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  • Writer's pictureImmergity Immigration Consultant

Loss of Immigration Status - Causes, Consequences and Restoration

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Out of Status

Canadian immigration law, a cornerstone of our nation's legal framework, plays a pivotal role in shaping the demographic and cultural landscape of our country. It is a dynamic and complex field, balancing the nation's economic needs with humanitarian responsibilities, and upholding the principles of fairness and justice in the treatment of immigrants and refugees.


Key Takeaways

Understanding Immigration Status

Immigration status in Canada includes Permanent Residency, Temporary Residency, and Citizenship, each with specific rights and obligations. Gaining immigration status involves meeting specific criteria and adhering to legal processes.

Causes for Loss of Immigration Status

Key reasons for losing status include legal violations, failure to meet residency obligations, and misrepresentation or fraud. Real-world scenarios illustrate the diverse circumstances leading to loss of status.

Legal Framework and Procedures

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) governs immigration laws. Procedures involve identification of issues, hearings, and potential appeals, with involvement from bodies like IRCC and IRB.

Consequences of Losing Status

Legal consequences include deportation and future inadmissibility. Social and economic impacts are significant, affecting personal life, employment, and mental health. Recent trends and policy changes can influence these consequences.

Preventive Measures and Legal Remedies

Emphasis on legal compliance and awareness to avoid loss of status. Remedies include request for reconsideration, appeals, humanitarian and compassionate grounds, and judicial reviews.

Case Studies

Anonymized cases illustrate real-world applications of laws and procedures related to the loss of immigration status in Canada.

Immigration Status in Canada

Definition of Immigration Status:

  1. Immigration Status: In Canada, 'immigration status' refers to the legal classification assigned to an individual by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This status dictates an individual's rights, responsibilities, and legal entitlements within Canada, and is subject to specific conditions and regulations.

  2. Types of Immigration Status in Canada:

    • Permanent Residency: A permanent resident is someone who has been granted the right to live permanently in Canada but is not a Canadian citizen. Permanent residents enjoy many of the same rights and privileges as citizens, such as access to healthcare and social services, but they cannot vote in elections and are subject to residency obligations.

    • Temporary Residency: This status includes individuals in Canada on a temporary basis, such as students, workers, or visitors. Each category has its own set of conditions, like duration of stay, work or study permissions, and restrictions on benefits such as healthcare access.

    • Citizenship: Canadian citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the legal system of Canada as being a member of Canada. Citizens have the right to vote, hold a Canadian passport, and are not subject to the residency obligations that apply to permanent residents.

Gaining Immigration Status in Canada

Processes and Requirements:

The process of obtaining immigration status in Canada varies based on the category one is applying for.

  1. Permanent Residency:

    1. Methods of obtaining this status include economic streams (such as the Express Entry system), family sponsorship, the Canadian Experience Class, and refugee or humanitarian programs.

    2. Applicants must meet certain criteria such as language proficiency, work experience, education, and financial stability.

  2. Temporary Residency:

    1. Visas for students, workers, or visitors are obtained through specific applications, each with its own requirements.

    2. For workers, this often involves a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to justify hiring a foreign worker.

    3. Students must be enrolled in a designated learning institution and prove they have sufficient funds to support themselves.

  3. Citizenship:

    1. Permanent residents can apply for citizenship after meeting certain criteria, including physical presence in Canada for a specified period, language abilities, and passing a citizenship test.

    2. The process involves a thorough background check and demonstration of knowledge of Canada's history, values, institutions, and symbols.

Loss of Immigration Status in the context of Canadian law refers to the circumstances and processes through which an individual, who has been granted permission to stay in Canada—whether as a permanent resident, temporary resident, or under any other immigration category—loses that legal status.

Causes for Loss of Immigration Status

In Canadian immigration law, there are several reasons why an individual might lose their immigration status. Understanding these causes is crucial, as they can have profound legal and personal consequences.

