June 19, 2013

Happily Ever After: Ms. Carol and Ms. Denise's Story

I have a client who recently landed in Quebec as a permanent resident under the Family Class Sponsorship - Conjugal Partner (Same-Sex Partners). We've actually processed several cases of same-sex partners under the Federal Skilled Worker program and Provincial Nominee Program, but this is the first case we've handled under the Family Class Sponsorship.  It's a tough process, I must say.

The Lovely Couple, Ms. Carol and Ms. Denise, at Ottawa River

Ms. Carol Manuel visited our office a couple of years ago to consult about her case. She is into a same-sex relationship with a Canadian citizen based in Quebec.  Her partner, Ms. Denise, wanted to sponsor her under the family class sponsorship program and they have actually consulted several consultants and immigration lawyers prior to our meeting.  They knew that it's not going to be easy. But after explaining the process, the fees and other stuff, they decided to get our services.

After getting the needed information about their relationship - as a matter of procedure and policy before accepting her case - I was convinced right there and then that this couple is so in love and that there is no doubt that their relationship is real - the emotional and financial inter-dependence is so obvious.  They were so in-love and committed to each other, their distance is never a problem.  They literally talk and see each other daily via webcam and they've been doing it for more than a year already!   

Canada respects and recognize the rights of  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBTs) and its immigration program also provides provision for these cases.  But it isn't that easy to get approval for this kind of cases.  You need to submit the right documents and information.

Deputy Nycole Turmel
Deputy Nycole Turmel (center) with the lovely couple

Sometimes, you also need to be assertive - get help from the MPs if necessary. Otherwise, your application will simply be refused on the grounds that the visa officer is not convinced that the relationship is genuine.  In their case, Deputy Nycole Turmel made sure that the Visa Office in Manila is properly handling their case, she went out of her way to contact the Visa Office and really talked to Ms. Carol and Ms. Denise.  Or maybe that is the standrad to be expected from a public servant in Canada. But just the same, I can say Deputy Nycole Turmel is one great public servant.

It took more than a year before Ms. Carol received her visa. She was asked to explain details about the relationship during the personal interview. They questioned the limited period they lived together, among other things.  The processing of Japan Police Certificate also added to the delay. Ms. Carol also have to repeat the medical examination becasue the first medical examination result already expired due to the delay in processng.

During the period of waiting, they were understanbly anxious of what the next requirement would be or the decision that the visa officer will make.   

Ms. Carol with Ms. Denise and her Mom
Despite the challenges and delays, Ms. Carol and Ms. Denise never gave up.  Evertime Ms. Carol tells me she's worried, I always assure her that it's going to be ok.  We do not guarantee approval of application but I was so confident with this case because I believe they really love each other and they deserve to be together.  I met Ms. Denise during one of her visits in the Philippines and I saw how she really care for Ms. Carol.

Ms. Carol at home with her new family in Quebec
And just like a fairy tale, Ms. Carol and Ms. Denise now happily live together in Quebec.  So for those asking if it's really possible for same-sex partners to apply under the Family Class Program, you've just got the answer.