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Immigration & Refugee – Status

Visit our CASA program page to learn more about JFCY services in this area of law.

Immigration Status in Canada

Individuals present in Canada often have an immigration “status”. For example, someone may be a Canadian Citizen, a Permanent Resident, a Foreign National (meaning they are in Canada on a temporary visa like a Work Permit or Visitor’s Visa), or they could be a Protected Person.

There are also individuals without status. This means they have no legal right to stay in Canada. These people could be detained by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and removed from Canada against their will.

If you have questions about your status, or are unsure what your status is, you should talk to a lawyer for assistance.

How to Get Status

There may be several options available to you if you do not have status. One such option could be what is a called a Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) application. This is when you can ask Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for Permanent Residence based on humanitarian and compassionate reasons. Such reasons may include: your establishment in Canada (i.e. you have been present in Canada for a long time, or you have family or many friends here), your activities in Canada, or your volunteer work. You may also include information about the hardship that you will face should you have to go back to your home country.

Completing a well-done H&C application requires a lot of work and is time consuming. There are some Legal Aid Clinics where you can receive assistance completing your application. It is best to call Legal Aid Ontario to find a Legal Clinic near you that can help: 1-800-668-8258 or contact your local clinic.

Is it possible to lose your status?

Yes, unless you were born in Canada, it is possible to lose your status.

You could lose your status if you or your sponsor and/or family member lied about any fact on your immigration application (even if you have already received your Canadian Citizenship). You could also lose your status if you are a Permanent Resident or Foreign National and you have received a criminal conviction.

The law regarding immigration status and criminal convictions is very complicated. If you are a Permanent Resident or Foreign National and you have been charged with a criminal offence you should talk to a lawyer right away. A lawyer may help you negotiate in court so that you are able to safely stay in Canada.

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