July 12, 2022
Can I relocate to another province when immigrating to Canada?
As the second largest country in the world, there is no shortage of desirable locations to choose from in Canada. From quaint country towns to bustling urban metropolises, Canada is renowned for the diversity of its landscape as well as its people.
Depending on your lifestyle and the nature of your work, you may find yourself drawn to one particular location above all others. However, your immigration status and the pathway you took to get there may limit your ability to relocate within the country.
Here’s what you should know before starting the immigration process so you can maximize your mobility within Canada.
Can I change cities while applying for permanent residency in Canada?
If you’re already in Canada and in the process of applying for permanent residency (PR) it is highly suggested to remain in your city of destination while you wait for the results of your application. This applies mainly when using a Provincial Nominee Program for your immigration to Canada or any other province-specific pathway such as the Atlantic Province Program. It is also the case when residing in Quebec at the time you submit an application under the Federal skilled worker or skilled trade programs.
If your application is successful and you obtain permanent residency, you are subject to virtually the same rights as a Canadian citizen.
What this means is that, generally, obtaining permanent residence grants you the right to relocate within Canada and establish yourself and your family wherever you wish. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule, as we’ll examine below. It’s important to be aware of the way the laws apply to your specific situation.
Relocating within Canada after immigrating through a federal immigration program
If you’re applying for permanent residency in Canada through one of its federal immigration programs, in the Express Entry system, then a successful application grants you the same rights and freedoms as a Canadian citizen.
This includes Section 6 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which grants all Canadians the right to mobility, and more specifically the right to relocate within Canada at will and to earn a living in any province in Canada they so choose.
Relocating within Canada after immigrating through a Provincial Nominee Program
Your right to mobility may be limited if you immigrate to Canada through one of the country’s provincial nominee programs (PNP). Canada’s PNPs were designed to attract individuals with specific skills that correspond to the needs of a specific province.
Typically the province selects individuals based on their profiles and nominates them for permanent residency so these individual may settle down in their province. This is a two-step application process as it requires provincial nomination first and subsequent approval of the federal government in order for you to be granted permanent residency. However, with the nomination of a Canadian province, the likelihood that your application will be successful is increased.
If you receive permanent residency, it is under the premise that you are going to settle within the province that has nominated you and use your skills to contribute to their economy. Making the decision to relocate to another city could be perceived as a lack of intent to settle within that province, which could jeopardize the renewal of your permanent residence card or even your citizenship application if you are accused of misrepresentation.
Once you are granted PR, it is best to wait until you receive a job offer in another province before making a move. That way, any questioning of your intentions could be easily explained.
If you need to move sooner, it is in your best interest to communicate with the immigration authorities about your intentions. They can advise you about your options for relocating within Canada while protecting your immigration status.