Permanent residency in Canada

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Canadian citizenship
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Economic impact of immigration
Canadian immigration and refugee law
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Permanent residency
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Permanent Resident Card
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Permanent residence of Canada is a status of a person who is not a Canadian citizens but who has been granted permission to live and work in Canada without any time limit on their stay.[1]

To become a permanent resident, a foreign national must make an application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada. A permanent resident must live in Canada for two years out of every five, or risk losing that status.

Benefits of permanent residence[edit]

A Permanent Resident holds many of the same rights and responsibilities as a Canadian citizen, among others the right to live, study and work (subject to the restrictions of regulated professions), including for the federal or provincial government, anywhere in Canada. In addition, they may be allowed to join Canada's armed forces if the national interest would not be prejudiced.[2]

Permanent residents may obtain social benefits, employment insurance and Canada Pension Plan payments and may avail themselves of the rights, freedoms and protections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, other than those only granted to Canadian citizens.

Permanent residents may apply for Canadian citizenship after four years in Canada; however, this is not mandatory.[3]

Restrictions[edit]

The main differences from citizenship are that permanent residents cannot:

Loss of status[edit]

A permanent resident must live in Canada for two years out of every five, or risk losing that status. Time spent travelling with a Canadian spouse or child, on a business trip for a Canadian business or working for a Canadian or provincial government office abroad can be included in the calculation.

Permanent residents also risk loss for serious crimes (those that may be punished by more than 10 years in Canada or actually being imprisoned for more than 6 months in Canada), being a security risk or associated with organized crime.

Failing to meet the residence or admissibility requirements above results in loss of permanent residence status when the finding of which becomes final without appeal, if the finding is made outside Canada, and upon the person being removed from Canada if the finding is made inside Canada.

A person automatically loses permanent residence status upon becoming a Canadian citizen.

A permanent residence may also voluntarily give up or renounce their status if the person possesses a citizenship or right of abode in another country. A person who gives up their status inside Canada becomes a temporary resident and must leave Canada within 6 months.

A permanent resident does not lose their status if their permanent resident card expires.

Permanent Resident Card[edit]

In 2002, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration started issuing the Permanent Resident Card (originally billed as and commonly referred to as the Maple Leaf Card) to all new Canadian permanent residents. All existing permanent residents were given the option of applying for a Permanent Resident Card at a cost of $50, though possessing a card is not mandatory except in the case of international travel.[4] From December 31, 2003, every permanent resident must be able to present his or her Permanent Resident Card upon boarding a commercial carrier (aircraft, train or bus) in order to travel to Canada. As the Permanent Resident Card may be issued only in Canada, those permanent residents who are outside Canada and without a Permanent Resident Card may apply for a single-use Travel Document which can be obtained from Canadian embassies abroad.

The Permanent Resident Card expires every five years, and then may be renewed by making application and proving that the applicant has been physically present in Canada for the requisite time period, or has otherwise satisfied the residency requirements. Although an individual may meet the residency requirements by living outside of Canada with a Canadian citizen spouse, or working outside Canada for a Canadian business, the Permanent Resident Card cannot be renewed without being present in Canada and having a Canadian address.

While the PR Card was introduced to facilitate ease of travel for permanent residents, it can also be used as a convenient method of proving status to government authorities, employers and schools.

Express Entry[edit]

In January 2015 the Government of Canada opened a new program to apply for Permanent Residence named "Express Entry". It replaced the existing model for almost all Economic immigrants (whereby applicants were granted residency on a 'first come, first served' basis) and gave priority to those most likely to succeed economically in Canada. It achieves this by assigning weight to factors such as age, education, work experience, and skills.[5] Some provincial nominees, Quebec applicants and all non-economic immigrants still apply using a paper-based system.

History – landed immigrant[edit]

The term "landed immigrant" (French: immigrant reçu) is an old classification for a person who has been admitted to Canada as a non-Canadian citizen permanent resident. The current official classification for such a person is simply "permanent resident". The term "Landed immigrant" has been in use for so long that it is still part of the Canadian vocabulary and still appears in some government publications and forms.

To become a landed immigrant from outside Canada, one has to legally enter Canada, or "land", at one of the designated ports of entry. Upon entry the immigrant's passport will be stamped with the words "Immigrant Landed". Once the immigrant has landed, an IMM 1000 form (Record of Landing or Confirmation of Permanent Residence) will be given to provide an official record of landed status.

