Prince Harry and Meghan should apply for Canadian citizenship like everyone else

As the grandson of Canada’s monarch and sixth in line to the throne, one would expect Prince Harry to have special status in this country.

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Following a meeting Monday with Queen Elizabeth II, it is clear that Prince Harry and Meghan are coming to Canada for “a period of transition”.

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What’s unclear is whether the couple intend to continue splitting their time between the two countries once everything is sorted out; whether they will eventually settle permanently in Canada; or if they have another country in mind, perhaps the United States, where Meghan would still be a citizen. If they chose to make Canada their primary and permanent residence, would they receive special treatment with respect to Canada’s immigration system?

As the grandson of Canada’s monarch and sixth in line to the throne, one would expect Prince Harry to have special status in this country. But the Duke of Sussex does not enjoy this privilege, nor any of the Queen’s descendants. Even the Queen does not hold Canadian citizenship, although she can reside in Canada for as long as she wishes.

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“She has a different status, but it’s not citizenship. It is a state authority,” said Philippe Lagassé, a professor at Carleton University who specializes in the Westminster system. “She is the personification of the state, so she does not need a passport to enter. She would have full legal rights because everything done by governance is done in her name.

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This special status only applies to the Queen, however, as Canadian law only recognizes the ruling British monarch.

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“It’s a very simple rule – whoever is their monarch is our monarch,” Lagassé said. “We have no provision in our law for Royals with special privileges or status. We don’t even have laws that recognize members of the royal family as members of the Canadian royal family.

Canada will not automatically grant citizenship to the royal couple and will have to apply to become permanent residents through the normal immigration process, Mathieu Genest, spokesperson for the Minister of Immigration, told CBC in a statement. . The minister’s office did not respond to the National Post’s request for comment by the deadline.

This means Prince Harry will enter Canada like any other British citizen would, and all British citizens can stay in Canada for up to six months without a visa. It is the same for American citizens. So Harry and Meghan’s short-term plan could simply be to travel back and forth between Canada and the UK at least twice a year – although that would jeopardize Meghan’s application for British citizenship.

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If the couple want Canada to be their economic base, visitor visas won’t help them achieve their long-term goal of becoming financially independent, as neither of them would be allowed to work in the country, Harjit said. Grewal, immigration consultant at Sterling. Immigration who works in Vancouver and London.

However, it’s entirely possible that Meghan is already a permanent resident of Canada, Grewal said. While filming TV show Suits, Meghan lived in Toronto nine months a year for seven years, until she moved to the UK to live with Harry in November 2017.

If, during this period, she had obtained a self-employed visa, intended for people who work in cultural or sports activities, then she would have obtained permanent residence. This would mean Meghan is still eligible to live and work – in any field – in Canada, and could sponsor Harry and their son Archie.

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The couple could also qualify for a business visa if they choose to invest some of their vast wealth in Canada, Grewal said. He also pointed out that if Meghan and Harry were successful in monetizing the Sussex brand, Canada might be eager to fast-track their applications and welcome them as tax-paying citizens.

We have no provision in our law for Royals with special privileges or status

Another option is the Federal Skilled Worker Program (Express Entry), but the couple might not fare very well with this points-based system since Prince Harry does not have a college degree and they have both over 30, Grewal said. Prince Harry is 35 and Meghan is 38.

Although the couple have no legal status, in the eyes of many Canadians there is a cultural connection to the country as members of the royal family, Lagasse said, but that does not change the law.

“To what extent do you circumvent the law to accommodate people of fairly substantial means?” said Lagasse. “It becomes a political issue, not a legal issue at this point.”

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