October 15, 2011
According to a recent survey, American online poker players would prefer to become a citizen of another country so that they may continue to play online poker legally.
Because of its proximity to the U.S. and their similar cultures, Canada is often the destination of choice for U.S. online gamers. One of the reasons Canada is so attractive is because American poker players can access online poker sites like Party Poker and Poker Stars. Currently a ban on such sites exists within the US. Also, any sums won in a sports-themed lottery, at a casino, games of chance or at the horse-race track are not taxed and the winner collects the full amount of their winnings.
The question becomes, how does one go about living in Canada temporarily or permanently? Visitors can enter Canada for 6 months, without a visa, however, individuals who indicate they are coming to Canada to play poker may face issues at the Canadian border. If the border officer believes that the individual will “centralize their mode of living” in Canada or if they believe that the individual will not leave at the end of their temporary stay, the officer can deny their entry to Canada.
Since many individuals who are contemplating moving to Canada are young, a popular choice for obtaining temporary status is a Canada Study Permit. Individuals who have been accepted to a Canadian school in a program of 8 months or more, may be eligible for a Canada Study Permit.
Going to school in the province of Quebec may offer additional benefits. For those who study in Quebec for 2 years and can demonstrate intermediate proficiency in French, Canadian permanent residency may be available under the Quebec Experience Class.
For individuals with work experience outside of the poker world, there are two Canadian permanent residency programs that an individual may qualify for. The requirements are based on age, education, work experience and language proficiency, among other factors. In addition to these programs, individuals with an elevated net worth and a willingness to live in the province of Quebec, may qualify as a self-employed individual.
An experienced Canadian immigration lawyer can let you know if you qualify for any of these programs.