I’m a US Citizen and I have married a Canadian lady in Los Angeles. I want to live in Canada and start the immigration processing but I am afraid that I will be denied. I was charged with a serious criminal offence four years ago. I am embarrassed about it but I did my time and completed my sentence. Will I still be able to immigrate?
There are several factors that one must look at when it comes to criminal offences. They are: the Canadian equivalent of the foreign offence, whether the offence led to a conviction and the passage of time to render a person inadmissible or rehabilitated. In general, Canada will not allow a person to enter its country if a person has not been rehabilitated and/or found inadmissible. This was the case of singer Chris Brown who was recently denied entry to Canada and was forced to cancel two concerts in Toronto at the last minute. There is little doubt that his past assault charges were the reason for his denial and the special temporary resident permit was not issued on time.
In your particular case, you have not mentioned the specific crime but if it was serious I will assume it was punishable in Canada for a term of at least ten years. Your actual sentence is not relevant.
It is the Canadian equivalent that matters. Similarly, there is a difference between a conviction and if an act occurred that is a crime in Canada. If a person committed an act (although not convicted) that if it occurred in Canada, would be a criminal offence – that person could also be rendered inadmissible.
A person is not likely not to be rehabilitated if only a few years have passed. In some cases, a passage of ten years renders a person automatically rehabilitated and no special permission is required.
Given the above, it would seem that if you file a spousal application at this time you will face hurdles in order to be successful. If refused, you have a right to appeal. If you have sufficient humanitarian and compassionate grounds you may be able to win an appeal.
Q. I became a permanent resident in 2005. I never applied for Canadian Citizenship. I was charged with a narcotics offence and assault last year. I finished my sentence of 2 months in jail and I thought my life was getting back on track until Canada Borders Agency sent me a letter requesting an interview for removal proceedings. What do I do?
A. Firstly, the CBSA letter is not an invitation but mandatory. You must attend. Second, there are several steps to removing someone and you can appeal. Therefore, it is unlikely you will be removed on the day of that interview. They probably want to gather more information about you to determine if they should proceed to the next step. Be sure to bring with you evidence of all ties to Canada ( marriage certificate, birth certificate of children, job letter, car, bank account) to convince them that your life is stable and your place is Canada. If they wish to proceed you will need to face a judge for an admissibility hearing. That is appealable. If you get to that stage, it’s serious and you should seek a professional lawyer’s help.
Q. I want to hire my niece in the Philippines as a caregiver. I live in a small town in Ontario and have two baby girls. I understand that the caregiver program allows workers to be live-out but I doubt my niece will want to live alone. Can I just hire her a live-in caregiver?
A. No. All LMIA applications sent by employers after November 30, 2014 fall under the new rules. You cannot force your niece to be live-in. If she does come to Canada and lives with you, you cannot reduce her pay for room and board. Under new rules, she must apply for a regular low skill work permit as a caregiver. It should be noted that applicants who do come to work as caregivers under the new rules must be aware of what lies ahead. In particular, such applicants will only be able to become permanent residents after 24 months of employment if they pass an English test and have their education assessed (with a passing grade of at least one year post secondary Canadian equivalent).
Attorney Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed immigration lawyer in Toronto, Ontario. The above article is general advice only and is not intended to act as a legal document. Send questions to Attorney Moyal by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free 1-888-847-2078.