Foreign nationals seeking to settle in Canada are sometimes caught off guard when their immigration cases are rejected on the basis of medical inadmissibility. Granted, having to deal with medical and immigration issues at the same time can be both daunting and life-changing. In such cases, specialized legal help becomes necessary to navigate the complex process.
Who can be found medically inadmissible? Medical inadmissibility can be on one of three separate grounds.
You are likely to be a danger to public health – this assessment generally requires consideration of (one) the transmissibility of the disease and/or (two) the impact it could have on persons living in Canada. Examples of conditions that fit within this description and have resulted in medical inadmissibility include Pulmonary Tuberculosis (TB) and untreated syphilis.
You are likely to be a danger to public safety – Assessments of danger to public safety take into account if a foreign national’s medical condition will likely result in sudden incapacity, or unpredictable or violent behaviour.
You might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services – this means that you will not be allowed to enter or remain in Canada because your health condition has been determined to cause excessive demand on health or social services. This can mean that the need for health services to treat your condition would negatively affect medical service wait times in Canada. It can also be that the treatment you need for your condition would likely cost more than the Canadian average for health and social services (per person). Remember that this does not have to be proven to be true, just more likely than not.
There are exceptions. Medical inadmissibility rules for excessive demand reasons don’t apply to refugees and their dependants, protected persons and certain people being sponsored by their family, such as dependant children, spouses and common-law partners.
Before a decision is made on admissibility, the foreign national is provided with an opportunity to respond to the Officer’s “Procedural Fairness Letter (PFL). Usually, a foreign national will have 60 days to respond. If a medical inadmissibility finding is made, it is permanent, so the response to the PFL is extremely important, and you only have one opportunity to present your plan.
Disclaimer: This article is solely for the purpose of raising awareness. Seek professional legal counsel if this is something you think might affect your immigration application.