How Permanent Is “Permanent Residence” For Refugees?

By Andy Semotiuk | July 12, 2017

Immigration lawyer Andy SemotiukPace Immigration Lawyer Andy Semotiuk: Here is an interesting story, especially in light of the large number of Syrian refugees who have settled in Canada over the past year:

Sometimes, going home can have terrible consequences. Afghan native Obaidullah Siddiqui learned that the hard way when the former refugee was stripped of his right to stay in Canada because he made the mistake of going back — three times — to his war-torn homeland to visit his aging parents…

In November 2013, immigration officials initiated what is known as a “cessation application” and later stripped Siddiqui’s permanent resident status on the grounds “he was found to have re-availed himself of Afghanistan’s protection” and his life would no longer be in danger there.

One can sympathize with a person who has received a deportation order, but this is exactly the way the case should have been handled.

Refugee status comes with conditions, one of which is that you have a bona fide fear of persecution in your home country from which you have no recourse or protection through local authorities. This is why if you’re from, say, Chicago or London, you wouldn’t have a successful refugee claim. You might be in some kind of trouble, but there is a functioning police force and legal system there to help you, even if you don’t think they’re good at their job.

If you obtain permanent resident status through a refugee claim, it is exceedingly risky for you to go back to your home country, lest you raise flags that no, you don’t have much to fear at all and/or that your story was bogus and you used refugee status as a back door into the country.

“Permanent residence” is not “citizenship.” Be careful how and where you travel or you could end up in a legal mess.