Inland vs outland + other sponsorship questions (Jan 2021)

stewjohnson

New Member
Hey everyone,

I'm a British citizen engaged to a Canadian, both currently together in Canada, and we're trying to decide between inland and outland sponsorship path. I've read most related posts on here, reddit and other immigration forums but still unclear on best approach for our circumstances.

Background/Context:

We started dating in August 2019 (16+ months) while I was living in Beijing and she in Melbourne. We had multiple short trips over 3 months and ended 2019 together in Melbourne. I then never returned to Beijing due to COVID-19. We spent Jan-Feb living in her flat share (no bills/lease showing I was living there, but plenty of joint expenses, photos etc) and moved into our own apartment in March (joint lease). We used a joint bank account and accumulated plenty of evidence of our common-law status over 2020 (flights, hotels, bills, apartment lease for ~9 months etc)

We got engaged in September and decided to relocate to Vancouver in Dec 2020 for my fiancee's job. I entered Canada on an eTA (exempt from travel restrictions as her extended family member) and we just signed a lease on a Vancouver apartment. I have been employed by a Chinese company throughout this process, and plan to continue working for this company remotely from Canada.

I travel frequently for work (pre-/post-COVID) and don't need a new job in Canada, so was thinking outland application due to faster processing times and ability to leave/return to Canada on my eTA without affecting the application. However, with international travel 6-12 months away (at least) and outland processing times evidently much slower than usual due to COVID, I'm wondering if inland makes more sense. Also, I'm not completely sure of any legal implications of me working remotely from Canada on my visitor visa (even though none of my business activities / income is derived from Canada), so the OWP would be welcome (despite wait times).


My Questions:
  1. Inland v Outland: Which path makes the most sense for our application?
  2. Common-law v spouse: Do we meet common-law requirements or should we consider bringing our wedding forward / before applying?
  3. Working remotely in Canada as visitor/tourist: Less relevant to this post but would also welcome any insight into the legality of working remotely while I'm in Canada without a work permit (based on my circumstances above)

Thanks in advance for any help/guidance and here's to a better year than 2020...!
 

Riley Haas

Well-Known Member
Hi there, let's see if I can help:
  1. You're currently in Canada so inland makes the most sense in this regard. Travel is fine under "inland" provided your visa is still good and she comes with you. (If she isn't coming with you, that's an issue.) If you filed outland while you were in Canada and then left Canada I'm not sure whether or not you'd be let back in during the application process. (I personally don't know of anyone who has done this specific thing. But, if the border officer discovers that you are getting sponsored as you try to enter, there is a real possibility - perhaps a small one given your citizenship - that you would be refused entry due to threat of overstaying.)
  2. Common-law has to be 12 months minimum. You have 9 or 10, right? So either wait until you have 12 or get married before you apply.
  3. So this is the biggest issue: I would strongly suggest speaking to an immigration consultant (RCIC) or lawyer about this situation. If you are violating the terms of your entry this is a problem for any and all future immigration applications. Weirdly, despite this being a Canadian website, I have far more concrete knowledge of the consequences of this behaviour in the US than in Canada. Working under the table on visitor status for a Canadian employer is illegal, but I have no idea whether it's illegal if it's a foreign employer. (In the US, working in the States on visitor - i.e. tourist - status for a foreign employer is illegal, for example.)
I hope these answers help.
 

stewjohnson

New Member
Hi there, let's see if I can help:
  1. You're currently in Canada so inland makes the most sense in this regard. Travel is fine under "inland" provided your visa is still good and she comes with you. (If she isn't coming with you, that's an issue.) If you filed outland while you were in Canada and then left Canada I'm not sure whether or not you'd be let back in during the application process. (I personally don't know of anyone who has done this specific thing. But, if the border officer discovers that you are getting sponsored as you try to enter, there is a real possibility - perhaps a small one given your citizenship - that you would be refused entry due to threat of overstaying.)
  2. Common-law has to be 12 months minimum. You have 9 or 10, right? So either wait until you have 12 or get married before you apply.
  3. So this is the biggest issue: I would strongly suggest speaking to an immigration consultant (RCIC) or lawyer about this situation. If you are violating the terms of your entry this is a problem for any and all future immigration applications. Weirdly, despite this being a Canadian website, I have far more concrete knowledge of the consequences of this behaviour in the US than in Canada. Working under the table on visitor status for a Canadian employer is illegal, but I have no idea whether it's illegal if it's a foreign employer. (In the US, working in the States on visitor - i.e. tourist - status for a foreign employer is illegal, for example.)
I hope these answers help.
Thanks Riley, very helpful. I do plan to speak to an RCIC or lawyer ASAP. I saw a few recommended on Moving2Canada.com - do you have any other recommendations on how to choose? I think we're open to doing the application ourselves but would pay for reliable upfront advice on these questions.

Re common-law vs spouse, although we only moved into our own apartment in March 2020, the landlord is actually the same as previous flat share so I'm sure she could provide written attestation to the fact we were indeed cohabiting from Jan 2020. Do you think that would qualify us for common-law? We'd rather not rush our wedding for visa purposes but I'm equally wary of waiting until March/April due to inevitable processing delays during COVID.

Re inland vs. outland, my biggest concerns with inland were (a) processing time and (b) traveling during application process. Do you have a sense of processing times for both across 2020 (based on my UK citizenship for outland)? In terms of travel, this is linked to processing time. I am sure I could go 12 months from now without traveling without my fiancee, but if COVID travel restrictions lift I would need to travel to China and/or USA more frequently for work and my fiancee wouldn't be able to accompany me.

Thanks for your help.
 

Riley Haas

Well-Known Member
I can vouch for Doherty Fultz (second from the top). They used to be part of Immigroup and they're great at what they do. I know them both personally and highly recommend them. Immigroup has RCICs as well, of course. If you want to do the applications yourselves the thing you should do is complete it and then get a review from an RCIC or a lawyer (if a lawyer is willing) as that will save you money but also give you some assurance that you are not wrong.

But as for your situation with your work and your visitor status, I wouldn't wait on this. I'd get some advice now.

If you've lived together for 12 months and you can prove it then this should be acceptable. It's all about the interpretation of the person reviewing the application and you have to make it easy for them. You don't want to leave any mysteries or suspicions.

Processing times are awful across the board but online applications are being dealt with faster than paper applications. I don't know beyond that, and I suspect that, whichever process you choose, it will be substantially delayed. Sponsorship processing times don't appear to have been updated during the pandemic. I think it's highly unlikely that they take 12 months. People on https://www.canadavisa.com/canada-immigration-discussion-board/ crowd source this information and so you might be able to find approximate real processing times on this website. (Remember they're crowd-sourced and so a poor sample.)

Hope this helps.
 
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