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September 1, 2009 1:06 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of using a shell company to hire my Mexican girlfriend, so that she can enter to Canada and be with me. What's the catch?

I have met the love of my life and want to help her enter the country. But of course, Canada has just enacted a visa requirement for Mexicans to even visit the country. She applied for a tourist visa and got rejected, on the grounds that she cannot support herself financially (a ridiculous assertion).

So, I am looking at alternatives. I know of people that, under Appendix 1603.D.1 of NAFTA, fall into special professional categories under which a work permit is automatically granted if one has secured a job offer. My girlfriend's qualifications are on the list.

I have a shell company in BC that I have used for contract work in the past. Can I use the company to offer my girlfriend a job? She would then support herself by securing contract work -- clients would be billed by my company and she would pay herself 100% of the revenue my company brings in. She is very good at her profession, so let's assume that it would not be difficult for her to establish herself financially.

What are the legal and tax implications? Has this ever worked? Might either of us get into trouble? Would I lose much money, say, through taxes?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
How is this less effort or risk than, you know.... marrying her? You can protect whatever needs protecting with a good prenup, and then you don't need to be all illegal or shifty about anything.
posted by rokusan at 1:10 PM on September 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

The "catch" is that if you get caught she gets deported and you can go to the big house. I don't know how likely it is that you'd get caught nor how likely it is you'd go to jail but that's the catch.
posted by Justinian at 1:27 PM on September 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

Ask a lawyer.
posted by dfriedman at 1:28 PM on September 1, 2009

I agree with rokusan. If you're already willing to put yourself at that much of a legal risk, it makes far more sense to get married.
posted by Diagonalize at 1:36 PM on September 1, 2009

Well, looking at it from another angle...if you decide to get married later, would this arrangement raise any red flags with Immigration (or whoever)? I think it would make more sense to either get married now or to ask a lawyer.
posted by cabingirl at 1:44 PM on September 1, 2009

Getting married is not a quick-and-easy solution. I would speak to an immigration lawyer. If you already have an accountant, ask them about taxes but maybe you don't need to mention that it's your girlfriend.
posted by kathrineg at 2:11 PM on September 1, 2009

I have met the love of my life

And she's met her ticket into Canada?

Please don't take this the wrong way, I'm not questioning your feelings. But I know two people personally and (more through friends) who have married their overseas ultimate soulmate, only to get the hightail as soon as the INS trial period was up.

If you both feel the same way for each other, then do this the legal way. Otherwise you stand a good chance of landing in some very hot water while your erstwhile vanishes into the mist.
posted by Aquaman at 2:33 PM on September 1, 2009

I don't mean to be dismissive: But he did ask for "alternatives", and marriage seems to solve a lot of immigration problems... and since this is "the love of his life, anyway... why not.

I would like a followup from anonymous-OP on how he does solve this. It's interesting.
posted by rokusan at 2:34 PM on September 1, 2009

Also, it is relatively easy for Canadians to move to Mexico. Consider an early retirement?

(Most of Mexico is very pretty.)
posted by rokusan at 2:34 PM on September 1, 2009

To qualify as common law partners you have to live together for at least a year and show that you have an established life together. My partner and I had a lease signed by both of us, so it was easy for us, but I've also heard of couples applying as common law based multiple six month visits. If you can take a year off or do your work from Mexico I would recommend going to live with her for a year.

I'm assuming she doesn't qualify as a skilled worker?

There's the self-employed person visa for certain categories of self-employment. Or the entrepreneur visa (if she can get $300,000 CA to bring to Canada to start a business).

If you're willing to support her she could possibly apply to a Canadian university and go to school on a student visa.

There's also a provincial nomination visa where you apply directly to the province where you intend to live but I don't know much about the criteria for that.

What you want to do could be legal- you'll have to talk to a lawyer. Definitely do not do anything that you wouldn't tell an immigration officer about though. If you're found out she can be barred from Canada.

Just a datapoint: I have also known someone who married someone from another country and was totally fooled until he ditched her after getting status.
posted by betsybetsy at 4:54 PM on September 1, 2009

Do Mexicans qualify for the TN1 Visa or equivalent under NAFTA?

If so, and if she has background in a field that qualifies, this could be an easy way to go. It is only temporary for a year (but can be renewed) and could get her foot in the door for something more permanent.

Not sure, just throwing it out there.
posted by Bueller at 9:09 PM on September 1, 2009

If she is the love of your life, marry her. It will save you a lot of fear, paperwork and time. This comes from a latinamerican girl who was in the same situation,. We got married, I got a job here, and everythign is fine and legal!
posted by Tarumba at 10:07 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

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