What does Canadian permanent resident status confer?
Pursuant to the provisions of Canada's constitutional laws, the holder of a Canadian permanent resident visa and his/her accompanying dependants are permitted to permanently reside in Canada and earn a livelihood in any one of the ten provinces or three territories within Canada. In addition, individuals with Canadian permanent residence may attend primary and secondary education institutions in the various provincially administered public school systems, tuition exempt. Permanent residents also qualify for provincially administered universal health care coverage.
How long does it take to obtain a permanent resident visa?
Depending upon the time of year, the immigration office in question and other factors, the processing time for an application for permanent residence filed under the economic class can vary from between 6 months and 40 months. This is the time generally needed to demonstrate compliance under one of the applicable categories; a clean bill of health for the applicant and accompanying dependants; sufficient assets to successfully establish the family in Canada; and a confirmation of no criminal inadmissibility’s for the applicant and the overage accompanying dependants. (The immigration offices in New Delhi, Islamabad, Singapore and Beijing currently attract the most applications and therefore have the longest processing times).
Who is included in the application for permanent residence?
The application for permanent residence generally includes the applicant, spouse or common-law partner or conjugal partner 16 years of age or older and any unmarried children under the age of 22 years. Children over the age of 22 may in prescribed circumstances, be included as accompanying family members.
What supporting documents must I submit?
Supporting documentation generally encompasses evidence of employment, education, assets, civil status, and an absence of criminal convictions. Each visa office has its own specific requirements for supporting documentation. It is advisable to seek expert guidance or get instructions from the particular visa office, which will process your application.
Am I required to have a certain amount of assets?
Skilled Worker applicants will generally be required to prove that they have settlement funds sufficient for themselves and any accompanying dependents. They are expected to be able to support the landed family (the principal applicant and all accompanying dependents) until employment is obtained.
Will my application benefit if I have a close relative in Canada?
Skilled Worker applicants will be awarded bonus points if the close relative is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and over the age of 19 years. The applicant is then referred to as an "assisted relative". To qualify as a close relative, the Canadian citizen or permanent resident must be the applicant's uncle, aunt, brother, sister, parent, nephew or niece.
Is work experience a requirement?
Work experience is a critical requirement for a Skilled Worker immigrant. Applicants must be able to demonstrate at least one year's work experience in an occupation appearing on the General Occupations List. Applicants with arranged employment in Canada are exempt from the work experience requirement.
Must the experience have been accumulated on a full-time basis? Must it have been accumulated continuously?
Part-time work experience is acceptable. It is assessed in proportion to a standard full-time working week. For example, a two-year part-time position requiring approximately 20 hours of work each week, will be counted as one year of full-time experience. Non-consecutive work experience in positions involving the same duties may also be counted, if the total work experience meets the minimum experience requirements.
Is credit given for full-time work experience gained during post-secondary studies?
Yes, as long as the experience gained at that time is consistent with the definition of an occupation appearing on the General Occupations List, it can be counted in the assessment of work experience.
Must I have a Canadian offer of employment to qualify as a Skilled Worker?
You are not required to obtain an offer of an employment to qualify as a Skilled Worker.
Can I apply if I do not yet have the required minimum work experience?
Applicants without one year of work experience in an "open" occupation (6 months for applicants destined to Quebec or Manitoba) are required to demonstrate arranged employment.
What are the applicable processing fees to process an application for permanent residence?
Applications for permanent residence must include the appropriate non-refundable processing fees for applicants and their accompanying dependants. For applicants applying under the skilled worker program the application fee is currently set at $550 CAD for each applicant as well as each family member of the principle applicant who is 22 years of age or older. A fee of $150 shall apply to each family member under the age of 22 years. As well, a Right Of Permanent Residence Fee of $975 CAD is levied, prior to visa issuance, for each person who is at least 22 years of age applying for permanent residence.
Processing fees must be filed with the application. Right Of Permanent Residence fees are submitted upon request by the visa office, prior to visa issuance. Applicants are encouraged to verify with local missions for applicable immigration office specific payment procedures.
What about the interview process?
Generally, an interview would be conducted to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the documentation submitted; to clarify issues relating to the applicant’s background; to confirm an applicant possesses the necessary means to settle in Canada; to verify the absence of security inadmissibility’s; to ensure the applicant is intending to enter the Canadian labor market; to verify whether there are sufficient grounds to exercise positive discretion; etc. The interview cannot be conducted to verify an applicant’s language abilities.
