Specialists in Immigration Litigation & Inadmissability
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Corporate Services – Inadmissibility


Having a criminal record can make international travel and migration difficult. This is no less true in the context of Canadian immigration. For those applying to enter Canada on a temporary or permanent basis, having a criminal record can potentially result in criminal inadmissibility as well as an unsuccessful application. Additionally, for individuals already in Canada with temporary or permanent resident status, being convicted of a crime in Canada can result in status revocation and removal from the country. If this occurs, the individual will be unable to return until the convictions have been removed from their record or a temporary resident permit is obtained.

Article 36 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the Act) sets out the circumstances in which a foreign national or permanent resident would be considered inadmissible, whether convicted inside or outside of Canada. It also addresses situations of possible consideration to overcome criminal inadmissibility, inclusive of: being deemed rehabilitated, applying for rehabilitation to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and obtaining a pardon or record suspension.

With respect to convictions that occur inside of Canada (according to the Act), there is no option to be deemed rehabilitated or to apply for rehabilitation. In most cases, the sole recourse is to obtain a record suspension (formerly referred to as a pardon) from the Parole Board of Canada (PBC).

Prior to 2012, getting a record suspension from the PBC was relatively easy and inexpensive. However, in 2012, changes to the Criminal Records Act came into force, making obtaining a record suspension in Canada more difficult. Among the more significant changes were quadrupling application fees (from $150 to $631, even for less serious offences) and a considerable increase in the waiting period before a person would be eligible to apply for a record suspension after completing their sentence.

Unsurprisingly, these changes resulted in a staggering drop in the amount of record suspension applications received by the PBC. Compared to 2011-2012 levels, the amount of applications received last year dropped by over fifty percent.

Many critics have called these changes punitive and disproportionate because the old system was generally considered to be working fine. To wit, the recidivism rate for individuals who obtain record suspensions was last measured to be less than 1 percent.

However, good news may be on the way for those people (including foreign nationals and permanent residents) with Canadian criminal records seeking a second chance through obtaining a record suspension as the changes made in 2012 may soon be reversed.

It remains to be seen what changes will be implemented by the new government and when these changes will occur; a reduction in fees and waiting times is expected, along with a return to the term “pardon”.

 For more information on Criminal Inadmissibility, please click here.

Should a critical employee be deemed inadmissible and denied entry/removed from Canada, our team at Bellissimo Law Group can help you. We have extensive experience with criminal cases. We are familiar with the legal processes that would allow your employee to overcome this inadmissibility.

A foreign national or permanent resident is deemed criminally inadmissible after being convicted under any Act of Parliament, with the most prevalent being the Criminal Code of Canada (CCC) andthe Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

For more information on how Bellissimo Law Group PC  can assistwith your criminal inadmissibility, please select one of the following:

Mario D. Bellissimo is the Co-Author of a publication which provides a comprehensive analysis of the legislative framework and the jurisprudence in the areas of immigration and criminal law, and their intersection.

Click here to order Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Inadmissibility Law

Contact us today to see how we can help you.

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Inadmissibility Testimonials

Important Immigration Court Decisions




I have been told by a lawyer that I could get a work permit for my type of job. It is in high demand. I do not have any papers and cannot afford the process right now more in terms of time and also cost. I am working and doing okay so how long can I wait? If you publish this question please do not list my name or my job. Thank you.

Your question reminds me of people in the United States who for reasons of accessibility – cost, time – do not get the medical attention they need and conditions that are minor become very serious, if not fatal. The same holds true in your case. You are here without status but it appears you would qualify for a work permit and make a welcome addition to Canada. If you wait though, your chances of becoming inadmissible to Canada and subject to enforcement (removal) by the Canada Border Services Agency becomes very high. If being in Canada is important to you make the time to do things right. Most reputable lawyers have payment plans and will work with you to ensure your case receives the immediate attention it deserves. Do not become one of those bad immigration stories where people wonder how someone who can make an important contribution is being deported. I cannot tell you how many times in my career I have been saddened by good people in major trouble who I wished came in to see me a few months before. I would imagine that is also how doctors feel from time to time. Good luck!

Although a Canadian citizen I am very interested in immigration law and the flow of people to our country. I read your column with much interest. What do you make of these 41,000 missing illegal immigrants listed in the Auditor General’s Report? How many of these people have criminal backgrounds?

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. Estimates on the number of undocumented persons range from 10,000 to 200,000 and as high as one million. Recent testimony from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) before the Standing Committee on Immigration indicated that about 8% of those in the working inventory who are ready for removal have criminal backgrounds. So a percentage, but I would suspect a low percentage of these 41,000.00 have criminal backgrounds. The last fiscal year the CBSA spent about $23,433,000 on the removals program. For more info visit my website, under my blog Ask A Specialist. Thank you for your question.

I applied for permanent residency from within Canada, and my teenager son was part of my application. We were found to be inadmissible, because my son had a conviction for “theft under $5000”. We were devastated, as we made Canada our home, all our relatives are here, we bought assets here, etc. We applied for and were granted leave at the Federal Court of Canada. At the judicial review in Court, our case was sent back to the visa office for re-determination. Meanwhile, our son was sent back home, to our country of origin, because of his conviction. At the re-determination, our case was refused again. I applied again for leave and I was told that my file will be sent back for re-determination, on a priority basis. How long does it take for re-determination and how can my son return to Canada?

