There are several foreign nationals all over the world that would like to visit Canada and experience what the country has to offer. However, should that foreign national have a criminal record or a criminal offence in their country of origin then the chances of them entering Canada is slim. In Canada, a foreign national will become inadmissible if they have a criminal history in or outside of Canada. In this article, I will be primarily speaking on behalf of criminal offences made outside of Canada and how this affects foreign nationals wishing to enter Canada. I will also discuss whether or not Canada will accept a foreign country’s pardon and if that individual would still be inadmissible to Canada if they do have a pardon.
In Canada, if you have a criminal offence or a criminal history from a different country, you will be deemed criminally inadmissible to Canada and will not be permitted entry into Canada. Luckily, Canada also gives these inadmissible individuals the opportunity to overcome their inadmissibility to Canada by applying for a Criminal Rehabilitation application. In order to apply for a Criminal Rehabilitation, you must show sufficient evidence to Immigration that shows your convictions and the completion of any sentences of said convictions. You may also include any evidence that shows you have indeed changed your lifestyle for the better since the convictions.
There are certain options that you may pursue if you would like to overcome your criminal inadmissibility, such as:
Thus, there are ways in order to become rehabilitated by Canada through the Criminal Rehabilitation application. However, some individuals from foreign countries may have had criminal offences in their countries that may have already been pardoned or they may have been deemed rehabilitated. So, a question arises to whether Canada will accept the foreign country’s pardon or the declaration of rehabilitation.
In the case of a foreign country’s pardons, in order to explain it thoroughly and in detail, I will use the United Kingdom as an example. Of course, it is important to note that the legislation and laws in the United Kingdom are different from Canada and therefore have different terms and conditions when it comes to rehabilitation. Specifically, in the United Kingdom they have a Rehabilitation of Offenders Act which was introduced in 1974. In this Act, there are legislations and any subsequent amendments that state that criminal convictions, after a certain period of time, can be considered “spent.” In a Canadian context, the term “spent” equates to criminally rehabilitated.
Furthermore, once the conviction is “spent” this means that the inadmissible individual shall be treated for all purposes in law as an individual who has not committed, been charged with, persecuted for, convicted of, sentenced for the offence or offences which were the subject of that specific conviction. In other words, once the conviction has been spent, the individual will not suffer from any criminal inadmissibility. In the ROA, they have provided specific time frames that individuals must abide by in order for their conviction to be deemed “spent.” The time frames are different based on the conviction. For instance, should an individual be given a community order, their conviction would be “spent” at the end of a 12 month period beginning on the date when the sentence was imposed. Similarly, should an individual be given a fine, their conviction would be “spent” at the end of a 12 month period beginning on the date when the sentence was imposed. Lastly, should an individual be given a custodial sentence of 6 months or less, their conviction would be “spent” at the end of a 24 month period beginning on the date when the sentence, including any license period, was completed.
It is important to note that in the United Kingdom, there are no official documents provided once the conviction has been spent. Therefore, as long as the specified time frames have elapsed, then the conviction will be “spent.” Additionally, in any other countries around the world, convictions may be pardoned, however, it must be supported and authorized by the country’s authorities.
If your country of origin has pardoned your criminal convictions, this can seem very enlightening and relieving for many individuals. However, if that individual wanted to travel outside of their country, then the circumstances change. Thankfully, with regards to the United Kingdom’s legislations and laws, Canada recognizes the ROA and how they assess individuals for rehabilitation. Canada also considers other countries legislations and laws when it comes to rehabilitation, not only the United Kingdom. This may come as a relief to many individuals.
Specifically, Immigration officers will need to assess and determine specific factors when determining rehabilitation in Canada for a foreign national that has been pardoned in their country of origin. They will ask themselves specific questions, such as:
Another very important factor that Immigration officers will examine is the severity and seriousness of the offence. For individuals with a criminal offence such as murder or manslaughter, the Immigration officer will of course take this into consideration when assessing whether or not they should be allowed entry into Canada. Keep in mind, Immigration officers have to have the best interest of Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada, especially their security and safety, when assessing any rehabilitation case.
Conclusively, with regards to case law, Canadian immigration will consider the foreign country and their legal system and whether their system is similar to Canada’s system with regards to foundations and values, and has enacted legislation that reflects goals and objectives similar to those within Canada’s system. Thus, the law may be granted respect and recognition for the purposes of Canadian immigration law.
It is essential that you have taken all of the aforementioned factors and information into consideration before you attempt to enter Canada with inadmissibility. If you are inadmissible to Canada and would like to apply for a Criminal Rehabilitation, it is important to note that these are difficult applications to pursue on your own. It is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to submit the application. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients with inadmissibility gain entry into Canada as visitors. If you believe that you may be eligible for a Criminal Rehabilitation, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advise.
With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!