Applicants are advised to bring to the interview, all original documentation supporting the application; certificates of non-criminal conviction; evidence of settlement funds.
What about interview waivers?
Certain cases may substantiate the waiving of a selection interview. This is a highly discretionary aspect of the Regulations and is largely a function of the immigration office in question, the habitual residence of the applicant and the documentation in support of the applicant’s qualifications.
Must an individual reside in Canada in order to maintain permanent resident status?
Current legislation provides that permanent resident status is maintained if a person is physically resident in Canada for at least 730 days (2 years) within each period of 5 years, or if other circumstances are met.
If not physically present in Canada, permanent resident status can be maintained while abroad where the Canadian resident is abroad with a Canadian citizen spouse or parent; with a Canadian employer, or with a Canadian permanent resident who works for a Canadian employer.
It is sufficient for a permanent resident to demonstrate at examination, if they have been a permanent resident for less than five years, that they can potentially meet the 730-day residency obligation in respect of the five-year period immediately after their arrival in Canada. An officer is not permitted to exclude the possibility that an applicant who has resided abroad for three years, may still be able to comply with the residency obligation during the remaining two years of the five-year period.
Can foreign nationals who have applied for Canadian permanent residence under the skilled worker class obtain a temporary non-immigrant (visitor's) visa to Canada?
Traditionally, visa officers have viewed concurrent applications for permanent residence and temporary entry as being incompatible with each other.
Current law attempts to clarify the issue and provides that immigration officer’s must assess the present intention of the applicant when a person applies to visit Canada and verify the question of whether the applicant has the ability and the intention to enter Canada for a temporary purpose and thereafter leave Canada at the expiry of the visitor status, regardless if the long-term goal is to secure permanent residence in Canada. Visitor’s (work, study or visit) with pending immigrant applications may be subject to the issue of Dual Intent if they cannot demonstrate that they will leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for their stay.
Under current immigration policy, applicants are encouraged to become familiar with Canada's landscape, which will augment the applicant's likelihood of successfully integrating into Canadian society. Applicants are discouraged however from "waiting" inside Canada during the permanent residence application process. Applicants who wish to procure temporary entry into Canada and who have a pending application for permanent residence will be required to demonstrate sufficient ties to their current country of residence prior to the issuing of a temporary visitor's visa by the Canadian visa office.
Can foreign nationals who have applied for Canadian permanent residence under the Skilled Worker Class concurrently apply for a temporary non-immigrant work permit?
The issues raised above should be reiterated here as well. In addition, applicants who wish to procure a temporary work permit must generally initiate the process with the assistance of the prospective employer who must file an application with the Canada Employment authorities inside Canada. It is only after the employment authorities have confirmed that the hiring in question will have a neutral affect on the local labor market that the application would be approved and forwarded to the appropriate visa office outside Canada for immigration assessment and processing. This is known as "employment validation". As the average processing time for permanent residence applications currently exceeds 12 months at most immigration offices, it may be advantageous in many cases, for the applicant to apply for a temporary work permit either prior to or during the processing of an application for permanent residence.
What are the general tax implications of acquiring Canadian permanent residence?
The Canadian Government imposes income tax on the basis of residency rather than citizenship. It is therefore possible to become a Canadian citizen and a non-resident for tax purposes. After becoming a permanent resident and prior to attaining citizenship, an individual would be required to pay Canadian taxes on worldwide income. However, the tax legislation allows for newly arriving permanent residents to establish an offshore trust into which may flow all of the non-Canadian sourced income, except employment income. The trust avails for a maximum period of five years and it is therefore possible to become a Canadian citizen and a non-resident within the life span of the trust.
What if a prospective applicant is destined to a Province that administers a provincial nominee immigration program?
A number of provinces have concluded agreements with the Canadian government under the Provincial Nominee program, which provide for very limited selection of foreign nationals destined to one of those provinces.
Owing to the high volume of applications that are currently awaiting processing with the various provincial authorities, applicants are strongly encouraged to secure approved job offers, regardless of the point total received following a self-assessment, in order to increase their chances for approval under a provincial nominee program.