Legal Violations/Criminal Activity


  • Involvement in criminal activities can lead to the loss of immigration status. This applies to both permanent and temporary residents.

  • The severity of the crime and the sentence imposed play a significant role in determining the impact on immigration status.

Examples of Criminal Activities:

  • Serious criminal offenses, like violent crimes, drug trafficking, or significant fraud.

  • Lesser offenses, like DUIs, can also affect status, especially if they lead to serious outcomes or are part of a pattern of unlawful behavior.

Hypothetical Scenario:

  • A permanent resident, John, is convicted of a serious criminal offense, such as aggravated assault. As a result, he faces a deportation hearing, where his permanent resident status is at risk due to his conviction leading to his criminal inadmissibility.

Failure to Comply with Residency Obligations


  • Permanent residents are required to be physically present in Canada for at least 730 days (2 years) in every 5-year period.

  • Failure to meet these obligations can result in the loss of permanent resident status.

Hypothetical Scenario:

  • Maria, a permanent resident, spends extensive time abroad for work. She fails to maintain the required physical presence in Canada, and upon her return, she is informed that she may lose her permanent resident status for not meeting the residency obligations.

Misrepresentation or Fraud in the Immigration Process


  • Providing false information, omitting important facts, or otherwise misrepresenting oneself in any part of the immigration process can lead to the loss of status.

  • This includes fraud in the initial application, in subsequent renewals, or in any interactions with immigration authorities.

Examples of Misrepresentation

  • Lying about one's work experience or educational qualifications in an immigration application.

  • Failing to disclose criminal history or previous immigration violations.

Hypothetical Scenario:

  • A student visa holder, Alex, claims to be enrolled full-time at a university but is actually not attending classes and is working full-time instead. This misrepresentation can lead to the revocation of his student visa and potential deportation.

Intriguing Statistic: "Did you know, as per recent statistics, Canada has one of the highest per capita immigration rates in the world, with immigrants constituting over 20% of the national population? This fact not only highlights Canada's commitment to welcoming new residents but also underscores the importance of understanding the legal intricacies involved in immigration processes."
Loss of Immigration Status

Legal Framework and Procedures

Legal Framework Governing the Loss of Immigration Status

Primary Legislation

  • The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) is the key piece of legislation that outlines the rules and procedures regarding immigration status in Canada.

  • Under the IRPA, there are specific provisions detailing the circumstances under which someone may lose their immigration status.

Relevant Policies

  • Policies and guidelines issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provide further details on how the IRPA is implemented.

  • These policies cover various scenarios, including criminal inadmissibility, residency obligations, and misrepresentation.

Enforcement and Adjudication Bodies

  • The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is responsible for enforcing immigration laws, including identifying individuals who may have lost their status.

  • The Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) adjudicates immigration cases, including appeals from individuals challenging the loss of their status.

Procedural Steps in the Loss of Immigration Status

Identification and Investigation

  • The process often begins with CBSA identifying potential issues with an individual’s immigration status.

  • This could be through routine checks, tips, or during applications for status renewal.

Notification and Case Review

  • Individuals suspected of breaching their immigration status are notified and given a chance to present their case or rectify the situation, depending on the nature of the issue.

  • In cases of misrepresentation, for example, individuals may be asked to provide additional information or clarification.

Hearings and Decisions

  • If the matter is serious (like criminal inadmissibility or serious misrepresentation), it may be referred to a hearing before the IRB.

  • At the IRB, individuals have the opportunity to present evidence, argue their case, and have legal representation.

Appeals Process

  • If an individual disagrees with the decision made at the IRB hearing, they may have the option to appeal, depending on the nature of their case.

  • Appeals can be made to higher authorities within the immigration system or, in some cases, to the Federal Court of Canada.

Final Decisions and Enforcement

  • Once all avenues of appeal are exhausted, the final decision is enforced.

  • This could mean deportation for individuals who have lost their permanent resident or temporary resident status.

