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Canadian Immigration Blog


Undocumented “Illegal” Canadian Immigrant Programmes

April 20, 2008
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Going back to my discussion about illegal workers I have been asked a lot lately at the office and through my immigration newspaper column in 24 HOURS! what is an illegal worker. There is no, single overarching definition to apply to persons known as non-status (illegal) immigrants. They could include people who do not have legal documents that permit them to remain in Canada on a permanent basis. They could be either documented – meaning that they are known to Immigration – or they could be undocumented – meaning that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) have no knowledge of their presence or continued presence in Canada. Documented non-status immigrants could be legal, such as refugee claimants who are awaiting a decision; or illegal, such as rejected refugee claimants who have yet to leave the country or Convention refugees who did not apply for permanent resident status within 120 days or permanent residents who have lost their status and have not been removed.

Illegal documented immigrants include rejected refugee claimants or Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C;) applicants or those who hold an expired work, study or visitor permit but have remained in Canada and gone “underground.” Undocumented persons are those who do not hold any identity documents, including people who were trafficked illegally into Canada for various purposes. Clearly, the term “non-status” is far reaching and as such can lead to misconceptions on the part of decision-makers and the public.

Summary: Definition of Illegal Undocumented Immigrants
1. Persons with pending applications but without status.
2. Entered lawfully (visitor, student, and worker) and overstayed or fell out of status.
3. Failed protected person claimant who has not been removed or left Canada.
4. Permanent residents yet to be removed who have lost their status.
5. Persons who otherwise entered or re-entered Canada, some without identity documents that may not be known to the authorities.

In my next immigration blog and article for 24 Hours! I will set out what I think a good plan may be for illegal workers. Thanks for reading!


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