What does the CBSA have to do with a serious crime conviction?

This article discusses how a conviction for a serious crime could prompt the CBSA to initiate deportation proceedings for a permanent resident.

As is the case in other countries, permanent residents of Canada are subject to the country's laws just as its citizens are. When a serious crime occurs in which police suspect a permanent resident is involved, that individual's immigration status comes into question. Facing charges under these circumstances sets in motion certain procedures that could lead to deportation.

Once authorities charge a permanent resident with a serious crime, the Canadian Border Services Agency receives notification from police. If a conviction results from the charges, the CBSA may then begin the deportation process, which starts with a report indicating the individual's inadmissibility in Canada. The importance of obtaining counsel regarding the criminal charges cannot be stressed enough, but a permanent resident may want to consult with an immigration lawyer as well.

What constitutes a serious crime?

First, it's necessary to understand what the law considers a serious crime. If the sentence for a crime results in one of two circumstances listed below, it qualifies under the definition of a serious crime:

· The actual sentence ordered by the court results in at least six months in jail. Any time an individual spends incarcerated prior to conviction may count toward this total.

· If the potential sentence is a maximum of 10 years in prison, then it qualifies as a serious crime regardless of whether the permanent resident convicted of the crime spends any time in jail or prison.

Considering the fact that it could take some time for a trial to take place, reaching that six-month threshold may not be difficult.

What factors could help keep an individual in Canada?

After a conviction for a crime fitting the definition above, the CBSA then decides whether to issue a report questioning whether a permanent resident should face deportation. This triggers a hearing conducted by the Immigration and Refugee Board's Immigration Division regarding his or her admissibility. Fortunately, the law requires the CBSA to look at the reasons for not deporting an individual, which includes reviewing the following:

· What ties does the individual have to the community?

· What does his or her employment history in this country look like?

· How long has he or she lived here in Canada?

· What are the individual's language skills like?

· How old was the individual when he or she entered the country?

· Does the person have family members here in Canada? How will deportation affect them?

· Does the person have family members in his or her country of origin? What are those relationships like?

· Does he or she have a criminal record?

Along with the severity of the crime for which a permanent resident received a conviction, the answers to these questions could play a significant role in the decision to issue a report.

The CBSA letter

The CBSA will send a letter to the permanent resident after a conviction stating why it could make him or her inadmissible, what the serious crime is that makes the individual inadmissible, and asks for the individual to provide reasons as to why the agency should not issue a report prompting a deportation hearing. The letter will request either an in-person interview or written answers to why an individual should be allowed to remain in the country.

A permanent resident facing deportation for the conviction of a serious crime may only receive one shot at remaining in the country. For this reason, it is vital to explore all options that provide the best possible outcome to the situation. Consulting with an experienced and knowledgeable immigration lawyer as soon as possible could help reveal what the optimal solution may be.