Can you have your cake and eat it too?

Posted by Sarah Adler|Canada Immigration, Permanent residence
May 16

I just received an interesting call from one of my colleagues regarding the intersection of Immigration and Tax matters in Canada.  The question posed was if you don’t file an income tax return in Canada based on the fact that you were a non-resident , can you still renew your permanent residence status as you have officially stated to the government that that you are not a resident of Canada.  The definition of resident for immigration purposes and tax purposes are different and one is not necessarily exclusive of the other.

On its website, the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) states that residency status for tax purposes is based on facts and circumstances and that the individual’s whole situation, including residential ties, purpose and permanence of travel in and out of Canada, and ties abroad must all be considered.   Particularly if you have been physically present in Canada for 183 days or more in the tax year with no other significant ties to Canada you may be deemed a Canadian resident for tax purposes.

For the purpose of maintaining your Canadian permanent residence (PR) card an individual is required to remain in Canada for a full two years, or 730 days, in the five year period preceding the application. Although one of the documentary requirements for renewing your PR card is your Notice of Assessment (NOA) from CRA during the relevant period, this does not preclude individuals not having filed income taxes from making a successful PR card renewal application.

If you do the math, you can see that it is possible to meet the 730 day residency requirement for a PR card renewal without triggering tax residency based on physical presence in Canada of 183 days or more in the tax year. Should an applicant be asked to complete a Residency Questionnaire during a PR card renewal application an applicant’s ties to Canada will then be under consideration and the immigration and tax policies then begin to converge.  It is important to note that the issuance of follow up Residency Questionnaire on PR card renewal application is common for all but the most straightforward of cases.

In order to qualify for Canadian citizenship, an individual must be physically present in Canada for four full years out of the previous six years, and in each qualifying year the applicant must be physically present in Canada for at least six months. As such, an individual will qualify as a tax resident when preparing to apply for Canadian citizenship.  Although the qualifying requirements for Canadian citizenship are set to change in the coming year, the new requirements will likely still trigger tax residency.

Individuals in this situation need to carefully consider which is more important to them given their particular circumstances: the tax savings or the ability to live in Canada as a permanent resident. They must then weight the risks on both sides accordingly.  In the end, trying to maintain your Canadian permanent resident status while not qualifying as a resident for tax purposes, is possible but tricky.  So maybe you can have your cake and eat it too!

Posted by Sarah Adler »

Immigration and the Economy

Posted by Sarah Adler|Canada Immigration
Apr 16

I always thought it would be interesting to research and write an academic article about the correlation between waves of immigration and economic cycles. Maybe when I am retired and my children are grown I’ll actually find the time to make this dream come true. Most business people probably know the final result of this research.  For the sake of immigration policy, and our unemployment rates, it would be helpful to prove and formalize what I see as an existential truth: Immigration drives economic growth.

After watching the Conservative government in Canada unfold its “Canadians First” policy over the past several years, I even more firmly believe that immigration is the key to revitalizing a slow economy. The Conservative government’s “Canadians First” policy sought to ensure that Canadians were first considered for employment positions in Canada, with the intent of reducing unemployment.  This decision seemed to be based on the premise that employers don’t want to hire Canadians, and the myth that foreign workers cost less.  The response I observed from employers is that they would much prefer to hire locally because relocating individuals from abroad is much more expensive.

The reality is that employers seek foreign workers to obtain new skill sets and to stimulate business growth in emerging markets. This results in increased employment opportunities for Canadians.  Unfortunately, the result of the “Canadians First” policy deterred business development as employers found it too difficult to obtain the skill sets they needed from abroad to build their businesses.  The result was these businesses were either established elsewhere or never started.  In my opinion the Conservative policy has further damaged the Canadian economy as opposed to reducing unemployment as intended.

As we see the new Liberal government rise to the current economic challenges in Canada, I am hopeful that our government will acknowledge the importance of immigration in establishing a healthy and growing economy.

