Are you hoping to become a permanent resident of Canada and don’t know how to go about it? Well, you have come to the right place.
Canada is a place of lots of opportunities in terms of high-paying jobs, quality education, and life. This explains why most immigrants choose Canada, and as a matter of fact, Canada is among the top three destinations for those searching for greener pastures.
However, migrating to Canada is not as easy as it looks due to several requirements and laws binding immigrants. Regardless, there are actually a lot of ways in which you can live and work without having to deal with many immigration issues. One of them is getting a Canadian permanent resident card.
Who is a Canadian permanent resident
A permanent resident of Canada is a term used to describe someone granted permanent residency in Canada, basically by immigration. Permanent residents in Canada are liable to enjoy the same privileges as citizens; however, it is not the same status because they still have to continue complying with some requirements, specifically the residency obligation.
5 benefits of permanent resident status in Canada
Permanent resident status in Canada comes with a lot of benefits. Permanent residents of Canada can actually:
- Live and work anywhere inside Canada
People with permanent resident status in Canada have the right to live and work in a chosen part of the country. If you have attained PR status in Alberta, you can move and start working in Montreal if you wish. You are not only limited to living anywhere; you change jobs as you move to another city or province.
In addition, PR status also gives you the ability to leave or enter Canada as long as you have your permanent resident travel documents and PR card.
- Sponsor their family
With a PR status in Canada, you can apply to bring in dependents, which can be your spouse, children, or love partner, so they can join you. The best thing is that if you made it to Canada through express entry immigration, if you put your family under the requirement, you wouldn’t have to apply for their sponsorship at all when you were ready to bring them to Canada.
- Secure free education for their children
Canadian permanent residents’ are all privileged to receive free education for their children from basic to secondary school. And for college, their fees are very low as compared to how much is paid by international students.
- Access to free health care services
Canada operates a system of healthcare that is universal. Once you become a permanent resident, you have access to free health care and even social services, just like citizens.
- Rights and protection
As a PR person in Canada, you are entitled to many rights, and your rights are lawfully protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
- Ability to become citizens of Canada
The PR strategy is one step for immigrants towards securing Canadian citizenship. As a PR, after you have lived in Canada for about 3 to 5 years, you can apply to become a citizen. And when you become a citizen, you become a full-pledged Canadian and enjoy every right the citizens by birth and others are privileged to, such as the right to vote, contest an election, get a national passport, and you won’t need to renew your permits again.
What is a Canadian permanent residence card
When you become a permanent resident of Canada, you become eligible to apply for the Canada resident card, also known as the PR card. The card symbolizes your status in Canada and can be used to travel around and outside Canada. It is meant to be renewed.
Renewal of Canada permanent residency card
Canadian permanent resident cards are meant to be renewed; sometimes they are only valid for 5 years; however, some PR cards are only valid for a year. The government often advises immigrants to always renew their PR cards at least six months before their expiration date.
What is a permanent resident travel document (PRTD)
When a Canadian PR is outside Canada and wants to enter Canada without a PR card, the person may have to apply for a permanent resident travel document. It is important to know that the PRTD is only for a single entry into Canada, which will allow you entry into Canada before you get a PR card or renew your card.
Requirements for Canadian Permanent Residency
For a person to qualify for PR status, they must meet the residency obligation. It actually means your physical presence in Canada for a particular period of time. Canada requires that you have been physically present in Canada for more than 730 days straight in the last 5 years for you to become eligible.
However, this does not mean you will be given the status straight up, as other things like your work experience in Canada, level of education, age, and language proficiency are also put into consideration.
How to become a Canadian permanent resident
To become a permanent resident of Canada, there are several immigration routes you can follow to achieve the status.
Below are some of the immigration routes to Canadian permanent residency:
- Express entry
Express entry helps PR visas for immigrants who can fill work spaces in places where there is a shortage of skilled workers in Canada through different economic immigration initiatives.
- Family sponsorship
Family sponsorship refers to a way in which PRs can bring in their families as dependents via several sponsorship initiatives for immigrants.
- Business immigration
If you are coming in basically for business purposes, Canada is very open to such a PR application. This is one of the best pathways for new immigrants to achieve PR status.
- Provincial nomination
Provincial nomination is a scheme that is targeted at skilled workers, students, and persons with work experience, bringing them in to fill a shortage of labor. Every province has its own schemes that target individuals in those specifics.