It's also possible to be granted a permanent residency visa while living in Canada as a temporary resident, for example, as one of the 60,000 people who come to Canada each year under the International Experience Canada initiative, which provides Working Holiday, internship, and study visas.[6] Such applicants must still officially land and achieve the landed immigrant status. Previously many have left the country through the U.S./Canada border, either entering the U.S. or receiving a refusal notice, and then re-entered Canada through customs. Since late 2008 some, but not most, may now "land" at a Citizenship and Immigration Canada office in Canada.[7]

Becoming a permanent resident[edit]

A person can become a Permanent Resident either by applying outside Canada or inside Canada. While the "Application Status" web application on the CIC website reflects this by showing different processing times, the differences and consequences for the applicant are not clearly identified.

  • An application by a temporary resident, applying as a "Spouse or Common-law partner in Canada", "Live-in caregiver", "protected person" or "permit holder", from within Canada is referred to as a "Within Canada" (or "inland") application.
  • All other applications are "Outside Canada" (or "outland") applications processed by visa offices outside Canada.

Within Canada or inland applications[edit]

Only the following applications listed in Section 72(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations[8] may be made from within Canada and they are processed at a CPC in Canada:

  • Spouse or common-law partner in Canada class
  • Live-in caregiver class
  • Protected temporary residents class

On humanitarian and compassionate grounds,[9][10] the requirement to apply from outside Canada may be waived for other applications.

Processing is as follows:

  • During Stage 1 processing, the CPC verifies whether the minimum requirements to apply are met. For Spousal applications, this means verifying eligibility of sponsor and whether the relationship is genuine.
Stage 1 in a "Within Canada" application leads to an "Approval in Principle" once the application is reviewed.
Approval in Principle takes approximately 15 to 25 months but actual processing times may vary from time to time and by case complexity.
  • Stage 2 is a background check, including criminality, security, health and other requirements to determine if the applicant is allowed to be in Canada. Applicants must submit a police record and undergo a medical examination.

During processing,

  • The applicant may apply for Provincial health care, before or after "Approval in Principle" depending on the province of residence. In Quebec, a Quebec Selection Certificate may also be required.
  • As of December 2014, during a trial period that was extended until December 2016, "Within Canada" applicants can receive a work permit within 4 months after submitting the application if they have temporary resident status and there are no inadmissibility issues.[11]
  • Applicants without valid status can obtain a work permit after receiving "Approval in Principle".

After processing, the applicant becomes a permanent resident after completing a final interview at a local IRCC office where a Confirmation of Permanent Residence will be issued.

Outside Canada or outland applications[edit]

All applications that are not "Within Canada" applications are processed outside Canada at a visa office, usually the Embassy or Consulate of Canada in or responsible for the country of nationality of the applicant or alternatively in the country where the applicant was lawfully admitted to for at least 1 year. All Express Entry applications are "Outside Canada" applications. Usually Stage 1 processing is done in Canada and then the application is sent to the visa office for Stage 2 and finalization.

  • It will not lead to an "Approval in Principle" as the applicant is assumed to not move until the process is complete and the person has the "Confirmation of Permanent Residence" ("COPR") (and visa, if applicable) in hand.
  • An "Outside Canada" application is primarily for those who are outside Canada when they make their application.
  • After obtaining the COPR, the applicant has to fly to Canada or arrive at a land or sea border to become a permanent resident.
  • Anybody currently residing in Canada may also apply for an "Outside Canada" category in which case the application will be processed as if the person resides outside Canada. However, to become a permanent resident the applicant, after obtaining a COPR, either must leave Canada and re-enter to complete the process or, as of 2008, may attend at a local IRCC office.
  • An applicant may enter the country as a visitor and be entered on a "Visitor Record" but will not become eligible for social assistance, a SIN number, a health card or a driver's license (except in Ontario and Nova Scotia where anyone regardless of status can obtain a driver's license) until the entire process is complete.
  • "Outside Canada" applicants do not receive a work permit during application processing.
  • Processing times vary between visa offices but are on average less than those of "Within Canada" applications.
  • These applications also include a background check, including criminal and medical examinations.

Processing times[edit]

Processing times are published weekly on the IRCC website[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]