He is basically an individual, who does not happen to be a citizen of the country, but has been proffered with the authorization to stay and do a job inside the country, minus any restrictions whatsoever of time-frame put on his stay. Although Canada permanent residents continue to be the citizens of their home nation, they enjoy certain rights and privileges in the Maple Country, i.e., Canada.
With a view to maintaining one's status as a permanent resident, the involved person has to cater to certain mentioned obligations though related to residency. It is compulsory that such a resident stays inside the Maple Country, for 2 years out of every 5 years to maintain his prized permanent status.
All permanent residents are provided with what is called the Permanent Resident Card (PR Card). It's the certified evidence of their position as permanent residents of the Maple Country. The holders are expected to produce the same on being asked for it by the concerned authorities.
It needs to be mentioned here that an individual in Canada, on a short-term basis-like a world student and/or a temporary overseas worker-does not hold the permanent residency rights of the Maple Country, and is not a permanent resident.
People often fail to differentiate between a Canada Permanent Resident and a Canada Citizen even as they believe the rights and obligations of these two are rather identical. Yes, it's a fact that there is not much of a difference between the rights and responsibilities of a Canadian permanent resident and a Canadian citizen. Both have the right to do a job for any firm, in addition for the federal or provincial administration (some restrictions do exist). Further, the permanent residents, much like the citizens, may join the country's defence forces.
However, Canada permanent residents still lack many rights, as compared to the Canada citizens. They cannot cast votes in elections; contest for elected office; possess the nation's passports. Further, unlike the citizens, the permanent residents could be exiled from the nation for grave crimes committed inside the Maple Country.
Though permanent residents could file a petition for the citizenship, post 3 years inside Canada; this is not obligatory.
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