[thechat] Canadian PR card

Tara Cleveland tara at taracleveland.com
Wed May 28 15:31:42 CDT 2003

Syed Zeeshan Haider wrote:
> A friend of mine has recently acquired PR (Permanent Residence) card in
> Canada.


I'll try to help you as much as possible. But, I was born here and so I've
never had to immigrate and so I don't know much about how to go about it.
Also there has been a major change to immigration rules here recently, so
what I did know may not apply anymore. My advice is also mostly about
Toronto, because this is where I live. I'm not sure what it's like for an
immigrant to move to Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Truro, Saskatoon, Moosonee or
any of the other smaller communities in Canada.

> In Pakistan, for every
> official document, there is always something; some extra details which are not
> written in office files or at least not leaked out officially but people know
> them. I don't know what would one say such things.

This is true in Canada too. The immigration laws here are incredibly
confusing. Most immigrants hire a lawyer or an immigration consultant. I
would recommend that your friend do that.

<*warning*>Immigration consultants are not licensed or regulated in any way
in Canada - which means you may pay lots of money to someone who knows
nothing and doesn't help you. There is an association of immigration
consultants, whose membership is usually fairly respectable (but I can't
remember the name of the association). Just beware though...</*warning*>

> I want to know some extra about that PR card from a Canadian citizen.
> What is the value or importance of this card as for living in Canada?
> How do you think about this card socially?

This site explains more about permanent residency.

These are some sites for Pakistani-Canadian groups - they may help your
friend find an immigration consultant or at least they might be able to
explain the immigration rules to him/her. Finding a group of people who have
been through a similar experience immigrating to Canada may help when things
get difficult or your friend gets lonely and homesick.


I don't know if your friend is living here already, or if they are still in
Pakistan. The following is assuming that your friend hasn't moved yet...

Canada is a fairly open and multicultural country. In fact, I'd say it's the
most multicultural country I've ever been to and I've been to a *lot* of
countries. Having said that, there is still discrimination and racism here.
Your friend stands a better chance of being comfortable if he/she moves to a
large city - Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver.

There are millions of Canadian citizens who are immigrants and millions of
Canadians who are not white (visible minorities, people of colour - what is
the PC term nowadays anyway?) - which means that socially there is no
difference between a permanent resident and a Canadian citizen - because no
one will be able to tell what the immigration status of your friend is.

Obviously, if your friend can speak English well (or French if moving to
Quebec), that is a bonus in terms of being understood and accepted in
Canadian life, otherwise communication can be difficult and it can be
isolating. However, there are people who live in Toronto and have done so
most of their lives and they still speak very little English. There are
large communities of immigrants from all over the world in Toronto and it
isn't too hard to live entirely within that community. However, I wouldn't
recommend it.

Some Statistics about Immigration in Toronto:
There are 650,000 people of Asian descent living in Toronto - out of a
population of 4.5 million. About 40% of people in Toronto are immigrants.

There are many troubles for new immigrants in terms of having their foreign
credentials recognised. In Toronto we have the most highly educated cab
drivers in the world - something like 10% have a PhD and the majority have a
degree of some kind. This is because most cabbies are new immigrants and
their degrees are not recognised by Canadian employers. If your friend can
get Canadian work experience or schooling that will help immensely.

That's about all I know... if your friend has any more specific questions
about what it's like to live here, feel free to email me directly and ask


Tara Cleveland
Web Design and Consulting

More information about the thechat mailing list