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Articles/q&a

Permanent Residence

Before proceeding with any application or travel to Canada, you should always check the current entry requirements related to COVID-19, which are continuously evolving and may affect your circumstances.

My family and I are permanent residents of Canada and our PR cards expired in October, 2018. We applied to renew the cards in June but there was a problem with the photographs and we were asked to re-submit them. We have booked our family holiday at the end of December and we still have not obtained our PR cards. Do we need to cancel our plans? 

Urgent processing is possible for PR cards if you apply at least three weeks prior to departure, provided you must travel for a job opportunity or for your employer, due to your illness or the illness/death of a family member. In your situation, unless you are lucky and your PR cards are issued prior to your departure, there is no way to expedite the processing of your PR card. If you decide to go on your trip you will have the risk of being unable to return to Canada. You have two options. First, assuming you meet the resident requirements, you can apply for a permanent resident travel document (PRTD) in the country where you are visiting – but you should check the processing time to see if you can realistically obtain the travel document on time. Second, if you have a valid US visitor visa, you could travel back to Canada through the US and enter Canada across the land border in a private vehicle. You must obtain proper legal advice before trying either of these options.

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I have been in Canada on a work permit for over three years, and several weeks ago I received an Invitation to Apply and applied for permanent residence under Express Entry. Recently, my employer advised me that they would like to send me to the United States to work for a few years, and they cannot determine exactly when they will transfer me back to Canada. I am wondering whether I should withdraw my application for permanent residence and apply later, or complete the application for permanent residence and insist that I return to Canada after I become a permanent resident. Which way would be better?

Your question raises several issues relating to both employment and immigration and you will need to get detailed legal advice as soon as possible. If you withdraw your application and decide to apply in the future, there is the risk that immigration laws could change, and you may not qualify for permanent residence in the future. If you decide to continue with your application now and you are approved, you will obtain permanent residence in Canada and must meet the residence requirements. Permanent residents must accumulate two years of residence in each five-year period, and this could be physical residence or, as set out in the regulations, could include time that your Canadian employer sends you abroad to work. As such, depending on whether your employer qualifies and the duration of your employment abroad, you may be able to count the time you spend in the United States as residence for the purpose of maintaining your permanent residence status in Canada. However, you will not be able to count this time toward applying for Canadian citizenship. You could also negotiate the terms of your transfer to the United States with your employer prior to your transfer, to ensure that you will be transferred back within a reasonable time. All of these issues should be considered and analyzed, and I recommend you get proper legal advice prior to making any decisions.

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I am planning to apply for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker category. I have worked for two years in Canada under a post-graduate work permit for three different employers. I have a problem with proving my previous work experience as one of my former employers will not give me an employment reference. What should I do?

It is very difficult when an employer refuses to write a reference letter which complies with IRCC’s requirements. There is no legal requirement for an employer to provide a reference letter, so you cannot demand one; however, the employer must provide you with a Record of Employment when you leave the company, and you will also have proof of your income through T4s, Notices of Assessment and bank statements. To demonstrate your job duties, you may provide an employment contract or similar document, if available, but if there is nothing of this nature available, you should seek legal advice about whether there are other documents, explanations or even statutory declarations that could be utilized. Unfortunately, without the required references, it will be the officer’s decision whether to accept the experience or not.

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I am applying for permanent residence under Express Entry, and I qualify for both Federal Skilled Worker and Canadian Experience Class. How do I choose which category I would like to apply under in this situation? CEC is easier and needs fewer documents, so I would prefer to apply under this category.

When you qualify under more than one category you cannot choose which to apply under. When you complete your Express Entry profile, the system will identify which categories you qualify under and invite you based on the category it chooses. Although one category may require additional or different documents, it is advisable to accept the Invitation to Apply (ITA) you receive, unless there is a very strong reason not to do so. There is no guarantee that you will later be invited under the program you want.

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I am applying under Express Entry and I would like to clarify whether I will need to demonstrate settlement funds. I am currently in Canada on a work permit and have a full-time job. 

Most categories require you to demonstrate sufficient settlement funds. The exceptions are: the Canadian Experience Class, and the Federal Skilled Worker or Federal Skilled Trades ONLY if you work in a NOC A, B or 0 occupation and have a work permit pursuant to an LMIA, or you have an LMIA-exempt, employer-specific work permit and have been employed by the same employer for at least a year. It is best to seek proper advice if this is a big issue for you.

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I graduated from University of Toronto and have finished one year of employment pursuant to a post-graduation work permit. My employer is willing to offer me permanent employment and I would like to know whether this job offer will provide me with extra points under Express Entry.

