A criminal record will negatively affect your ability to immigrate to, or remain in Canada.
It is illegal to visit Canada if you have a criminal record unless you have acquired special permission from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). If you have a Canadian criminal record, it is best to have it pardoned/suspended or destroyed before attempting to enter again. If you have a foreign record, you will need to apply for a Minister’s Permit or submit an Application for Rehabilitation.
Minister’s Permits & Work Authorizations
People who were granted a Minister’s Permit or Work Authorization before they were charged with a criminal offence, may have their status removed and be deported from Canada.
Refugees with criminal records may have their refugee status removed and be deported from Canada. A refugee’s right to apply for landing is removed by having criminal convictions. At the very least, the discovery of any kind of criminal record, even where there was no finding of guilt, will result in complications to their immigration application. If the individual’s application is part of a ‘family’ application for landing, the discovery of the criminal by Immigration Canada may put everyone’s application on hold, and may result in every family member who is part of that application being deported.
Permanent Resident or Landed Status
A permanent resident is a person who has been given lawful permission to permanently live in Canada, but who is not yet a Canadian citizen.
If you have a criminal record your application for Canadian citizenship can be denied, delayed or put on hold. If the conviction is for a serious offence, CIC may decide to start removal proceedings for the purpose of removing your permanent residence status and deporting you from Canada. Even if you have been landed for many years or since childhood, your residency status may be taken away and you can be deported.
Sometimes criminal convictions from many years ago are brought to the attention of Immigration Canada years after the crime was committed. Even in such a situation, where the criminal record is old, Immigration Canada may take away the person’s permanent residence status and deport them.
If you are applying for Canadian citizenship, it is best to do so only after you have sealed or destroyed your criminal record. Regardless of what is on your record, the fact that you have one will, at the very least, slow down your application. If the offence was serious enough, Immigration Canada can take away your current immigration status and deport you.
Being Deported from Canada
If removal or deportation proceedings are brought against you because of a criminal record, it is a good idea to start the process of having your record removed. By doing this you can show Immigration Canada that you are no longer involved in any criminal activities, and that you qualify to have your criminal record removed. Furthermore, you can give them an approximate date as to when your record will be sealed or destroyed.
In some cases, Immigration Canada may decide not to deport you. However, even if you are deported, it will be easier for you to return to Canada if you can prove that your record has been removed.