Why apply for Canadian Citizenship if you are a PR (Permanent Resident) and are already eligible to apply for citizenship?
As a lawyer specializing in immigration law one of the most shocking things I consistently hear is how permanent residents who have been in Canada for years or even decades under that status keep putting off doing their citizenship applications until they have “more time”. Some question why even bother since with PR Status you have the right to work in Canada, be part of the provincial health care plan, and in essence enjoy all the benefits of being Canadian except for voting. In fact some clients have come to us and stated that they feel like they are “betraying the mother country” by acquiring Canadian citizenship and even though they can spend 50-odd years in Canada somehow they are loyal to the so-called mother country by not following through with that final step.
From a legal standpoint this is incorrect because as a permanent resident you are not protected from being deported for a criminal act no matter how minor you might consider it. Just last week in Montreal (September 9, 2016) A man convicted 20 years ago on Mafia-related charges has been ordered by customs agents to leave the country next Friday (September 16, 2016).
Michele Torre, 64, was told last Friday in Montreal by the Canada Border Services Agency he will be deported to his native Italy despite having lived in Canada for the last 50 years as a permanent resident.
Torre pleaded guilty in 1996 in a cocaine conspiracy case involving Montreal's Cotroni crime family and served part of his nine-year sentence in prison. His lawyer says it was only in 2013 that Ottawa began trying to have him deported. Torre’s lawyer has also asked the CBSA to reconsider its decision and, if that fails, he will appeal to the Federal Court. He is also asking Canada's immigration and public safety ministers to suspend Torre's deportation order.
Although this is an extreme case that should be cold comfort for most people as there are many such cases that touch upon what many people would consider even relatively minor infractions or “mistakes”. Division 4 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (S.C. 2001, c. 27) has broad characterisations of Serious Criminality - Section 36 (1), Criminality – Section 36 (2), and Organized Criminality – Section 37 (1). As a Permanent Resident your status does not guarantee that a “minor” criminal matter will not be the first step towards your potential removal from Canada
At our office which specializes in various immigration matters we have wide ranging experience with preparing individuals in their citizenship applications. Contact us today at (416) 857-4957 to see how our office can assist your citizenship needs.
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