Everyone wishes for a good life with their loved ones. Sometimes, though, life deals a bad hand, and we make choices that aren’t very good for us. If you have successfully immigrated to Canada, then you’ve probably made enough good choices in your past that have helped land you where you are today. You worked hard, used the cards life gave you, and got yourself to a stable place.
Sometimes, though, our loved ones do not have the same opportunities, the same network, or the same luck that we do. This is especially tricky if your spouse is in your country of origin, and is finding it hard to join you in Canada because of a criminal record. The Criminal Code of Canada is unambiguous about what acts make an applicant criminally inadmissible into the country.
Because of immigration guidelines, it is difficult to get a person with a criminal record to enter the country. However, it is not impossible to get your partner to join you. You just need to determine what classification the record falls under, and take the appropriate steps to address it. Here are the best ways to enter Canada for people who have a difficult background.
1. Deemed rehabilitation
‘Rehabilitated’ is a label granted to an individual whom the Canadian government has decided will be unlikely to commit a crime again. If enough time has passed since the criminal charge or conviction, the person might be deemed rehabilitated.
This means their record will not prevent them from entering Canada. Another reason for deeming an applicant rehabilitated is if the crime, committed outside Canada, will land no more than ten years in prison if committed inside the country.
Local laws vary widely, and you need to check with an immigration expert before applying for any status of rehabilitation. For example, a person with a misdemeanour conviction in the United States can be deemed rehabilitated after five years, but a person with a felony needs ten years.
2. Individual rehabilitation
If the criminal record in question does not fall under the conditions for deemed rehabilitation, you may apply for individual rehabilitation. Keep in mind that this may be granted or revoked by the Ministry or its delegated authorities. Applying for rehabilitation means testifying to being an upstanding citizen.
The way to do this is to first compile all relevant information that can help prove your claims. Ask your spouse to collect police clearances from everywhere they have lived for at least six months since they were 18. You must also provide the Canadian government with copies of the court dockets, and proof of compliance with the terms of the sentence.
3. Record suspension
A record suspension proves that your spouse’s charge was dropped or pardoned in their country of origin. You may have to check, though, with the country’s embassy or consulate what the specifics are for getting a record suspension or pardon. In some cases, the pardon originating from the home country is not enough in Canada.
4. Temporary residence
If your spouse has a valid reason to be in Canada despite not being a fit for any of the other categories, they may be issued a temporary residence permit. The immigration officials assigned to the case will be the ones to weigh whether the person’s presence constitutes serious health or safety hazards to Canadian residents.
Getting a spousal immigration to Canada may be difficult if they have a criminal background. However, if they are committed to proving their eagerness to rehabilitate, they will likely be given consideration by the government. In any case, it is good to hire experienced immigration lawyers who can give you sound advice on your unique circumstances.
If you are looking for a Canadian immigration lawyer in Toronto, get in touch with us today to see how we can help. We were nominated for the RBC Settlement Agency Award, and our more than 25 years of experience has exposed us to the different facets and ways of coming to this country.