There is no set time period for a re-determination as it depends on the number of applications, staff at the respective visa office, priority of the case, etc. But, I would assume it will take a couple of months to have your case re-assessed, analyzed and re-determined. I assume that your son is still dependent on you (financially – in school), and therefore, you most likely will have to request a TRP (temporary resident permit), including your son in the application as well. After a certain period of time after his sentence is completed, he may apply for a pardon of his conviction in Canada. It is not an easy or fast procedure. Once the pardon is granted and his record is clean, you then have to apply for permanent residency. Until then, you will all be inadmissible and require TRPs to remain in Canada. As your case is not simple, I would suggest that you seek the advice of a counsel.


What Our Clients Are Saying
Bellissimo Law has been the greatest help we could have asked for our journey. Our case needed an appeal which was very well organized, documented and presented to the authorities. We received a positive decision on the case all because of the expertise of Mr. Bellissimo and team. Keely and John are great at responding all smart and stupid questions and the team is very prompt to answer emails. They have the entire process streamlined, right from extension to evidences which makes our job easier. We got the quotes from some of the other law firms too who are all good and had lower charges. We chose Bellisimo because they are the best and in the long term a few extra bucks won't matter but the results will. Highly recommended.
Vaibhav Chaturvedi
Vaibhav Chaturvedi
16:51 06 May 19
Our immigration process was handled by Bellissimo Law Group. The first consultation with Mr Bellissimo was very insightful. Ms Keely Anderson was particularly very helpful. She guided us through the process. I will definitely recommend this law firm. They know what they are doing. Thanks once again for guiding us through the process.
Dare Sokoya
Dare Sokoya
19:27 28 Mar 19
I greatly recommend Bellissimo Law Group. After a long time waiting, I will finally be reunited with my son here in Canada. We are very grateful for all the great, very professional services that they have done for my case. My personal thanks to Kelly Anderson and her group. More power to all of you!
michele medalla
michele medalla
23:36 04 Mar 19
I wish I’d found Bellissimo Law 9 years ago before taking the advice of a so called Immigration Consultant who led our family to a very costly near disaster in our quest to immigrate to join our family in Canada. Years later, in desperation, at a Procedural Fairness Letter stage internet research seemed to suggest Bellissimo Law may be the company to deal with our problem. From the first consultation with Bellissimo Law their extremely thorough, very focused telephone interview personified professionalism and reassurance. All subsequent dealings with any member of the team were of the same high standard. It was clear to us that Mario Bellissimo leads from the front and that his staff not only respect him but that they are trained to match his standards and caring approach. I believe it is very important to mention that although they seem expensive, when our particular problem resolved more quickly and easily than anticipated they refunded the money which had not yet been used. Thanks particularly to Keely, our lead person, and to all at Bellissimo. I will always, highly recommend Bellissimo Law. Keep up the good work. In less than 6 months all our worries are over. We are now permanent residents.
Patricia Forsythe
Patricia Forsythe
23:33 22 Mar 19
Very professional and very informative on the phone. Good to see that it is not all about money and more about relationship building. Highly recommended. Thank you!
Atabak Amirabrahimi
Atabak Amirabrahimi
17:19 16 Apr 19
Great service and successfully guided us through the immigration and citizenship processes. Terrific attention to detail, and created a terrific case for our application, which was successfully approved. Attached is a picture with the judge. A wonderful day. So proud to be a Canadian!
Carlos Berber
Carlos Berber
15:45 26 May 19
Bellísimo law group made a dream a reality. They help me throughout the entire process of becoming a Canadian permanent resident. Great service. I will definitely use their services again in the future. Highly recommended
Jose Rendon
Jose Rendon
01:01 29 May 19
We had a fantastic experience with Bellissimo Law Group. From Mr. Bellissimo to the entire staff, in particular Viola Gniadek, were professional, diligent, knowledgeable and available at all times. We thank the entire group for a successful resolution for my friend Catherine. I would highly recommend the firm for any and all of your immigration needs. Thank you all for a job well done!
Liliana Pelech
Liliana Pelech
14:53 01 Jun 19
I sponsored my parents in 2007 and I was refused in 2013 based on medical inadmissibility of my mentally challenged brother. I found Late Mr. Rotenberg as my original lawyer who passed away during the process. I was very disappointed as I was counting on his expertise to help me with my situation. Mr. Bellissimo was God send for me to help me with my case. I am very thankful that he took on my case. His team member Ms. Tamara Thomas worked with me and advised me with regards to the documents that I needed to obtain, they did extensive research on eligibility criteria of various social and health systems. They worked with me on the interview preparation. The time spend working with them was very targeted and very specific to address the Minister's concerns. They ensured there was no further waste in time or any delays. The way they presented my case and helped me win it only a world class Law firm can do that as there were times I was going to lose my hopes. I would totally recommend this law firm to anyone who is going through similar situation as mine with both hands down. Mr. Bellissimo and the team (Ms. Tamara Thomas) you guys are amazing and thank you so much again for reuniting me with my family in my beautiful dream country Canada.
Irshad Khan
Irshad Khan
17:46 04 Jun 19
They’re very professional and the advice was given 100% accurate. The lawyer Justin Toh didn’t rush at all. He took the time to answer all our questions in details. I’m very happy with their service.
Shah Alam
Shah Alam
21:15 09 Jul 19