July 4, 2016
Criminal Charges and the Immigration Consequences for Permanent Residents
In May I wrote about how separation or divorce affects certain sponsored spouses or partners who, after becoming permanent residents, had not lived with their sponsors for at least two years. If they separated or divorced before the two-year mark, they could lose their status. Though a harsh consequence, the process left room for some discretion or compassion.
Today I write about a rule with equally harsh consequences but that affords no discretion.
Since June 2013, permanent residents sentenced in Canada to prison for six months or more for a crime have been deported to their country of origin without access to any appeal. And this right to appeal is a critical safeguard for those facing deportation.
The Immigration Appeal Division, the tribunal which hears and decides on these appeals, can consider humanitarian and compassionate factors such as:
- The seriousness of the crime;
- How long the person has lived in Canada;
- The person’s ability to be rehabilitated;
- The difficulties for the person’s family and children in Canada if the person were removed; and
- What hardships the person would face in returning to the country of origin.
A permanent resident who came to Canada as a young child with his parents, lived his entire life here, has a family of his own, has never returned to his country of origin, and has received a six month sentence in Canada, would have no access to an appeal and could mention none of these reasons for why he should not be deported.
Six-month criminal sentences are not uncommon. They could flow from a repeat offence or offences that carry mandatory minimum sentences. Certain serious crimes committed outside of Canada, regardless of conviction or sentencing, can also lead to deportation without access to an appeal.
Naturalized Canadian citizens under the circumstances above, however, would not face deportation. So permanent residents should consider applying for citizenship if they want to avoid the risk of deportation. Should they or any of their family members face criminal charges after becoming citizens, while they would still have to deal with the criminal consequences, they would not be deported.
If you are a permanent resident who was charged with a crime, it is important that you consult with a lawyer or lawyers who understand both the criminal and immigration issues involved.
For more information of Deportation, please click here: