Economic classes: Procedures at the Centralized Intake Office for paper-based (non-Express Entry) applications

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.

Note: New applications under the farm management stream of the Self‑Employed Program are no longer accepted. See the Ministerial Instructions on the self‑employed persons class for more information.

These instructions apply to paper-based (non-Express Entry) applications, which include all of the following:

  • Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) paper-based applications
  • applications submitted under the start-up business class
  • applications submitted under the self-employed persons class
  • applications for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP)

This section provides guidance on reviewing applications for completeness and putting them into process.

On this page

Completeness check

Applicants are required to submit their complete application, including all mandatory forms, fees, information and supporting documents, to the Centralized Intake Office (CIO), in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Applications are first checked for completeness, according to the document checklist requirements in place at the time the application is received by the CIO.

If the application meets the requirements pursuant to section 10 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), the CIO does all of the following:

  • enter the application information in the Global Case Management System (GCMS)
  • recover the processing fee
  • send an acknowledgement of receipt to the applicant

If the application is found to be incomplete (that is, if it does not meet the requirements pursuant to section R10), the CIO returns the incomplete application package, along with the fees, to the applicant and records the action in GCMS.

Note: Applications are date‑stamped on receipt at the CIO and then checked for completeness by date of receipt. The “application received” date at the CIO is the lock‑in date. Processing offices should not change the “application received” date entered by the CIO at file creation.

See more on the lock-in date for the age of dependent children.

There are additional instructions for the completeness check for each of the following:

Provincial nominee class

Part of the completeness check includes verifying that the applicant is listed on the monthly nomination spreadsheet that the CIO receives directly from the province or territory.

Confirmation of provincial nomination

The province or territory sends an encrypted monthly nomination spreadsheet directly to the CIO, via Entrust. The spreadsheet includes the details of all the nominations the province or territory has issued each month and is considered confirmation of the nomination certificate issuance. The CIO must be satisfied that the spreadsheet is from the responsible provincial or territorial government authority (that is, the email address is from the provincial or territorial government department that processes the nominations).

The nomination is considered valid, as long as the applicant submits a complete application for permanent residence on or before the expiry date of the nomination. A nomination extension is not required for nominations that expire while an application is being processed.

If a nominee does not apply for permanent residence before the expiry of their nomination, the province or territory may issue an extension to allow the nominee additional time to submit their application. Provinces and territories notify IRCC of all extensions through the monthly nomination spreadsheet.

Nominees are issued a nomination approval letter by the nominating province or territory, and the letter must be included in their application for permanent residence.

Note: As of February 1, 2019, provinces may issue nomination approval letters in either electronic or paper format. A copy of this letter remains sufficient for completeness.

Nominees must also submit a copy of their nomination approval letter if they apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment-exempt work permit for a job offer in the nominating province or territory, or if they apply for a bridging open work permit. For more information, see Foreign workers: Provincial nominees or permanent residence applicants.

Provincial nomination streams

Each province has its own set of criteria and nomination streams and programs. The following list provides the GCMS categories for the various provincial and territorial programs or streams:

  • Worker – Job offer
  • Worker – No job offer
  • Business
  • Family support
  • Students
  • Community support

Lock-in date for age of dependent children of provincial nominees

The lock-in date for the age of a dependent child is the date the applicable provincial or territorial authority receives a complete application for a provincial or territorial nomination from the principal applicant [R25.1(4)].

Minimum language standards and mandatory testing for provincial nominees in National Occupational Classification skill levels C and D

Applicants must include a copy of their language test results with their application for permanent residence. For more information, see Language requirements – Provincial nominees.

Start-up business class

Confirmation of commitment certificate and letter of support

The designated entity sends a commitment certificate directly to the processing office by email or courier and sends a letter of support to the applicant, both with the same validity period.

The applicant must include the letter of support in their application. The commitment certificate and letter of support are considered valid, as long as the applicant submits a complete application for permanent residence on or before the expiry date of the commitment certificate and letter of support. An extension is not required for a commitment certificate or letter of support that expires while an application is being processed.

