“I got a provincial nomination, but do I have to settle in that province?”

December 29, 2022

Although it is certainly very exciting to receive a Provincial Nomination, which could ultimately pave the path to Permanent Residence, sometimes, plans do not always work out. Clients often ask us about the maximum length of time that they are obliged to settle and live in that particular province after accepting a nomination backed by permanent residence. In most cases, provinces do not stipulate a maximum length to remain in that province. If you had received a nomination due to having a job offer in that province, then your circumstances may be different. Even in this case, for the most part, individuals are free to move anywhere in Canada. They have the same mobility rights as other Permanent Residents or Canadian Citizens.

That being said, it is important to keep in mind that when you accept a provincial nomination, you are essentially signing a written declaration to that particular province, and the IRCC stating that you intend to settle and live in that province. This is a serious declaration that must be given considerable thought before signing. If you choose to accept a nomination, then you are expected to make good faith efforts to settle yourself and your family (if applicable) in that particular province. As mentioned above, what happens if you are not successful? For instance, upon moving to that province, you may find challenges securing proper employment, suitable rentals/residences to live in, establishing and integrating yourself in that community. This happens, and sometimes, this means that you may have to think about moving to another province.

Can the province that I may ‘abandon’ or the IRCC come after me for leaving?

Should that particular province decide to take interest in investigating as to why you did not settle there as per your written declaration, then you have to be prepared to show a paper trail illustrating of all the efforts that you have made to settle in that province. Some examples could include job applications, notes from any interviews attended and results of same, rental applications, mortgage applications, searches to secure a home, efforts to enroll children in nearby schools, and efforts to seek assistance from settlement groups that assist newcomers. In sum, if you have a documentary record to show that you have made the best efforts to settle in the province that nominated you, but was unable to do so due to unforeseeable circumstances that are beyond your control, then you have a strong defense. Though these investigations rarely take place, you must be prepared to show the efforts that were made to satisfy a case officer.

Disclaimer: This blog post does not constitute individualized legal advice. We highly recommend that you contact us for an individualized assessment of your case.