Understanding how a Canadian temporary resident can maintain, lose, and restore their status
According to the 2021 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration, Canada was home to 256,740 study permit holders and 326,116 temporary work permit holders (under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP) in 2020. Individuals in these two groups make up part of the country’s population identified as temporary residents (TRs).
TRs make up a big part of Canada’s immigration picture because of how many foreign nationals seek entry to Canada annually.
Maintaining TR status in Canada
Having maintained status means that a foreign national who is waiting on their permit to be renewed can continue to operate in Canada under the conditions of their initial permit — ex. working for the same employer if under a work permit or studying at the same school if under a study permit — until a decision is made on their renewal application.
The key to maintaining TR status in Canada is the date and time of the submission for permit renewal. Using UTC (coordinated Universal Time) to make time equal for all applicants, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requires that all renewal applications be submitted before midnight UTC the day that an applicant’s initial permit expires to maintain TR status.
Different ways a TR in Canada can lose their temporary resident status
If an applicant does not properly work to maintain their TR status in Canada, they may lose it accordingly. There are three primary reasons that this can happen to someone who has come to Canada as a temporary resident to study, work or visit.
1. If their temporary residence period has concluded/their visa has expired
2. If it has been determined that they have not complied with any part of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
3. If their temporary resident permit is cancelled
What can someone do to restore their Canadian TR status after they’ve lost it?
In any circumstance where a foreign national loses Canadian TR status, there is a process to restore it.
At this time, an officer will examine the foreign national student, worker, or visitor to assess whether they “meet the initial requirements for their stay, [have complied] with [all] other conditions and are not the subject of a declaration made under subsection 22.1(1) [of IRPA]” and make a restoration decision accordingly. Temporary resident permit (TRP) holders who allow their status to expire cannot apply for status restoration and must instead apply for a new permit.
Note (1) for students with TR: temporary residents with a student permit will not have their TR status restored if they are
- not enrolled at a designated learning institution/do not remain there until they complete their studies
- not actively pursuing their course or program of study
Note (2): Regarding restoration of status, it is only possible for an applicant to receive restoration matching their TR designation prior to the loss of status. For example, if a student who lost their status wants to restore it, they can apply for status restoration as a TR with authorization to study in Canada, but they cannot attempt to have their TR status restored with work authorization.
Restoration of TR status: eligibility
Further to the above, to be eligible for TR status restoration, applicants must:
- Apply within 90 days of loss of status
- Remain in Canada until a decision is made
- Have not failed to comply with any condition imposed automatically by regulation [R183] or by an officer [R185], other than those stated below
- Continue to meet the requirements of a temporary resident and the requirements of the work or study permit, as applicable
- Have only lost their status only because they failed to comply with certain three specific conditions
The conditions encompassed in the final bullet point above include that the applicant was found to be:
- Remaining in Canada beyond the period authorized for their stay
- Engaging in work that falls outside the type of work, employer or location of work imposed by their initial TR application
- Engaging in studies that fall outside the type of studies/course, educational institution, times and periods of study, or location of studies imposed by their initial TR application
Restoration of TR status: fees
- Visitors: Standard $200 restoration fee only
- Students: Standard $200 restoration fee + $150 fee for study permit processing
- Workers: Standard $200 restoration fee + $155 fee for work permit processing
Note: The Canadian government’s coding handbook clarifies certain circumstances where fee exemptions may apply.
Getting help with maintaining, preventing loss of, or restoring TR status in Canada
It can be hard for Canadian temporary residents to ensure they avoid situations where they may lose their TR status. However, retaining an immigration lawyer can make things a lot easier. Immigration law professionals can:
- Help prepare an application
- Ensure applicants avoid mistakes
- Respond on an applicant’s behalf to the Canadian government
- Use their expertise to avoid unnecessary delays throughout the different application steps and application processing
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