Unless you already are a naturalized citizen of Canada, conviction of a crime often can result in your permanent deportation. This can happen regardless of the length of your legal resident status, and even if you have received permanent resident status.
Anything short of citizenship will not necessarily protect your right to remain in Canada if the Crown convicts you of a crime.
In 2013, Canada passed the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, which provides for revocation of permanent resident status and disallows appeals of deportation decisions for permanent residents convicted of crimes that result in sentences of six months or more. The net result of the law will subject many permanent residents convicted of crimes to deportation from Canada without the right to appeal that decision.
What Crimes Can Affect Your Immigration Status?
The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act applies to “serious criminality,” which includes a conviction of any crime for which you are sentenced to six months or more in jail, and conviction of any crime for which you could have faced 10 years or more, regardless of your actual sentence. It also applies if you are convicted of any crime outside of Canada that, had you faced those same criminal charges in Canada, could have resulted in a sentence of 10 years or more.
If you are convicted of a crime that deems you guilty of “serious criminality,” you lose your permanent residence status and are subject to deportation.
If immigration authorities seek deportation for serious criminality, they can obtain a removal order that can force you to leave Canada. You would need special permission from immigration authorities to return. Any relatives you have in Canada who are not Canadian citizens also might have to leave the country.
Will Anyone Tell You if Your Conviction Affects Your Immigration Status?
If you are convicted of a crime that subjects you to the “serious criminality” provisions of Canadian immigration law, an immigration official will send you a “fairness letter” stating that you meet the definition of serious criminality and that immigration authorities will receive a report to that effect.
You can make factual submissions in response—and you should hire a lawyer for legal assistance with this stage. Those submissions might convince the immigration officer to not proceed with the case—otherwise, the official will submit a report to the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board, which will decide whether you meet the definition of serious criminality and whether to deport you as a result. This is a purely factual, straightforward determination.
If You Face Criminal Charges That Might Affect Your Immigration Status, Seek Legal Help Now
If you are charged with criminal offences in Calgary or surrounding Alberta that could threaten your immigration status, consult a lawyer to determine what your rights are under the circumstances. The lawyers of Bourdon Defence assist people who face deportation under the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act. Reach us at (403) 474-4143 or through our website.