Canadian Residency Obligations
In order to maintain permanent residence in Canada, a person must meet a residency obligation. The residencya obligation refers to a person’s physical presence inside of Canada for a set amount of time.
Canada’s residency obligation for permanent residents requires a person to be physically present inside of Canada for at least 730 days within a five-year period, or to meet one of the following situations:
- The person is outside of Canada accompanying a Canadian citizen who is their spouse or common-law partner, or the person is a child accompanying their parent;
- The person is outside of Canada employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or in the public service of Canada or of a Canadian province;
- The person is an accompanying spouse, common-law partner, or child of a permanent resident who is outside Canada and is employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or in the public service of Canada or of a Canadian province.
Usually, whether a permanent resident has met their residency obligations is assessed when they are applying for a permanent resident card renewal, permanent resident travel document (PRTD), or Canadian citizenship. Please note that if a person has Canadian permanent residence for more than five years, the residency obligation will be calculated based on the five years prior to the date an application was received by the visa office.
If a person has been a Canadian permanent resident for less than five years, they may be eligible to apply for a permanent resident card renewal or PRTD provided they can demonstrate that they will be able to meet the 730 days physical presence day within the five year period.
Determination of Status
A permanent resident of Canada can only lose their status through a formal determination of status. Any time a permanent resident applies for a PR card renewal or a permanent resident travel document (PRTD), a visa officer will conduct an official determination of status to see if the person has met their residency obligations and has no other barriers from renewal.
Until this formal determination has been completed a person will technically remain a permanent resident of Canada. If a permanent resident is aware that they have not met their residency obligation, they may formally renounce their permanent resident status.
Residency Obligations and Provincial Nominations
Canadian citizens and permanent residents hold the right to live and work in any province in Canada, as found in Section 6 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These rights begin when Canadian permanent residence is activated. It is important to note that while Canadian citizens and permanent residents have constitutionally protected mobility rights, Canadian law determines that immigrants belonging to the provincial nomination class must intend to reside in the province that has nominated them.
If the intention to reside in the selecting province is found never to have been sincere, applicants risk being found guilty of misrepresentation which can result in loss of status and inadmissibility to Canada for five years. Misrepresentation is a criminal offence in Canada, and can have devastating affects on your immigration application and status in Canada. Applicants interested in selection by a Canadian province must show intention to reside in the province upon landing.
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