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IMMIGRATION INQUIRIES

At ports of entry and inland offices, senior immigration officers are authorized to issue departure orders and exclusion orders of most persons in violation of the Immigration Act. Other persons whose cases have not been resolved by a senior immigration officer, or who are not allowed to enter Canada or who, after entering Canada, are alleged to be in violation of the Immigration Act or Regulations, have the right to be heard at an immigration inquiry. Adjudicators from the Adjudication Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board preside over these inquiries. These adjudicators are individuals specially trained in immigration law and related elements of civil, criminal and administrative law. Adjudicators have the powers of a Commissioner under Part 1 of the Inquiries Act.

Those facing an immigration inquiry have the right to be represented by the counsel of their choice at their own expense and the right to be heard in their own language, through an interpreter, at no expense.

REHABILITATION

A person who is not allowed into Canada because of criminal activity overseas or who has failed to pass a background check may be allowed into Canada if:

         the person who has engaged in criminal activity outside Canada can prove to the Minister or the Governor in Council (depending on the case) that he/she has been rehabilitated*;

         if the person was convicted of an indictable offence in Canada but has obtained a pardon from the National Parole Board;

         a temporary entry request is made and the Minister -- for reasons of national interest or strong humanitarian or compassionate grounds -- allows it.

Requests for relief based on rehabilitation may be made at the discretion of a visa officer abroad or an officer at a local Immigration office in Canada.

*This usually requires proof that at least five years have elapsed since the end of the sentence and that further criminal activity is unlikely. In some minor cases, five years without further incident is sufficient.

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