In order for the job offer to provide you with points under Express Entry, you must have an employer-specific work permit. As you are working pursuant to a post-graduation work permit (PGWP), you will not score the extra points as your work permit is open (not employer-specific). If you need the extra points to obtain an Invitation to Apply (ITA), your employer should apply for an LMIA, unless there is another exemption from an LMIA available to you.

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 I filed an application to sponsor my husband from Hong Kong, which is currently being processed. My husband has a son from his previous marriage, and although we listed the child on my husband’s application, he is a non-accompanying dependent. Recently, my husband, his ex-wife and their son have agreed that they wish the child to come to Canada, and I am very happy to include him on the sponsorship application. At the time I sponsored my husband, his son was 21 years old, and he has just turned 22. Is it possible to add my husband’s son to the application, even though he is now considered over aged?

Although the child is now 22, you can add the child to the application as he met the definition of dependent child at the time you initiated the sponsorship application. As you point out, a dependent child must be under the age of 22; however, the lock-in date for the application is the date you filed the sponsorship application, even if you did not yet include the dependent child at that time. You should advise the visa office that you wish to include him immediately, so that he may be included and complete medical, criminal and security examinations. If you do not include him now, your husband will not be able to sponsor him after becoming a permanent resident, as a new lock-in date would apply for the new sponsorship application. If you have further questions, you should obtain legal advice from an immigration lawyer.

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I sponsored my parents to come Canada and was lucky to receive an invitation to apply. Unfortunately, my parents have decided to divorce, and my father does not want to leave China. Can I simply submit the application for my mother and leave my father out of it? I am almost out of time to submit the application.

You can submit the application to sponsor only your mother; however, as your parents are not yet divorced, your father will still be considered a dependent under Canadian immigration law. When submitting the application, you must list him as a “non-accompanying” dependent, which means that he will not be granted a permanent residence visa. However, he will still need to submit personal information, complete a medical, and obtain a police clearance even though he has no intention of coming to Canada. Once they obtain their divorce, he will no longer be considered a dependent and no documents would be required, so the timing of the divorce is important to your application. As you must submit your application before the deadline, submit all required forms and documents, with an explanation letter regarding their separation and intention to divorce. If the application guidelines are not absolutely clear to you, you should obtain proper legal advice from an immigration lawyer to avoid errors.

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I am in Canada on a study permit and I have been involved with a Canadian permanent resident for over a year. I am expecting a baby in October and my study permit will expire in December. My boyfriend would sponsor me, but he himself was sponsored by his previous wife and they are not divorced yet. If his divorce becomes final before December, can he sponsor me, and will this cause trouble? Is there any other way for me to stay in Canada?

As your boyfriend was sponsored himself, he may be ineligible to sponsor you pursuant to the five-year sponsorship bar for sponsors who have obtained permanent residence status as a sponsored spouse or common law partner. If five years has passed, he may be able to sponsor you, however the application will be scrutinized closely. You may be able to extend your study permit or obtain a post graduate work permit, depending on your circumstances. You need to obtain detailed legal advice from a lawyer to ensure you situation is fully assessed. 

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My colleague is planning to apply for permanent residence and only obtains approximately 420 points under Express Entry which is generally not enough to receive an invitation to apply. As his job is listed under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program’s recent list of nominations under the Human Capital Priorities Stream, he wants to know how to apply for that stream.

Applicants cannot apply directly to the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)‘s Human Capital Priorities Stream. Instead, the program selects applicants and provides them a PT Notification inviting them to apply. Although the OINP will sometimes do “targeted draws” in which they selected specific NOC codes or occupations, there is no guarantee they will make similar selections in the future. They have previously invited religious workers, tech applicants and specific NOCs. Having said that, given the government’s stated intention to meet large immigration targets, your friend should put himself into the Express Entry pool without delay, as you never know whether the province or Federal government might do a selective draw or reduce the points cut-off under the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). 

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I would like to sponsor my wife as a permanent resident, but I am not sure if I qualify. I previously sponsored my first wife about eight years ago. After she came to Canada, she left me and went to live with her sister and wouldn’t return my phone calls. I contacted Immigration to tell them what happened, but I have no idea whether they investigated her. I was really upset and it took me a while to get over it, but now I have re-married a woman who is currently in Canada on a study permit and I would like to sponsor her. Will I be able to do a second sponsorship?

