Senior Immigration Official Suggests Illegal Work is Valid

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Emails between CIC officials question validity for illegal work

illegal work

Image source from duckiemonster on flickr

Recently, a series of emails between senior officials at Citizenship and Immigration Canada has questioned whether someone immigrating to Canada can use illegal work experience on their application for permanent residency.

An unnamed official initially addressed a letter to Heidi Smith, director of permanent resident policy and programs at the immigration department.  The official was curious if illegal work experience is valid for a person who wants to immigrate to Canada through the provincial nominee program.

Jacqueline Desjardins, a senior analyst at CIC’s national headquarters in Ottawa, responded with a shocking answer.

“We can count illegal work for PNP, but at the same time we need to have a confirmation of the illegal work,” she wrote.

Lawyer confused why illegal work is considered valid

Richard Kurland, a lawyer and immigration policy analyst, was concerned that while he was advising his clients to obey the law, a senior official has said that it was actually legal for an immigrant to work without a work permit.  In some cases, Kurland noted, people that were working illegally in Canada might still be paying taxes.  However, for the most part, those that are illegally working are likely getting paid under the table.

Furthermore, many of the people working illegally are people who might be in the country illegally in the first place.  In some cases, while studying at a Canadian school, students might have taken a job without a work permit.

Illegal immigrants a Canadian issue

The federal government has a history of problems deporting illegal immigrants.  Auditor General Sheila Fraser released a report in 2008 that indicated that the government had lost track of 41,000 people that had deportation orders.

No One is Illegal, an activist group, estimates that there are 200,000 to half a million people living in Canada illegally.  Other estimates are much lower, suggesting that there are 100,000 illegal immigrants.


Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has overruled Desjardins.  Illegal work is no longer accepted on official applications.

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