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Immigration Repercussions of a Criminal Conviction

As criminal defence lawyers practicing in a multicultural city like Toronto, we are often asked what effect a criminal conviction may have on a client’s immigration status. If you are a foreign national or permanent resident residing in Canada and you are convicted of a criminal offence, that conviction could have serious repercussions on your ability to legally remain in Canada.

If you a foreign national or permanent resident of Canada and you are charged with a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada, you may be declared inadmissible due to criminality. There are three categories of criminal behaviour that result in this type of inadmissibility.

¥ Serious Criminality  If you are convicted of an indictable offence which carries a minimum sentence of ten years or you are convicted of an indictable offence and sentenced to six months or more in prison, you may be deemed inadmissible due to serious criminality.

¥ Less Serious Criminality  If you are convicted of a summary offence which could have been prosecuted as an indictable offence and as such carries a prison sentence of no more than ten years, you may be deemed inadmissible due to less serious criminality.

¥ Minor Criminality  If you are convicted of two or more summary offences which do not arise out of a single event you may be deemed inadmissible due to minor criminality.

There are exceptions to the laws governing inadmissibility due to criminality. For example, if you are pardoned under the Criminal Records Act you cannot be deemed inadmissible due to serious criminality. The bottom line is that following a conviction for an indictable offence, or a second conviction for a summary offence, you may face immigration proceedings.

If you are a foreign national residing in Canada and find yourself in one of the three situations listed above, you may be declared inadmissible. Following such a declaration, you could be denied permanent resident status and/or issued a removal order. If you are a foreign national and you have already been convicted of a criminal offence, you should contact a Toronto immigration lawyer for more information regarding your immigration status.

If you are a permanent resident of Canada and you find yourself in one of the above situations you may be declared inadmissible due to criminality. If you are declared inadmissible, you could be denied citizenship and/or issued a deportation order. If you are a permanent resident and you have already been convicted of a criminal offence, you should contact a Toronto immigration lawyer for more information regarding your immigration status.

If you are a Canadian foreign national or permanent resident FACING CRIMINAL CHARGES, the best way to ensure you remain in Canada is to avoid a criminal conviction. If you are in this situation, you should contact one of the criminal defence attorneys at Kostman and Pyzer, Barristers, as soon as possible by calling 416-658-1818.

13 Aug 2009

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