Canadian Immigration: Admissible vs. Inadmissible Status

Perhaps the most fundamental issue when it comes to immigration into Canada is whether the person(s) seeking entry is considered “admissible” to Canada. This effectively means whether the person has the right to be admitted into the country as an immigrant. Whether a person is admissible or inadmissible is determined by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, and in particular, the Immigration Division of the Board (one of four divisions that makes up the Board). The Immigration Division renders decisions on whether a person is inadmissible to Canada and also deals with detention and release under Division Four of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Grounds for Inadmissibility

While Canada enjoys a worldwide reputation as one of the leading progressive countries with respect to immigration as well as the acceptance of refugees, the criteria under which someone may be inadmissible to Canada is actually quite extensive. A foreign national (or in many cases, a permanent resident) may be inadmissible as an immigrant for the following reasons:

  • Security reasons
  • Human or international rights violations
  • Being convicted of committing a crime
  • Being a member of a criminal organization (which can include membership in a group which participates in money laundering)
  • Medical reasons, including medical conditions that endanger public health or safety (for example, having a contagious illness)
  • Financial reasons (for example, being unable or unwilling to support yourself or family members).
  • Misrepresenting yourself in your immigration application
  • Failing to comply with the terms of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA”)
  • Having a family member who has been deemed to be inadmissible.

Within each of the above-listed reasons, there are a myriad and multitude of additional factors to consider or sub-criteria which may apply. For example, a misrepresentation can be a situation where false representation information is provided as well as a situation where information is withheld by the applicant that might be relevant to the decision by the Board. Similarly, security reasons can include having allegedly committed espionage, violence, terrorist or subversion activities. Criminal activity which can render one inadmissible encompasses all sorts of crimes ranging from murder or homicide to drinking and driving convictions as well as taking part in organized crime for such activities as money-laundering.

Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds

There are also exemptions and exceptions that can come into play. All tribunals in Canada, including those concerned with immigration and refugee claims, are required to exercise their discretionary decisions in a manner that is consistent with “Charter” values (that is, with the principles set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms), can result in challenges to decisions made by the Board if the argument can be successfully made that the decisions are inconsistent with the values of the Charter, perhaps most notably S.7 which affirms that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person.

Perhaps most notably, exemptions to people considered inadmissible to Canada can be granted permanent resident status for what is known as “Humanitarian and Compassionate” considerations, under S.25.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Under this section, the Ministry of Immigration will consider such factors as:

  • how established or settled the person is in Canada
  • the person’s ties to Canada, including family ties, and what might happen if family members were separate
  • physical health or mental health concerns
  • the impact on their lives of family violence they have experienced or will experience if they have to return to their home country
  • the best interests of any children involved.
  • hardship or difficulties they might face if they were sent back to their own country

Discretionary Decisions

Decisions for admitting a person on humanitarian and compassionate grounds (known as “H&C Applications”) are discretionary, giving immigration officers a lot of freedom. While these decisions can be appealed, ideally one wants to be granted admittance as soon as possible, especially if genuine hardship will result otherwise. It is crucial to provide a strong application explaining all of the reasons why the permanent resident status needs to be granted (ensuring that the applicant stays in Canada) supported by as much evidence as possible, which is something that an experienced immigration lawyer can assist you with.

Contact Prudent Law in Mississauga for Advice on Immigrating to Canada Through a Variety of Pathways

The volume of case law precedent over the years with respect to the grounds of inadmissibility and for “H&C applications” is enormous. We will endeavour to keep readers abreast of the most interesting cases and new developments with respect to immigration law in Canada to help keep people informed, but it is highly recommended that professional legal advice is sought in order to help protect and retain your rights to enter and remain in Canada.

The lawyers at Prudent Law in Mississauga are trusted advocates in immigration law, including permanent resident applications, temporary residency applications and citizenship applications. We provide practical advice and passionate representation in a wide variety of immigration applications. If you are facing a legal dispute and you’d like to discuss it with one of our experienced litigation lawyers, please call us at 905-361-9789 or contact us online.

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