People who give up residency status face no negative consequences

Jamaica To Canada

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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Dear Mr Brown:

I am a Jamaican citizen who used to live in Canada as a permanent resident when I was a child. I applied for a visa, and I received correspondence about giving up my permanent residence in order to finish processing my visa. I am not sure what to do at this point.

– JS

Dear JS:

I assume that your permanent residency status as a child was obtained as a dependent of your parent(s). Most likely, it was not even your choice to return to Jamaica. However, in order to maintain your permanent resident status, there is a residency requirement, i.e. to be a permanent resident, you should reside in Canada permanently. Of course, this does not mean that you cannot leave the country as the requirement has a very low bar in which most of a resident's time can be spent outside of Canada. Two years in a five-year period would have to be spent in Canada.

Renunciation of permanent resident status

The renunciation programme was introduced as a means for permanent residents who fail to meet the residency obligation, and have no desire to remain in Canada but still be able to visit without being barred from entry. This means that instead of being barred from entry with a removal order for failing to meet residency requirements, those who give up their status voluntarily face no negative consequences if they choose to re-apply for immigration to Canada in the future.

There are valid reasons for renouncing one's status, such as:

• The desire to obtain citizenship or permanent resident status in another country, which requires you to renounce permanent resident status in Canada.

• The failure to meet the residency requirement.

• The lack of desire to continue living in Canada permanently.

Visit Canada

Due to the fact that it appears you have not met the residency requirement, it would be prudent to formally renounce the status. Once the permanent resident status is renounced, i.e. the application is approved by an immigration officer with the corresponding end of the benefits of permanent residence — such as access to social and health services provided to permanent residents by the Government of Canada or your province or territory of residence. However, you would still be able to visit Canada, if you are granted a visitor's visa.

Please visit JAMAICA2CANADA.COM for additional information on Canadian Permanent Residence programmes, including Express Entry, the Study & Work programme, visas or appeals, etc.

– Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM—a Canadian immigration & education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to

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