The Immigration Process- From Victim to Victor

The Immigration Process- From Victim to Victor

  • With Shanum Immigration Services Inc., women who experience domestic violence and gone out of status, find help to remain in Canada on Temporary Residence Permit.

There are times when women on visitor visa are faced with a challenge that seems impossible to overcome. Often, Canadians or Permanent Residents bring their newly wed spouses to Canada with the intention to sponsor them from inside Canada. Other times, sponsorship application is already in the system but the applicant travels to Canada as a visitor to stay with their husband while waiting for a decision on their Permanent Residence application. Unfortunately, the situation is not always favourable for them and they are trapped in an emotional, physical and financial abuse at the hands of the sponsor.

Everyone has a story to tell, and we hear many inspiring stories from our clients. Various reasons motivate people to move to Canada, some for higher education, while others for career development. With everything from overcoming obstacles to obtaining permanent residency, we help many people reach their destination. However, cases of women facing domestic abuse are challenging because they are not comfortable sharing their circumstances easily as this adds to their trauma every time they share it with someone.

Not only does the sponsor become abusive but threaten their wives on visitor visa “if you tell any one, I will withdraw Permanent Residence Application” or “I will divorce” or  “Do not try to complain to the police or else you will be deported”. Sometimes sponsor lies about the Permanent Residence application which in fact they never submitted. Unknowingly, the vulnerable wife becomes out of status by the time she would find out she was being taken advantage of.

After knowing all the circumstances of our clients in such a situation, at, we help them to get a temporary residence permit (TRP) so that they can start working in Canada to become financially stable while they are managing the affairs with their abusive spouses which could be something such as divorce, or court cases.

Here is how we help our clients who were victims of domestic violence to overcome obstacles, and build a new life for themselves.

  • Please provide information on how they reach you and what is your appraoch in such cases.

Our clients usually come to us by words of mouth, their friends or relatives who we might have provided immigration services in the past. That is why it becomes easy for the victims to open up and share their traumatic events they have been through. Initially, clients would be nervous and undecisive about sharing personal information with us, but gradually, the ice breaks and after a while of general conversation, they would feel comfortable and start sharing in bits and peices. We empathize with them and listen to them carefully in an effort to understand the situation. In almost all cases, the women are being told to be deported or will not be sponsored if they do not obey what the sponsor is asking for. They are kept confined, and are financially dependent on the sponsor. We then understand the case from all aspects: from police report to court proceedings if any in process, if they have reached out to shelter homes, where do they now live, if they are safe, finacial ability, lega aid if they need one etc. We would determine if they have all or any evidence/witness of abuse. We put forward the option of TRP, brief them about the process and benefit of this application that they may remain in Canada and work while they are managing their affairs with the court cases/divorce.

  • What is the benefit of TRP

In most of the domestic violence cases, the victim does not have a status in Canada which make them ineligible to study or work in Canada if they want to opt for any of these. They either have to leave or remain in Canada with certain status document. They can not leave because of the inlaws issues who also threaten them of consequences for braeking or leaving the marraige or complaiing against thier son. Secondly, the vicitm is in a mental health situation that needs series of sessions with Psychologists or therapists. The TRP then is an option which gives them permission to live in Canada for certain time as well as get them an open work permit which gives them financial independence and stabilty. It also helps them stay in Canada so that they can plan for the future aspects and handle marital affairs in the court.

  • What solution do you suggest to the victims, is there only one possible option or multiple options for the immigration process?

If the viciti is in legal status in Canada, we encourage them to get a study permit or work permit if an employer is willing to support a work permit application. These measures help them to become independent to make their own decisions and may become eligible for Permanent Residence through any other immigration pathway. Since victims fall out of status in domestic abuse cases, TRP becomes the only option. There is a special measure for the women who are victims of domestic abuse or on a temorary resident status. This is a legal process and we are appreciative of this measure which helps the victims come out of thier brutally damaged past to a bright future. Regarding immigration status, we proposed to submit a Temporary Resident Permit application.

  • What is the clients response to your suggestions?

They feel relaxed, determined and ready to take initiatitives towards their bright future. As we share contacts with them of all the organizations which may be of any help to them in their circumstances, they start reaching out to them and that is how they feel their life is now moving towards the right direction and destination with a purpose. We take pride in our services, that we are always available to listen to our clients and try our best to provide the best possible solution so that they feel relaxed and stress-free. They know that we have a place to go for their needs.

  • How long does the TRP process takes? 

In other circumstances, the TRP takes longer but in the case of victims of domestic abuse, it is relatively quick due to the urgent nature.

  • What challenges do you face and how do you overcome them?

There are no issues with immigration application procedures since this is our routine work and we know what to do. Sometimes, documents are not available to the victims or witnesses do not cooperate. Regardless, we try to manage the application with the availble witness statements, other evidence of abuse and testimony of the victim. On a personal level, such scenarios affect us emotionally. However, a constant reminder to myself of my duty as immigration law professionals is that I have to keep my minds clear and detach myself from the case emotionally so that I can focus on the matter. Emotional detachment from the case is a challenge but I manage it well.

  • Is the TRP option available in other circumstances?

Yes, There are different circumstance in which TRP may be submitted but it is always discretion of the officer to approve or refuse. If someone is not meeting the criteria to enter Canada or remain in Canada due to various inadmissibility issues such as medical, or criminal. But it depends how serious the criminality or medical issue is which may pose danger/threat to the Canadian society and Canadians as a whole. TRP may not be an option for someone with serious criminal offences. Before taking any case, we do in-depth research and compare the offences with Canada Criminal Code.

Well, some of our clients are on their way to success in life, and they have our support. We believe that everyone should be given a chance to live a better life and achieve their dreams without being intimidated.

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