Temporary resident permit (TRP) for victims of family violence
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
These instructions aim to provide guidance to IRCC officers on the issuance of an initial fee-exempt temporary resident permit (TRP) for out-of-status foreign nationals experiencing family violence. This measure also extends access to an initial fee-exempt work permit and Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) coverage for these individuals if the conditions warrant such a response.
The intention is for victims of family violence who are seeking a TRP to be assessed as expeditiously as possible, using the criteria outlined below. These TRPs are to be issued in accordance with existing instructions for the issuance of TRPs under subsection 24(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), as well as the corresponding Ministerial Instructions (MI) established in subsection 24(3) of the IRPA.
On this page
- Eligibility for a family violence TRP
- What constitutes family violence
- Assessing evidence of family violence
- Initial identification of cases
- Protection of individuals in cases of family violence
- TRP issuance
Eligibility for a family violence TRP
Family violence is generally defined as any form of abuse or neglect inflicted by a family member. In this context, TRPs are intended for cases of family violence from a spouse or common-law partner. In assessing eligibility for a TRP, the officer considers if the foreign national is
- physically located in Canada and experiencing abuse, including physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse or neglect, from their spouse or common-law partner while in Canada
- seeking permanent residence that is contingent on remaining in a genuine relationship in which there is abuse and if the relationship with the abusive spouse or common-law partner is critical for the continuation of the individual’s status in Canada
Examples of individuals who may be eligible include foreign nationals who
- are applicants of the family class or spouse or common-law partner in Canada class (SCLPC class) who have either already left their sponsor, due to abuse, or not yet left their sponsor, due to fear of losing their immigration status
- cannot be assessed for permanent residence because their sponsor (abusive spouse or common law partner) has withdrawn their family class or SCLPC class sponsorship application
- have been misled and made to believe by an abusive spouse or common-law partner that their family class or SCLPC class permanent residence application has been submitted and is in process when, in fact, no application has been submitted
- are temporary residents intending to apply for permanent residence through a genuine relationship that has become abusive, but who may not yet have an application in process
Dependent foreign national children of victims of family violence (both must be in Canada) are also eligible for a family violence TRP. Officers should be attuned to cases in which family law or custody issues may come into play.
Ineligible individuals who are not considered to be seeking permanent resident status, per the corresponding MI, include but are not restricted to the following:
- those seeking refugee protection
- those who have been granted refugee protection and reside in Canada as protected persons without the intention of seeking permanent resident status
Cases outside the family class
While it is anticipated that the majority of cases for a family violence TRP will come from within the family class, allegations of abuse may also be raised within the context of an application under other immigration classes. Officers must assess the allegations and determine the appropriate course of action.
In all such cases, the officer should use their discretion to assess whether or not a TRP is warranted if the lack of status is an immediate concern. Officers may consider the best interests of any affected children, even though this is not a legislative requirement for TRP consideration. Officers should also consider if humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds are appropriate for the case at hand.
The one-year bar to access a TRP under subsection 24(4) of the IRPA does not bar an officer, on their own initiative, from considering if the issuance of a TRP is justified (for a victim of family violence or other foreign national).
What constitutes family violence
Family violence is not just physical violence. A person may experience one or more forms of violence, including
- physical abuse, including forcible confinement
- sexual abuse, including sexual contact without consent
- psychological abuse, including threats and intimidation
- financial abuse, including fraud and extortion
- neglect, consisting of the failure to provide the necessaries of life, such as
- medical care
- any other omission that results in a risk of serious harm
The foreign national’s dependent child or children may also be experiencing or witnessing abuse or neglect.
Assessing evidence of family violence
To assess if an individual is a victim of family violence, officers must consider available evidence on a case-by-case basis, depending on what is put forward by the client.
