A Canadian Football Team trying to bring in an American college football player, will generally be a straightforward matter in regards to Canadian immigration. However things can get complicated when the player at hand has a criminal record.

This is what happened when the Calgary Stampeders extended an offer to Tony Washington, a 6-foot-7, 310-pound offensive linesman who played Division II College football at Abilene Christian College in Texas. The problem with Mr. Washington is that he is a registered sex offender. Mr. Washington grew up in an abusive and dysfunctional home and at the age of 16 he committed an offence. Despite being only 16 years old Mr. Washington was charged as an adult and is now a registered sex offender.

Despite his past, the Calgary Stampeders Head coach and General Manager John Hufnagel has indicated that Mr. Washington has paid the price for the crime and that he would be a welcome addition to the team.

Mr. Washington is criminally inadmissible to Canada, as an individual that has been convicted of an offense outside of Canada that if committed in Canada, would be punishable by a maximum sentence of at least 10 years. This criminal inadmissibility means that Mr. Washington is unable to even enter Canada, much less play professional football, unless he undertakes additional steps.

Under Canadian immigration law, individuals that are criminally inadmissible have a number of options in overcoming their inadmissibility.

Criminal Rehabilitation
Individuals who have committed crimes in the past, are eligible to apply for a finding of criminal rehabilitation 5 years after they have completed their sentence (including probation). In order to become criminally rehabilitated, the individual must not have committed any crimes since the initial conviction and must be able to demonstrate that they are no longer at risk of conducting criminal activities. Once a finding of criminal rehabilitation has been made the criminal conduct will no longer pose an issue for immigration purposes.

Deemed Criminally Rehabilitated
For specific minor offences an individual can be deemed rehabilitated for a single criminal offence if over 10 years have passed since the completion of the sentence imposed. Due to the passage of time Citizenship and Immigration Canada will consider you rehabilitated for the purpose of Canadian immigration.

Temporary Resident Permit
Often there can be situations where an individual is inadmissible and unable to apply or receive rehabilitation in advance of their entry to Canada. A Temporary Resident Permit will allow the individual to overcome the inadmissibility for a specific reason and for a specific period of time. The individual will be required to demonstrate a specific purpose for why their presence is required in Canada.

In the case of Mr. Washington, his presence is required on short notice and for a specific purpose. This means that a Temporary Resident Permit could potentially permit his entrance to Canada for a specific period of time. If he was planning to be a member of the team for a long period of time Mr. Washington could also apply for a finding of Criminal Rehabilitation. However due to the serious nature of the offence of which he was convicted, he is not eligible to be deemed rehabilitated. In addition, if Mr. Washington was to accept a contract with the Calgary Stampeders, he would also be required to obtain a Canada work permit in order to work in Canada as a professional athlete.

Despite the fact that the Calgary Stampeders’ are a professional football club with extensive resources, they face the same Canadian immigration issues other employers do in seeking out qualified foreign workers.

For more information about immigrating to Canada, contact FWCanada – Canadian Immigration Law Firm


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