After being `out if status` in Canada for 25 years, Jenny is granted permanent residence

Immigration Matters

Sukhram Ramkissoon

Immigration Matter

After being `out if status` in Canada for 25 years,  Jenny is granted permanent residence

 How long can a person remain “out of status” in Canada before applying for permanent residence?

It depends on several factors such as the applicant’s immigration history, family ties, the best interest of a child, criminality – the list goes on.

Let’s look at the case of  Jenny (not her real name), a woman from the Caribbean who has been living in Canada “out of status” since 1994 and who only recently applied for permanent residence under humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds.

Jenny  arrived in Canada at the age of 16 as a visitor and was  allowed to  stay for six months in the country. However, after the expiry of her visitor status, she remained  in Canada  for more than 20 years without any further contact with the immigration authorities.

Before coming to Canada, Jenny, the second child of a single parent, lived with her maternal grandmother in a two-bedroom home with five additional persons, including her maternal uncles and an aunt.   She slept  on the floor  and often went without lunch or clean drinking water.   At school, she was bullied and sexually assaulted.  She was a victim of ridicule, embarrassment and humiliation.

A member of Jenny’s “extended family” from Canada was visiting her native country and  offered to  take her (Jenny) to Canada to look after  her children and her home.  Jenny’s family’s agreed to let her go so that she may have “a better life.”

In her application for permanent residence under humanitarian and compassionate grounds Jenny  declared that :

  • Her first night in Canada was the first time she slept in a bed. For Jenny, this was a dream come true, as she had never experienced that luxury in her entire life. For the next four years she remained with the family, helping in the  home and becoming a caregiver to the children, but was not never advised to apply to extend her stay or regularise her status in Canada.
  • In the beginning of 1998, she obtained a job as a cleaner and asked her employers to sponsor her, but they refused. Because of her precarious situation she did not believe she had any other choice but to continue working with them, as she needed the money to maintain herself and  to help her family in the Caribbean.
  • In 2000, she met a Canadian citizen. Mr. X ,and they began dating. In 2002, they began living together and she gave birth to a son. Soon afterwards they became engaged. Mr. X promised to marry and sponsor Jenny, as he was aware of her non-status in Canada.  But he did not  keep  his promise.  After  living with him for almost eight years, she ended the

In  2010, she sought legal advice about her status and was  told  to pursue a claim for refugee protection but she did not.

She later met a “legal representative” and paid $1,500 ” to commence  an  H&C application for permanent residence.“

She was advised to obtain   various documents and to visit this “legal representative”  from time to time to get further instructions about her application.

After  obtaining all the documents and filling out the necessary forms, she was shocked to learn that the ” legal representative”  had disappeared  without  a trace. All her attempts to find him  were unsuccessful.

She was now in a state of depression, not knowing who to trust or what to do.  She was subsequently given  my office number and she contacted Cindy Ramkissoon-Shears who advised her to regularise her status by submitting a n H&C application.

Jenny agreed and in late 2017, she provided Ramkissoon -Shears with all the necessary information and documentation to finalize her application and the completed humanitarian package was forwarded to the Backlog Reduction Office in Vancouver.  Since the submission of the application, Ramkissoon-Shears also forwarded updated information such as school reports for Jenny`s son and bank statements

Then finally came the good news. Last week Jenny was informed that her application for permanent residence from within Canada was approved, and that she can now apply for an open work permit.

Jenny`s story clearly shows the struggle of an undocumented person in seeking permanent residence – a struggle  that is not uncommon among many in Toronto`s  Caribbean community.

Good luck, Jenny.

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.