You will likely be able to sponsor your current wife as you reported the situation to Immigration at the time your first wife arrived to Canada. IRCC scrutinizes applications very carefully when there has been a previous sponsorship, as they are concerned that you may be facilitating immigration through non-genuine marriage. However, if you can demonstrate that you believed the previous relationship was genuine, and you reported the situation to IRCC, they will likely accept that you were taken advantage of. You must be very detailed and clear in your current application to explain your past history and provide evidence of both your past and current relationships. In addition, if your first wife relied on social assistance during the sponsorship undertaking period, you may have to repay this prior to sponsoring your current wife. You should obtain detailed legal advice from a lawyer before submitting your application to ensure that you have addressed all of the issues.

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My friend has been in Canada illegally for over ten years and he wants to apply to remain in Canada as life is too difficult for him without status. Lately, we have heard that many people are being deported and he is afraid to notify the authorities that he is in Canada as he is worried he will be arrested and deported. Should he apply?

Your friend could apply for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds, but he needs to discuss his circumstances with an experienced immigration lawyer before deciding whether to apply. Although long-term residence is an important factor that immigration officers will consider, they will look at all of the circumstances, including immigration history, employment, volunteer work, studies, community and activities, as well as the negative effects that deportation will have. As your friend will be providing personal information such as his home address and employment information on his application, there is a risk that if his application is refused, Immigration will start enforcement proceedings against him. He therefore needs to discuss the strategy and risks with a lawyer to determine when and how to apply.

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I came to Canada as a student and during my last year of studies at University of Toronto I married a Canadian who sponsored me. After about a month, my spouse became violent. He had always been controlling and jealous, but I thought that was because he loved me so much. After the first time he hit me, he was very sorry and he convinced me that he was under a lot of pressure and stress, so I stayed with him. He monitored my phone calls and activities, and I became very anxious and confused, and did not know what to do. The pandemic made everything much worse because I do my courses online, and we are both always at home. I started doing poorly at school and now need re-do some credits as I did not pass all of my courses which I needed to graduate this year. Recently, he hit me again, and he told me he would report me to Immigration if I did not do whatever he says, like giving him my phone so he can read my texts. My study permit will expire soon, and I am afraid IRCC will not renew it because I have not been consistently attending my classes and I failed several courses. My husband threatened to withdraw the sponsorship and tell IRCC that I used him to get permanent residence status. Can I extend my study permit? Will I get deported if my husband withdraws the sponsorship?

My primary concern is your safety and wellbeing. You should not hesitate to contact the police and seek medical attention if your husband harms you. I understand that women often worry about immigration status when coping with partner violence, but Canadian law, including immigration law, recognizes that women deserve to be safe. There are many resources available, in many languages, so that you can contact for help. The City of Toronto has put together a list of contacts that you can find here: https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/8c17-R1-Domestic-Intimate-Partner-Violence-Resources-FINAL.pdf. Chinese Family Services of Ontario https://cfso.care/, as well as others, offers services in both Mandarin and Cantonese. Regarding your study permit, you can certainly extend your study permit, as long as you apply prior to the expiry date and meet the normal requirements, including that you have permission to continue your studies from your university. Even if your permit has expired, you can apply for restoration of status within 90 days of expiry. Regarding the sponsorship, you should likely contact IRCC to withdraw your application for permanent residence yourself and explain the circumstances. However, please obtain legal advice from a lawyer or legal aid clinic immediately. A qualified and experienced lawyer can help you make a plan that ensures both your safety and positive immigration outcome.  Finally, most people who are targets of partner violence feel guilt, shame, confusion, or self-doubt. You are not alone, and things will get better if you take active steps now.

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I am a permanent resident and I have been working for the same employer for the past two years. As I am a highly specialized professional, my employer has requested me to work in its branch office in the United States, and I would like to take advantage of the opportunity. However, I am not yet a Canadian citizen and I do not want to lose my permanent residence status. How can I protect myself?

You should obtain very detailed legal advice prior to accepting the transfer and moving to the United States. As a permanent resident must accumulate 730 days of “residence” in each five year period, you must make sure that you can meet this requirement at all times. “Residence” includes not only physical residence but also when a permanent resident is required to work abroad for a Canadian employer. The next time you renew your permanent residence card, you will need to provide proof of the status of the Canadian company, proof of employment and details of the assignment, including information on when you will be returning to Canada. It is therefore necessary that this work assignment be temporary in nature and that you intend to return to work in Canada afterward. You should be aware that you will not be able to apply for Canadian citizenship until you meet the physical residence requirements of Canadian citizenship law, which are different from immigration law. There are many other issues to consider, so you should obtain specific legal advice as soon as possible.