Consequences of Losing Immigration Status

The loss of immigration status in Canada carries significant consequences that affect not only the legal standing of individuals but also their social and economic lives. It's important to understand both the immediate and long-term impacts of this loss.

Legal Consequences:


  • The most immediate legal consequence of losing immigration status is often deportation or removal from Canada.

  • This is typically enforced after all legal appeals have been exhausted and can happen swiftly, depending on the circumstances.

Inadmissibility for Future Entry

  • Individuals who lose their status may also face long-term or permanent inadmissibility to Canada.

  • This can be due to reasons such as serious criminality, security concerns, or misrepresentation.

  • Inadmissibility means these individuals cannot re-enter Canada, whether as visitors, students, workers, or permanent residents.

Social and Economic Impacts

Disruption of Personal and Family Life

  • Deportation or removal can lead to family separation, especially in cases where some family members are citizens or residents while others are not.

  • It can also disrupt education, employment, and social networks established in Canada.

Economic Hardships

  • Loss of employment and the inability to legally work in Canada can lead to significant financial strain.

  • Returning to a home country unexpectedly may mean facing joblessness, financial instability, and difficulties in adjusting to a different economic environment.

Psychological and Emotional Stress

  • The uncertainty and stress associated with losing immigration status and the prospect of deportation can have profound psychological effects, including anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

Recent Changes or Trends in Application of Consequences

Policy Shifts and Legal Reforms

  • Any recent changes in Canadian immigration policies or legal reforms can influence how these consequences are applied. For example, changes in how criminality is assessed for immigration purposes can impact deportation decisions.

Public Health and Safety Considerations

  • In some cases, broader public health concerns, such as those highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic, have led to temporary changes in enforcement and deportation practices.

International Relations and Human Rights Considerations:

  • Canada's international obligations and human rights considerations can also influence the enforcement of immigration laws. This includes considerations around non-refoulment, where individuals cannot be returned to countries where they may face danger.

Preventive Measures and Legal Remedies

In the context of Canadian immigration law, it is critical to understand both how to prevent the loss of immigration status and the legal remedies available if one's status is jeopardized. This knowledge is crucial for maintaining legal residency in Canada and for navigating the legal system if issues arise.

Preventive Measures

Legal Compliance and Awareness

  • The cornerstone of maintaining immigration status in Canada is strict adherence to the laws and regulations governing one's specific immigration category. This means understanding and fulfilling all conditions attached to your status, whether as a permanent resident, temporary worker, student, or visitor.

  • For permanent residents, this includes meeting residency obligations (staying in Canada for at least 730 days within a five-year period) and avoiding criminal activities that could lead to inadmissibility. Temporary residents must adhere to the conditions of their visas, such as limits on work or study and the duration of stay.

Regular Documentation and Status Checks:

  • Regularly updating and checking the status of immigration documents is crucial. This includes renewing permanent resident cards, work or study permits, and visas before they expire.

  • Maintaining accurate and current records of travel and residence history is essential, particularly for permanent residents, to demonstrate compliance with residency obligations.

Seeking Legal Advice:

  • Consulting with immigration lawyers or certified immigration consultants for guidance on complex situations or changes in circumstances (like changes in employment or education) can prevent unintentional violations of immigration regulations.

Legal Remedies and Appeals

Appeals for Loss of Status

  • If an individual faces the loss of their immigration status, there are several avenues for appeal. The nature of the appeal process depends on the reason for the loss of status.

  • For instance, if permanent residency is being revoked due to failure to meet residency obligations, the individual has the right to appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds

  • In certain cases, individuals can apply for consideration on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. This is particularly relevant when deportation would result in undue hardship, such as separating families or returning to a country where the individual faces significant risk.

Judicial Review

  • For decisions not subject to a direct appeal, individuals may seek a judicial review of the decision in the Federal Court of Canada. This process involves a legal review of the decision-making process to ensure it was fair, legal, and reasonable.

