I am a Canadian citizen. My ancestors immigrated to Canada more than 500 years ago. I even have some Native Canadian blood. I BELONG IN CANADA, RIGHT? So, why is it so difficult to get my legal spouse into the country?
Don’t get me wrong. I love my country. More so than I did before I became an expat and moved to Kuwait for six years. I have learned to appreciate my country more than I ever did before as a result of living abroad. I am glad I left the safety of my home because I met this Syrian man that I never would have met if I had not come here…
Why is it that I now feel the Canadian Immigration system is keeping me in exile?
Two and a half years ago – about 8 months after meeting my husband and 6 months after we got married, I decided I was ready to go home and take my new husband with me. We blithely applied for a visitor’s visa for him assuming that it would be possible to begin the immigration process from inside Canada. We quit our jobs and sold our beautiful new Landcruiser and some of our belongings on the sincere belief that – since the Immigration Canada website provided for applications for permanent residency from INSIDE Canada, that we could just enter Canada and do the paperwork there.
Were we wrong! Six weeks later we found out that my husband had been denied a visitor’s visa BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT HE WOULDN’T LEAVE. Well, they were right about that! He wanted to become a Canadian citizen! A contributing, functional citizen of Canada! And they wouldn’t let him!!!!
Needless to say, we felt like we’d been kicked in the gut and it took us a while to recover. I accepted an unappealing job that paid a good salary and he found another job that paid a salary inferior to the one he was previously receiving.
So, I delved into the spousal sponsorship route. We had to collect a bewildering number of documents including those that would prove that I, the wife, could support my husband in the event he didn’t get a job.
Within two months, I received approval to sponsor my husband. We were on the way to getting out of this country and for me to go home!
Because he is Syrian, we asked for the papers to be processed through the Canadian Immigration office in Damascus. Unrest erupted that year, the Canadian Embassy in Damascus was closed and we lost sight of the papers. In vain I searched the Canadian Immigration website for confirmation of where our immigration papers had gone; I called the embassy in Kuwait and they told me they ‘probably’ had been sent to Beirut. A couple of months later I called again and someone else told me they had ‘probably’ been sent to Amman, Jordan. I called the embassy in Beirut with no satisfaction. I attempted to find the number for the embassy in Amman, but was unable to.
I was getting desperate. I wanted to go home! I hated my job, I started to hate the traffic and the drive to and from my work became a trial because of the crowded streets and the insane drivers on the dusty roads of Hawalli where I working. I succumbed to stress related illnesses and my husband began to feel like it was HIM who was my jailor!
We are still in Kuwait 19 months after sending in the papers, but things are looking up. We finally received confirmation that his papers are in Amman and that they are ‘starting to process’ them. ‘Starting to process’ can mean so many dangerous things: does that mean that we should start to plan for our departure or just that it may be several more months before we get out of here?
…God only knows… but I’ll keep you posted!
- Canadian Citizenship and Immigration (immigrationlawyerincalgary.wordpress.com)