Growing number of migrants renouncing Canadian immigrant status

March 7, 2017

By Vancouver Sun |

Thousands of permanent residents are renouncing their opportunity to immigrate to Canada — for reasons ranging from a dislike of the cold to a desire to avoid Canadian taxes.

More than 21,000 people with permanent resident cards who had the opportunity to become Canadian citizens have turned their back on the quest in the past two years. The highest number of “renunciations” are from citizens of China, India and South Korea.

People who renounce their permanent resident status no longer have to prove they’re spending significant time in Canada when they cross the borders or fly into an airport, say immigration lawyers in Vancouver.

Nor do Canadian immigration process dropouts have to give up the passport of their homelands, where many continue to work or run businesses. And they are not expected to declare their foreign assets to Canada Revenue Agency.

“Renunciations are growing in number and will likely remain high,” says an internal report from Canada’s immigration office in Shanghai, China, the largest source country for immigrants to B.C.

“Many people are renouncing five years after landing (in Canada), rather than renewing their permanent cards, as they are working in China and do not meet residency requirements,” says the internal report, published in the Vancouver newsletter Lexbase.

“Their children often remain in Canada to complete school and to begin their careers.”

According to three Vancouver immigration lawyers, many people who renounce their permanent resident cards continue to return to gateway cities such as Vancouver and Toronto to visit their families as temporary visitors, especially on the increasingly popular 10-year visas.

“They were getting picked off at Vancouver airport for failure to meet residency requirements. This way they can avoid that problem and still come here,” said B.C. immigration lawyer Sam Hyman, noting the strong majority of migrants to Metro Vancouver are from Asia.

People with permanent resident status in Canada are required to spend two years out of every five in the country.

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