Foreign nationals may be inadmissible to Canada for various reasons even if they hold a visa or have obtained permanent residence. The most common ground for inadmissibility is on Criminality grounds, where the foreign national has been convicted of a crime either inside or outside of Canada.

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Where the immigration authorities have information to suggest that a foreign national or permanent resident is inadmissible, they can prepare a report setting out their allegations for consideration by the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board. The Immigration Division will conduct a hearing where the foreign national or permanent resident will be present and can defend themselves from the allegations. If the Immigration Division finds that the person concerned is inadmissible, they will issue a removal order against that person. Permanent residents have the right to appeal determinations of the Immigration Division to the Immigration Appeal Division in some instances. Otherwise, determinations of the Immigration Division can be appealed to the Federal Court.

Prior to the referral of an inadmissibility report to the Immigration Division, the immigration authorities will in some instances convoke an interview with the foreign national or permanent resident to decide whether they wish to proceed with the allegations or if there are mitigating circumstances such that the allegations should not be pursued.  This will usually occur in cases where permanent residents are the subject of the potential inadmissibility proceedings.  In such cases the permanent resident or foreign national will usually attend an interview with a Canada Border Services Agency officer, or be requested to provide information in writing for consideration by an officer.  If the immigration authorities choose not to proceed with the inadmissibility allegations, they will issue a letter to that effect.  Otherwise, they will refer the case for an admissibility hearing.

In some cases the immigration authorities can make a determination on inadmissibility by themselves without referring the case to the Immigration Division.  In these instances the allegations will be reviewed by a senior officer who will make the decision whether or not to issue a removal order.

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