IRCC officers may allow victims to provide submissions and supporting evidence by
- in-person or telephone interview
Evidence could include
- police records, including
- occurrence reports
- police notes
- recognizance of bail
- reports indicating passport and travel documents were withheld, and the police had to retrieve them
- criminal or family court documents, including
- restraining orders
- probation orders following convictions
- conviction certificates
- sentencing or trial transcripts
- victim impact statements
- letters, statements or reports from a
- victim or witness assistance program
- women’s shelter or domestic abuse support organization
- medical doctor or healthcare professional
- family services clinic
- family, friend, neighbour, co-worker or other witnesses
- assessments by a
- therapist or counsellor
- other healthcare professional
- photos of injuries
- copies of emails or text messages
Note: This list is not exhaustive and is simply intended to provide examples.
Initial identification of cases
Foreign nationals in Canada who are victims of family violence may:
- Request information about a TRP by
- contacting the IRCC Client Support Centre (CSC) at 1-888-242-2100 (the teletypewriter [TTY] number is 1-888-576-8502)
- filling out and submitting the web form
- inquiring at a local IRCC office
Note: This initial contact is not an application. Officers will provide the client with information (usually by email) to assist them in determining whether or not they want to apply for a TRP or seek other immigration options.
- Apply for a TRP by submitting a TRP application, including through an authorized representative, to the closest local office by mail.
If the CSC agent or officer is able to confirm that the foreign national has valid temporary resident status or may be eligible to apply for restoration of status (if they are out of status), the CSC agent or officer could inform the client of this possibility.
CSC referrals for cases with an existing application for permanent residence
Where a foreign national is requesting information about a family violence TRP by calling the CSC, the CSC agent should
- access the file
- complete the privacy verification
- refer the case immediately through the Global Case Management System (GCMS), per the established process for referring complex cases
- flag the case as urgent
- include the special program code “FMV” as a comment to identify the case as having a family violence component and to act as a flag for officers performing daily GCMS queries
- upload any information provided by the client through the web form to GCMS, if applicable
CSC agents should also advise the individuals upon first contact that information on their file may be disclosed to authorized representatives, unless this authorization is otherwise revoked by submitting a “Use of a Representative” form [IMM 5476]. Authorized representatives may include
- other family members or friends
See Client revocation of an authorized representative below for further information.
CSC referrals for cases with no application for permanent residence in process
For any cases in which there is no existing UCI or file, the CSC agent should
- obtain all relevant information for immediate referral to the local office by email
- upload any information provided by the client through the web form, if applicable
If a referral is made to the local IRCC office by the CSC, initial contact with the requestor should be made within 2 working days of receipt of the TRP referral. If the local office does not follow up within the 2-working-day time frame, the CSC should follow up with the local office by email and resubmit the referral.
Queries for referrals from the CSC are conducted by local offices on a daily basis, following established procedures, to ensure that urgent family violence cases are identified as promptly as possible.
Where the application is processed
Due to the urgent nature of these cases and the vulnerability of the client, local IRCC offices are to prioritize the processing of family violence TRP applications. These individuals may
- be in Canada without status
- lack travel and identity documents
- be living in a shelter or with their abuser
These applications must not be directed to CPC-E. If these cases are identified at a case processing centre, efforts should be made to transfer the application to the appropriate local office as expeditiously as possible.
Applications for subsequent family violence TRPs must also be submitted to and processed at a local IRCC office. Complete applications and the associated fees must be included.
Cases processed overseas
Depending on the type of application, there may be cases in which a permanent residence application is being processed overseas, but the applicant is already physically in Canada and is seeking a TRP.
Foreign nationals who self-identify at a local office
If a foreign national self-identifies as a victim of family violence in person, at a local IRCC office, the case should not be turned away. In these situations, officers should refer the client to information on how to apply for a family violence TRP.
Cases flagged through authorized representatives
Authorized representatives may assist the foreign national with applying for a TRP, due to family violence. These representatives may apply for a TRP on behalf of the client and send the application to a local office without first contacting the CSC, per existing public instructions. In such cases, representatives may use the code “FV” on the application envelope as a visual identifier to signal a case involving family violence.
