Canadian immigrants exposed to domestic violence can now apply for a free temporary residence permit, which will give them legal immigration status in Canada.
Effective July 26, new rules will govern the issuance of residence permits to foreign nationals who are victims of domestic violence and do not have immigration status in Canada. According to the rules, temporary resident permits (TRPs) will be issued to victims and their children for at least 6 months.
New rules apply to those who are in Canada and have not yet received permanent resident status and whose immigration status depends on their abusive spouse or partner.
The option of obtaining a temporary resident permit for victims of domestic violence is not available to foreign nationals who are outside of Canada.
Victims of domestic violence will be assessed against factors such as:
- Whether a foreign citizen is physically located in Canada and abused by their spouse or partner while being in Canada. The acts of violence include physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence or negligent treatment due to restrictions on food, clothing, medical care, housing, etc.
- Whether obtaining permanent resident status depends on maintaining a relationship where there is violence, and whether communication with an abusive spouse or partner is crucial to maintaining an individual’s status in Canada.
Examples of persons who may get a temporary residence permit in those situations are foreign citizens in Canada who have received Family Class sponsorship and who have left their sponsor due to violence or have not yet left their sponsor because of fear to lose their immigration status.
Individuals eligible for a temporary resident permit due to domestic violence may also be eligible to receive medical benefits under the Interim Federal Health Program if they have not yet received public or private medical insurance.
Those who have a temporary residence permit valid for at least 180 days will also be eligible for a free work permit.
How to Get a Temporary Resident Permit
To obtain a temporary resident permit, the victim of violence does not need to testify against the abusive partner. The initial temporary residence permit is free of charge. Depending on your situation, you can apply for a second temporary residence permit.
To obtain a temporary residence permit you can choose one of the following options:
- Contact the Client Support Center at 1-888-242-2100 (TTY: 1-888-576-8502) and select the option for victims of abuse and forced marriage to speak directly to an agent
- Use a web form
- Submit a paper application: include supporting evidence of your situation; make sure to mark the outer envelope with the letters “FV” so that officers can quickly identify your application
Immigration officers will contact you to determine whether you can get a temporary residence permit based on the evidence you provided. If necessary, they will give you support groups’ contacts that help victims of domestic violence.
Advantages of a temporary resident permit
You may need a temporary resident permit for any of the following reasons:
- To avoid abuse
- To have time to decide whether you want to leave Canada or consider other immigration options
- To make sure you are not separated from your children in Canada, while you decide what to do next
- To earn a living without fear of domestic violence (using a work permit)
If you want to stay in Canada
If you experience domestic violence in Canada, you can apply for permanent resident status for humanitarian and compassionate grounds. If you decide to do this, make sure that you clearly describe your situation in your application.
Be sure to mark the outer envelope with the letters “FV” so that officers can quickly identify your application.
If you are a victim of domestic violence in Canada and have already applied for permanent resident status, you can inform the immigration officers. They will consider your situation while processing the application. Contact the office in the location of your application or contact the Client Support Center at 1-888-242-2100.