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Questions about an American couple moving to Canada.
August 5, 2011 2:57 PM   Subscribe

American here, with spouse. Thinking of moving to Canada within 5 years, but retaining US citizenship (both of us). One of us has quite marketable skills, the other is on disability. Will one of us being on disability hurt our chances?? Where do we start looking to learn about this process? How long does it usually take? What can we do to increase our chances of making this change? Anonymous so that work and a few other people don't find out before we let them know.
posted by anonymous to Society & Culture (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Snagging a job in Canada and getting the employer to do some legwork on their end will help. But ultimately, your skills are your best bet for getting into Canada. In the experience of my brother in law, who brings people in from elsewhere in the world, the process can take 18 months.

Do check Citizenship and Immigration Canada (www.cic.gc.ca) for all the hairy details, though.

Good luck!
posted by LN at 3:14 PM on August 5, 2011


Hey! I just asked last week or so about moving to Toronto, and the helpful folks here told me about the TN visa. Not sure about the disability question.

Also your criminal history and level of education are factors as well, which I didn't know.

Link:

Hope it helps, or maybe you could memail some of those folks?
posted by polly_dactyl at 3:18 PM on August 5, 2011


I haz the stupid. Link:

http://ask.metafilter.com/191549/Living-on-the-Edge-of-Canadia
posted by polly_dactyl at 3:19 PM on August 5, 2011


It's very likely that one of you being on disability will hurt your chances. What you want to research is the "excessive demand" clause in Canadian immigration policy.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:02 PM on August 5, 2011


Your plan is totally doable, and I agree that getting a job in Canada and a work sponsored visa is the easiest way to go. I'm an American and moved to Australia on a work visa- the whole process only took 4 months. However, I'm single and I work for a research institute- generally, universities, institutes, and hospitals are more willing to sponsor visas than the private sector. You should probably start thinking of where you might want to work and start networking or building up connections in Canada. Look on the CIC website listed above for all of the immigration info you need, and what types of work visas allow you to bring a spouse.

I don't think one of you being on disability will impact your chances of moving or getting a visa, but it will likely impact you financially. As a condition of my visa, I had to buy private health insurance and show proof of it and I expect Canada has similar rules (i.e. their national health plan is likely for citizens only). I may be incorrect but I would assume that your spouse, as a non-citizen, would not receive disability payments from the Canadian government, and I don't know if American citizens living abroad are eligible- that's something you'll need to look into.

Good luck!
posted by emd3737 at 4:03 PM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you are a "professional" you may be able to gain entry under a NAFTA Visa - and once you are in, you can start the process of applying for permanent status. As for medical support (if your partner on disability requires it) - you are eligible for it a soon as you have legal residiency status.

I've worked in the US for a number of stints under NAFTA based visas - and the process has always been very straight foward. My last employer offered to get me my green card - but I chickened out and returned to Canada!
posted by helmutdog at 4:05 PM on August 5, 2011


Learn french. It's good for a few extra points.
posted by codswallop at 5:01 PM on August 5, 2011


their national health plan is likely for citizens only

This isn't the case. Our provincial health plan in Ontario, for example, is available to landed immigrants and permanent residents, so if they come here on anything other than a tourist, student or temporary work permit, ie, with intent to stay, they will be covered, and they will be subject to "excessive demand" as a result. Even long term work permits with non-immigrant intent grant health coverage.

That may vary by province, I'm not sure, but it's definitely not safe to assume disability won't hurt. It might not, but it probably will.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:17 PM on August 5, 2011


I am an American who has been living in Canada for the last 3 years. For me the process was pretty straightforward - got a degree at a Canadian university, which qualified me for the graduate work permit which is basically an open work permit allowing fresh grads to work for any employer for a limited time. Got a job with a Canadian employer which then sponsored me for a long-term work permit. Was then going to do PR but same Canadian employer is sending me to work in their NYC offices, that's life I guess. However the path from foreigner -> work permit -> PR -> Canadian citizen is very straightforward and I know a lot of people who have done it.

The easiest way would be to find a job with a Canadian employer and have them sponsor you for a work permit - it only takes 2-3 months as I recall and is fairly easy to do from their perspective (compared to H1B's in the US for example). The only downside is that you would then be locked-in with that employer for the period of your permit - if you wanted to switch jobs then the new employer would need to sponsor you, and I don't know what would happen if you were to quit or lose your job.

Also look into TN status, though as I recall you need to fit into one of several strictly defined professions and it might be time-limited.

Also you do get Canadian healthcare even if you're just on a work permit, at least in Ontario. The only hitch is that there is a 3-month initial waiting period. And it doesn't cover prescription drugs, dental, or vision so usually your employer would have a plan for those things just like in the US.
posted by pravit at 10:26 PM on August 5, 2011


jacquilynne: "their national health plan is likely for citizens only

This isn't the case. Our provincial health plan in Ontario, for example, is available to landed immigrants and permanent residents, so if they come here on anything other than a tourist, student or temporary work permit, ie, with intent to stay, they will be covered, and they will be subject to "excessive demand" as a result. Even long term work permits with non-immigrant intent grant health coverage.

That may vary by province, I'm not sure, but it's definitely not safe to assume disability won't hurt. It might not, but it probably will.
"

I'm an American living in Canada and it's the same in British Columbia. I don't know what kind of disability is involved, of course, but for what it's worth -- I was diagnosed with diabetes when getting a physical (required in your Landed Immigration application) and I was approved.
posted by deborah at 10:48 PM on August 5, 2011


The disability question won't even come up until you apply for permanent residence. That's when you go through the immigration medical exams. If you get a work permit, your wife can come too, and you're eligible for things like healthcare (in BC and ON at least--I'm pretty sure that's true everywhere).

But, yes--if/when you apply for permanent residence, part of that is an immigration medical examination of everyone applying. What that means is based on what the nature of the disability is. You can read all about it at cic.gc.ca. Good luck!
posted by criacow at 4:45 AM on August 6, 2011


If you're looking at permanently moving to Canada and don't currently work for an employer who would be willing to transfer you to a Canada-based office, you're most likely looking at qualifying as a skilled worker. The current federal regime has recently made changes to all immigration programmes to impose stricter limits, so even recent immigrants' experience may be out of date for you.

Start with the self-assessment test (a link is on the 'qualifying' page) and, if it seems hopeful for you, then look at what the current restrictions are on accompanying family members. It is possible for an existing health condition to prevent immigration to Canada, but not all conditions nor all severities are going to pull that trigger.
posted by thatdawnperson at 3:31 PM on August 6, 2011


To get a permanent resident visa all applicants need to have a medical exam by a designated medical practitioner (DMP). If you are on disability for some reason, whatever infirmity you have will be duly recorded by the DMP. The DMP sends their results directly to the visa office you applied at, assuming you're applying from outside Canada. The CIC website has all the details you need.
posted by thewalrus at 11:04 PM on August 6, 2011


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