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The Impact of Criminal Convictions on Immigration Status in Canada

By November 18, 2023 December 20th, 2023 No Comments

The immigration and the criminal justice system have an intersection that can affect your ability to remain in Canada. For that reason, a non-citizen criminal conviction can have severe implications on their immigration status. It can even lead to deportation proceedings. Continue reading to know how a criminal conviction can affect your immigration status in Canada.

Criminal Convictions and Inadmissibility in Canada

In Canada, criminal convictions carry weighty implications, potentially leading to inadmissibility for individuals seeking entry or already residing within the country. IRPA (Immigration and Refugee Protection Act) outlines various grounds for inadmissibility. These include convictions related to major criminality, such as organized crime, drug-related offenses, violence, and fraud.

You can also face inadmissibility if you have convictions outside Canada or offenses that, if committed in Canada, would constitute a crime. Such convictions may include a spectrum of offenses, ranging from minor infractions to serious crimes like assault, theft, impaired driving, and drug-related charges.

Impact on Immigration Applications

Criminal charges or convictions significantly impact permanent residency or citizenship applications in Canada. Applicants in programs like Express Entry or Family Class sponsorship may encounter refusal due to inadmissibility resulting from criminal convictions.

Likewise, individuals pursuing Canadian citizenship must exhibit good moral character. Criminal convictions might breach this requirement, leading to denial of citizenship applications or revocation of previously granted citizenship.

Consequences for Temporary Residents

Temporary residents, including students, workers, or visitors, fall under the purview of immigration laws and face repercussions due to criminal charges or convictions. A conviction might result in deportation or refusal of entry for future visits to Canada.

Relief From Removal

In deportation proceedings, individuals might seek relief from removal through avenues like asylum or withholding of removal. However, eligibility for such relief might be restricted for individuals convicted of specific crimes, including certain types of aggravated felonies. Seeking guidance from an immigration attorney becomes crucial in understanding available forms of relief.

Effect on Family Applications

Criminal convictions can significantly impact family-based immigration applications for permanent resident status. For example, if your application is part of a family-based petition, the discovery of a criminal record might not only lead to the denial of your application but also affect the status of other family members.

Crimes That Can Lead to Deportation

Under IRPA, specific convictions carry the risk of removal or deportation for non-citizens. These crimes fall into distinct categories:

  • Crimes of Moral Turpitude (CIMT)
    CIMTs include arson, burglary, child abuse, domestic violence, extortion, perjury, rape, robbery, and more. Committing these crimes can result in deportation.
  • Aggravated Felonies
    This category includes offenses like drug or firearms trafficking, murder, sexual abuse of a minor, and certain theft crimes. Being convicted of these crimes automatically leads to deportation proceedings. On top of that, you may face a permanent ban on re-entry to the country.
  • Controlled Substances Offenses
    Involvement in the illegal sale, possession, or manufacturing of controlled substances can lead to deportation.

Rehabilitation and Waivers for Criminal Inadmissibility

Individuals facing inadmissibility due to criminal convictions in Canada might have options for rehabilitation or obtaining a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). These avenues enable individuals to enter or stay in Canada despite their inadmissibility status.

Criminal Rehabilitation: This formal process involves showcasing that an individual’s criminal past is behind them and that they pose no threat to Canadian society. It serves as a permanent solution to overcome inadmissibility.

Temporary Resident Permit (TRP): On the other hand, a TRP offers a temporary solution, allowing entry or residency in Canada for specific purposes, like work or study, despite inadmissibility.

Bottom Line

Although a criminal suspect cannot be declared ineligible without a conviction, an arrest might have an influence on your immigration status in many ways. Plus, if you apply for new immigration status, citizenship, or status renewal, you must mention your arrest. Failure to disclose an arrest might result in ineligibility owing to misrepresentation. We know that all of this can’t be easy. But don’t worry. Immigrationway is here to ensure that your rights as an immigrant are protected. Contact us to understand the impact of criminal convictions for PR!