The United Kingdom has an Act called the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act which gives powers to police officers to caution or warn individuals about their potentially criminal conduct.
Clients sometimes ask whether such a warning could negatively affect their acceptance by Canadian immigration.
Generally, unless a person has a criminal conviction, there should be no problem regarding Canadian entry. However, there is a section in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act which states that if a person has committed the act (but has not been charged) the immigration officer does have the power to refuse admission based on just the factual aspects of the event. This is called the “committing the act” provision.
In the directives given to immigration officers (below), there is a certain amount of leniency given to the immigration officers in relaxing inadmissibility where such warnings have been given and usually it will not result in a bar if the legal system of the foreign country is similar to Canada’s (as is the UK).
Here is the directive:
When to use the “committing an act” provisions
The “committing an act” inadmissibility provisions would generally be applied in the following scenarios:
- an officer is in possession of intelligence or other credible information indicating that the person committed an offence outside Canada;
- authorities in the foreign jurisdiction indicate that the alleged offence is one where charges would be, or may be, laid;
- the person is the subject of a warrant where a formal charge is to be laid;
- charges are pending;
- the person has been charged but the trial has not concluded;
- the person is fleeing prosecution in a foreign jurisdiction;
- a conviction has been registered for the offence, however a certificate of conviction is not available.
When not to use the “committing an act” provisions
The “committing an act” inadmissibility provisions would generally not be applied in the following scenarios:
- in most cases, when authorities in the foreign jurisdiction indicate they would not lay a charge or make known to an officer their decision or intent to drop the charges;
- the trial is concluded and no conviction results (for example, acquittal, discharge, deferral);
- the person admits to committing the act but has received a record suspension or the record is expunged;
- the act was committed in Canada.