Federal skilled workers: Making the selection decision

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Selection decision

Subsection 76(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations states that the Minister shall fix and make available to the public the minimum number of points required of a skilled worker (commonly known as the “pass mark”).

The pass mark is 67 points.

Officers will make a final selection decision for applications that are assessed by the Express Entry system or the Centralized Intake Office (CIO) as meeting the pass mark set by the Minister. The visa office will review the application in detail, along with the case analysis provided by the CIO (if applicable), and will make the final selection decision based on the total points earned by the applicant for the selection factors.

  • If the applicant’s total score is equal to or greater than the pass mark set by the Minister, the officer will make a positive selection decision, and proceed to determining admissibility.
  • If the applicant’s total score is less than the pass mark set by the Minister, the officer will make a negative selection decision, record the outcome and reasons in GCMS, and send a letter to inform the applicant that their application has been refused for insufficient points.

Note: Officers may choose to exercise their authority for substituted evaluation in respect of the points assessment and the final selection decision (see the Substituted evaluation section below).

Settlement funds

In addition to the selection criteria set forth in subsection R76(1), the applicant must also have sufficient funds available to support their settlement in Canada, pursuant to subparagraph R76(1)(b)(i).

Pursuant to subparagraph R76(1)(b)(ii), applicants are not required to have settlement funds if the applicant is authorized to work in Canada and has been awarded points for a qualifying offer of arranged employment under Express Entry or for arranged employment in Canada, as defined in subsection R82(1), under paragraph R82(2)(a), (b) or (d).

The funds must be

  • available and transferable;
  • unencumbered by debts or other obligations; and
  • sufficient to support initial establishment in Canada.

Sufficient funds are determined according to the applicant’s family size (including both accompanying and non-accompanying dependants), using 50% of the current low income cutoff (LICO) for urban areas with populations of 500 000 or more.

If the applicant is unable to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to meet the requirements, the application is refused.

Pursuant to section R77, the requirement and criteria for settlement funds must be met at the time the application is made as well as when the permanent resident visa is issued.

See also Proof of funds – Skilled immigrants (Express Entry).

Substituted evaluation

Subsection R76(3) makes possible the substitution of an officer’s evaluation for the requirements set forth in paragraph R76(1)(a) in respect of an application for permanent residence in the federal skilled worker class.

If it is determined that the requirements set forth in paragraph R76(1)(a), whether or not they are met and whether or not the skilled worker has been awarded the minimum number of points referred to in subsection R76(2), are not sufficient indicators of whether the foreign national will become economically established in Canada, an officer may substitute for these criteria their evaluation of the likelihood of the ability for the skilled worker to become economically established in Canada.

As per subsection R76(4), substituted evaluation requires the concurrence of a second designated officer.

Note: Substitution of evaluation can be used to overcome only the points assessment against selection criteria. It cannot be used to overcome an applicant’s failure to meet eligibility criteria under Ministerial Instructions, minimum requirements or the requirement for settlement funds.

Substituted evaluation may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Officers may consider any relevant factors. The fact that an applicant “almost met” the requirements of the federal skilled worker class is not, in itself, sufficient grounds to recommend the use of positive substituted evaluation.

Substituted evaluation should not be confused with humanitarian and compassionate authority [A25(1)], which enables the Minister and his delegates to grant permanent residence or an exemption from any applicable criteria or obligation of the IRPA if justified by humanitarian and compassionate considerations relating to the foreign national.

If an applicant or their representative requests orally or in writing that the officer consider exercising their substituted evaluation powers in the applicant’s favour, officers must examine the circumstances. There is no requirement that the applicant be interviewed in cases when the applicant did not make a compelling case for substituted evaluation. If the officer does not consider substituted evaluation appropriate under the circumstances, they should clearly indicate this in the file notes and in the formal refusal letter, along with a brief summary of their reasons. When referring to substituted evaluation in writing, the terms used in the legislation, such as “substituted evaluation” or “ability to become economically established in Canada”, should be used.

  • If an officer decides to use substituted evaluation when the applicant did meet all the requirements to become a member of the federal skilled worker class (i.e., negative substituted evaluation), the officer will
    • communicate their concerns to the applicant in writing and provide sufficient opportunity for the applicant to respond to those concerns, through correspondence/documentation and/or an interview;
    • if the applicant still fails to satisfy an officer as to their ability to become economically established, obtain written concurrence from a second designated officer; and
    • provide reasons for the use of negative substituted evaluation in the formal refusal letter sent to the applicant and in GCMS.
  • If an officer decides to use substituted evaluation when the applicant did not obtain the minimum number of points required to become a member of the federal skilled worker class (i.e., positive substituted evaluation), the officer will
    • obtain written concurrence from a second designated officer; and
    • add a note in GCMS providing reasons for the use of positive substituted evaluation.

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