Canada's immigration system will likely treat Prince Harry as a commoner - report

Canada may be a member of the Commonwealth, but the country's immigration system is unlikely to make special allowances for Prince Harry if he wishes to become a permanent resident. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex last week announced plans to "step back" from their roles within Britain's royal family - a bombshell revelation that included plans to live in Canada for at least some of their time. 

The Washington Post points out that Harry and Meghan Markle's bid to gain financial independence could be tricky in a country where potentially neither of them has the right to live or work. 

A spokesperson for Canada's immigration agency told the Post that while members of the royal family did not need to seek authorisation to visit, they weren't automatically entitled to permanent residency. 

"They would need to apply through our normal immigration processes," the spokesperson said. 

A standard tourist visa on Harry and Meghan's respective British and American passports would only see them stay for up to six months, without work permits. 

However, Meghan's seven-year stint in Toronto while acting on Suits might mean she already has permanent residency. If so, she could sponsor Harry to join her there. 

Despite Harry's grandmother's role as Canada's head of state, she is not a citizen herself and cannot grant her grandchild citizenship, as she is bound by Canadian law, which leaves the decision with the immigration minister. 

Other options for the couple to be accepted as permanent residents include applying through special visa programmes for skilled workers or business people, which frequently have low approval rates.

The Duke and Duchess could also request residency on humanitarian or compassionate grounds - however, that option is usually reserved for people fleeing war or natural disasters. 

Experts in immigration and international affairs told the Post that a humanitarian claim could be met with hostility. 

In a statement following an emergency family meeting earlier this week, the Queen expressed her support for Harry and Meghan, but said their decision was not her preference. She advised there were "complex" matters still to resolved as the family looked towards a "transition period" where the couple spends time in both Canada and the UK.