Maintaining Permanent Residence Status In Canada
Klaudios Mustakas – Pace Law Firm: On my recent trip to Saudi Arabia, I had many questions from clients about maintaining permanent residence (PR) status if they chose to work outside of Canada.
As a permanent resident of Canada, you are allowed to spend some time outside of Canada and still keep your PR card and status.
As a general rule, Section A28 (1) of the Immigration Refugee Protection Act outlines the requirements. In short, you need to have a minimum of physical residency in Canada of 730 days in a five year period. Certain exceptions are allowed, including:
- residing outside of Canada with a Canadian spouse who is a Canadian citizen
- working for a Canadian business, or in the federal public administration, or the public service of a province,
- accompanying a permanent resident who is described above
If you are eligible to use any of these exceptions, you are not allowed to use the time you are outside of Canada to fulfill the residency requirements for Canadian citizenship. This is critical, because if you are thinking of becoming a Canadian citizen, you must have lived in Canada as a permanent resident for 1,460 days during the six years immediately before the date of your citizenship application. Your time living abroad under the exceptions does not count.
Working Outside Of Canada
I often get questions about what is acceptable for Canadian authorities to approve an application for someone who works for a Canadian business outside of Canada. Immigration officers have great discretion when assessing an application to renew someone’s permanent resident card. In order for the application to be approved, the following criteria needs to be met:
- the business needs to be federally or provincially incorporated
- the business needs to have on-going operations in Canada
- it must generate revenue in Canada
- the employee’s duties outside of Canada are anticipated to generate profit
- the majority of the ownership of the business must be Canadian-owned
- the employee must be on a full-time contract
- the job is controlled by a head office in Canada
- the employee must maintain a connection to the Canadian business
- the employee’s work is a temporary assignment
- the employee must continue to work for the Canadian company
As you can see, authorities will not accept a situation where the business is created primarily for the purpose of allowing a permanent resident to satisfy the residency obligations while living outside of Canada. You must also be careful to show a connection to Canada by filing your Canadian income tax annually.
Be very careful in keeping track of your entry and exit dates to and from Canada. Many people have been shocked to discover that their PR card has been invalidated in their absence and that their chances of re-entering Canada are suddenly in doubt.