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Can I reapply? Unable to move to Canada after 3 years of PR

My husband and I applied for PR via Express Entry in 2017 and have been permanent residents since early 2018. For personal reasons, we haven’t been able to move to Canada yet.

Considering we’ll hit the 3 year mark in early 2021 (after which we will neither qualify for citizenship, nor be able to extend our PR), what are my options?

  1. Can I reapply again for Express Entry in 2023 once my current PR expires?
  2. Should I let Express Entry folks know that I’m unable to move? Should I consider surrendering my existing PR since I’ll not be able to meet the terms?

Looking for inputs. Thanks in advance!

Background: My husband and I are both in early 30s and work in tech. I understand age will be a factor for reapplication but we should be able to boost our score in other aspects (job offer from a Canadian employer, provincial nomination, etc.).

When is your PR card expiring? Can one of you move and the other person follow?

PR is set to expire early 2021. One person moving is unfortunately not an option.

One thing to note regarding job offer from Canadian employer is that in order to get points for express entry you need LMIA, and many employers are not willing to do that.

You can re-apply as many times as you want but note that chances of getting PR diminish (significantly) as age increases beyond 36 years+.

To apply for new PR you can’t already be PRs. PR doesn’t get canceled automatically after the 3 year mark; you either have to apply to renounce it, or your PR status can get reviewed if you, say, apply for a new PR card, or try to enter Canada, and IRCC/CBSA realizes you haven’t fulfilled your RO. Once you give up the PR, and if next express entry doesn’t go well, you’re stuck.

Regarding job offer from Canadian employer: getting a job offer can be easy or tough depending on your field (and whether you have US/EU experience vs other experience). In tech it shouldn’t be an issue, but note that due to pandemic, things might have slowed down. If you want a job offer from Canada and come before early 2021, now is the time to start that.

It’s your decision in the end, but you’ve gotta weigh the pros and cons of coming to Canada vs not, extrapolate it to the future, and then make a decision about current PR.

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It sounds like you had first applied for Canadian PR as a backup option and it looks like you don’t need to fall back on that option just yet. As @avj has explained in his answer, you don’t automatically lose your permanent residence and unless you choose to renounce it or for a immigration judge to revoke it, you will continue to be Canadian PRs. In a hypothetical scenario, you could go back after 10 years with just your COPR and at the border you will be asked if you wish to renounce your PR as you didn’t meet the residency requirements, should you refuse you will still be admitted and will need to appear before an immigration judge, where you will get an opportunity to explain if there were any special circumstances due to which you couldn’t meet the residence requirement. That said if you don’t have any mitigating circumstances, a voluntary renunciation is probably the best thing to do.

It’s your personal choice, wether to renounce your PR or not, but this is not a decision to be made lightly. Over the last few years express entry scores have been on the rise, these days without a PNP or the extra points that a Canadian job offer you need high points in education and almost perfect IELTS scores to get an invite.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong in having decided that Canada isn’t the right fit for you right now or in general. The one thing that I’d recommend that you look at strongly is what plans you have for the future in say 10 or 15 years time, if the USA or any other country that you are in is the best place to achieve those goals, then I strongly recommend that you commit your future there. It’s rather pointless to have one foot in America and hope to have one foot in Canada or another country.

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You’re right about this - “It sounds like you had first applied for Canadian PR as a backup option and it looks like you don’t need to fall back on that option just yet”, which is why I have been considering a voluntary renunciation.

Thanks for your insights, especially regarding higher score requirement for express entries in future and what plans I might have in US in 10-15 years time. I’ll think about this.

If I am able to move in Q3/Q4 next year, do you know what the consequences might be? At that point, my PR would be valid for ~1.5 years, so I can neither extend my PR nor apply for my citizenship.

There aren’t any negative consequences, as far as I know. You don’t need to extend your PR, you will continue to be a Permanent Resident. You will not be able to renew your PR card till you meet the residence requirements. You’re not rendered ineligible when it comes to apply for citizenship, it’s just that you need to wait till you’ve established the residence requirement.

Residence requirements look at a rolling time window, so lets say that you move in Q3 next year and you’re let in without issue. Then come 1.5 years down the line, your PR card will expire but not your PR. None of your benefits or work authorization expire. So in a further 6 months time, you are able to apply to renew your PR card as you have now met the residence requirement which is that you need to be physically present for at-least 2 years in the last 5 years. And a year subsequent from that, you can apply for citizenship.

Though I must note that come Q3, at the point of entry you may be quizzed and if the border officials aren’t convinced of your intention to stay as a permanent resident, they may open up formal proceedings where you will then need to go before an immigration judge. (I’m no expert in these matters but if your term of permanent residence is valid and you are able to establish that you’ve become a legitimate resident, then the judge would most likely look favorably on your situation. Don’t take my words at face value, talk to a real immigration attorney about this; not an immigration agency but a real lawyer)

So if your question boils down to what is the optimal time to renounce Permanent Residency, then I think the answer should be as late as possible. There are no points for renouncing it early, nor is there any penalty for renouncing it late.

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This is very helpful. I thought I might not have legal status to stay in the country after my PR expires. Are you absolutely sure that staying beyond in this case is not illegal?

Noted regarding border officials and immigration judge. Thank you!

@igloooo this official link has information related to your concerns. There is a section called “losing your permanent resident status”

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/new-immigrants/pr-card/understand-pr-status.html

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Are you absolutely sure that staying beyond in this case is not illegal?

I am absolutely sure of absolutely nothing :smile:
I’m a random person on the internet sharing their interpretation and understanding of the rules. You mustn’t trust me or anyone else for that matter and should either investigate further yourself or talk to a professional to confirm.

That said, see @am1’s comment and the official documentation, I think confirms my interpretation.

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Wow! I was always under the assumption that if you don’t satisfy 730 days/5Years (Residency Obligation, “RO”), you would lose your status and would have to leave. I went through the link posted here as well as a bunch of other related content online and it appears you’re right! You don’t lose your status even if your Card expires. You just most likely won’t be able to renew it until you’ve satisfied your RO. This is a very important thing I’ve learned today. Thank you very much and thanks to the OP as well.

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Yes, this is very insightful. Thanks @am1 and @panditji - appreciate your inputs.

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