Securing your Canadian Permanent Resident (PR) status is an achievement and takes time, commitment, and financial resources. However, many Canadian immigration applicants spend much time learning how to get it and do not consider one crucial point: the mobility rights of Permanent Residents. Can I move to another Canadian province? Where am I allowed to settle in Canada?
When you receive your Permanent Resident (PR) through one of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), moving out of the province that nominated you is a little tricky.
Indeed, you sign a letter indicating your intention to settle in the province during your application for a provincial nomination. In some cases, like in New Foundland and Labrador, you even sign a commitment to reside in the province.
One of the significant reasons provinces grant a PR is for you to stay in the province and contribute to its economic development. However, it sometimes happens that a province withdraws its provincial nomination before the permanent residence status is granted. For example, this will happen if someone lives in a province, applies and receives a provincial nomination, and then moves out to another province before PR status is granted.
This article will enlighten you about your mobility rights and obligations in Canada as a new Permanent Resident. These will depend on how you obtain your PR status, either with a provincial nomination (PNP) or through Express Entry.
What is Canada’s PNP?
PNP is an acronym that stands for Provincial Nominee Programs. The Canadian provincial nominee programs (PNPs) are government-instituted immigration pathways through Canada; they offer a pathway to Canadian permanent residence for individuals interested in immigrating to a specific Canadian province or territory.
Each Canadian province and territory operates its PNP, designed to meet its specific economic and demographic needs. Therefore, their eligibility requirements and application process are quite different and unique.
How Many Provinces Are There In Canada?
The country of Canada has ten provinces and three territories. These Provinces and territories also referred to as subdivisions, are very different in their constitution of land and water area.
In addition, the territory of Nunavut is the largest subdivision by land area. The largest subdivision by water area is the province of Quebec. Also, the province of Prince Edward Island is a minor subdivision of both land and water.
Canada is the second-largest country in the world; it has the fourth-largest dry land area and the largest freshwater area. Below is a list of all the provinces and territories of Canada. Click on the province of interest to take you to the official government of Canada immigration site, where you can learn more about the province of interest and their nominee program.
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
As an Immigrant, how do I move from One Province to Another?
Suppose you have been nominated for a PNP as an immigrant in Canada’s provinces or territories. In that case, however, if you wish to move or relocate to another province, there are three scenarios and three consequences too. These are; the Before, During, and After scenarios.
So to come to Canada, you could secure a Provincial Nomination (PN) from one of the provinces or territories. Still, that province or territory is not where you might want to settle in Canada for whatever reasons. So the question is, “can you change your province as soon as you enter Canada? The answer is “NO” for the following reasons:
As soon as you arrive at the Canada Port of Entry (PoE), you must show your Provincial Nomination to the border officer. They will access the border if you meet the eligibility and requirements for the province which nominated you to come to Canada. For example, suppose the reasons you are supplying are insufficient to determine your intentions of residing in that province, or they sense you might have other reasons to relocate to another province. You might be denied entrance and your Provincial Nomination revoked in that case.
This means you cannot immediately change your province of residence as soon as you enter Canada. As a new immigrant through the province, you are bound by the federal laws and regulations of the Provincial Nominee Program of the province which nominated you. One such rule is that you must reside and remain in that province for a certain period.
If you have gained entry into Canada through the PNP but still feel like you have to move to another province during the duration of your PNP nomination, this also might not be possible. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom Laws gives every Canadian citizen and permanent resident the freedom to move and reside in any part of Canada without any restrictions whatsoever.
However, your movement as an immigrant under the Provincial Nominee Program is restricted to the regulations of your nomination. Therefore, this freedom of rights charter is subject to the laws of the provinces and territories, especially as it relates to the provincial nominee program.
Moving out of the province that nominated you into Canada will breach the PNP guidelines and rules. This can have severe consequences for losing your nominee status or deportation. In addition, you cannot decide to leave a province after being nominated by that province to move to another one while you are yet to fulfill all of the requirements for which your first province nominated you.
You can only move to another province after your confirmation of permanent residence (COPR)
- Moving to a new province or territory depends on several factors, and if you already can meet specific requirements, these will include:
- The provinces rules and regulation as it relates to immigration and the provincial nominee program
- When and if you already have your permanent residence in Canada.
- If you have your PR card
- When you become a Canadian citizen
Once you get your permanent residence, you are protected and covered by the Federal charter of rights and freedom and Article 6 (Rights of Mobility). These rights, nevertheless, do not indicate free movement between provinces. This has some drawbacks, especially concerning the Provincial Nominee Program. The law, however, does not indicate any minimum stay period for residents in the nominating province. It implies that you must be diligent in seeking advice before deciding to move out of a province that nominated you.
More often than not, some provinces have been seen to go after immigrants who embark on such ventures on the grounds of misrepresentation, asking the IRCC to revoke the PR status of such individuals. The reason is that it felt you misrepresented their intent to stay in the province and that you lied about your interest to reside and live in the province.
Should this request be investigated and you have given false information about your interest in residing in the province, your PR status will be revoked, and you may face possible deportation. In addition, you will become inadmissible to Canada for five years.
Possible Reasons for Which Movement from One Province to Another May be Granted
Some reasons can seem somewhat reasonable and acceptable to require a movement from one province to another. These will be categorized into two types of scenarios:
- One where the immigrant does not find a job, and
- One where they do.
Suppose finding a good job or any job for that matter, especially that which pertains to your skill or primary training, proves problematic as a newly established provincial nominee. In that case, you have a compelling and valid reason to look to other provinces or territories that might meet your needs.
It is, nevertheless, essential to put in some real effort to secure the desired job in your province of nomination. This will require you at least to give 3 to 6 months of active search with documented evidence before moving to another province. All your job hunting activities will need to be documented during this period. These documents will include the following:
- Proof of your job hunting and your rejection letters,
- Evidence that you have exhausted all employment resources offered by the province,
- Proof of residence in the province (lease, rent, etc.) as well as your electricity and gas bills,
- Evidence that you have or have requested the Provincial Healthcare Card and
- Any other document proving your initial intention to stay in the province is valid and not a ruse.
Suppose you found a job, have been working for some time in the province, and want to move to another province. However, it would be best to have a good reason to. A good reason will be that you found a better job with better pay in another province or territory or you got married, and you have to join your partner in another province would also be a valid reason and ground to relocate.
Nevertheless, you must contact your province’s immigration authorities, informing them about your intentions to move and why. It is necessary to take this step as the provinces keep track of their provincial nominees. Therefore, your unavailability will come to their notice sooner or later.
If all options have been satisfied and the province cannot offer you the services to help you stay, you will be deemed eligible to move. The essence is that, at the very least, you have given proof beyond doubt that you tried your best to stay, that your intention of staying in the province was genuine, and that you gave ample warning concerning your need to move.
Note: The intention of every province through the Provincial Nominee Program is to bring in skilled and able individuals who can contribute to the province’s economic development. So it’s often a big deal for any Provincial Nominee (PN) to leave their nominating province for another. It certainly must be of a valid reason.