Prince Harry and Meghan recently announced on social media and their personal website that they’d be transitioning away from their roles as senior members of the Royal Family. They’re looking to establish financial independence from the Crown and find a life outside their royal titles. This would be done by splitting their time between North America and the United Kingdom.
To both the excitement and anger of many Canadians, the queen announced that Canada will serve as a part-time home for the couple. Meghan is already in the Vancouver area with their son, Archie, and it seems Prince Harry looks to join them shortly.
And, while they may choose to say here part-time, seek permanent residency, or even full citizenship, a few myths have arose from this story that we think it’s time to set straight.
Myth #1: They’ll easily obtain permanent residency.
It’s unclear whether the duke and duchess even intend to stay in Canada longer than 6 months – the number of months they can stay as visitors. Should they decide to make a more permanent home in Canada, though, they’ll be met with the same process as everyone else.
Overseas, Harry is a prince. As far as Canadian residency is concerned, he’s just another British citizen looking to immigrate. As of yet, there are no special considerations given to British or any other royalty in Canada.
It’s highly unlikely he’d be able to qualify for express entry, based on his age and job experience. Express entry for permanent residence is completed on a points-based system, and extra points aren’t awarded for a prince. Since he’s never worked or attended to school in Canada either, it’s unclear whether he’d be able to gather enough points for the application.
Meghan, on the other hand, has a higher chance of being able to qualify for express entry. If the couple chooses to apply for permanent residency, she would likely be the applicant. She worked in the country before (for 7 years while filming the television show, Suits), though she would also lose points based on her age.
If she were unable to obtain this status, she could still apply for permanent residency as a self-employed worker. These are cultural, artistic, or athletic individuals who can prove they would make a significant contribution to their fields in Canada.
Express entry, if she’d be eligible, could take up to six months for full processing. If ineligible, applying as a self-employed worker could take up to twenty-one months to process.
Myth #2: The Sussexes will jump the queue.
Assuming the Sussexes choose to apply for residency, the main concern in Canada is that they will attempt to jump the queue.
Technically, methods for queue-jumping do exist. It requires the minister of immigration to fast-track their application and even approve them, regardless of points or merit.
Though he has the ability, it’s highly unlikely he takes this route. For one, it would be a highly sensitive topic to many Canadians, one that would be scrutinized politically. For another, they also have the means to apply for immigration through the regular channels. It might take a bit of paperwork, but it’s not beyond the royal couple’s capabilities.
Queue-jumping in this regard is highly irregular as well. Most often, it’s used to fast-track time-sensitive applications, often for Olympic-level athletes who wish to represent Canada on an international stage. Unlike an Olympic athlete, this residency isn’t time-sensitive.
If they choose to immigrate, they’ll have to wait in line – just like everyone else.
Myth #3: Prince Harry & Duchess Meghan will easily obtain citizenship.
Canada is one of the few of the Westminster states who doesn’t recognize a law of royal succession. Legally, we recognize whoever is the British monarch as our monarch. For those who are not the monarch, their legal status remains unclear.
Though Canada recognizes Queen Elizabeth II as its queen, Harry is unable to obtain citizenship through her. His grandmother herself is not a citizen of Canada or even the UK for that matter. She’s an embodiment of the state.
Harry and Meghan would have to go through the normal immigration procedures – like everyone else. If they choose this route, it could take years before they obtain citizenship.
Myth #4: The royal couple will be able to work in Canada.
Unless they’re permanent residence – or obtain work visas or permits – Harry and Meghan will enjoy this beautiful country on vacation.
Again, it’s likely that they don’t intend to work in Canada. Like many celebrities, they will likely stay for up to six months at a time and then work elsewhere. This would likely be in the UK, where Harry currently retains citizenship, and the USA, as Meghan still has hers. Given they’re determined to find financial independence, this is the simplest route they could follow.
Should they choose to try to work in Canada, they could use a few methods. They could apply for work permits; however, they’d be considered foreign workers and would need to meet the requirements for an LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment). Simply, their employer would need to prove that no local workers could fill the job.
Meghan could also potentially apply for a temporary work permit. The approval hinges on a few conditions being met. Mainly, the project she’d be working on would have to benefit Canadian society in a meaningful way. She would have to prove that she would be culturally supporting our country. This could be potentially mean an acting role for a Canadian company and a Canadian director.
Alternatively, the couple could decide to start a company in Canada and qualify through entrepreneur immigration. It’s highly unlikely, though, that they choose this path. This type of immigration would require them to prove their entrepreneurial experience, alongside a plan to add economic growth and value to the region.
So, do the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have an easy path?
No. At least, not yet.
The upside? As they spend time in Canada, this pair of royals will be supporting our economy and advocating for the beautiful country that they’ve chosen as a (for now) temporary home.
About the Author
I’ve worked for over 11 years within Citizenship and Immigration Canada before becoming a certified immigration consultant.
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