An Canadian permanent resident is a non-Canadian citizen who has been admitted to Canada as an immigrant, and has not subsequently lost or renounced that status. Prior to 28 June 2002, it was known as landed immigrant status.
Advantages of permanent residence
There are numerous advantages of permanent residence:
Freedom to work
- freedom to work for any employer in Canada, or take time out from the workforce
- those granted permanent residence through employer sponsorship or business skill migration may have specific obligations to adhere to, otherwise visas may be cancelled.
- those sponsored by a Province may risk problems if they leave that province without having made a genuine effort to settle there.
- most jobs for the Federal Government require Canadian citizenship.
- losing one's existing job does not mean having to leave Canada.
- children can work without jeopardising their "dependent" status.
- some professions which are closed to temporary residents become open (depending on profession and province).
- family members, especially spouses, will find employers more willing to hire them if they are permanent residents.
Security of family status
- sickness of a member of the family does not risk the family's right to remain in Canada
- spouses and children of the main applicant can still remain in Canada if the main applicant is deceased, or there is a family breakdown
- older children who become "independent" of the main applicant do not have to qualify for new visas on their own merits.
Health and social benefits
- certain provincial welfare schemes may require permanent resident status
- eligibility to apply for Canadian citizenship after meeting normal residence requirements. See also Pros_and_Cons_to_Getting_Canadian_Citizenship
- education at the same rates applicable to Canadians.
Sponsorship of relatives for immigration
- eligibility to sponsor certain relatives to migrate to Canada, or improve their chances of being accepted as skilled migrants.
- it is not possible to sponsor a relative under the Family Class if the relationship existed when you migrated to Canada, but the individual concerned did not do medicals and police checks as applicable (in exceptionally compassionate cases it might be possible to appeal to the Minister for Immigration for personal discretion).
Permanent Social Insurance Number
- You will be entitled to a permanent Social Insurance Number beginning with 1-7, as opposed to a temporary one beginning with 9.
- This will ease your dealings with employers, credit providers, etc.
- certain countries, such as Mexico (not the United States) may admit you with PR Card and passport and waive a visa that might otherwise be required.
- eligibility for special cross-border travel programs (CANPASS, NEXUS etc) usually requires Canadian or US citizenship or permanent residence. Also, you need a total of 3 years residence in Canada or the USA.
Overall, the key advantage of permanent resident status in Canada is security. You no longer have to concern yourself with future changes to the immigration laws, whether your employer will be willing and able to sponsor, or about the visa consequences of a family member becoming sick. See also the article: Work_Permit_Complications-Canada for discussion of some of the issues faced by others.
Disadvantages of permanent residence
One identified disadvantage, applicable only to Quebec, is that if you are a permanent resident you may have to enrol your children in the French language school system until age 16. Unless the other parent of the children is a Canadian citizen educated in English in Canada. See also Quebec_Schooling.
Keeping permanent resident status
In order to keep permanent resident status, there are two broad principles:
- Remain living in Canada.
- Absences for more than a few years usually lead to loss of resident status.
- There are exemptions for those with special ties to Canada, such as those accompanying a Canadian spouse.
- See also: Residency_Obligations-Canada
- Even if you retain resident status, absences may break continuity of residence for citizenship purposes.
- Do not commit crimes.
- Criminal convictions may lead to deportation from Canada.
- It depends on a number of factors, including the nature of the offence and the sentence laid down (including suspended sentences).
- If you, or a member of your family, are charged with a crime, do not make any admission or guilty plea until you have obtained some specialist immigration assistance (as well as assistance from a lawyer dealing in criminal issues).
- many criminal law practitioners may not be aware of the special immigration consequences of a criminal record, as these are usually not applicable to Canadian citizens.
Evidence of permanent resident status
- As a permanent resident, you do not have to carry evidence of your status on your person at all times (unlike in some countries).
- But it may be required by employers, banks, educational institutions and others who may have a right to see it.
- The normal form of evidence is a Permanent Resident Card. See also Permanent_Resident_Card-Canada
- Also keep your paper Confirmation of Permanent Residence.