Canada moves forward on law to remove foreign criminals

By Christine Duhaime | September 22nd, 2012

Foreign Criminals Removal

On Monday, Canada’s immigration minister will move forward with legislation to facilitate the removal of foreign criminals from Canada. Bill C-43, entitled the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, will amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in the following ways:

  • Certain foreign nationals convicted of a criminal offence in Canada will be able to file an appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division in respect of their removal only if their sentence is less than six months. The aim is to ensure that those convicted of more serious offences, such as fraud, money laundering, or terrorist financing, are ineligible to appeal their status in Canada;
  • Foreign nationals who have been convicted of an offence outside of Canada that carries a sentence of 10 years or more will be ineligible to appeal before the Immigration Appeal Division;
  • Foreign nationals who are inadmissible to Canada by virtue of serious criminality (e.g., human rights violations, organized crime, terrorism) could no longer apply to remain in Canada under humanitarian and compassionate grounds;
  • The Minister of Immigration will have the authority to deny temporary resident status to a foreign national for up to three years on public policy considerations;
  • Foreign nationals who have a family member who has been determined to be inadmissible to Canada amy now be denied entry to Canada;
  • The inadmissibility period for misrepresentation in an immigration application will be extended to five years from the current two years and such persons will be banned for that period of time from applying for permanent residence;
  • Foreign nationals will be required to attend interviews with Canada Border Services Agency and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service if ordered to do so; and
  • Foreign nationals will be able to renounce their permanent residence status by application (rather than by an administrative process).

In June of this year, the Minister introduced Bill C-43 by saying: “If you’re Muammar Gaddafi’s son, I don’t want you in Canada,” in reference to Saadi Gaddafi, who spent several months in Canada in 2008 as a temporary foreign visitor, and purchased property in Toronto. At that time he was a politically exposed person and the purchase of property and bank transactions in connection therewith appear not to have triggered the politically exposed persons requirements under Canada’s Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.

A politically exposed person is, among other things, a person who is a head of state, head of government, member of a legislature, an ambassador, a military officer, or judge or a close relative of any of those persons. By virtue of their position, power and access, they pose a greater money laundering risk. As a result, financial institutions and other reporting entities worldwide must perform certain enhanced due diligence measures on their transactions to scrutinize the source and flow of their funds.

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