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An immigrant visa is granted to a foreign individual who wishes to reside and work in the United States permanently. In most situations, the individual is sponsored by a relative or employer who files an application with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Certain candidates, such as highly skilled professionals, investors, and special immigrants, can file a petition on their own behalf. The application is then forwarded to the appropriate US Consulate or Embassy overseas for further processing and, if eligible, issuance of the immigrant visa to the intending immigrant. Before the immigrant visa expires, the intended immigrant must show the immigrant visa at a U.S. port-of-entry. When an immigrant’s immigrant visa is approved, he or she becomes a lawful permanent resident.
Permanent residency in Canada
Permanent residency in Canada is a status granting someone who is not a Canadian citizen the right to live and work in Canada without any time limit on their stay. To become a permanent resident a foreign national must apply to immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, under one of several criteria.
A permanent resident holds many of the same rights and responsibilities as a Canadian citizen, including the right to live, work (subject to some restrictions), and study in any province or territory of Canada. Permanent residents participate in many of the same social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including becoming contributing members of the Canada Pension Plan and receiving coverage by their province or territory’s universal health care system. All permanent residents may avail themselves of the rights, freedoms, and protections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, other than those exclusively granted to citizens.
Permanent residents may apply for Canadian citizenship after living in Canada for five years (with up to one year of the time before becoming a permanent resident included), with the condition that they must have resided in Canada as a permanent resident for three years (1095 days) of those previous five. They also have the right to sponsor relatives for permanent residence, subject to fulfilling residence criteria and assurance of support requirements.
In January 2015 the Government of Canada opened a new program to apply for Permanent Residence named “Express Entry”. It replaced the existing model for almost all Economic immigrants (whereby applicants were granted residency on a ‘first come, first served’ basis) and gave priority to those most likely to succeed economically in Canada.
The 1200 point express system estimates one’s immigration eligibility according to: marriage or common-law status, age, education, language proficiency, work experience, skill transferability, and other additional points.
IRCC conducts periodic draws with a minimum score, which means that all candidates with more than the minimum score receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA). This invitation allows candidates to apply for permanent residence.
Permanent residency in Australia
Australian permanent residents are residents of Australia who hold a permanent residency visa but are not citizens of Australia. A holder of a permanent residency visa may remain in Australia indefinitely. A 5-year initial travel facility, which corresponds to the underlying migration program, is granted alongside the permanent residency. Until the travel facility expires, the visa holder may leave and re-enter Australia freely. After that period the visa holder needs to re-apply for the travel facility.
Permanent residency may be revoked at the discretion of the responsible Minister, for example in cases of criminal misconduct.
Permanent residents enjoy many of the rights and privileges of citizens, including access to free or subsidized legal and health services. They do not have the right to vote in federalor state/territory elections, unless they were registered to vote prior to 1984, but may vote in some local government elections. Permanent residents are not entitled to an Australian passport.