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Being in a same-sex relationship presents challenges: you’re faced with prejudices of others and discrimination against you and your partner, all while trying to live as a couple and make your partnership work. And if you live in a country that doesn’t allow same-sex marriage laws, you’re most likely the target of bigotry at the very best, or criminal charges and capital punishment at the worst. Canada’s immigration laws for same-sex marriage are a boon for people in these countries. Read on to learn more about how you and your partner can make your new lives in the True North.
If you’re living in a country in which homosexuality is a crime, your very life is in danger. You can’t live freely as a gay man or lesbian woman… and neither can your partner.
You don’t even need to be from a country in which homosexual acts are criminalized. Up until 2015, not every state in the US recognized same-sex marriages. And depending on which county clerk you happened upon, your marriage might face roadblocks.
Although Canada’s same-sex marriage law faced opposition, it was eventually passed and same-sex couples from across Canada have been able to marry without issues since 2005.
At the end of June 2002, Canada enacted legislation that would enable same-sex partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to immigrate to Canada.
Canada has various categories of immigrants. We’ll focus on the types which are most relevant for same-sex couples.
Let’s say you and your same-sex partner were legally married. It doesn’t matter whether this marriage took place within Canada or outside of the country. What’s important is that you can produce a marriage certificate that the jurisdiction in which you were married considers legal and that Canada accepts. Canada recognizes your marriage, and you and your spouse might be legally eligible to immigrate (provided you meet other criteria).
What if you’re not already married, and you’re in a same-sex relationship? You can still sponsor your partner for immigration, provided you fulfil certain criteria. For a start, you have to be legally able to sponsor an immigrant.
There are two kinds of same-sex partners: common-law and conjugal. Common-law partners have lived together for more than a year and can prove they have joint financial records, major joint purchases (such as property). Conjugal partners have a physical relationship, but can’t live together because of discrimination (for instance, the laws in one partner’s country makes homosexuality a crime) or other barriers insurmountable except by immigration. Furthermore, the relationship isn’t solely physical – you must prove interdependence (such as joint financial records, for example).
Another way for same-sex couples to immigrate is through the economic class visa. The economic class visa is an umbrella term that includes 12 types of visas. You can come to Canada under the economic visa class if you can prove you will boost Canada’s economy by being here. Immigrants through certain types of economic class visas can sponsor their spouses or partners, regardless of their gender.
One of the categories of economic classes is live-in caregivers. The live-in caregiver program enables qualified temporary workers to come to Canada to work full-time caring for children, the disabled, and senior citizens. After living in Canada for a certain amount of time, live-in caregivers can apply for permanent residency status. The application must be submitted from within Canada. Applicants can include their partners (same or opposite sex) on their application.
Yet another category of immigrants is refugees and asylum seekers. The Canadian government defines “refugees” as those who face persecution in their own country or the country where they normally live. The person would also face persecution if he or she returned to his or her home country.
The Canadian government recognizes a few types of persecution. One of those types is membership in a particular social group, and being gay or lesbian falls into that category. While you don’t have to be out of the closet, immigration authorities will want proof that you are LGBTQ.
As an LGBTQ refugee, you may be able to apply to bring over your same-sex spouse or partner.
If you’re part of a same-sex couple and one or both of you is interested in moving to Canada, you need quality legal advice. Immigrating can be challenging – there are many laws, and forms can be confusing. An experienced immigration lawyer who has helped same-sex couples immigrate to Canada will help you navigate the complexities of immigration, doing everything they can to ensure you have a successful outcome.
All our cases are handled by competent and experienced immigration professionals who are affiliated with VisaPlace. These professionals consist of lawyers, licensed paralegals and consultants who work for Niren and Associates an award winning immigration firm that adheres to the highest standards of client service.
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