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I have heard about the new Rural and Northern Immigration Program and I am confused about the requirements. Do applicants need to be already in Canada and currently working for an employer in one of the designated communities? Can students on post-graduation work permits apply under the program?

The program is community and employer-driven which means that only applicants who have a job offer from an employer in approved community can qualify. The program is available to qualified applicants both inside and outside of Canada and for both workers and students; however, students must have completed the majority of their studies in the community. 

 
Applicants are required to:

 

    1. Get a recommendation from a designated community economic development organization
    2. Have qualifying work experience or have graduated from a publicly funded post-secondary institution in the recommending community
    3. Have a qualifying job offer
    4. Meet or exceed the minimum language requirements
    5. Meet or exceed the educational requirements
    6. Demonstrate sufficient funds to support transition into the community
    7. Intend to live in the community

 

For applicants relying on work experience, the experience can be gained either inside or outside of Canada, and must be relevant, paid and the equivalent of 1560 hours during the past three years. For applicants relying on graduation from a post-secondary institution, there is no work experience required but the applicant must have physically resided in the community during studies for at least 16 months of the last 24 months of the program of study, or if studying at a master’s level or higher, for the full duration of the studies. 

 

There are many more detailed requirements, so obtain proper legal advice before applying.

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I am qualified to apply under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program international student stream, and my employer is very willing to support me as I am a key employee. On March 3, 2020, I applied when the program re-opened, but I could not complete the application because there was something wrong with the system. Now, I have read that the program has closed again, and they are not accepting any new applications. How can I find out if I can still apply?

Unfortunately, a very high volume of applicants accessed the online system when the OINP re-opened various streams, including the International Student Stream, and many applicants were either unable to register, or were able to register but could not complete their applications. If you were able to register and received a file number, you will have an extended deadline to complete the online application until March 24, 2020. If you failed to complete your registration and did not receive a file number, you will have to wait until the program opens again later in the year. You can visit the OINP website for updates and if you are unclear, you can contact the program at: [email protected].

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I recently saw that the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program issued invitations for people with specific computer-related backgrounds. Does this mean that there will be draws for other specific backgrounds? How do we know if we will be selected?

The OINP has begun to issue occupation-specific Notifications of Interest (NOIs) for technical occupations under the Human Capital stream, which it is calling “Tech Draws”. The Ontario government has identified several occupations that it believes are in high demand, based on consultations it apparently had with various organizations, and therefore the OINP occasionally makes occupation-specific NOIs. There is no way to know in advance which occupations the OINP will target, and when the NOIs will be issued. It may be a good strategy for prospective applicants under Express Entry who can meet the requirements of the Human Capital stream to put themselves in the pool, to avoid missing such a draw. It would be advisable to obtain legal advice to discuss further strategies for receiving an Invitation to Apply under Express Entry.

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I sponsored my husband for permanent residence inland because he has no status in Canada. Recently, he received a letter advising him that there was a warrant for his arrest as he failed to appear for removal from Canada many years ago. They want him to come into Immigration. Will they arrest him? Will they deport him? What will happen if he doesn’t go? I can’t sleep I am so worried. 

When a person is subject to a removal order and fails to appear, a warrant is issued for their arrest. Your husband must present himself to Immigration to execute the warrant. However, prior to going in, he must get proper legal advice to analyze his circumstances and determine what is likely to happen. Depending on a variety of factors, including his immigration history, personal circumstances and whether or not he has a valid travel document, he could be detained or released. If the officer believes that your husband will cooperate and not disappear underground, he may be released in his own recognizance or to a bonds person. If detained, he will have the right to a detention hearing within 48 hours. He must obtain proper legal advice to prepare properly. 

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I prepared my profile under the Express Entry system and after submitting it, the system stated that I was not eligible to apply. I realized that I made several mistakes on my profile, but the system will not allow me to change them.  As I found that I was eligible when I did a self-assessment, I am sure I should be eligible. How can I correct my mistakes so I can receive an Invitation to Apply?

The system will not allow you to make any amendments once you have been found to be ineligible to apply. You will need to create a new profile in order to enter in the correct data so be very careful to review everything properly prior to submitting it. If you are not sure, you should obtain proper advice about your background prior to creating an Express Entry profile. It is important to create a complete and accurate profile so that there are no issues later. For example, if a person obtains an Invitation to Apply (ITA) based on erroneous information, not only could they have their application for permanent residence refused, but they could be found inadmissible for misrepresentation and be banned from applying for any kind of temporary or permanent status for five years.

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