Around 1,400 Canadian permanent residents per year are issued a removal order for failing to satisfy their obligations as permanent residents. Moreover, the success rate of appeals made to a tribunal is less than 10 percent. A removal order may be issued when it is established that someone is in breach of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) in Canada.
The statistics, which were obtained by access to information request, highlight the importance for immigrants to Canada to be aware of their obligations and to remain in compliance.
At a Port of Entry, a border officer may become aware of evidence of inadmissibility, such as non-compliance with residency obligations. In such cases, the border officer may refer the individual to an immigration officer to ask additional questions to determine if the permanent resident is in compliance.
Canada’s immigration laws give permanent residents the right to enter Canada once it is established that a person is a permanent resident, regardless of non-compliance with the residency obligation. However, the permanent resident in question may be issued a report, which can lead to a removal order. Permanent residents who are under enforcement proceedings (such as a removal order) keep their permanent resident status and retain the right to enter Canada until a final determination of their loss of status has been made.
The latest data reveals the extent of residency noncompliance among immigrants attempting to re-enter Canada, particularly in cases where they have spent long periods outside the country. The figures do not include immigrants who had their permanent resident status revoked due to criminality or misrepresentation, or those who were refused travel documents to travel to Canada, or those who applied to renounce their status voluntarily.
1,423: Average number of permanent residents per year (from 2010 to 2014) who were stopped at the border for failing the requirement.
605: Number of removal orders issued for residency non-compliance in 2008.
1,413: Number of removal orders issued for residency non-compliance in 2014.
3,575: Removal orders issued for residency non-compliance at Pierre Elliot Trudeau airport in Montreal between 2008 and 2014.
972: Removal orders issued for residency non-compliance at Vancouver international airport between 2008 and 2014.
439: Removal orders issued for residency non-compliance at Pearson airport in Toronto between 2008 and 2014.
17%: Rate of success among individuals who applied to restore their permanent resident status in 2008.
7.7%: Rate of success among individuals who applied to restore their permanent resident status in 2014.
It is unclear from the data how many of those issued a removal order were merely unaware of their obligations, and how many may have been aware but attempted to re-enter Canada and retain their status anyway.
Over recent years, the government of Canada has cracked down on cases of immigration fraud. For example, in January, 2016, a man in Halifax, Nova Scotia was found to have created bogus residency packages that made it appear that certain individuals were physically present in Canada. This included a phone number, an address in Canada, tax returns and employment records for jobs never held, payment of utility bills never used, and, in some cases, letters from local religious organizations attesting to the person’s involvement at a local level.
Canada’s immigration laws require permanent residents to accumulate 730 “residency days” in every five-year period in order for the individual to remain in compliance with his or her obligations as a permanent resident of Canada.
The simplest and most common way for immigrants to remain in compliance with these laws is by physical presence in Canada. However, given Canada’s international economic and social outlook, the government provides other means for immigrants to be physically outside Canada, but at the same time accumulating residency days.
If an immigrant:
he or she may continue to accumulate residency days.
Immigrants who lose their status can appeal to the immigration appeal division based on errors in law, or humanitarian and compassionate grounds such as hardship from family separation. However, this last resort has a low success rate.
“Once an individual is issued a removal order, it is difficult for that decision to be overturned. The low success rate of appeals bears this out,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“Canada, with good reason, wishes its immigrants to retain ties to the country, particularly if they aspire to become citizens eventually. As such, it is crucial for newcomers, as well as those who obtained permanent resident status a few years ago or more, to be aware of their obligations and fulfil them if they truly wish to build their lives in Canada. A removal order is serious business, and carries with it consequences not only for the affected individual, but also for his or her family and career.”
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