Long-term ‘out of status’ visitor allowed to remain in Canada on humanitarian grounds

Immigration Matters              Sukhram Ramkissoon

Long-term ‘out of status’ visitor allowed to remain in Canada on humanitarian  grounds

Immigration Matter

More  than  ten years  after Grace (not her real name) fled from her home in the Caribbean to escape domestic violence, she has finally got the green light from immigration authorities to remain in Canada as a permanent resident.

For Grace, it has been a difficult fight to obtain landed status.

But now that her application has been  approved, the 38-year old woman is looking foward to sponsoring her dependent son whom she left with relatives back in the Caribbean and who will be joining her in Canada.

Back in June 2009, Grace felt she could no longer bear the abuse from the father of her child and came to Canada as a visitor.She was granted a six-month stay but thereafter remained in Canada without renewing her status in the country.

Then in 2017,  after consulting two lawyers, she  turned to our firm to assist her in filing a humanitarian and compassionate application on behalf of herself and her dependent son.

And in March 2018, after receiving all the pertinent information and documents, our office submitted a 23-page submission,  prepared by Cindy Ramkissoon-Shears, my daughter and associate.

In the submission, the following, as related by Grace, was noted:

Back in her native country, while she  was living together with a police officer, she became pregnant and gave birth to a son in May 2004.

After the child was born, his father started to abuse her and after she had received several beatings, her grandmother and elder sister advised her to leave the country. With financial help from a relative, she came to Canada.

Grace and the father of her son had lived together from 2003 until she fled to Canada.

She said  she was afraid to report to the local authorities the abuse which she suffered because when her abuser  found out about  her report, she may have experienced further harm.

Grace left her  son in the care of her grandparents, promising to use the opportunity ” to better her life” and support them financially and was able to find employment almost immediately upon her arrival in Canada.

In 2012, her grandfather died and her elderly grandmother was left with the responsibility of taking care of her son. 

Currently, her son resides with her grandmother and she (Grace) is their only source of finanacial support.Every month she sends “money transfers” to them.

With respect to the delay in regularizing her status in Canada, Grace explained that soon after she arrived in the country, her cousin had advised her “to make a claim for protection.”

One lawyer whom she consulted told her to gather evidence of  her abuse and provide prooof that her abuser was a police officer.She did not return to see that lawyer because she could not obtain the evidence.

She later consulted another lawyer  who told her  that too much time had passed for her to make a refugee claim and because she did not have the evidence, even if it was truthful, she would not be granted refugee status. 

She also said that the lawyer told her that her only option was to get married. 

Over the years, she continued to seek advice but was always told to get married.  She did not want to do that, “unless it was genuine,”  she said.

In the submission, it was also noted that Grace does not have any criminal convictions or outstanding charges pending against her. 

She is an active participant in community affairs and  a member of a church located in Scarborough, Ontario.

She volunteers with the church’s outreach ministry whose members serve meals to the homeless and provide them with some basic necessities.

Grace who wishes to pursue a career as a Personal Support Worker  (PSW), is currently enrolled in a PSW program.

Her application was acknowledged by the Backlog Office in Vancouver in April 2018 and since then there were several updates to her application, until our office received a letter of approval on January 14, 2020.

Good luck, Grace.

SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON is a member of the Immigration Consultants of  Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) and specializes in Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A, Toronto, Ontario.  Phone 416 789 5756.