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Old 05-28-2015, 11:32 AM
 
3 posts, read 2,511 times
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Hello, Canadian forumers!


I made an account here a few days ago, but although I would like some advice, I am nervous to talk to all of you. I am a 25 year old woman living in Europe, in a small Baltic country by the name of Estonia. We regained our independence as a country from the Soviet Union very shortly after I was born.
Anyway. I have cerebal palsy, which is brain damage in the cerebellum, mostly responsible for movement, but also muscle development. Cerebal Palsy can present itself in a wide variety of ways, but in my case it means all over spasticity, being unable to walk, stand or sit up independently (without support), a muscle contraction in my left knee, and weak back muscles, which has caused scoliosis. I also have uneven hips, and have been surgically treated for hip dysplasia on many occasions. My last surgery was either in 2001 or 2002 to add a metal fixture to my right hip to keep the bone correctly in its socket. In 2010 it began giving me some pain, and while I was initially told a screw might have gotten somewhat raised / loose, the x-ray last year revealed nothing, so there is really no telling why my right hip is delicate and can at times cause discomfort or pain. I am not on any medication, but per rehabilitation plan I can get 6 sessions of physical therapy a year. Otherwise, I need to find a place as well as pay for it and the transportation, myself. Being classified severely disabled, I am 90% incapacitated to work. I am only really able to work at home from the computer, since at work I would need someone to constantly adjust my seating, special pillow fixtures to support my back, and of course using the bathroom. Since 2008 (one year before graduating high school), I have had odd one-time jobs for translating, editing, filling out youth work applications, and etc work to do with text and language. I still live with my mother, who has always been my primary care provider, even before my parents divorced. She helps pay for communalities and food, but with various expenses, several relating to my health, currently having no steady income other than my monthly benefits can get rather scary. Had I not my mother to provide financially for part of the necessities, I would struggle to get by. Since about a year after entering high school my health deteriorated, causing me to need to study from home a lot, I decided to not put myself through university.


My whole life I have been pretty dependent on my parents, since I need help with everything from using the bathroom, wiping, bathing, getting dressed, in and out of bed, preparing and being brought food. As I have gotten older, that is to say, pretty much from my teenage years, I have noticed more and more how this double-sided dependence is affecting my relationship with my parents. I've never been and still am not close to my dad, but over the years, I see my relationship with my mother is also effected, since our daily routines, everything from waking, going to sleep, eating etc depend on each other. For about 10 years I have often dreamed about someone loving me enough to be willing to take on life with someone like me, and that I could move away from here to see more of the world – since I have never traveled outside of the country as I am not able to go alone, neither is my mother able to accompany me, and I have no one else to do so, either. I have spent 95% of my life in my room, dreaming about a new, more exciting, independent life with someone who loves me for more reasons than me being their child. Like Rapunzel in her tower. Ariel in her grotto, wishing to walk. Or Anna, stuck in a castle (hence my username).


