immigration lawyer andy semotiuk

I read with interest the following story in the Toronto Star:

Karla Piedrasanta applied in 2008 to bring her husband from Morocco to join her in Canada.

Despite a successful appeal two years ago that overturned an immigration officer’s decision to reject her spousal sponsorship, the Mississauga woman is still waiting for Abderrahim Chakir to be granted a permanent resident visa.

Amin, the child that Piedrasanta conceived during her last visit to Morocco in 2011, is already 19 months old and still has not met his father…

Citizenship and Immigration Canada said the couple’s application was held up after officials, in May 2012, “discovered that (Chakir) may have a medical condition that could pose a risk to the health and safety of Canadians, and would make him inadmissible to Canada.” It said no documents relating to their file have been lost.

“It was determined that Mr. Chakir has a medical condition that requires treatment. CIC has informed Mr. Chakir that once he can demonstrate that he has received treatment and that his condition no longer poses a risk to the Canadian public, CIC will reassess his medical file and his application,” a department spokesperson said.

Piedrasanta said her husband was asked twice to go through additional medical tests for tuberculosis, and she showed the Star results of both tests, which came back negative.

“He did all the bloodwork and saliva tests. He didn’t have TB and he doesn’t have TB,” said Piedrasanta.

This is an appalling delay. In my view the spousal sponsorship program could use a good overhaul. For example, many of us at Pace Law Firm have always wondered why it is that the spouse of a foreign student who is coming to Canada can get an immediate work permit, but the spouse of a Canadian sponsor has to wait some nine months before getting one.

Similarly, why should it be so difficult for spouses of Canadians to come to Canada in the first place? I believe that if the foreign applicant can show a bona fide marriage certificate, and can pass a local police clearance and medical exam, that spouse should be allowed to come to Canada on a temporary resident visa. Permission to work can then await further processing once inside the country.
Why should families have to wait years, like this family is waiting, to be reunited? In my view, a successful appeal should be grounds for immediate entry. Once here, these spouses can be vetted for the final aspects of their case to be sure everything is covered. But that work should be done while the foreign spouse is here – not outside Canada.
Finally, it should be possible for a couple entering Canada to declare at the border that they are going to apply inside Canada for processing of a spousal sponsorship case. As long as the foreign spouse can show a legitimate marriage certificate and has a police and medical clearance, that should be a no brainer.

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