If an application is received after the commitment certificate and letter of support have expired, the application should be returned to the applicant, with a note to resubmit the application with a valid letter of support.

If an applicant does not apply for permanent residence before the expiry of their commitment certificate, the designated entity may not issue an extension. The designated entity may issue a new commitment certificate after ensuring that the details of the commitment, including ownership structure, are still accurate.

When the processing office receives a commitment certificate, it must do the following in GCMS:

  • create each designated entity as an “Organization”
  • associate all applicants with the designated entity
  • create a client note, entered under the applicant’s unique client identifier, informing officers of the receipt of the commitment certificate

Upon receipt of the application for permanent residence, the processing office does the following:

  • verify that the application is complete, according to the document checklist
  • ensure a valid commitment certificate and letter of support issued by a designated entity have been received
  • enter “SUD-FED” into the category field, in GCMS

For more instructions, see the following:

Self-employed class

Note: New applications under the farm management stream of the Self‑Employed Program are no longer accepted. See the Ministerial Instructions on the self-employed persons class for more information.

The CIO verifies that the application is complete, according to the document checklist.

Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program

The CIO verifies that the application is complete, according to the document checklist.

Part of the completeness check includes verifying that the applicant is listed on the encrypted monthly endorsement spreadsheet that the CIO receives directly from the Atlantic provinces, via Entrust.

The endorsement is considered valid, as long as the applicant submits a complete application for permanent residence on or before the expiry date of the endorsement. An endorsement extension is not required for endorsements that expire while an application is being processed.

If an applicant does not apply for permanent residence before the expiry of their endorsement, the province may not issue an extension. However, the province may issue a new endorsement.

The applicant must provide evidence that they had temporary resident status at the time of their application if they are in Canada.

Complete applications

If the application meets all the criteria for completeness, the CIO does the following:

  • enter the application information in GCMS
  • recover the processing fee
  • send an acknowledgement of receipt to the applicant
  • put the application into process

The processing fees are no longer refundable.

Incomplete applications and applications that exceed the cap

If the application is incomplete (that is, if it does not meet the criteria for completeness), or if it is received after the maximum allotment for complete applications for a specific province has been reached, the CIO will do the following:

  • record the outcome and reasons in GCMS
  • return the incomplete application and initiate a refund of the processing fees
  • inform the applicant

Lock-in date for age of dependent children of endorsed applicants

The lock-in date for the age of a dependent child is the date the applicable provincial authority receives a complete application for a provincial endorsement from the principal applicant. This date can be found on the monthly nomination spreadsheet that the CIO receives directly from the province or territory.

Ministerial Instructions

The following table indicates which Ministerial Instructions apply to specific classes and programs:

Class Ministerial Instructions
Start-up business class MI 7 – March 30, 2013
Atlantic High-Skilled Program MI 23 – March 6, 2017
Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program MI 23 – March 6, 2017
Atlantic International Graduate Program MI 23 – March 6, 2017
Self-employed persons class MI 26 – March 10, 2018

Putting the application into process

Following a positive completeness check, the CIO does all of the following:

  • create a file in GCMS
  • enter the appropriate code in the “Category” field, in GCMS
  • cost recover the applicable processing fees and enter confirmation in GCMS
  • record the GCMS file number in the paper file
  • send an acknowledgement receipt of the letter to the applicant, informing them that their file has been put into process and, if applicable, transferred to another office
  • transfer the paper file to the processing office, in accordance with existing file transfer policies
  • transfer the electronic file to the processing office in GCMS by making that office the primary office for processing

Processing family members

The CIO receives and triages all paper-based applications submitted under the PNP, the start-up business class, the self-employed persons class and the AIPP. When there is a great deal of complexity, based on established criteria, the application is transferred to the relevant processing office, where the principal applicant and all family members (inland or overseas) should be processed.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: