Immigrating from Cuba

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Immigrating from Cuba
« on: May 19, 2016, 10:52:43 AM »
Hi,

We have made many trips to Cuba over the last few years and we have become good friends with a wonderful Cuban woman who is very interested in immigrating to Canada with her husband and 1-year-old son.  They have visited Canada before and are keen to make a better life for themselves and their little boy.  The woman is a well-educated music teacher and accomplished pianist and her husband is a musician as well.  As internet access is difficult in Cuba, getting information and forms, etc. about immigrating is awkward.  We told them we would look into what steps would be involved in immigrating. Here are some of the questions I have…
 
1) Is it true that applying using the Express Entry process would be very tough, as it pretty much requires a job offer?  They could probably meet the language requirements, but the available funds (about $15,000 for a family of three?) would be prohibitive, too.

2) The three family members each have Canadian tourist visas that are valid until the end of this year.  Would it be worthwhile for them to use these and visit Canada to try to secure work?  Can a work visa or Express entry application be made while on a visitor visa to Canada? If not, would they then return to Cuba and try to use a job offer or their Canadian work experience and use the Express Entry route?

3) Would trying to get an open work visa be a good plan?  Any idea how difficult that might be from Cuba?  Does the Cuban government discourage such immigrations?

4) The woman has a mother who they would ultimately like to join them should they come to Canada.  Would the likely scenario be that if the family gets residency in Canada, then they could try to sponsor her to move to Canada?

I would be happy with any information you might be able to provide.  Thanks very much.

Dave

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Riley Haas

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Re: Immigrating from Cuba
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2016, 11:54:44 AM »
Hi there,
Let me try to answer your questions.

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1) Is it true that applying using the Express Entry process would be very tough, as it pretty much requires a job offer?  They could probably meet the language requirements, but the available funds (about $15,000 for a family of three?) would be prohibitive, too.
No, one does not need a job offer, but a job offer is worth 600 points, so it is a huge boost and, provided someone met all requirements, pretty much leads to a an Invitation to Apply (ITA). The minimum score for the latest draw was 534 points, so you can see a job offer is not required. The money issue would be a problem, for sure.


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The three family members each have Canadian tourist visas that are valid until the end of this year.  Would it be worthwhile for them to use these and visit Canada to try to secure work?  Can a work visa or Express entry application be made while on a visitor visa to Canada? If not, would they then return to Cuba and try to use a job offer or their Canadian work experience and use the Express Entry route?
Well, they can't enter Canada with the explicit purpose of finding a job, but if they had other reasons for coming to Canada, they could presumably look for jobs. You can apply for a work permit or Express Entry from within Canada or from outside.

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Would trying to get an open work visa be a good plan?  Any idea how difficult that might be from Cuba?  Does the Cuban government discourage such immigrations?
I don't believe they're eligible for any open work permits. Which one did you have in mind?

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The woman has a mother who they would ultimately like to join them should they come to Canada.  Would the likely scenario be that if the family gets residency in Canada, then they could try to sponsor her to move to Canada?
Only once they are PRs and I should warn you that parental sponsorship is an extremely competitive route to PR - the last few years, they have only accepted 5,000 successful applications and most of those are accepted within days of the program opening again, on the first business day of January.

Hope this helps!

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Re: Immigrating from Cuba
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2016, 09:13:43 AM »
Thanks, Riley for the information and your very prompt response.

Regarding Work Permits - does one need a job offer in order to get one?  Are there several different types?  Is there any status (work permit?) that allows for being in Canada and actively looking for work?  Would the Cuban government need to approve the work permit application?

Regarding Tourist Visas - are they typically for a certain number of months, and are they extendable?

Thanks for the heads up on the sponsorship aspect - I guess it can be tricky getting an elderly family member to Canada once one has PR.  Would our friend's mother probably not be eligible since I expect she doesn't have work experience or a job, educational credentials, and language skills?  Using sponsorship or otherwise, is there any compassionate grounds for enabling a mother to join her daughter's family?

Thanks again, you have been very helpful.

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Riley Haas

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Re: Immigrating from Cuba
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2016, 10:18:47 AM »
Hi again,
Yes, in most cases one needs a job offer for a work permit. There are very few exceptions, including International Experience Canada, which is not normally open to Cuban citizens.
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Regarding Work Permits - does one need a job offer in order to get one?  Are there several different types?  Is there any status (work permit?) that allows for being in Canada and actively looking for work?  Would the Cuban government need to approve the work permit application?
It's not that people are prevented from looking for work while in Canada, but they are prevented from working. (I have to say outright: working in Canada on a visitor visa is illegal.) And, moreover, if someone tries to enter Canada with a visitor visa and says "I'm here to look for a job" I can't imagine they'd be let in.
To my knowledge the Cuban government has zero say in any immigration matters regarding Canada, but I assume they could prevent the Cuban citizen(s) from leaving.

