Immigration to Canada is projected to increase over the next few years and more permanent residents are being welcomed to Canada than ever before. Millions of permanent residents already reside in Canada, and over 100,000 temporary residents transition to permanent resident status each year.
There are many different pathways to permanent residence, including through a Provincial Nomination Program, Express Entry, and Family Sponsorship. Additionally, individuals can convert their temporary status through study permits or work permits to permanent residence status.
Permanent resident status is highly desirable for foreign nationals who want to live and work in Canada permanently. Holding permanent residence status affords the holder many rights and privileges, such as eligibility for social benefits, freedom to work or live anywhere in the country, and opens the opportunity to apply for citizenship. However, it is important for individuals to be aware of how to retain such status.
Becoming a Canadian citizen will result in someone losing their previously held permanent residence status. In order to apply to become a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident must live in Canada for at least three of the preceding five years, have a sufficient understanding of English or French, and pass a citizenship test relating to knowledge of Canada’s history, government, and laws.
The transition from permanent residence to citizenship can take approximately one year once someone is eligible to apply for citizenship. Therefore, many people begin the citizenship process as soon as possible.
However, some people choose to retain their status as a permanent resident, since, if they become a Canadian citizen, they may be required to renounce their citizenship from their birthplace, because not all countries allow dual citizenship.
In certain situations, permanent residence status can be lost despite the implication in its name that the status is permanent. As such, it is important for those who hold permanent residence status to be educated on the situations that could place the status in jeopardy.
One way that permanent resident status can be lost is through a permanent resident’s failure to comply with the permanent residency obligation. Holders of permanent residence status in Canada are allowed to travel outside of Canada in most cases without jeopardizing their status. However, there is a required amount of time that permanent residents are supposed to stay in Canada in order to maintain their status. Permanent residents must live in Canada for a total of two years (730 days) out of every five year period in order to keep their status These 730 days do not have to be continuous, and the government recommends using a travel journal in order to track time in Canada for the purposes of the requirement.
There are some exceptions that can apply to the residency requirement, as time abroad can count towards the 730 day requirement in certain circumstances. This exception can apply to individuals who are:
In these cases, the individual’s time spent working outside of Canada may count towards their residency requirement.
Another exception to the residency requirement applies to permanent resident dependent children who travel with a parent who:
Permanent residence status can also be revoked for reasons not related to the residency time requirement. There may be removal orders issued against permanent residents for a variety of reasons, for example, if the permanent resident has misrepresented themselves in their application which is discovered by the Canadian government.
Removal proceedings can be initiated against a permanent resident in a situation where an individual gained their status after coming to Canada as a refugee. If a permanent resident who was previously a refugee travels back to the country they previously made a refugee claim against, this act can be considered voluntary reavailment. Therefore, the Canadian government may initiate proceedings to vacate the finding that the permanent resident was a refugee and revoke their permanent residence status.
If permanent residence status is lost before an individual has obtained Canadian citizenship, the permanent resident will subsequently become a temporary Canadian resident for six months.
Garson Immigration Law is a firm exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law. Our immigration lawyers work closely with clients throughout the entirety of the immigration process and provide assistance with completing permanent residency applications. We will work to find an effective solution for your individual immigration needs and ensure you are positioned for success with respect to your application. If you have any questions about a permanent residency application or your permanent residency status, reach out to us online or by calling us at 416-321-2860.
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