Permanent Residence Obligations During COVID-19 | What to do if You were Stuck Outside Canada
Over the past year, many Canadians’ travel plans shifted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each country has implemented different travel restrictions at various points in time, affecting the travel plans of many people. These travel restrictions can have a unique impact on Canadian Permanent Residents. To keep your permanent resident status, you must have been in Canada for at least 730 days during the last five years.
Therefore, if you spent more time outside of Canada than anticipated due to the pandemic, you may be at risk of failing to meet the residency requirements. You may also wonder if you will encounter any issues should you attempt to cross the border with a PR card after failing to meet the residency obligation.
It’s important to note that Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has not established any specific policies for those who will not meet their residence obligation while outside Canada. IRCC has also never applied a travel restriction to permanent residents and Canadian citizens. However, there are still options available for those who find themselves in the situations outlined above.
To begin, you will not automatically lose your PR status as a result of not meeting the residence obligation. As per s. 46 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)
46 (1) A person loses permanent resident status
(a) when they become a Canadian citizen;
(b) on a final determination of a decision made outside of Canada that they have failed to comply with the residency obligation under section 28;
(c) when a removal order made against them comes into force;
(c.1) on a final determination under subsection 108(2) that their refugee protection has ceased for any of the reasons described in paragraphs 108(1)(a) to (d);
(d) on a final determination under section 109 to vacate a decision to allow their claim for refugee protection or a final determination to vacate a decision to allow their application for protection; or
(e) on approval by an officer of their application to renounce their permanent resident status.
Therefore, even if you do not meet the residency requirements, you are still a Canadian Permanent Resident until an official decision is made on your status. Recall that although PR cards can expire, PR status does not expire; it needs to be revoked after a negative residency determination is made.
With a valid PR Card, you can prove that you are a Permanent Resident of Canada. At the border, however, your residency obligation may be assessed by an officer. To prepare for this assessment, you can create a package of documentation to show valid reasons why you were unable to meet the residency requirements. For example, if you were unable to safely quarantine upon return due to a shared living space, evidence of this could be included in your package. It is important that you try to enter Canada while your PR card is still valid to avoid further complications.
Need help creating a package to demonstrate the reasons you couldn’t meet the residency requirements? Contact us today to discuss a strategy for your case.
Calver and Associates is a leading provider of Canadian Immigration services in Durham Region. We serve clients in Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, and beyond. Our Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant has over 10 years of experience in Canadian Immigration law and over four years of experience serving those in the Oshawa area.
We can provide assistance with applications for both temporary and permanent residency in Canada. We handle applications for study permits, permanent residency, family class sponsorship, visitor visas, work permits, and Canadian citizenship. We also handle criminal inadmissibility cases by developing remedies for refusal.