After news broke out that Prince Harry and Meghan are considering Canada for “a period of transition” Canadian experts on immigration law say the Royal couple will have to apply for permanent residence like any body else.
Prince Harry and Meghan met with Queen Elisabeth II on Monday 13 to explain that they intend to step out of their duties as royal members and move Canada. The Queen agreed to give them a “period of transition” that was dubbed by international media as “megxit.”
It is not yet clear how long and under what legal framework the royal couple will live in Canada. However, Immigration experts interviewed by the National Post explain they will not receive any special treatment.
Under Canadian law, the Monarch of Great Britain alone is allowed to set foot on Canadian soil without passport because the British Monarch is also the Canadian Monarch. “It’s a very simple rule — whoever’s their monarch is our monarch,” explains Philippe Lagassé Professor at Carleton University and an expert on the Westminster system.
What this means is that even if she can stay in Canada for as long as she pleases, the Queen is not a Canadian citizen, and the privileges she enjoys are not transmittable to her successors or family members. Therefore, despite being the Duke of Sussex and sixth to the British throne, Prince Harry will not have a free-pass in Canada.
Mathieu Genest, The Canadian immigration minister spokesman said in a statement to CBC that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will have to go through the normal immigration processes in order to be granted permanent resident in Canada.
If they decide to try the Express Entry, they may not stand a chance as Prince Harry does not hold a university degree and because they are over 30 years of age.
Another option would be to live in Canada for 6 months, which is the maximum any British or American citizen is allowed stay in Canada, and then go back to the UK. But none of them will be permitted to work if they live in Canada under visitor visas.
Nonetheless, Harjit Grewal, an immigration consultant interviewed by the National Post says that Meghan could already be a permanent resident in Canada as she spent 9 months of the year for 7 years in a row during the filming of the TV show Suits. If that is the case, then Meghan can work in Canada in any field she wants.
The same official explains that it would be easy for the royal couple to be granted permanent access if they decide to invest in Canada, in which case their application will be processed quickly.
Lagassé explained that irrespective of the cultural connection between Canada and the British Royals, the laws cannot be changed. If it has to change to accommodate for them, then “It becomes a political question, not a legal one at that point.”
Ezzoubeir Jabrane is a writer, teacher and entrepreneur. He holds a Master’s Degree in Linguistic and Literary Studies. He has written a number of journalistic, analytical and academic articles in different fields. He’s worked as a teacher of Academic English at Hassan II University in Casablanca and a teacher of English for Engineering in the National Higher School of Arts and Craft (ENSAM), in addition to a number of other private institutions. Ezzoubeir is a founding member of International Morocco and the founder of Exchange Lab, a language center that offers online English courses for individuals, companies and associations.