While Canada has always been known for its progressive immigration process, a few things can seriously jeopardize your application for a permanent residency. One such factor would be the presence of a criminal record in your file, even if the committed crime was something as minor as a case of driving under the influence (DUI).
That being said, the Canadian immigration system recognizes the difference in the severity of crimes, and in certain circumstances, they may allow reprieve through a special immigration process. If you find yourself or someone you know to be in such a predicament, then you will need a Canada immigration lawyer by your side to help straighten out the situation.
Here are some specific kinds of criminal records that Canadian immigration will immediately see as a red flag for your application. That being said, not everything on this list automatically disqualifies you permanently.
War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity
One of the most important reasons for barring entry to people with criminal records is to prevent Canada from being a refuge of fugitives. This is especially true for individuals wanted in their home country or internationally for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The United Nations defines war crimes as a serious breach of International Humanitarian Law governing international or domestic armed conflict. The said international law is the Geneva Convention, which aims to “protect people who do not take part in the fighting (civilians, medics, aid workers) and those who can no longer fight (wounded, sick and shipwrecked troops, prisoners of war).”
Meanwhile, crimes against humanity are certain acts of violence that were purposely committed as part of a systematic attack against civilians. Crimes against humanity often deal with a wide practice of atrocities perpetrated or tolerated by a particular government body.
As a member country to the United Nations and a signatory to the Rome Statute, Canada adheres to the Geneva Conventions. Likewise, it has codified its own version of the IHL, called Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act of 2009.
Even if you didn’t commit any war crimes or crimes against humanity by your own hand, if you are a part of a regime that did so, then the Canadian government can consider you just as guilty. Depending on the unique circumstances of your case, this can prevent you from ever entering Canada legally.
Canada considers certain crimes as worse than others. According to the Canadian Criminal Code, crimes that are punishable by at least ten years of prison time is considered a “serious” crime.
Countries usually mete out different punishments for certain crimes, but among the most common crimes that fall under this category are: first and second-degree murder, treason, manslaughter, and illegal possession of firearms, among others.
Minor Crime Convictions
Seemingly minor offences can render you criminally inadmissible to Canada as well. Some of the most “minor” crimes that Canada sees as a red flag are cases of theft, assault, dangerous driving, DUIs, illegal possession of controlled substances, and drug trafficking.
What You Can Do
Depending on the nature of the crime, the length of time that has passed, and how you have behaved since, there may still be a chance for you to enter Canada as a permanent resident.
Along with your Canada immigration lawyer, you will have to do the following:
- Convince an immigration officer that you have been rehabilitated in the eyes of the law,
- Applied for rehabilitation and was approved,
- Granted a record suspension by the Parole Board of Canada, and
- Secured a temporary resident permit.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, the examples in this article should give you an idea of which criminal records could prevent somebody from entering Canada legally. That being said, there are a few ways to overcome one’s past criminal records and still be accepted into Canada legally. If you or someone you know may fall in this particular situation, contact an immigration lawyer in Canada immediately.
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