Victim of spousal abuse allowed to remain in Canada

Immigration Matter

Last year the Canadian  Government issued new guidelines with respect to spouses in abusive relationships.

The guidelines are applicable to those who haven’t yet obtained permanent residence in Canada and whose status is dependent on their abusive partner or spouse.

Such persons may apply for permanent residence from within Canada under humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

According to the new guidelines, a person does not have to stay in an abusive relationship to maintain  his or her status in Canada.

(Abuse may be defined as behaviour that scares, isolates, or controls another person through actions or words. The abuse nay be a pattern of incidents or a single incident.

And the abuser can be a spouse, former spouse, partner or former partner, another family member or friend.  The abuser could also be a member of one’s spouse’s or partner’s family and may be male or female.)

Let us examine the circumstances of Maxine (not her real name), a woman from the Caribbean who was successful in having her application for permanent residence approved from within Canada as an abused spouse.

Maxine entered Canada in early  2016 as a visitor to join  her fiancé. After giving birth to their son in Canada, the couple got married in late 2016.   Maxine’s two other children join her later in  Canada.

In early 2018, Maxine’s spouse who is a Canadian citizen, filed an Inland Spousal Sponsorship Application which was acknowledged. However, during this time, Maxine and her children began experiencing abuse from her (Maxine’s)husband.    The abuse resulted in police involvement and in early November last, she moved into a shelter with her children and received government support to maintain herself and her children.

Last November, Maxine contacted my firm and also informed an office of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in Etobicoke about her situation.

She later received a letter from IRCC stating that she did not meet the eligibility requirements under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class, as she no longer resides with her spouse.  However, in keeping with the new rules which came into effect last year,her file was transferred to another office to assess humanitarian and compassionate factors.

In mid December 2019, in support of Maxine’s humanitarian and compassionate application, our office forwarded to the Vancouver Backlog Reduction Officer all of the relevant forms along with police reports, letters of support and a personal statement from Maxine about her abusive relationship which led to police involvement.

In our submissions, we addressed the relevant factors in Maxine’s particular circumstances and how they relate to a humanitarian and compassionate assessment. 

And  in a letter dated January 3, 2020, sent to my office , we learned that Maxine’s request to process her application from within Canada was approved

Maxine was overjoyed when she learned that it was approved “within weeks.”  She is now awaiting her work permit  for which she  is not required to pay any fees.


SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON is a member of  the Immigration  Consultants of Canada  Regulatory Council (ICCRC ) and specialises in immigration matters at 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A, Toronto, Ontario M6A2A4   Phone 416 789 5756.