Then last year, something wonderful and unexpected happened to me. I met someone online, from Kingston, Canada, and we bonded over our love of creative writing, animals, Disney, and many other things. She has always been there for me, offering support, comfort and happiness, overall making me feel like I am more than a sum of brokenness, and providing strength. I suppose at some point I developed feelings further from friendship for her, but always pushed them back, since in the past pretty much none of my relationships, whether friends or otherwise, online or otherwise, have worked out well. Suddenly, one November evening, she asked me to marry her. You can imagine I was really surprised, to say the least. I couldn't help but get excited, even though I thought surely it must be a joke. I've pointed out numerous times the aspects of my disability and gave my opinion that I am not a worthwhile partner, but so far she has still to back out. However, we find ourselves in a unique situation, as she also has a disability in the form of anxiety, which has made her unable to work. Next year she is to go to the tribunal to refute her disability benefit application being denied; she suffers quite debilitatingly from migraines, as well. It is both of our hope to find some matter of work-from-home steady employment, and until then, and / or until the benfits situation is solved, I am trying to put aside whatever money I can to save up for us being able to meet each other...and then again and again, until hopefully at some point we would be able to marry. We are largely worried about money, of course, but our other worries lie in Canada denying most disability benefit applications (concerning, considering my situation), as well as immigration applications. I am aware Canada would consider me a “strain on their social structure”, however, as I understand it, if my fiancee were to sponsor me for PR, I would be exempt from this. But, I have many questions regarding the “proof” for having a real relationship, considering we met online, and I have no desire to deceive anyone or do anything unfairly. Of course, the first step is beginning to travel to see each other. Aside from that, I wish to slowly approach when it comes to my / our families getting to know about us. My mother, however, already knows I wish to live elsewhere – in Canada – more independently, and maybe someday even get married. It is my hope and wish we could take the step of connecting these dots for her by telling her when my fiancee is here with me. Some of my friends already know, and are excited to meet her. But I am worried what other proof besides family relations, trips to see each other, tickets, conversations, they (immigrations) would be interested in. I am mostly interested in whether there is a set amount of time from when we met to when it would be considered “normal” to get married. I also know that after marriage, my (future) wife could not immediately sponsor me. How long is this waiting period? What other things do I, as a disabled person wishing to immigrate, need to know? What are the work-from-home work opportunities for someone like me (high school diploma, severe physical disability, speak 4 languages)? What opportunities for physical therapy, in-home assistance and specialist doctors (specifically orthopedist and neurologist) are there? What is the general situation for disability services (transportation etc) in Canada? Utilities wise I use a wheelchair, height adjustable table with a divet for the body, a toilet chair and also a bath chair. At home I sit in a wooden chair my dad custom built to fit my needs, since I am unable to move around the house, and being lifted into a wheelchair is too difficult and dangerous when it's just my mother and me in the home, which is usually the case. I haven't thought of much in the way of bringing any of mine with me (I mean for visits, as well), other than knowing planes allow 1 disability utility aside from a wheelchair without counting it towards the luggage weight. And perhaps someone could possibly tell me, what is the criteria by which a benefit application could be approved? I don't know, maybe all of these questions seem weird. I am just inexperienced and confused – there's so much I don't know while I am dreaming of a new life. I need to somehow find steady employment, but, well, to be honest I am still scared of being left in my situation with little financial means. I am just scared in general. All I know is I met someone I'd like to spend my life with. I would love to get out of this small place full of narrow-minded and hateful homophobic and xenophobic people, away from my parents and the threat of being a freedomless "care project" my whole life - to just be free and see the world with someone who loves me...oh, what a dream. There's nothing I want more in this world...


Frankly I'm pretty scared to post this. But there has to be * someone * out there who can make this less confusing and scary.
Any help you have, I'd be grateful.
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Old 05-28-2015, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Canada
4,699 posts, read 8,492,106 times
Reputation: 4888
Wow. Your story truly touched my heart. Whatever else, I thank you for sharing that, it was a privilege to read about your life. I honestly wish you nothing but happiness and hope you will be lucky enough to live your dream, or close to it. I do want to help you, but I've never lived with a serious disability, or been close enough to people who've gone through the process of sponsoring a spouse, to really have much in the way or useful insights beyond what you seem to already know about yourself, having clearly done your homework. I will say that services for disabled people will depend on the province, but I understand that Ontario's (where Kingston is), are considered fairly good, and as the most densely populated province there are plenty of healthcare professionals and strong institutions, so that at least shouldn't be too big of a concern.
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Old 05-28-2015, 05:53 PM
 
Location: Toronto
12,581 posts, read 11,141,644 times
Reputation: 3738
^^

Totally agree Bimbam - Anna's story is heartwarming and the courage she has just totally WOW!!

Anna

I sponsored my partner but it was an in Canada sponsorship... Basically there are two types in Canada and out of Canada sponsorship.. Since you are in Estonia you will probably want to read up on the out of Canada spousal sponsorship (in the link below there is even a specific PDF by country groupings including Estonia).. Below are some links for you to read about the process.. It is not easy but absolutely not impossible and it would seem the spousal sponsorship process in Canada is for people like you and your partner!! I can't speak too much about your disability but I don't think that your condition would be a barrier - they are looking more to individuals who would have an easily spread communicable disease but I'm not 100 percent sure as my partner was not disabled..

