CIMM - Admissibility, Inadmissibility and Removals - Mar 8, 2021
Under Canadian immigration law, visitors to Canada need a temporary resident visa unless they are exempt.
Individuals are assessed for inadmissibility on a case-by-case basis.
Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, foreign nationals who are inadmissible to Canada may be refused a visa, electronic travel authorization or entry to Canada.
Investigation of criminal offences on Canadian soil by foreign nationals is a matter for law enforcement.
Visa policy framework
Canada’s Visa Policy Framework guides decision making on who may visit the country without a visa. All visa-related decisions are based on comprehensive, country-by-country assessments that weigh the benefits of a visa exemption against the risks.
Canada continuously monitors country conditions around the world. The review of a country’s visa requirement is conducted where there is evidence of a shift in migration trends and country conditions that could indicate that a change in policy is warranted.
All persons seeking to enter or remain in Canada must be admissible to Canada and must meet the temporary and/or permanent residency requirements, as set out in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations.
An important part of the admissibility assessment is the security screening process, which checks that the applicant:
has not committed crimes that would bar their entry to Canada;
does not pose a risk to Canada’s security;
is in good healthFootnote * and does not pose a public health risk (a medical examination may be required);
has not violated human or international rights;
is not involved in or a member of organized crime;
has a valid passport or travel document; and
has not violated the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
All applicants are subject to universal and non-discriminatory considerations during the screening process.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada relies on key security partners to provide their security screening analysis to inform the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada decision maker.
Inadmissibility determined inside Canada
A foreign national loses temporary resident status when an officer or the Immigration and Refugee Board determines that they have failed to comply with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and issues a removal order. Once a removal order comes into force (and is not stayed by a judicial decision), the foreign national must leave Canada immediately.
For example, if a foreign national is convicted of certain offences in Canada or is found to have engaged in acts of espionage against Canada or its interests, they would be inadmissible. They may be issued a deportation order, removed from Canada and have their visa or electronic travel authorization cancelled.
[If pressed for detail on investigation and removal from Canada, direct to the Minister of Public Safety or CBSA officials.]
The Minister of Foreign Affairs applies sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act, and the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) concerning gross violations of human rights or significant corruption.
Individuals subject to sanctions under these acts are rendered inadmissible to Canada through the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and denied entry.
[If pressed for detail on sanctions, direct to the Minister of Foreign Affairs or GAC officials.]
Supporting facts and figures
In 2019, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada approved nearly 4 million electronic travel authorizations and over 3.4 million temporary resident applications.
In 2020, almost 795,000 electronic travel authorizations and over 1.6 million temporary resident applications were approved, which is an 80% and 53% decrease, respectively, from 2019.
Visitors from most countries require a visa in order to come to Canada. Applicants provide comprehensive information about themselves and their purpose of travel, and submit their passport and biometrics.
The electronic travel authorization is an entry requirement for (non-United States) visa-exempt foreign nationals flying to Canada. It allows Canada to verify the traveller’s admissibility in a light-touch, largely automated process.
Admissibility and decision-making
There are ten categories of inadmissibility: security; violating human or international rights; serious criminality and criminality; organized criminality; health grounds; financial reasons; misrepresentation; cessation of refugee protection; non-compliance; and inadmissible family member.
Canadian immigration officers are trained to consider applications on a case-by-case basis. The onus is on the applicant to show that they meet the requirements for a temporary or permanent resident visa, or an electronic travel authorization.
The screening process includes the collection and gathering of information from a variety of sources which are analyzed by the Canada Border Services Agency.
Foreign nationals are inadmissible to Canada if they:
were convicted in Canada of an offence under an Act of Parliament that carries a punishment of at least 10 years’ imprisonment or of an offence for which a term of imprisonment of more than six months has been imposed;
were convicted in Canada of an offence under an Act of Parliament punishable by way of indictment, or of two offences from separate occurrences;
were convicted outside Canada of an offence that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an indictable offence under an Act of Parliament, or of two offences from separate occurrences;
committed an act outside Canada that is an offence in the place where it was committed and that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an indictable offence under an Act of Parliament; or
committed, on entering Canada, an offence under an Act of Parliament prescribed by regulations.
Permanent residents would be inadmissible if they were convicted or committed an act outside Canada that is an offence where it was committed if the underlying act would constitute an offence in Canada under an Act of Parliament that is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years. In Canada, permanent residents would be inadmissible if they were convicted of an offence under an Act of Parliament that is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years or received a term of imprisonment in Canada of more than six months.
Criminal offences committed in Canada
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or local police forces, are responsible for investigating allegations of criminal activity in Canada.
The Canada Border Services Agency is responsible for immigration enforcement, including the removal of inadmissible foreign nationals.
If a foreign national is convicted of an offence in Canada, an immigration officer may prepare an inadmissibility report and issue a removal order.
Sanctions imposed on senior officials of a regime that committed gross human rights violations under the Special Economic Measures Act or the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) would render those individuals inadmissible under section 35 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Sanctions under the Sergei Magnitsky Law have been issued to individuals from countries including Russia, Venezuela, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia and South Sudan.
Temporary resident permits
Temporary resident permits may be issued to an inadmissible foreign national when an officer is of the opinion it is justified in the circumstances. Temporary resident permits may be cancelled at any time.
A temporary resident permit carries a $200 processing fee, can be valid for up to three years but is usually issued for the length of a person’s intended stay in Canada.
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