Q: I came to Canada about ten years ago. I originally lived in Vancouver for the first few years. After my refugee claim was refused in B.C., I moved to Toronto. I have not heard from immigration since then and last week I married a Canadian woman who is eager to sponsor me. I was informed that I do not have to leave Canada for this and can be processed in Canada. I was told by someone that as long as I am married to a Canadian no one can make me leave. How true is that? I am afraid to use my real name on any documents or to file any type of application because of my fear that immigration will come to my door and put me in jail.
A: Your story is the exact reason why it is so “dangerous” to make a refugee claim that has little merit. Since the statistics show that it is more than likely that a refugee case from the Philippines will be refused, it is unfortunate that you did not obtain some advice before making a claim. The fact that you have been refused means that there is a removal order against you. In my opinion, if the refusal was about ten years ago then immigration has been looking for you. You have stated that you moved to Toronto? Did you inform immigration of your new address? In many cases people move and do not inform immigration of their new address and then are “surprised” that there has been an outstanding warrant. You may have moved but immigration still sends all letters to your last address. When you do not show up for their interview they will assume you are in hiding. The onus is upon you to inform immigration of any changes not vice versa.
Given the above you are considered “removal ready” and that takes you out of the eligibility criteria to file a spousal sponsorship from inside of Canada. Yes, many people think that if you marry a Canadian then you are free but that is not correct. Firstly, you must file a sponsorship application. Merely getting married will get you nowhere. Secondly, the spousal sponsorship application must be filed before you are “removal ready” as per the immigration manual. Since you are probably under a removal order and perhaps a warrant then you can only file the application outside of Canada. This does not mean that you cannot come back to Canada. If your marriage to the Canadian is genuine, then it is best to file the application from abroad. You will then need to exit Canada and then return as a permanent resident.
Finally, using false names is just making matters worse as that can be criminal. I understand why you are doing it but such actions will not lead to anything helpful. I suggest you seek professional advice from an immigration lawyer (not a consultant, not a friend and not from a community group) to find out more about your immigration situation from Canada Enforcement and then take the necessary steps to be sponsored.
Atty. Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed immigration lawyer in Toronto. The article above is general advice only is not intended as legal document. Send your inquiries to his office phone 416-733-3193 or visit his website http://www.moyal.com