Good news for those who failed to declare their dependent children

Immigration Matters

Sukhram Ramkissoon

Good news for those who failed to declare

their dependent children

Immigration Matter

Many landed immigrants and Canadian citizens who did not declare their dependent children when they applied for permanent residence, found themselves barred from future sponsorship.

In some cases, those who were not citizens and attempted to sponsor their child or children were reported under the Immigration Act for misrepresentation and eventually deported.

The law states that a foreign national shall not be considered a member of the family class by virtue of their relationship to a sponsor if, the sponsor previously made an application for permanent residence and became a permanent residence and, at the time of that application, the foreign national was a non-accompanying member of the sponsor and was not examined.

This clearly means that a dependent child of an applicant for landed status who was not declared in his/her application for permanent residence is excluded from sponsorship.

In our own Caribbean community, hundreds caught in this trap, have been living in limbo for many years with constant fear of deportation.

True, a few have been successful in having their child or children join them in Canada by way of humanitarian and compassionate applications, emphasizing the “best interest of the child.” However, many others continue to live in hopes that some day they will be able to be reunited with their loved ones.

Well, for them, that day may soon be at hand.

Just as few weeks ago,  Canada’s Minister of Immigration Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, announced a pilot project for spouses who did not declare their children in their application for permanent residence to be allowed to sponsor their hitherto undeclared children without fear of removal.  As the minister stated, he will now “right that wrong.” And not one moment too soon.

I  still  vividly recall that in the ’70’s and 80’s when I worked with the late immigration and civil rights lawyer Charles Roach, he  had championed the cause of a large number of Jamaican mothers who came to Canada as domestic workers and were advised not to declare their children on their application for permanent residence.

They were told that they could do so when they obtained their landed status. Very wrong and misleading advice.

It turned out that many of these mothers who came to Canada and later attempted to sponsor their undeclared children, were ordered deported.

And this led to  a public outcry following which some deportations were halted and a few were fortunate to legally remain in  Canada.

These fortunate ones who had been ordered deported, were advised to go to Buffalo, New York and return to Canada on what was then known as a Minister’s Permit and have their new applications processed.  This procedure  came to be known as the “Buffalo Shuffle” and the writer was actively involved with this process.

Now, there is a new dawn and hope for those mothers and fathers who did not declare their children on their application forms and  those who were known in immigration law as “excluded family members” can now be re united with them, if they meet sponsorship requirements.

Undoubtedly, this lifetime ban  has had a significant negative impact on mothers and fathers who were unable to sponsor their children. The resulting permanent separation ripped families apart.

The pilot project will run from September 9, 2019 to September 9,2021.

There is also good news for migrant workers with an  employer-specific work permit who find themselves in an abusive job situation and newcomers experiencing family violence.

Migrant workers in an abusive job situation can now apply for an “open work permit.

This will allow  these workers to leave abusive employers immediately, maintain their status and find another job.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will also introduce changes that will allow newcomers experiencing family violence to apply for a fee-exempt temporary resident permit, starting July 26.

The permit will give these individuals legal status in Canada and provide them with a work permit and health care coverage.

“No worker should fear losing their job when they are being mistreated in their place of work. No partner should be more fearful of losing their immigration status instead of escaping abuse,” said Mr. Hussen.

Congratulations, Mr. Immigration Minister. News of these positive changes is joyously welcomed in our community

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.

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