Permanent residence in Canada is a status of a person who is not a Canadian citizen, but who has been granted permission to live, work, study, do business in Canada without any time limit on their stay.
To become a permanent resident, a foreign national must make an application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada. A permanent resident must live in Canada for two years out of every five, or risk losing that status.
Benefits of having a permanent residence.
A Permanent Resident holds many of the same rights and responsibilities as a Canadian citizen, among others the right to live, study and work, to have the provincial medical insurance (subject to the restrictions of regulated professions), including for the federal or provincial government, anywhere in Canada. In addition, they may be allowed to join Canada’s armed forces if the national interest would not be prejudiced.
Permanent residents may obtain social benefits, employment insurance and Canada Pension Plan payments, Child Benefits and may avail themselves of the rights, freedoms and protections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, other than those only granted to Canadian citizens.
Permanent residents may apply for Canadian citizenship after four years in Canada; however, this is not mandatory
The main differences from citizenship are that permanent residents cannot:
vote in elections in Canada;
run for elected office;
hold Canadian passports;
hold some jobs that need a high-level security clearance;
In January 2015, the Government of Canada opened a new program to apply for the Permanent Residence named “Express Entry”. It replaced the existing model for almost all Economic immigrants (whereby applicants were granted residency on a ‘first come, first served’ basis) and gave priority to those most likely to succeed economically in Canada. It achieves this by assigning weight to factors such as age, education, work experience, and skills. Some provincial nominees, Quebec applicants and all non-economic immigrants still apply using a paper-based system. There are around 60 different kinds of immigration programs which lead to the Permanent Residence.