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Regarding Tourist Visas - are they typically for a certain number of months, and are they extendable?
Yes, they are typically for a given period of time, depending upon whether it's a single entry or multiple entry visa. The holder can't stay for more than 6 months at a time, or must leave earlier if the stamp says so. (A person might be admitted for 30 days - it's up to the officer at the port of entry.)

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Would our friend's mother probably not be eligible since I expect she doesn't have work experience or a job, educational credentials, and language skills?  Using sponsorship or otherwise, is there any compassionate grounds for enabling a mother to join her daughter's family?
Parental sponsorship is the compassionate grounds - there aren't skills requirements for these applications to my knowledge. There might be extenuating circumstances (persecution for example) but that's not something I know enough about. It's called H&C or Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds, and it's on a case by case basis.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Immigrating from Cuba
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2016, 11:34:13 AM »

Riley...

Thanks for your response... much appreciated. 

Regarding available funds for immigrants, I believe it is currently $18,617 for three family members.  Would that mean the applicant, her husband and 1-year old son, or would she be considered to have two family members?  Is there something, also, about needing to have that amount of money in the bank for six months prior?   

Thanks!

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Riley Haas

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Re: Immigrating from Cuba
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2016, 11:42:53 AM »
I believe it's 3 family members.

I don't know anything about a specific 6 month requirement, sorry to say.

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Re: Immigrating from Cuba
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2016, 12:15:53 PM »
Hi Riley,

I wonder if you have any advice regarding someone who wishes to immigrate to Canada and set up a small business as a music teacher?  Is there a category that fits this? 

Would any sponsorship or potential clients be required in an application?

Would the language, education, and financial resources ($18,600 for family of three) criteria apply?

Is there any service that one could talk to regarding options for someone such as this who would like to immigrate? 

Thanks very much.


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Riley Haas

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Re: Immigrating from Cuba
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2016, 12:34:24 PM »
Hi again,
There are two, sort of.
First, there's skilled worker, which they would apply under Express Entry for. It's education plus one year work experience. There is an elaborate points system: https://www.immigroup.com/news/express-entrys-comprehensive-rating-system
There is also a language requirement, part of the points system.

The second possibility is the "self-employed" stream. Here's why I'm not 100% sure it's a good option:
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Self-employed person means a foreign national who:

has relevant experience,
intends and is able to be self-employed in Canada, and
can contribute to Canada’s economy in one of the required areas.
Relevant experience for a self-employed person means at least two years of experience.

It must be during the period starting five years before the day you apply and ending on the day we make a decision on your application. The experience must be:

for cultural activities:
two one-year periods of experience in self-employment in cultural activities, or
two one-year periods of experience in participation at a world class level in cultural activities, or
a combination of a one-year period of experience described in A above, and a one-year period of experience described in B above.
From: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/business/self-employed/apply-who.asp#definitions
That's sure open to interpretation. What is a "cultural activity"? Does music instruction count? So skilled worker is probably the better option.

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Re: Immigrating from Cuba
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2016, 07:38:03 PM »
Hi Riley,

Thanks again for your responses.  I wondering if the educational route might be the best option for my friend.

If she were to get accepted at a Canadian university for a masters program, for example, she would be faced with high tuition fees and living expenses, that may be prohibitive. But if she was able to manage it...

Would she need to prove her financial resources for her family (husband and child as well) before being accepted? Would it be the $18K plus required by other programs? 

I understand she could work up to 20 hours during school and full time during off school times. Is it true that her husband would have an "open" work permit while he is in Canada?  Does such an open work permit allow him to work full time anywhere?

You have posted some good information on your site that talk about post education possibilities... thanks for that.

Thanks for whatever you are able to provide on these questions.

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Riley Haas

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Re: Immigrating from Cuba
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2016, 10:16:39 AM »
Hi again,
Off the top of my head, I don't remember the amount that she's required to show, but here's a page that explains how they evaluate the money issue: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/tools/temp/visa/intake/proof.asp

Yes, she can work 20 hours a week and now she can work anywhere she can get a job, not just on campus. (Also, if the program is more than a year, I believe she gets to work full time when she's not in school, but you might want to verify that.)

And her husband would be able to work anywhere he could get a job, yes. That's what "open" means in this case. (There are, of course, jobs that are not available to temporary residents.)

Hope this helps.

 

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