Abolish PR Cards and Implement a Residency Obligation Amnesty

1st Feb 2016 Comments Off on Abolish PR Cards and Implement a Residency Obligation Amnesty

Permanent residents of Canada are currently required to possess a Permanent Resident Card, commonly referred to as a “PR Card,” in order to board commercial transport to Canada.  Processing times for new PR Cards currently exceed 100 days, and the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) Twitter account recently advised permanent residents seeking to renew their PR Cards to apply 9 months in advance of travel in order to avoid trip disruptions.  Permanent residents are often left stranded abroad, or find themselves stuck in Canada unable to travel internationally, for months. The situation is untenable, and it is time for the Government of Canada to eliminate PR Cards, let permanent residents travel to Canada using the new Electronic Travel Authorization system, and implement a “residency obligation amnesty” until the government develops a better system to track entries and exits to and from Canada.

This will focus on the impact of PR Card processing delays to those travelling by air to Canada, as this is where the issue is most pronounced.  However, it is important to note that the PR Card requirement applies to all commercial transport to Canada, including air, boat, rail, and bus.

The Residency Obligation

When someone immigrates to Canada they don’t automatically become a Canadian citizen.  Rather, they become a permanent resident. A permanent resident has the right to reside in any Canadian province, attend any educational institution, and work in any legal employment.   Permanent resident status can only be lost in prescribed circumstances, including when a permanent resident becomes a citizen, when the Government of Canada establishes that the permanent resident is inadmissible to Canada for having engaged in serious criminality or misrepresentation, and, most commonly, where it determines that the permanent resident has not complied with Canada’s permanent resident residency obligation.

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