Which 5 year period counts for renewing your permanent resident (PR) card: when you apply or when you pick up the card?


When PRs apply to renew their PR cards, the application is submitted to the PR Card Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia (CPC-S). They will decide whether you met the 730 day (2 year) residence requirement based on the 5 years before the application was received, and, if so, they will send the PR card to a local Canada Immigration office for the PR to collect the card in person. This process could take several months, or even a year or more.

It was not unusual for CIC, in their letter notifying the PR to collect the card, to state that “all permanent residents of Canada are subject to a residency assessment at the time of distribution of their new PR card”.  In other words, not only did a PR need to meet the 730 day test at the time the application was received, but also again at the time the PR card was to be picked up in person!

In the 2012 case of Khan v Minister of Citizenship and Immigration 2012 FC1471, Mr. Khan left Canada after submitting his PR card renewal application and having met his residency obligation at the time of submission. When he later showed up at the local CIC office to pick up his new PR card, the officer refused to issue the card as it appeared to her that Mr. Khan did not meet the residency obligation at the time he turned up to pick up the card.

Mr. Khan challenged the decision in Federal Court of Canada and won. The Court stated that once the applicant met the requirements for issuing a new PR card at CPC-S, he was entitled to be so issued by the local office.

Now, under a one-year pilot project which took effect on 30 April 2012, most straightforward PR card applications will be mailed directly to the residential address of the applicants, so they usually won’t have to pick the cards up in person anymore.  For more information on renewing PR cards, please contact us for a consultation.

New Rules for Spousal Sponsorship


“I, Peter Wilson, a Canadian Citizen, was married to Nicola Kostiva in Moscow, Russia on May 30, 2008. Nicola and I were introduced to each other on January 15, 2008 by a mutual acquaintance. Shortly after the introduction, Nicola sent me an email with her photo. For the next 4 months we spoke regularly on the phone, exchanged emails and had Skype video chats on a daily basis. I thought Nicola was the best thing that ever happened to me. She was caring and sweet, appeared very cultured and loved the arts. She worked as a music teacher in a local school and loved children. There was no reason to be suspicious of her motives because we were able to share deeply about many things in life, including our past hurts and experiences, and she always had a comforting and caring word for me.

Nicola and I decided go get married in Moscow. I paid for all the wedding expenses and only asked that she be committed to me as a wife, which Nicola had no problem agreeing to. After spending 14 enjoyable days in Moscow for our wedding and honeymoon, I immediately applied to sponsor Nicola to Canada as my wife. It took the next 10 months of immigration processing before I received approval that my wife was finally able to join me in Canada. During those 10 months, Nicola and I continued our email exchanges and daily Skype video chats. On the day Nicola received news that her Visa was approved, she called me excitedly saying: “we are finally able to live together forever!”

I booked Nicola’s airline ticket and within a week, I was happily waiting to receive my wife at the Vancouver International Airport. Her flight was scheduled to arrive at 2 p.m. (I was there by 1 p.m.). After waiting for 5 hours at the airport, with roses in my hand, I greeted my beautiful Russian bride. To my surprise, Nicola was not at all excited to see me. I thought it was due to the long flight and her tiredness. We drove straight home, she settled in a bit and went to bed. I was trying to be understanding and therefore did not question too much because I thought she was just very tired and missing her parents.

The next morning, I made her breakfast and was looking forward to the start of our new life together. Nicola was cold and was nothing like the person I spent 14 beautiful days with in Russia. She told me she never wanted to spend “forever” with me because she already had a boyfriend in Russia. Marrying me was her way of getting into Canada and eventually for her to sponsor her boyfriend whom she will be spending “forever” with in Canada. I was totally shocked, heartbroken and could not believe what I had just heard from someone whom I called “my wife” for the past 10 months. In less than an hour, to my utter surprise, a car was at my driveway and two strangers came to pick up Nicola and that was the last I saw of her. I later realized that Nicola had all these planned out for months, with some people she knew from Canada, and I was just her unsuspecting naïve prey.”

The above story is just one of the many stories people from across Canada have shared. In an attempt to combat marriage fraud, Immigration Canada has recently introduced several new rules in the Spousal Sponsorship program as follows:

  • Spouses must remain in a committed relationship with their Canadian Sponsors for a period of 2 years after being granted permanent resident status;
  • Should the relationship end before 2 years of the conditional permanent resident status, the conditional permanent residence is revoked;
  • However, as a humanitarian gesture, in cases of abuse or neglect, the sponsored spouse will not lose their permanent residence.

The above new regulations do not apply if the relationship between sponsor and spouse is more than 2 years old or if the sponsor and spouse have children in common.

Despite cases like Peter’s story, spousal sponsorship remains an important avenue for families to be reunited. Due to increase of fraudulent marriages, even bona fide cases are subject to tough review. Lowe & Company has helped many people who have happily reunited with their families in Canada. Read about some of their experiences here under “Family Visas”.

Brand New Federal Skilled Trades Program


The new Federal Skilled Trades Program opened for applications this week for skilled tradespeople with at least 2 years of full-time experience in the last 5 years.  Applicants must also have either a Canadian job offer or Canadian Trade Certification.  Also, applicants must have passed an English or French language test .

There are 2 categories of eligible trades for this program: Group A (moderate demand) and Group B (in demand) occupations.  Group A has 100 spaces per NOC (National Occupational Classification) and Group B has no cap for each individual NOC.  However, the total applications to be received under the entire Federal Skilled Trades program for this year is 3,000, and these quotas may be filled within the next few months.

There is much preparation to be done so we recommend that applicants start preparing immediately.  Contact us if you would like to book a consultation to see how you can qualify.

The eligible trades (with their corresponding NOC numbers) are:

Group A

  • 7202 Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
  • 7204 Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
  • 7205 Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
  • 7271 Carpenters
  • 7301 Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades
  • 7302 Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews
  • 8211 Supervisors, logging and forestry
  • 8221 Supervisors, mining and quarrying
  • 8222 Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling services
  • 8241 Logging machinery operators
  • 8252 Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • 9211 Supervisors, mineral and metal processing
  • 9212 Supervisors, petroleum, gas and chemical processing and utilities
  • 9214 Supervisors, plastic and rubber products manufacturing
  • 9231 Central control and process operators, mineral and metal processing
  • 9241 Power engineers and power systems operators
  • 9243 Water and waste treatment plant operators

Group B

  • 7231 Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
  • 7233 Sheet metal workers
  • 7235 Structural metal and plate work fabricators and fitters
  • 7236 Ironworkers
  • 7237 Welders and related machine operators
  • 7241 Electricians (except industrial and power system)
  • 7242 Industrial electricians
  • 7243 Power system electricians
  • 7244 Electrical power line and cable workers
  • 7245 Telecommunications line and cable workers
  • 7246 Telecommunications installation and repair workers
  • 7251 Plumbers
  • 7252 Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
  • 7253 Gas fitters
  • 7311 Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
  • 7312 Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
  • 7313 Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics
  • 7314 Railway carmen/women
  • 7315 Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors
  • 7318 Elevator constructors and mechanics
  • 7371 Crane operators
  • 7372 Drillers and blasters – surface, mining, quarrying and construction
  • 7373 Water well drillers
  • 8231 Underground production and development miners
  • 8232 Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers
  • 9232 Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators