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Can permanent residents lose their status?

Congratulations if you have become a permanent resident of Canada. Whether you have attained permanent residency overseas or here in Canada, it’s definitely a relief for many to have attained this status.

However, when granted permanent residency status by the government of Canada, you are granted both rights and obligations. If you don’t fulfill your obligations, your right to be a permanent resident may be rescinded.

What are my rights as a permanent resident?

As a permanent resident you have the following rights:

There are some things that permanent residents cannot do which include:

  • The right to vote or run for political office; and
  • They can’t hold jobs that require high-level security clearance.

How could I lose permanent residency?

There are three major ways in which a person could lose their permanent resident status. They are:

  • The permanent resident fails to live in Canada for the required two out of five years; or
  • The permanent resident has been convicted of a serious crime and been instructed to leave Canada; or
  • The permanent resident becomes a Canadian citizen.

The list is not limited to those three factors alone, there are many more reasons for which a permanent resident could lose their status and it generally is connected to failing to keep certain conditions, misbehaviour and criminality.

It’s easiest to think of permanent resident status akin to probation. You have conditions that you must meet, as well as be on your best behaviour and stay out of trouble.

Failing to live in Canada for two out of five years

This is called the 730-day rule. You have to have been present in Canada for a minimum of 730 days, which can be established over any five-year period. That means that you can spend up to three years outside of Canada.

Be aware that Citizenship and Immigration Canada may ask you to prove that you will be able to meet your residency requirements if you left the country for an extended period of time.

Being convicted of a serious crime

Things become more difficult when it comes to the criminality requirement. The Harper government introduced the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act in 2013, which makes it a lot more difficult for permanent citizens who have criminality issues.

The new law blocks many permanent residents from accessing the Immigration Appeal Division if they have serious criminality.

Under the law, permanent residents are considered to have committed serious criminality if:

  • They are sentenced in Canada to prison for 6 months or more for a crime; or
  • Commit certain types of crimes abroad, no matter what sentence received.

If any of the above factors occur, permanent residents may be deported to their countries of origin without being able to appeal that decision, although an immigration lawyer should be immediately consulted in such cases because he or she may be able to mitigate the damage.

Read More:

Understand permanent resident status

Applying to the government of Canada for permanent residence Quebec