Out-of-status immigrants in Canada who suffer from domestic violence are now able to apply for a fee-exempt temporary resident permit.
On July 26, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced that newcomers suffering from domestic violence in Canada are able to apply for a temporary resident permit (TRP) free of charge along with their dependents. These TRP are issued for a minimum of six months.
According to Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the reason behind these new rules “is to provide protection for vulnerable foreign nationals who are victims of family violence or impacted by it, by regularizing their status in Canada, when appropriate”.
In order for foreign nationals to receive this type of TRP, they need to be physically located in Canada. The kind of abuses included in domestic violence TRP are either physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse. Additionally, if the sponsor fails to provide food, clothing, medical care, or shelter, the foreign national could be considered under this new rule.
Those eligible for domestic violence TRP may also be eligible for health-care benefits under Canada’s Interim Federal Health Program if they are not already covered by a public or private health insurance plan. Those with a TRP that is valid for at least 180 days will also be eligible for a fee-exempt open work permit.
In many cases, victims of domestic violence are afraid to leave their abusive spouse or common-law partner for fear that they may lose their immigration status or the custody of their children. In the past, newcomers had to live with their sponsors for two years in order to keep their permanent resident status. This condition existed in order to stop marriage frauds because many foreign nationals married Canadian citizens and permanent residents to be sponsored and come to Canada. In 2017, the Government of Canada removed this condition to support gender equality and combat family/gender violence.
The Government of Canada does not want any sponsored spouse or partner who is in an abusive situation to remain in it for fear of losing their status in Canada. However, it’s a crime for a foreign national to marry a Canadian citizen or permanent resident only to gain entry to Canada.
If you are in an abusive relationship don’t hesitate to get help by calling:
- 911 or your local police in an emergency
- Call 1-888-242-210 to contact the Government of Canada regarding your citizenship or immigration status.
Remember: In Canada, abuse is not tolerated. You don’t have to stay in an abusive situation.
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