Will My Criminal Charges Have Immigration Consequences?
Being charged with a criminal offence often comes along with consequences in multiple aspects of a person’s life. If you are not a Canadian Citizen, the result of a criminal charge and conviction could negatively impact your immigration status in many ways. If you are applying for permanent residence status or for citizenship, an unresolved charge is likely to have a negative impact on your application. At the very least, it can cause serious delays in your application. For these reasons, it is best to resolve all outstanding charges before applying for citizenship or permanent residency.
However, the way your charge is resolved could come with different implications depending on the outcome. If there is no conviction either through an acquittal at trial, a withdrawal, a stay of charges, or a discharge, you will not be deemed inadmissible to Canada. If you are convicted of a charge, the conviction will have different implications depending on your immigration status and the charge itself.
If you are a temporary resident applying to become a permanent resident, having a criminal conviction will have a negative impact on your chances for a successful application. You must get a record clearance before you apply to be a permanent resident, which can only be done 5 years after your sentence for summary charges, and 10 years after your sentence for indictable charges. For the purposes of criminal inadmissibility for immigration in Canada, hybrid offences are considered indictable charges, even if the crown is proceeding summarily. A temporary resident will be deemed inadmissible if convicted of an indictable offence (including hybrid offence for the sake of immigration purposes). This means that even a conviction for a simple assault can deem a temporary resident inadmissible. Temporary residents will also be inadmissible if they are convicted of any two offences the occurred on different occasions. The Canadian Government has the power to deport a convicted temporary resident without even holding an admissibility hearing.
If you are a permanent resident or a refugee, you could have your status revoked and face deportation if you are convicted of a serious crime. To be more specific on “serious criminality”, if you are convicted of an offence that has a maximum prison sentence of 10 years or more, or if you are sentenced to more than 6 months in jail, you could have your status revoked. The Canadian government will hold an admissibility hearing to decide if you should face deportation. If you are sentenced to less than 6 months of jail, you will have the right to appeal the loss of your permanent residence status and may be granted the right to keep your status for 5 years under certain conditions. If you are sentenced to more than 6 months of jailtime, you will have no right of appeal and will be facing deportation. Although, refugees cannot be deported to countries where they would risk prosecution, it is still possible to be deported due to a serious criminal conviction. If you obtain a discharge as a temporary or permanent resident and there is no conviction, you will not lose your status and can apply for citizenship or permanent residency when your probation period is complete.
The sole purpose of this information assist people with understanding some potential consequences their criminal charge or conviction may have on their immigration status. Our firm does not provide immigration advice and this post is not to be taken as immigration advice.
To avoid delays and possible serious consequences regarding your immigration status or application, it is important you have a vigorous, and professional defence to your criminal charges. At Derstine Penman we explore all avenues, seek out all evidence, and ask all the tough questions to guarantee you the best results possible for your specific case.