By Sukhram Ramkissoon
Over the years, several persons without status have consulted my office with respect to regularizing their status in Canada. Most of them entered Canada as visitors, overstayed their time, accepted employment without a work permit, and have family and friends in Canada.
One such person is Gloria from the Caribbean who was represented by my daughter, Cindy Ramkissoon-Shears. According to Canadian immigration law, everyone has a right to seek an exemption under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and may submit an application for humanitarian and compassionate consideration.
Humanitarian and compassionate factors are assessed to determine whether to grant an exemption from certain legislative requirements. This is required under the Act to allow applications for permanent residence status from within Canada to be processed.
It is therefore important that an authorized person, who represents non-status persons, use all their knowledge, skills and expertise in presenting all the relevant factors. They must fully explore their client’s circumstances both in their native country and in Canada. Some factors to examine may include the best interests of children, country related hardships, establishment, family ties, and other relevant factors that may apply to the particular case and circumstances. Every case is unique in its own way, and should be handled accordingly.
In March 2018, our office submitted a Humanitarian and Compassionate Application on behalf of Gloria (not her real name). Here are some of the facts:
- She is 42 years of age and from the Caribbean, entered Canada in June 2009 at Pearson Airport, and was granted six months status. Unfortunately, she remained continuously in Canada without renewing her status
- Since her arrival in Canada, she had no contact with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
- Gloria has been actively employed for many years and has accumulated a savings. She also acquired household items and has been sharing her accommodations with a family member.
- She does not have any criminal charges or convictions and has become a productive member of society.
- She is actively involved in the community and church. She volunteers her time by serving meals to the homeless and providing them with some basic necessities.
- She enrolled in a city college and graduated as a personal support worker.
- Gloria claimed hardships would be incurred due to the state of the economy and the lack of jobs in her home country, which is a very small Island.
- Gloria left her home country because of the abuse she suffered, and was unable to support herself, son and grandmother. She has a stable job in Canada and has been financially supporting her family back in her home country every month.
- Gloria was involved with a man who was a law enforcement officer in her home country and who promised to take good care of her. She became pregnant and her son was born in 2004. They lived together from 2003 to when she fled from him to Canada. After the birth of her son he began to be unfaithful, physically abusive and cheated on her. After receiving numerous beatings, she was advised by her grandmother to leave her country and never return.
- She was afraid to report the abuse because he was a law enforcement officer, fearing that if she did so, he would find and be more abusive to her. She left her young son with her grandmother, promising to use the opportunity to better her life and support them financially.
In our 23- page submission, her daughter Cindy, who represented her, was thorough in giving gave valid reasons for Gloria’s delay in submitting the application for permanent residence. She was told to make a claim for protection due to the abuse she suffered in her home country.
Because she did not have any proof of her abuse, such as medical reports or police reports she opted not to take this route. She was then told to get married and because she did not have any intention in getting involved with anyone due to the trauma she previously suffered, she opted not to take this route either.
Gloria was residing in Canada for 9 years before her application was submitted. She was never charged or convicted for any crime and is in good physical and mental health. Further, she never sought any public assistance.
Recently, our office received a letter from IRCC informing us that Gloria’s application was approved and she can now apply for a work or student permit. She was screaming with excitement and joy when she was given the news.
Sukhram Ramkissoon is a member of ICCRC and specialises in Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A, Toronto, Ontario. Phone 416 789 5756.