January 20, 2017 – Canada Border Services Agency data obtained by the Toronto Star shows an average of 1,400 immigrants a year have their permanent residency status revoked at the border for not complying with physical presence requirements.
To maintain permanent residency, immigrants must be in Canada for 730 days in every five-year period. If they are not, it is revoked.
The decision can be challenged on humanitarian grounds at a tribunal, but only 10 per cent of the hearings are successful.
CBSA figures showed an average 1,423 residents had their status revoked between 2010 and 2014 – the most recent data available.
The number rose to 1,413 in 2014 from 605 in 2008, when the previous Conservative government launched a crackdown on abuse of permanent residency.
More than a third of the cases occurred in Quebec. Some 3,575 immigrants in total were caught at Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport between 2008 and 2014, compared with 439 at Pearson in Toronto and 972 at Vancouver International.
Maintaining permanent residence status represents a challenge for many even for those who easily meet the requirements. A permanent residence card, valid for 5-years, requires that applicants carefully document their absences from Canada when renewing their card. Becoming a Canadian citizen, will remove this ongoing burden. However, the requirements to become a Canadian citizen are more difficult than maintaining Canadian permanent residence. The federal government is currently in the process of trying to repeal changes made to Canadian citizenship laws by the previous Conservative government.
Justin Trudeau’s Liberals had targeted Canada Day (July 1, 2016) to push through Bill C-6, aimed at repealing many of the controversial changes.
After passing through Canada’s House of Commons, where the Liberals have a majority, the bill is currently on its way through the Senate, where the Conservatives have more representatives, although not a majority. It is therefore still not law.
Bill C-6 will repeal certain controversial citizenship-stripping powers introduced by Harper’s Conservatives, as well as reducing the amount of time a permanent resident must reside in Canada before applying for citizenship.
Summary of proposed changes under Bill C-6:
- Applicants must be permanent residents of and physically reside in Canada for at least 1,095 days (three years) during the five years before the date of their application, and repeals requirement that applicants must be physically present in Canada for at least 183 days in each of the qualifying years.
- Applicants between the ages of 18 and 54 must meet basic knowledge and language requirements. Applicable criteria will be defined under future regulations.
- Repeals a requirement that adult applicants must declare their intent to reside in Canada once they become citizens.
- Restores consideration of time spent in Canada as a non-permanent resident (non-PR) for most applicants to a maximum of one year of credited time.
- Reduces the period to three years for adult applicants to file Canadian income taxes, if required under the Income Tax Act, to be eligible for citizenship.
- Repeals authority to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens who served as members of an armed force of a country or an organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada.
- Repeals authority to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens who are convicted of terrorism, high treason, treason, or spying offences, depending on the sentence received.
- Authorizes Minister to seize documents used in fraudulent citizenship applications.
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