Posted by Sarah Adler »

The best laid plans…

Posted by Sarah Adler|Global Immigration
Apr 16

I have recently been reading about the future of global mobility and how relocation and transfer policies can be used in new ways to support strategic business efforts, controlling expenditure, optimally using specialized skill sets in a global marketplace and developing leadership. Keys to moving forward into the new age of global talent management include well defined business strategies, high end leadership support, knowing your employee population, and access to and knowledge of mobility metrics such as who is traveling, where and when are they traveling, what is the total program expenditure, etc. This all requires careful planning and the coordination of various stakeholders.  Not an easy task and a big accomplishment when it is done well. However, when mobility intersects with immigration, the business loses control of the process and becomes subject to the political machine that can often be unpredictable and time consuming even when HR has done everything right. It’s disheartening to see all that work, planning and the expectations of the business and the individual evaporate in the spotlight of bureaucracy. This situation gives rise to social tension between outward expansion of business and governments protectionist perspectives given global security and unemployment concerns. The question is how do we manage challenging government requirements and still maintain the integrity of hard won business strategies. Immigration concerns need to be central to the mobility strategy and not be considered only after the international assignment has been finalized. Businesses and immigration service providers need to partner in the assignment planning process to ensure governmental requirements can be strategically met.  Business and service providers can also work together to establish processes that can pull business information required by the government accurately and efficiently.  This requires a robust centralized immigration system with stakeholder commitment to keeping data up to date. Service providers also need to be flexible and creative within the confines of the immigration programs. There needs to be a keen focus on the business objectives while creatively navigating the gauntlet of governmental requirements.

Posted by Sarah Adler »

Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program Closed

Posted by Pinaz Farzadi|Global Immigration
Jan 16

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) made an announcement on January 3, 2016 that the Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP) will reopen on January 4, 2016. IRCC indicated that 5,000 new and complete applications will be accepted, and that all applications received above the limit will be returned to the applicant.

On January 7, 2016, IRCC closed the PGP as they received more than 14,000 applications. The intake of further applications is now closed, and the first 5,000 complete applications received will be placed in the inventory queue.

IRCC have stated that they are trying to increase the number of parent and grandparent sponsorship applications from 5,000 to 10,000 per year, and therefore will retain the first 10,000 complete applications.

Posted by Pinaz Farzadi »

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program Closures and the Introduction of New Business Streams

Posted by Pinaz Farzadi|Global Immigration
Dec 15

The Government of Ontario recently announced that applications under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program’s (OINP) Investor Component will no longer be accepted. All Investor Component applications received on or before October 29, 2015 will be accepted, however any applications after that date will be returned. This affects all applicants who were pursuing an OINP Investor Component.
The Government of Ontario is still accepting applications that fall under the under the Ontario Express Entry Streams, specifically the Human Capital Priorities and Ontario French Speaking Skilled Workers Stream.

Redesigned Business Streams
OINP is introducing two redesigned business streams specifically the Corporate and Entrepreneur streams. The exact dates for these programs to go live have not been issued yet, however once they are a further update will be provided.
Corporate Stream – This stream helps and supports established international corporations looking to expand into Ontario or buy an existing business.
Entrepreneur Stream – This stream supports individuals from outside of Canada who are looking to implement a new business initiative or buy an existing business in Ontario.

Posted by Pinaz Farzadi »

Ontario Express Entry Program – Two New Application Streams

Posted by Pinaz Farzadi|Global Immigration
Jul 15


The Express Entry Program, which was implemented on January 1, 2015 and is an application management process for foreign nationals to apply for Permanent Residence (PR) under certain economic immigration programs. To be considered for an Ontario nomination, candidates must qualify for Express Entry under one of the following categories: Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW), Federal Trade Worker (FTW)or the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

Two New Streams

In June 2015, two additional streams were created for skilled workers to live and work permanent in Ontario: Human Capital Priorities Stream and the French Speaking Skilled Worker Stream.

The two new additional streams enable the Opportunities Ontario: Provincial Nominee Program (OOPNP) to nominate individuals who meet the criteria under the Express Entry Program, which is composed of age, education, language, ability and other components to evaluate their ability to successfully integrate into Ontario’s labour market and community.

Individuals selected under either stream will receive a Notification of Interests and will have 45 days to apply for a stream. Once a candidate is selected and notified of their nomination, the candidate will have 30 days to accept the nomination.

Exceptions to the Human Capital Priorities Stream

Foreign nationals will not be able to apply for OOPNP under this category if:

– They are a refugee claimant in Canada;
– They were not accepted into the Express Entry Pool; or
– They have not received a Provincial/Territorial Notification of Interest from Ontario.

Exceptions to the French Speaking Skilled Worker Stream

To apply under this category, a foreign national must demonstrate a French-language level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 7 or above in all areas of language competencies, which include reading, writing, listening and speaking. Foreign nationals also must show a CLB level of 6 in English in all competencies. Once a foreign national receives a Notification of Interest from Ontario, they will be eligible to apply for OOPNP under this stream.

Benefits to Foreign Nationals

The opening of additional streams for OOPNP allows targeted qualified foreign nationals to apply under these new categories for Express Entry to Ontario, leading to Canadian PR of the foreign worker.

Posted by Pinaz Farzadi »