Tomorrow I´m going to get on the phone and start figuring out how to get my arrest records.

One more question: if I decide to go the work permit route, and find a company willing get a Labor Market Opinion to hire me, how long might that take?

I´d rather be in Canada, with my husband, waiting for residency than outside it!

[20-04-2009,01:58]
[***.225.67.88]
Serena
how to rejoin (in reply to: MyCanadian spouse had to move back, how to rejoin?)
Labour Market Opinion (LMO) - Depending on the job, the employer has to post the position for a period of time - anywhere from 2 weeks to a few months, depending on the job and labour market situation in that province. Only and only if the employer can´t find any Canadian after meeting some pre-established criteria (advertisement, pay, etc), the employer can file for a Labour Market Opinion to go out of the country for a foreign national to fill the position. Here is a good link to research on this: http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/workplaceskills/foreign_workers/temp_workers.shtml. And there are some occupations that are exempt from work permit ... it´s on the site.
Once the employer file an application for the LMO, it may take up to 3 months, depending on the work load. Once the employer gets the LMO, he / she will forward a copy to the prospective employee ... and the employee will start the application process ... check out http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/apply-who-eligible.asp#inside. Good luck Serena.
My personal opinion: Given the time it may take for employer to be eligible to apply for an LMO, and then to get the LMO, and you to apply for a work permit, you might be half way or three-quarter along if your husband starts the sponsorship process now. Out of Canada applications are generally processed much faster (without complications), and spousal type application are always a first priority.

[20-04-2009,18:31]
[**.59.144.88]
PAL
(in reply to: MyCanadian spouse had to move back, how to rejoin?)
An outland application only means that the application is processed by an office outside of Canada. You can wait in Canada while the outland application is being processed, you are here on a visitor record which means you can´t work, but you are able to be with your spouse in Canada.

In most cases it is about 7 months and this would be about how long it is going to take you to get through the process of getting a work permit. Also note that you have to find someone who will hire you and prove in this current economic climate that there is no Canadian that can do the job. That is going to be very tough.

[21-04-2009,01:49]
[**.156.10.181]
Carrie
hopefully? (in reply to: MyCanadian spouse had to move back, how to rejoin?)
I know...hopefully the job market is a little better in the Yukon than it is in the rest of Canada. Does anyone know anything about that?
[21-04-2009,03:22]
[**.57.114.154]
Serena
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