Application to Sponsor a Member of the Family Class
Guide 3900 - Sponsorship of a spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner or dependent child living outside Canada
Tips for sponsoring a spouse from outside Canada | Canadian Immigrant

Read up as much as you can..

I would also recommend that you and your partner look to the help of an Immigration consultant.. They normally have free initial consultation services (and answer a lot of your questions particularly about your disability and how/if that will impact the sponsorship) and I can't recommend using their services enough!! There are a lot of waters to navigate and they make things so much easier and will do much of the administrative stuff for you and maximize the chance of a successful sponsorship.. You can google search Immigration consultant Ontario - there should even be professionals in Kingston - just ensure the are legitimate and a member of

The Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants

I wish you the best Anna and keep us posted!!
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Old 05-29-2015, 07:56 AM
 
131 posts, read 438,182 times
Reputation: 134
Your storing is exceptionally moving and I feel a little off responding with a matter of fact post. Please forgive me.

I'm a US lawyer practicing twenty minutes from the Canadian border and have seen many Canadian immigration files over the year. While I agree you need a pro, in a tough case I still recommend Canadian immigration lawyers over Canadian immigration consultants. In my mind, most consultants still seem to be driven by the software and manuals. Lawyers uses those, but are also better at drawing on the case law and working to modify difficult plans to fit the categories. The exception is Consultants who used to work for CiC and have deep knowledge about hot button issues, administrative shortcuts taken by some agents and where there is wiggle room.

You are applying for a preferred migrant category, but your health issues and funds are going to raise concerns that you will be a draw on Canadian resources. Consider this article:

New health policies for potential immigrants | Canadian Immigrant

I think you are going to have problems with your health examination. For purposes of sponsorship, your fiancé may have a problem if he/she is relying on benefits (other than disability).

You need a risk assessment and a honest determination of how difficult the application is going to be. For many things, the high volume operations are just fine and a good alternative to some of the lower volume law firms that spend a lot more time working up the applications.

In working with either a consultant or a lawyer, you will save yourself time and money if you are highly organized. Have all your records available in digital format. Figure out what documents need official translations, get them translated, and get the originals to Canada now. Find a good Canadian immigration questionnaire from a Canadian immigration firm online. Prepare it now and have it ready. Before shopping for an attorney/consultant, I would read a good book on Canadian immigration for lay persons and get a sense of the "lay of the land." Canada has an excellent website on immigration, but some broader background material never hurts. I would also get a Canadian VOIP phone number ringing in Estonia rather than paying law firm rates for calls to you over there. When you shop for a lawyer, have everything ready to share online.

If you decide to go it alone, pop for a version of Adobe Writer. CIC forms don't work well with third party PDF software and writer allows you to save everything. Also create a shared Dropbox with your partner so that you can work on everything collaboratively.

With an internet relationship, be prepared to have some tougher questions about the bona fides of your marriage. If you sense a problem and aren't too she, consider getting some favorable media TV pieces. You have a wonderful human interest story and a DVD of the piece would be a wonderful "Exhibit A" to your application.

Good luck.
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Old 05-29-2015, 08:12 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,265,341 times
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While the story is touching, there is one problem: if she doesn't earn any income, how can she sponsor you as a spouse? My understanding is that the sponsor needs to show certain income for a certain period of time. I am not sure she can use her disability benefit to sponsor you for the reason that such income won't be enough to support two people.

"You can sponsor a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner (partner), or dependent children if you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. To be a sponsor, you must be 18 or older.
When you sponsor one of these relatives to become permanent residents of Canada, you must support them financially. This means you have to meet certain income guidelines. "

Determine your eligibility – Sponsor your spouse, partner or children
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Old 05-29-2015, 10:15 AM
 
