What Rights Does a Permanent Resident Enjoy in Canada?
A Canadian Permanent Resident is an individual who was awarded Permanent Residency Status after immigrating. PR Status does not automatically make someone a Canadian citizen, and those immigrants are still citizens of other countries. Individuals who are in Canada on a temporary basis (like foreign students or foreign workers) are not considered Permanent Residents.
As a Permanent Resident, individuals have certain rights:
- they are entitled to most of social benefits that Canadians receive
- they have health care coverage through the public health system
- they can live, work or study wherever they desire across Canada
- they can apply for Canadian Citizenship, based on the regulations
- they are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- they must abide by all of the federal, provincial and municipal laws
Permanent Residents are allowed to reside outside Canada, but must reside in Canada at least 2 years during a 5-year period. For those who decide to reside outside Canada for a longer period of time, Permanent Residency Status may be lost. This may not happen automatically, but when individuals do not meet residency requirements, returning to Canada can be problematic.
Refugees are eligible for Permanent Resident Status through government-sponsored programs or by being privately sponsored through a specific refugee program. A claimant does not become a Permanent Resident automatically – it’s necessary for the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) to approve the claim, after which the claimant can receive Permanent Resident Status.
Once an immigrant has become a Permanent Resident of Canada, that person must present their documentation whenever travelling to and from Canada. In addition, the PR Card must always be kept valid and current. However, if the PR Card expires, this does not mean that the permanent residency is lost. For those striving for Canadian Citizenship, documentation should be current.
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