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Being Exempt From Canadian Travel Ban Does Not Override Inadmissibility

Canadian travel ban exemptions do not set aside inadmissibility. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect populations around the world, Canada has put in place measures to contain the spread of the virus within the country. To this end, travel restrictions were enacted in order to reduce the influx of immigrants entering Canada.

Despite the importance of tightly restricting immigration into Canada during this outbreak, there are several exemptions to the Canadian travel ban or restriction. The nature of these exemptions applies to travel considered essential to the Canadian economy, as well as to some family members of Canadian permanent residents and citizens.

The family members exempt are categorised under the government’s expanded definition of “immediate family” to include spouses, parents or step-parents, dependent children, dependent children of dependent children, and guardians.

This means that despite the travel restrictions, this category of people is allowed to travel to Canada. However, even though they are permitted to enter the country, they must still have the proper authorization to do so in terms of permits or visas.

This fact was lost among some Canadians and caused confusion. Based on the order issuing the restrictions and setting out the exemption, many Canadians believed that there would now be a facilitated manner in which immediate family members can enter the country to be with their loved ones.

The point behind this is that immigration authorities understand the gravity of the pandemic situation and thought it good to allow immediate family members to be together during this period. Based on this, some are now under the impression that foreign citizens who were inadmissible to Canada would now be allowed to enter.

This is sadly not the case. The exemptions to the Canadian travel bans do not confer any additional rights of entry upon the persons subject to the exemption.

As it concerns those persons who have been denied temporary visas the same motives of denial still apply. So any individual who has weak connections to his or her home country, or has had immigration problems in the past with regard to Canada, may still be denied on the basis that the candidate may not leave Canada at the end of their stay.

For such persons, it is important to address these elements in the right manner, so as to alleviate concerns that could lead a visa officer to refuse an application.

As to persons who have criminal convictions in the past, there has been no relaxation with respect to the rules relating to inadmissibility. If less than five years have elapsed since the completion of the sentence a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) application must be lodged and approved before coming to Canada.

If more than five years have elapsed the individual is qualified to apply for criminal rehabilitation, which is still the application that must be pursued in order to solve the inadmissibility permanently. The same requirement that was taken into account for these applications prior to the pandemic is taken into account now. With all emphasis, there have been no changes in this respect and the same criteria are considered in the assessment of these applications.

Even in situations where the person has only one non-serious conviction and over ten (10) years have elapsed, rendering them qualified for deemed rehabilitation, there can be issue with inadmissibility. A legal opinion letter stating the situations is still recommended at such times in order to avoid an issue. The same confusion as to inadmissibility may come up and the situation should be clarified in the same manner.