3 posts, read 2,511 times
Reputation: 19
I want to thank everyone for their replies, honestly I was afraid of some sort of backlash due to how me and my fiancee met, and my whole story. I'm very thankful the outcome has been different. Of course, financial issues are first up for us, I will continue to try to find employment, and she will continue to fight for disability, as regardless of me, she deserves and needs it anyway. She is quite computer-savy, so I myself am thinking maybe somewhere down the line she would be able to work in the IT area, rather well paid in general, and more of a 'lonesome fidegeting' than anxiety-evoking communicative kind of work. I do hope that we will be able to consult someone once our finances are stable enough to allow for it. For now, we are still in the stage of planning and needing money for even our first trip to see each other. My parents might take even less to the idea if, considering my situation, we aren't able to provide for ourselves. So right now, money is at the forefront of my mind.

stufried - thank you for your reply; no worries, it did not offend me in any way. I am hoping we would be able to get married before I start the whole process of immigrating, and, being sponsored by a family member, it's been my understanding I would then be exempt from the clause of being disallowed to immigrate if I was considered a "social strain"? Or no? I have already considered that, for example, my medical history would need to be translated, but I figure those fineries are more for the time of actual immigration. For now, due to monetary reasons we are largely stuck in the planning stage. And of course, it's been rightly pointed out by botticelli that we need to be able to provide for ourselves.
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Old 05-31-2015, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Canada
4,699 posts, read 8,492,106 times
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Another issue that I suppose needs to be taken into account is where to marry. In Estonia, as I understand, same-sex unions are recognized, but not as marriages. Does anyone know whether an Estonian civil union would be recognized as a marriage by Immigration Canada? I would hope so, but I'm not 100% on that. Certainly it might make sense to marry in Estonia, where you wouldn't need to worry about the difficulties of traveling.
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Old 05-31-2015, 07:50 PM
 
Location: Toronto
12,581 posts, read 11,141,644 times
Reputation: 3738
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxxie1989 View Post
You can't live in Canada permanent if you have a physical disability. The Harper gov. Considers you a burden on the healthcare system. I am sorry but it looks unlikely.
That is rather cut and dry and has nothing to do with the "Harper Government" it has to do with the law and I don't think this will make her disqualified from the sponsorship process..

To the OP Anna - here is some more info for you to read which addresses some of the concerns other posters had regarding income requirements and other reasons for inadmissibility..

Spousor Your Spouse for Canadian Permanent Residence

Here is an excerpt regarding medical inadmissibility

"Ordinarily, an individual would be medically inadmissible if he or she posed a danger to public health or public safety or if they would cause “excessive” demands on the health care or social service systems.
However, for partners and dependent children, the only test of medical inadmissibility is whether they pose a danger to public health or public safety, and not whether they would cause excessive demands on the health system."

I'm no lawyer but your medical situation would simply NOT pose a danger to public health or safety in Canada..

Here is an excerpt regarding sponsor requirements




"Factors that will disqualify you from sponsoring a partner include:
  • Failed to provide financial support to past individual you sponsored
  • Defaulted on a court-ordered child or spousal support order
  • Receive government financial assistance (employment insurance and disability payments are usually acceptable)
  • Convicted of violent or sexual offense, or any offense against a relative
  • Defaulted on an immigration loan
  • Imprisoned
  • Unreleased bankrupt"

Last edited by fusion2; 05-31-2015 at 08:11 PM..
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:18 PM
 
3 posts, read 2,511 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIMBAM View Post
Another issue that I suppose needs to be taken into account is where to marry. In Estonia, as I understand, same-sex unions are recognized, but not as marriages. Does anyone know whether an Estonian civil union would be recognized as a marriage by Immigration Canada? I would hope so, but I'm not 100% on that. Certainly it might make sense to marry in Estonia, where you wouldn't need to worry about the difficulties of traveling.

Sadly, same-sex marriage doesn't exist in Estonia. But beginning of next year, a law regarding cohabitation will be inforced, which also includes registering cohabitation of same sex couples. At least one of the partners (in this case, me), needs to be living in Estonia. I suppose if we did that we could thereafter fall under the conjugal or common law partners category.

In other, but still very related news: fingers crossed guys, I sent in applications and job search posts to like 15 places yesterday, and today a translation bureau wrote back and sent me 3 trial texts to complete by Friday - here's hoping I get hired! I'm also gonna have a separate bank account for savings set up, so I could really put aside money and have a better overview of what's going on financially.
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