Immigration Implications Associated with a Charge or Conviction Resources

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If you are applying for permanent residence or for Canadian citizenship, an unresolved charge of Assault will show up on your Criminal Record. The charge will likely have an impact on your application. Resolving the matter will allow your application to proceed or, if it results in a conviction, for you to take steps to minimize the negative effects.

For information on how a charge can be resolved see questions in the section “Keeping my Charges Private from my Employer and Family”. Generally, the possible resolutions to a charge where there is no conviction, is a withdrawn charge, stayed charge, absolute discharge, or a conditional discharge. For all of these possible outcomes, you will not be deemed inadmissible to Canada and your immigration application will not be impacted if the offense you were charged with occurred within Canada. Furthermore, if you are acquitted after a trial, your application will also not be impacted. Therefore, it is best to try and resolve your matter before applying, or continuing your application for permanent residence or citizenship. An unresolved criminal charge will have a negative impact on your application.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don’t want my Immigration Application to be impacted by a Conviction of Assault?
What implications does a Criminal Charge or Conviction have on my Permanent Residence status?
What implications does a Criminal Charge or Conviction have on my Temporary Residence status?
What implications does a Criminal Charge or Conviction have on my Refugee Status?
What is a Pardon/Record Suspension?
What happens if I obtain Citizenship without disclosing a Charge or Conviction?

What if I don’t want my Immigration Application to be impacted by a Conviction of Assault?

If you have been convicted of Assault, your immigration application will be negatively impacted. At the very least, a conviction will slow down the application process. At most, if your offense is more serious, such as Aggravated Assault, and you are a temporary resident, it could even result in deportation.

If you are convicted, you should apply for a Record Suspension (formerly known as a Pardon) before beginning or continuing your immigration application. Before you can apply, you must have completed your sentence, whether it is a fine, probation period, or imprisonment. You must also wait 5 years after your sentence is over; or 10 years if you were convicted of an indictable offence, were subject to a fine of more than $5,000, or more than 12 months’ imprisonment. According to immigration legislation, all offences that can be prosecuted either by summary conviction or by indictment are indictable offences. Therefore there is a 10-year waiting period for all Assault-related offences.

What implications does a Criminal Charge or Conviction have on my Permanent Residence status?

If you are a temporary resident applying for permanent residence, a Criminal Record will lower your chances for a successful application. If you have been discharged, or had your charge stayed or withdrawn, then your previous charge should not impact your application for permanent residence. If you have been convicted, you must get a Record Clearance before applying for permanent residence. You can only apply for a Record Clearance 5 years after the completion of your sentence, or 10 years for indictable offences (which includes all Assault-related offences).

If you are currently a permanent resident, the worst-case scenario for a criminal conviction is that you are stripped of your status and removed from Canada. This punishment is reserved for cases that involve serious criminality. If a permanent resident is convicted of an offence that has a maximum prison sentence of at least 10 years, or the person has been sentenced to more than six month’s imprisonment, he or she is deemed inadmissible to Canada. Furthermore, the government will hold an admissibility hearing, which can result in a removal order against the person. Therefore, being convicted of a serious criminal offense – one that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment or more, or if your sentence is more than 6 months’ imprisonment – may result in a deportation order.

What implications does a Criminal Charge or Conviction have on my Temporary Residence status?

The implications for a temporary resident are more serious than for a permanent resident. A temporary resident is deemed inadmissible if he or she is Convicted of an indictable offense, which includes offences that are punishable by either summary conviction or indictment (i.e. Assault-related offences). A temporary resident is also deemed inadmissible if he or she is Convicted of any two offences not arising out of the same occurrence. Furthermore, unlike with a permanent resident, the government can directly issue a deportation order against the Convicted temporary resident without holding an admissibility hearing first. If a deportation order is issued, the temporary resident loses his or her status and, cannot enter Canada again without authorization.

What implications does a Criminal Charge or Conviction have on my Refugee Status?

A person with refugee status is a permanent resident, and therefore a Criminal Charge or Conviction carries with it much the same implications as for a permanent resident. If the person is Convicted of a serious criminal offense, the person may have to attend an admissibility hearing which may result in a deportation order. A serious criminal offense is one that carries with it a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment or more (e.g. Aggravated Assault), or if the person has been sentenced to 6 months’ imprisonment or more.

However, there are special considerations taken into account at an admissibility hearing for a person with refugee status. Generally, a refugee cannot be deported to countries where they would be at a risk of persecution, torture, or cruel and unusual treatment. But there are exceptions, and a refugee can still be ordered deported for a criminal Conviction.

What is a Pardon/Record Suspension?

A Record Suspension, formerly known as a Pardon, allows a person who has been Convicted of an offense, has served their sentence, and has demonstrated that they have been a law-abiding citizen for a number of years, to have their Criminal Record be kept separate and apart from other Criminal Records. You can only apply for a record suspension 5 years after the completion of your sentence for a summary conviction offense, and 10 years after the completion of a sentence for an indictable offense (which includes all assault-related offenses).

A person who has obtained a Record Suspension does not have to live with many of the consequences of having a Criminal Record. Under Canada’s Human Rights Code, discrimination on the basis of a Criminal Record for which a Pardon has been granted is prohibited. In terms of immigration applications, this means that even though you have a criminal Conviction, if you obtain a Record Suspension, you will not be deemed inadmissible to Canada. It would allow you to begin or continue with your immigration application.

What happens if I obtain Citizenship without disclosing a Charge or Conviction?

If you obtain Citizenship without disclosing a Charge or Conviction, you could lose your Citizenship. The government can revoke a Citizenship that was obtained by false representation or by knowingly concealing material facts.

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