When you become a permanent resident, you are issued with a permanent resident card which is valid for 5 years. As a permanent resident, you have an obligation to accumulate at least 730 days (2 years) of “residence” in every 5 year period. A person in possession of the permanent resident card is presumed to have valid permanent resident status.
“Residence” can be met by being physically in Canada. You may also accumulate “residence” if you are:
- Outside Canada accompanying your Canadian citizen spouse or parent (if you are under 19 years of age);
- Outside Canada employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or by the federal/provincial government; or
- Outside Canada accompanying your permanent resident spouse or parent employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or by the federal/provincial government.
Also, if you can show humanitarian and compassionate considerations that can explain your absence from Canada, you may also be able to overcome any breach of the residency obligation. Factors to be considered include the extent of the non-compliance, reasons for departure and stay abroad, degree of establishment in Canada, ties to Canada, and any hardship that may be caused to you or your family members in Canada if you lose your status in Canada.
Employed by a Canadian Business Abroad
If you are employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business, and are assigned on a full-time basis to a position outside Canada temporarily, and have a position to return to in Canada, you may meet the residency obligation even though you spend time outside Canada. In examining these arrangements, Canadian immigration will seek to determine if they are genuine, and challenge them if they were merely set up for the purpose of meeting the immigration residence requirements.
Loss of your Permanent Resident Status
When you apply to renew your permanent resident card more than 5 years after landing, you will be required to state your residency information for the 5 years immediately prior to your application. If you have not met the residency obligation, it may lead to a determination that you have lost your status as a permanent resident. Should that happen, you may have the right to appeal the loss of your status to the Immigration Appeal Division, but this must be exercised within strict time limits.
At Lowe & Company, we can analyze your situation and help you plan to meet your residence obligation, assist you with the application to renew your PR card, and if necessary, represent you on appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division.