Temporary Resident Permits

  • In some situations, individuals who have lost their status or are otherwise inadmissible may apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) to enter or stay in Canada temporarily. This permit is typically granted in exceptional circumstances and is subject to strict conditions.

Restoration of Status

What is Restoration of Status?

  • In Canadian immigration law, individuals who have lost or overstayed their temporary resident status (as students, workers, or visitors) can apply for "restoration of status" within a specific timeframe, typically within 90 days of their status expiring.

  • This process allows individuals to regain their legal status without having to leave Canada, provided they meet certain conditions.

Importance and Process

  • Restoration is vital for those who might have inadvertently breached their immigration conditions, such as by failing to renew a permit on time or changing employment or educational institutions without proper authorization.

  • The application for restoration involves explaining the reasons for the status lapse and demonstrating compliance with the requirements for the desired status (work, study, or visitor).

Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD)

Purpose of PRTD

  • The PRTD is designed for permanent residents of Canada who are outside the country and do not have a valid Permanent Resident Card (PR Card) to return to Canada.

  • This document is particularly important for those who might have lost their PR Card or had it expire while they were outside Canada.

Application and Utility

  • To obtain a PRTD, permanent residents must apply at a Canadian visa office abroad. The application process includes providing proof of their permanent resident status and explaining why they do not have a PR Card.

  • A PRTD is usually issued for a single entry to allow the resident to return to Canada, where they can then renew or apply for a new PR Card.

Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC)

What is an ARC?

  • The Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) is a document that individuals may require if they have been issued a removal order from Canada and wish to return. Depending on the type of removal order (Deportation Order, Exclusion Order, or Departure Order), and how it was complied with, an individual might need an ARC to legally return to Canada.

Application and Criteria

  • Applying for an ARC involves a process where the individual must demonstrate to Canadian immigration officials that the reasons for the removal no longer exist or that their situation has changed significantly.

  • The decision to issue an ARC takes into account factors such as the reason for the removal, the individual’s current situation, and their reasons for wanting to return to Canada.

Changes in personal circumstances, such as marriage, divorce, or the death of a sponsor, can have significant implications on an individual's immigration status in Canada. These changes can affect various aspects of the immigration process and status maintenance. Here's a detailed look into each of these scenarios:


Impact on Immigration Status

  • Marriage can impact immigration status, especially if one is in Canada on a visa sponsored by their spouse or if they are applying for immigration through a spousal sponsorship program.

  • In cases of spousal sponsorship, the genuineness of a relationship is a key factor. Immigration authorities may reassess the validity of the sponsorship if the marriage occurs after the initiation of the immigration process.

Sponsorship Applications

  • If an individual gets married while their immigration application is in process, they must inform immigration authorities, as this change can affect their application.

  • For those sponsoring a spouse, they must meet certain requirements, including financial stability and not having been sponsored as a spouse themselves within the last five years.


Effect on Sponsored Status

  • If a person is in Canada as a sponsored spouse and gets divorced, their status could be at risk, especially if the divorce occurs before they attain permanent resident status.

  • However, if they already have permanent residency, a divorce won't automatically affect their status. Permanent residents are not obligated to remain in a relationship to maintain their status.

Sponsorship Obligations

  • The sponsor typically has a financial obligation for a certain period, regardless of the marriage's outcome. A divorce does not necessarily terminate these obligations.

Death of a Sponsor

Impact on Sponsorship Applications

  • The death of a sponsor can significantly impact immigration applications. For instance, if a permanent resident or citizen is sponsoring a family member and passes away, the application may be affected.

  • In some cases, humanitarian and compassionate considerations might be applied, especially if the sponsored individual has already established significant ties in Canada.

Family Class Sponsorship

  • The death of the sponsor can complicate or halt the sponsorship process. Applicants may need to explore other immigration categories or avenues to maintain their status or continue their application.

Overall, a comprehensive approach is essential for anyone facing a potential loss of immigration status, or already out of status in Canada. If you are in such a situation feel free to reach out to our Canadian Immigration Specialist to discuss your case.

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