- Canadian Class Experience
CEC is a scheme aimed at foreign students and workers already in Canada and helps them gain work experience so they can apply for permanent residency.
If you are just starting out and want to get a permanent residency visa straight away, you can actually do it by following these steps:
- Check if you meet the requirements
The first is to check if you met the requirement before you can proceed to apply. As said earlier, you can achieve this if you go through each program, so your application depends on the requirements for each program because they vary.
Once you believe you are up to the requirement, proceed to create an account on the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website and follow the other processes on the website.
- Prepare your documents
You need to start gathering your documents, like your identity card, certificates, credentials, proof of funds, and several other designated requirements for entry into Canada for immigrants, depending on your chosen program route. Medical checks and reports, as well as a criminal record, are also important to prove you are admissible in the country.
- Start your application
When you are done gathering your documents, the next thing is to start your application. Apply under your choice program route.
- Attend interviews
It is possible that your program route requires a physical or online interview so as to get extra information from you. It is very important that you attend.
- Wait as they process your application
Some programs can take time before you get feedback, while others take a little time for your application to be fully processed. All you have to do is wait and keep refreshing your IRCC account.
- Approval notification
After your application has been fully processed, you will receive a confirmation of approval. The confirmation of permanent residency (COPR) and your visa counterfoil will be sent together with your passport. It will also contain your residency status and the date you are expected to travel to Canada.
- Fly to Canada
Having received your approval confirmation, you should start making travel preparations immediately so you meet the expiration date. When you reach Canada, you will be required to present your COPR to one of the officers of the Canada Border Service Agency. They will confirm your COPR and then issue your permanent residency card.
- Start your stay in Canada as a PR
Once you have gotten your PR card, you can assume to be a permanent resident of Canada, work, and live, as well as enjoy every privilege enjoyed by PRs. The card is what signifies your status as a resident of Canada and even outside of Canada.
It is actually not as permanent as it says, as you are required to renew after a period, and to maintain the status, you need to stay within the physical presence requirements. When you have lived for like 5 years, if you are interested, you can start your application to become a citizen of Canada.
Upgrading your temporary status to permanent residency
Canada allows every immigrant the opportunity to apply for permanent residency. Immigrants on study, work, or even visitor visas can upgrade to permanent residence as long as they meet the requirements. If you are on:
- Study permit
If you are a foreign student looking to adjust to permanent residency so you can live and work in Canada after your studies, all you need to do is apply for a postgraduate work permit (PGWP). Under this program, you can then apply for permanent residency.
- Work permit
Either you migrate to Canada via studies or work. To get permanent residency, if you are on a work permit, you need to be under any of these programs:
- Canadian Experience Class
- Federal skilled work program
- Provincial nomination program.
- Visitors visa
It is actually difficult and rare to upgrade from a visitor visa to permanent residency. However, there are a few exemptions, one of which is that you qualify as a refugee or your partner is a citizen of Canada.
How long does it take for permanent residency to expire
Permanent residency does not expire at all. Even if your PR card expires, you will still maintain the status, even though it is more advised that you renew your card prior to its expiration date. Your permanent residency status only expires if you revoke it yourself or meet the requirements to become a citizen.
PRs vs. Citizenship
People with permanent residency status are far from being citizens of Canada. However, they enjoy similar rights and privileges, with only a few exceptions, like applying for a Canadian passport and participating in elections. Also, PRs need to maintain some requirements and renew their cards, so it is not the same.
Can I leave Canada as a permanent resident?
You are allowed to leave and come in as much as you want as long as you meet the physical presence requirement, which is usually 730 days in 5 years.
Can my permanent residency status be revoked?
Your permanent residency can be revoked based on criminality issues, failure to maintain the requirements, and getting PR through false or illegal documents or misrepresentation.
What if I want to revoke my permanent residency status
It is impossible for the government to revoke your permanent residency status unless through an official process. If you are no longer interested in the whole thing and wish to revoke your PR status, you need to go through a process as well. Voluntarily, you can do this by submitting an application asking the government to revoke your residency status
Canada is a top immigration destination in the world due to the huge number of immigrants they allow every year. The government has announced that more than 400,00 immigrants are expected in 2024, of which a good number will be accepted under permanent residency status.
You can start processing your application and gathering your documents now. However, it is essential that you know that not every immigrant can be accepted under permanent residency; it is most suitable for temporary residents of Canada who want to adjust their status, but many newcomers are also accepted.