Canada ‘not a halfway house for royals'

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's move to Canada has the world talking.

But the country could be turning its back on its future royal residents before they even arrive.

In a scathing editorial, The Globe and Mail, billed as Canada's national newspaper, has spoken out against the pair settling there, claiming Canada was not a "halfway house" for the royals while they "work out their own personal issues".

 

The editorial said: "The Canadian monarchy is virtual; it neither rules nor resides.

"Our royals don't live here. They reign from a distance. Close to our hearts, far from our hearths.

"And that is why, in response to the sudden announcement of a vague and evolving plan for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex - Prince Harry and Meghan - to move to Canada while remaining part of the Royal Family, the Trudeau government's response should be simple and succinct: No."

It adds: "You are welcome to visit, but so long as you are senior royals, Canada cannot allow you to come to stay.

"This isn't about breaking up with the Crown. On the contrary, it's about maintaining Canada's unique and highly successful monarchy."

The move came after Canadian immigration experts said the royals have no fast track to becoming citizens as the Duke of Sussex has no special status despite his royal ties.

It has become increasingly clear that Prince Harry and Meghan will move to Canada for a "period of transition" but what is less clear is how they will legally reside in the country and how they will earn a living and become "financially independent".

Prince Harry (R) and then-girlfriend Meghan attend a wheelchair tennis match during the Invictus Games 2017. Picture: Getty
Prince Harry (R) and then-girlfriend Meghan attend a wheelchair tennis match during the Invictus Games 2017. Picture: Getty

Sergio R. Karas, an immigration lawyer in Toronto, told News Corp Australia that the visa they need will depend on the previous status the Duchess of Sussex had when she lived in Canada for seven years filming the TV show, Suits.

"There is a lot we don't know about their current situation," Mr Karas said. "If she is a Canadian citizen, which I doubt, everything will be perfect and she can move here anytime and can sponsor Harry as her husband. Also, if she is a citizen, then the child, Archie, will also be able to claim citizenship.

Patrick J. Adams as Michael Ross, Meghan Markle as Rachel Zane, in Suits. Picture: Supplied
Patrick J. Adams as Michael Ross, Meghan Markle as Rachel Zane, in Suits. Picture: Supplied

"If she had a work permit then that has probably expired," Mr Karas said. "She would need to have been in Canada for 730 days over the past five years to keep that. I doubt she would have accumulated that many days. If she was still eligible for that then she could also sponsor Harry and their child.

"The best option would be to enter as visitors and be here for less than six months," Mr Karas said.

"Their ability to re-enter would be at the discretion of the immigration officer who will ask them what is the purpose of their stay. That is renewable and every time they enter they could start their six months again."

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess Of Sussex, with baby Archie. Picture: Getty
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess Of Sussex, with baby Archie. Picture: Getty

Mr Karas said it would also be beneficial to their tax status if they lived in Canada for less than six months a year.

"If they maintain their stays in Canada to under six months they avoid any tax liability," he said. "The questions of tax and residency are very complicated here. However, if they do charitable work in Canada it doesn't qualify as work."

"They will also probably carry private health care but because we have universal health care here if they get sick they can always go to a public hospital," Mr Karas said.

 

Canada's immigration department said in a statement that Prince Harry and Meghan would not be eligible for any special treatment in the Commonwealth country.

"There are no provisions in the citizenship Act that confer Canadian citizenship status to members of the royal family," Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said in a statement. "In order to become legal permanent residents of Canada, they would need to apply through our normal immigration processes. However, members of the royal family are not required to seek authorisation to come to and stay in Canada as visitors."


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