Residency Compliance Critical for Immigrants to Canada

Compliance requirements to residency obligations is a critical element in maintaining permanent resident status for immigrants to Canada who seek to re-enter the country. In each year in the period from 2010-2014, more than 1,400 Canadian permanent residents were issued removal orders due to failure to satisfy permanent resident obligations.

Permanent residents in Canada have the right to enter the country once officials establish permanent residency– regardless of the existence of any noncompliance. In cases of noncompliance, officials can issue a report. In cases where noncompliance is established, the report can then escalate to an eventual removal order.

Canadian officials follow rules around the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Immigrants who are found in breach of IRPA and who receive removal orders can appeal the decision to a tribunal. But the success rate of these appeals, according to a report, is less than 10 percent.

Under IRPA, Canadian permanent residents are required to accumulate 730 “residency days” in each five-year period. This means the easiest and most straightforward way to avoid noncompliance issues is by maintaining an ongoing physical presence in the country.

However, Canadian law does allow immigrants to maintain compliance while physically outside the country in certain cases. These exceptions include:

  • Immigrants who are outside Canada in order to accompany a spouse or common-law partner or a child who is a Canadian citizen
  • Immigrants who outside Canada due to their full-time employment by a Canadian business or in the public service of the country or one of its provinces
  • Immigrants who are accompanying a spouse, common-law partner or a child who has full-time employment in a Canadian business or is in the public service of the country or one of its provinces

Appealing a tribunal finding of noncompliance can be done based on legal errors as well as humanitarian or compassionate grounds like hardship due to family separation. However, these cases are seldom overturned.