Cases identified through another government partner
Cases in which the foreign national is identified by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or another federal or provincial partner as a victim of family violence should be referred to the responsible IRCC local office on an urgent basis, using established points of contact.
Cases related to human trafficking
It is important to note that there may be cases in which a trafficked individual is also a victim of family violence, such as cases of intimate partner violence. In such cases, Considerations specific to victims of human trafficking should also be consulted.
Family class files – Requests for H&C considerations
If, during the processing of the TRP, the applicant requests H&C considerations on their spousal family class or SCLPC class permanent residence application that is currently in process, the request should be referred to the office responsible for processing the permanent residence application. This allows the office processing the permanent residence application to follow H&C guidelines, which also include instructions specific to applicants in the SCLPC class.
Officers are encouraged to verify within GCMS to confirm whether the applicant has another application in process.
Protection of individuals in cases of family violence
CSC agents and officers should confirm a safe telephone number, email address or mailing address at which to contact the victim. Officers should inform their manager if they are unable to contact the victim within the 2-day period but should continue to make efforts to contact the victim using the information provided.
Officers should indicate in GCMS notes all attempts made to contact the victim.
Note: Protection of the client’s information must start with the first contact by the client regarding the abuse.
Client revocation of an authorized representative
If an individual has advised IRCC in writing that they would like to revoke their authorized representative, the officer should ensure that GCMS is updated immediately. Use of representatives: Counselling applicants during interviews outlines the course of action to be taken for the client to revoke their representative and designate a new one.
Individuals subject to a removal order
If a removal order is in place for an individual applying for a TRP, an IRCC manager or supervisor should contact the CBSA directly, in writing, to advise the CBSA of the situation. A note should also be made on the applicant’s UCI, stating that TRP issuance is being considered and requesting that the CBSA consult IRCC before taking further action. Ultimately, an IRCC manager or supervisor should contact the CBSA directly, in writing, to confirm if the TRP has been issued.
The officer may render a decision based on the documentation received. If the officer is not satisfied by the documentation provided, an interview may be warranted. If there are no impediments for the client, an in-person interview should be arranged.
There may be situations that make it difficult for a victim to attend an in-person interview:
- safety issues
IRCC officers should take these factors into consideration when requesting an in-person interview and may consider a telephone interview instead. Officers should follow the safety precautions and interview considerations outlined in Abuse: Interview considerations.
The objectives of the interview are to
- establish the facts of the case to verify if the person is a victim of family violence
- use the facts to determine the optimal length of the TRP if one is going to be issued
Note: Where there are allegations of family violence, and evidence is being requested, IRCC officers should ensure they send all communications to the foreign national directly (using the contact information provided by the individual). To avoid possible intervention by the perpetrator, if the officer is unable to assess the safety of the contact information, communications should not be sent.
Correspondence should provide a deadline for the submissions and outline the possible consequences of not providing a response (for example, a refusal).
If an IRCC officer is unable to contact an individual after 2 attempts (with lag time at the officer’s discretion) after the officer has received a request for a TRP due to family violence, the officer should render a decision based on the available information. They must update GCMS to indicate what steps have been taken and how the attempts to contact the individual have been made (for example, telephone calls, emails and letters).
Any officer or agent who receives information regarding any form of abuse against a child or in the presence of a child must
- report it to their immediate supervisor or manager
- report it to the CMB and copy the Immigration Program Guidance Branch (IPG) on the email
If the victim of family violence has existing immigration status through another program, the officer should not issue a TRP until the current status has lapsed, and restoration of status is not possible.
