How a permanent residence card renewal could change this man’s life


Nancy Elliott
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Mohammed’s epic story of overcoming adversity leading to PR card renewal in Canada.

He was a Permanent Resident of Canada but left many years ago. Now, his country was at war.

We first spoke to Mohamed, a citizen of Syria, a couple of months ago. He had been working in Saudi Arabia for almost ten years on a work permit.

His wife and his teenage daughter lived in Saudi Arabia with him. Mohamed had an excellent position, but he was soon going to retire.

The problem was that once he retires, his work permit in Saudi Arabia would no longer be valid and he would have to leave. But where would he go?

Mohamed could not travel back to Syria with his family, as his country was torn by war and almost entirely destroyed.

Mohamed had become a permanent resident of Canada nearly ten years ago as a skilled worker and lived in Canada for a few years before he moved to Saudi Arabia.

Even though Mohamed was an experienced professional with almost 15 years of experience in public health, he faced the same obstacles in entering the Canadian job market as many newcomers who arrive in Canada in the hopes of building a better life for themselves and their children.

Mohamed arrived in Canada with his wife and three children; ready to embrace the new country they all were going to call home.

Unfortunately, Mohamed was not able to find a job that would have allowed him to take proper care of his family’s needs.

After struggling with the job search, Mohamed eventually moved to Saudi Arabia with his wife and his youngest daughter.

It was a hard decision to make: the family was going to be separated from one another as Mohamed’s son and daughter stayed in Canada to continue their education and to become established in Canada in the hopes that one day, their sister and parents will join them.

Life is Saudi Arabia was stable, and Mohamed could contribute to his children’s education and to help them achieve their best in Canada.

His devotion to his family was the driving force behind every single decision he made in his life.

However, life had some unpleasant surprises in store for Mohamed, when the civil war started in his home country.

Syria made the headlines, but not for good reasons. Not only Mohamed lost all his assets he had in Syria, such as his house and business, he was also always worried about the safety of his parents and siblings.

The Syrian government became unable to protect its citizens, and many had to seek refuge in neighboring countries.

Kidnappings and killings were frequent, and the last time Mohamed could visit his aging parents in Syria, was in 2011.

Given these recent developments, Mohamed realized that when his work permit expired and would not be renewed due to regulations in Saudi Arabia, he no longer could return to his home country.

Syria was suffering devastating consequences of the war, millions of people were seeking safety in other parts of the world, and those not fortunate enough to leave Syria were trapped in constant fear and death.

Mohamed once had a dream to build a life in Canada, a country that would have become his second home should he be able to secure a job.

But the reality was different, and here he was, ten years later, with no prospects of going back to Syria or staying in Saudi Arabia.

•  Was Mohamed still a permanent resident of Canada even if his card was expired?

•  Could he possibly apply to renew his card given the fact that he had no other place to go but Canada?

•  Would Canada accept and consider all compassionate factors that affected Mohamed’s decision to leave Canada?

Even with a permanent resident card expired; Mohamed remained a permanent resident.

Of course, being away from Canada for an extended period, he did not meet the requirement for minimum physical residency, which would have allowed him to renew the card without any complications.

However, given the particular circumstances of his case, he applied for his status renewal and showed that things that kept him outside of Canada were not within his control.

Canadian immigration law gives a generous interpretation to all possible humanitarian and compassionate grounds that kept the permanent resident from living in Canada.

While the positive result is not guaranteed, a complete and robust application that encompasses all difficulties that made physical residency impossible to meet is a chance that Mohamed decided to take.

Parallel to applying for a permanent resident card renewal, Mohamed was anxious to enter Canada and to stay there with his family while waiting for the response on his application.

• Would he able to travel to Canada with his expired permanent resident card?

Recently, Mohamed entered Canada by car with his family through the United States without any issues and was welcomed home by Canada Border Services Agency as a permanent resident of Canada.

Mohamed explained to the border officer his entry story and was completely honest about his intentions to remain in Canada permanently.

Unbeknownst to many, the Canadian immigration regulations provide that individuals who are permanent residents of Canada remain, permanent residents of Canada until an adverse determination is made.

Mohamed reunited with his family in Canada and tried to enjoy as much as he can the time with his loved ones, with whom he had to separate many years ago.

Mohamed currently waits for the processing of his PR card while living in Canada.

Mohamed and his family are hopeful that they all will be able to build their life in Canada just how they dreamed back in 2006.

A story to be continued…

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