Understanding Dual Intent

Meurrens LawTemporary Resident Visas

It is not uncommon for people who are applying for temporary residency are scared to admit anything that could convey a future desire to immigrate to Canada.  However, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC“) recognizes that having two intents (one temporary and one permanent) is legitimate.  Its policy on this is commonly known as “dual intent.”

Section 22(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the “IRPA“) states that:

An intention by a foreign national to become a permanent resident does not preclude them from becoming a temporary resident if the officer is satisfied that they will leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for their stay.

Because of IRPA s. 22, IRCC will only refuse a temporary residence application if it determines that the applicant is unlikely to leave Canada by the end of their authorized stay and comply with the requirements of temporary entry.

Because an intention by a prospective temporary resident to also apply for permanent residency cannot prima facie be grounds for refusals, IRCC instead assesses numerous factors, including:

  • the length of time that the applicant will be spending in Canada;
  • the applicant’s means of support;
  • the applicant’s obligations and ties in the home country;
  • the purpose and context of the stay;
  • the credibility of the documents submitted;
  • past compliance with requirements of the IRPA and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) that are applicable to temporary residents (visitors, students and workers), as well as information available in biographic and biometric information sharing.

As the IRCC Temporary Resident Guidelines state:

The existence of 2 different intents is not, in itself, reason to refuse a temporary residence application. If the officer is satisfied that the applicant would leave Canada after their authorized stay, regardless of the outcome of any future potential permanent residence application, the temporary residence application may be approved.

The possibility that an applicant for temporary residence may, at some point in the future, be approved for permanent residence does not absolve the individual from meeting the requirements of a temporary resident, specifically, to leave Canada at the end of the period authorized for their stay.

IRPA s. 22 also applies to Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA“) decisions at the port of entry.  On September 3, 2015, our firm won a judicial review of a CBSA officer’s decision to issue an Exclusion Order.  In Jewell v. Canada, Justice O’Reilly noted that the CBSA officer failed to determine whether the foreign national had a legitimate dual intent purpose in entering Canada, and quashed the removal order.

In Williams v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 8, Justice Norris stated:

Obviously, the applicant made no secret of his desire to stay in Canada permanently or the reasons why.  But simply having a desire to stay in Canada permanently and having stronger ties to Canada than to one’s country of citizenship does not entail that one would not leave Canada if and when required to do so.  Whether a given individual would leave Canada if and when required to do so is a question of fact.  Depending on the circumstances, a negative answer may require a fine-grained analysis of the evidence (notwithstanding that the burden rests on the applicant to establish this precondition to being given a TRP).  That this is a separate and distinct question is reflected in section 22(2) of the IRPA, which specifically contemplates granting a foreign national temporary resident status even if the foreign national has an intention to become a permanent resident, as long as the officer is satisfied that the person will leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for their stay.