If the officer determines that the foreign national is a victim of family violence, the officer may issue a TRP for a minimum of 6 months, based on the following considerations:
- the foreign national’s ties to Canada
- child custody or any other family law-related issue
- a period of reflection for victims of family violence who are out of status to further consider their immigration options
- the chance for the victim of family violence to escape the influence of their abuser, so they can make an informed decision on a future course of action
- any other purpose the officer may judge relevant to facilitate the protection of vulnerable foreign nationals who are victims of family violence
Depending on the circumstances, and at the officer’s discretion, a subsequent TRP may also be justified, with the above factors taken into consideration, in cases where there may be a benefit to the individual remaining in Canada for a longer period.
Note: Only the initial TRP is fee-exempt.
Foreign nationals who have faced family violence in Canada may
- have been kept in isolation from Canadian society
- be illiterate or unskilled
- not have formed dependable support networks
These circumstances should not weigh against affording temporary resident status in this context to warranted cases.
If the person is suspected or determined to be a victim of family violence, the officer may refer them to available resources in the community. See Referrals to resources for victims of abuse for a detailed list of services and resources for victims of family violence.
Collection of biometrics
Victims of family violence applying for a TRP are not specifically exempt from the requirement to give biometrics, or from paying the biometrics fee. If feasible, victims can and should have their biometrics collected at the local office when they are issued their
- open work permit
- IFHP coverage
Suspected victims of family violence who are not covered by a public or private health insurance plan may be eligible for coverage of health-care benefits under the IFHP, per the discretionary authority of the Minister, under IFHP Cabinet-approved policy. Benefits include (for the duration of the TRP)
- basic coverage (hospital services, physician care)
- supplemental coverage (urgent dental and vision care, mental health counselling)
- prescription drug coverage
Note: If the client has already had an immigration medical examination covered under the IFHP, they are not eligible for a second. Also, any individual who has access to provincial or territorial coverage should not be issued IFHP coverage. The IFHP does not cover Canadian citizens, including babies born in Canada to IFHP beneficiaries.
Unless the applicant has already completed an immigration medical examination within the last 12 months, they are required to undergo temporary resident medical screening if they intend to do either of the following:
- work in a field in which the protection of public health is essential
- remain in Canada for longer than 6 months after residing in a tuberculosis-endemic country for more than 6 consecutive months in the past year
See Who must submit to an immigration medical examination for more information.
In addition, certain applicants who have already undergone a medical examination may be eligible for a medical reassessment.
A TRP that is valid for at least 180 days makes the holder eligible to apply for an open work permit. A TRP does not exempt the permit holder from the requirement to apply for a work permit if they wish to work in Canada. A fee-exempt work permit should be offered to the client as an option to ensure they are aware that they are eligible for one. If the victim of family violence wants to apply for a work permit, the application should be processed by the local IRCC office at the same time as the TRP application, due to the urgent nature of this kind of case.
Note: a study permit is not fee exempt as part of the family violence TRP.
Victims of family violence are exempt, either by regulations or by virtue of the associated public policy, from the
- processing fee for the initial TRP, regardless of its duration
- fee for the initial work permit issued in conjunction with the TRP
Note: Under the associated public policy, only the initial TRP and initial work permit are fee-exempt. The open work permit privilege fee does not apply to these cases, as it does under subsection 303.2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).
Other available measures
Foreign nationals who are victims of family violence, including those who may not be eligible for a TRP, may avail themselves of a number of other legislative and administrative measures to remain in Canada temporarily or permanently. These include
- extending or renewing their existing temporary status (work permit, study permit, or visitor status or record) if they have status in Canada
- restoring their status if they are out of status, as they may be eligible
- submitting an economic class application
- applying for a general TRP
- requesting consideration of a general TRP should the FV TRP be refused (see note below)
- obtaining a stay or deferral of removal
- applying for permanent residence under H&C considerations
- claiming refugee protection and applying for a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA), if applicable
Note: Requesting consideration of a regular TRP
Should an applicant request that an officer consider the issuance of a regular TRP if the FV TRP is going to be refused, the officer should
- request payment of the TRP fee from the applicant
- refer the application to the general TRP queue (and placed in the queue based on the original date received)
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