Immigration Lawyers in Canada Provide Extra Support for HIV-Positive Immigrants
Navigating the Canadian immigration system is difficult, even in the best of circumstances. Newcomers understand the system is confusing, complex, and intimidating, but for HIV-positive immigrants, health and social barriers may cause additional anxiety around how their status will be affected. Thankfully, there are not-for-profit groups that help those immigrating to Canada with HIV-positive status, including The Purpose Society in British Columbia. The Purpose Society aims to connect immigrants with health care and immigration lawyers in Canada who specialize in HIV-positive immigration.
Immigration and HIV-Testing
Since 2002, Citizenship and Immigration Canada requires a full medical examination that includes an HIV test for all individuals 15 years of age and older. Individuals younger than 15 years are tested if they have received blood or blood products, who have a known HIV-positive mother, or who are potential adoptees.
HIV-positive immigrants carry a great deal of fear and uncertainty regarding their health status and how it may affect their application. Although HIV is not considered a danger to public health in Canada, individuals still fear being stigmatized not only by Canadian society, but by their families and communities as well. For this reason, many remain silent about their diagnosis.
Immigration to Canada can be refused based on medical reasons that make an individual inadmissible. A foreign national is inadmissible on health grounds if their health condition is likely to be a danger to public health; is likely to be a danger to public safety; or might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services. Since HIV is not considered to be a danger to public health, HIV-positive status does not automatically make one inadmissible to the country. However, individuals may be considered inadmissible if they will pose a high demand on health and social services. Due to the high cost of HIV medication, an HIV-positive immigrant may be considered inadmissible.
Exemptions from the Requirement to not Cause Excessive Demand on Health or Social Services
A foreign national who might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services cannot be found inadmissible if the foreign national:
- Has been determined to be eligible to be sponsored as a spouse, common-law partner, or child;
- Has applied for a permanent resident visa as a Convention refugee or a person in similar circumstances;
- Is a protected person; or
- Is the spouse, common-law partner, child, or other family member of a foreign national who is a protected person, has applied for refugee protection, or has been determined to be eligible to be sponsored as a spouse, common-law partner, or child.
These exceptions mean it is important for HIV-positive immigrants to obtain reliable and skilled legal support from immigration lawyers in Canada. Many immigration lawyers will have specific knowledge surrounding HIV-positive immigration policies. The immigration lawyer should also be someone that the individual feels comfortable disclosing their full situation to. This ensures they will have the best legal support available to them.
It is important to remember that, even in Canada, HIV can be a difficult topic to address and still holds a social stigma. Social, medical, and legal support can help HIV-positive immigrants find compassion and security in their new home country.