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Immigration Corner | I got a job in Jamaica

Published:Monday | July 31, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Ms Powell,

I am a Jamaican and a permanent resident of Canada. I have had difficulty locating a good job in Canada, so I returned to Jamaica and have accepted a very well-paying job there. I'm scheduled to start this job on September 1. My permanent resident card will expire in December 2017. I use my Jamaican passport to travel, so I'm not worried about getting into Jamaica. Can I apply for citizenship now? How will taking a job in Jamaica affect my application for citizenship? What are the processing times?

- P.A.

Dear P.A.,

Individuals who have been granted permanent residence status are required to ensure that they have a valid permanent resident card when they travel to and from Canada. While you will not need the card to enter Jamaica, you will need to have a valid permanent resident card before you re-enter Canada. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you submit an application to renew your permanent resident card immediately, before you depart for Jamaica.

You can apply to renew your permanent resident card now as you will be permitted to renew your card, if it expires in less than nine months. The current processing time is 64 days. You should apply for urgent processing to expedite your application.

If you are unable to process your card before you leave and the card expires while you are outside of Canada, one of the options available to you is to submit an application for Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD). You will need to present that document when you are boarding your flight to return to Canada.

It is a good idea to apply for citizenship once you qualify. You will need to demonstrate that you have been physically present in Canada as a permanent resident for at least 1,460 days during the six years right before the date you sign your application. Also, you will need to have been physically present in Canada for a minimum of 183 days during each of the four years before your application date. You can find out if you are eligible to apply for citizenship by using the citizenship calculator on the government's website.


Citizenship test


There are other conditions that you will need to satisfy such as providing proof that have filed your personal income tax filing, and of your language abilities. You will also need to take a citizenship test that is composed of questions about Canada's values, history, symbols, and the rights and duties of a citizen. You should order the Discover Canada book, or you may download the latest version online.

Finally, with the passing of Bill C6 recently, your taking of a job in Jamaica will not affect your citizenship application, provided that you satisfy all the other requirements. Bill C6 declares that you need not demonstrate an intention to live in Canada once granted citizenship. However, you would need to return Canada to take your citizenship test and oath. You should also ensure that you are aware of the rules relating to health and pension benefits.

- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Send your questions or comments to Find her on or call 613.695.8777