By Sukhram Ramkissoon
As a last resort to remain in Canada permanently, a very large number of persons who are reporting to Canada Border Services Agency have filed applications under humanitarian and compassionate grounds to remain in Canada.
They are hoping a favorable decision will be rendered based on their individual circumstances before they are removed from Canada.
Most of these applicants have overstayed their visiting privileges, are failed refugee claimants or otherwise have contravened the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Most have initiated H & C applications and / or submitted Pre Removal Risk Assessment applications.
Despite being here for a number of years without status most of them have taken no steps to regularize their status, but as soon as they are caught they do so by submitting some type of application to remain in Canada permanently.
Let us examine the case of Ricky from the Caribbean who last entered Canada in April 2013 as a foreign worker on a work permit. He has been coming to Canada on a yearly basis on work permits as the need required since 2005 to be employed by the same employer in the racing industry in Toronto.
He was granted entry into Canada at least 10 times and never violated any conditions of his employment authorization.
He has supported himself and family from the time of his original entry to Canada in 2005 and his employer was always satisfied with his skills, dedication and commitment to his job. He was an exemplary worker.
His last permit expired in December 2014 and immediately afterwards he was advised by his former representative to submit a claim for refugee protection due to crime in his country. His claim was heard and rejected on April 30, 2015.
In October 2015, he consulted my firm with respect to his options to remain in Canada as he was a failed refugee claimant.
I advised him to immediately pursue a humanitarian and compassionate application as he was regularly employed in Canada on a yearly basis since 2005, established himself in Canada and his children are financially dependent upon him.
On Nov. 4, 2015, my office submitted a comprehensive and detailed H & C application with a number of supporting documents which was acknowledged by Immigration who began processing that on Feb. 23, 2016.
He was then requested by telephone call to report to the Greater Toronto Enforcement Centre on March 30. He did report and was told he had to leave Canada on April 15.
He was not given the opportunity to purchase his own airline ticket as CBSA had already booked him for his removal. This was done out of haste and speed to get him out of the country before he became eligible to submit a PRRA which he was entitled to by April 30.
We immediately wrote a letter to the Backlog Reduction Office explaining CBSA plans to remove our client, at the same time urging they expedite his application. Our client was eventually removed on April 15.
Good news: Just two weeks after his removal precisely on April 29 our office received correspondence from the Backlog Reduction Office in Toronto that on April 25 a representative of the minister of citizenship and immigration approved our client’s request for an exemption from the applicable requirements. The letter clearly stated the exemption was granted, in part due to the hardship he would face if he had to leave and apply from outside Canada as usually required.
If the officer from CBSA had checked with CIC as to his status on his H & C application, they would in all probability have discovered that a positive decision would be rendered shortly, thus avoiding Ricky’s deportation from Canada.
In a separate letter dated May 4, he was told to provide additional forms and birth certificates of his dependent children. He is complying and hopes his application will be processed and if he and his dependent children meet the requirements, he will be allowed to re-enter Canada and obtain his permanent resident status.
This procedure can take several months to complete. Meanwhile he is languishing in his country but with the hope he will soon return to Canada.
Sukhram Ramkissoon is a member of ICCRC and specializes in immigration matters at 3089 Bathurst St., Toronto. Phone 416-789-5756.