Processing Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applications: Determining membership in the class
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
The requirements to be considered a member of the provincial nominee class (PNC) are found in section 87 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) and entail, namely, that the applicant satisfies all of the following conditions:
- have the ability to become economically established in Canada
- are named in a nomination certificate issued by the government of a province or territory
- intend to reside in the province or territory that nominated them
Subsection R87(5) excludes persons from membership in the PNC if either of the following applies:
- have been nominated under a passive investment proposal
- intend to or have participated in an immigration-linked investment scheme
- do not fall under one of the exceptions listed in subsection R87(6)
See Exclusions from membership in the PNC for more information about passive investment and immigration-linked investment schemes.
On this page
- Provincial or territorial nomination
- Ability to become economically established
- Intent to reside in the nominating province or territory
- Exclusions from membership in the PNC
Provincial or territorial nomination
A nomination is evidence that the province or territory has conducted an assessment of the candidate and found that, in the view of the provincial officials, the candidate has met the requirements of the province or territory’s PNP, intends to reside in the nominating province or territory, and has a strong likelihood of becoming economically established in Canada.
Provinces and territories (PTs) can nominate individuals through the non-Express Entry process or through Express Entry. Nominations made through the non-Express Entry process are called “base nominations” and nominations made through Express Entry are called “enhanced nominations.”
Ministerial instructions identify which PTs may use Express Entry to nominate candidates for the PNP. In Express Entry, PTs nominate candidates electronically, through the PT portal.
Each month, PTs must send the encrypted provincial nomination (monthly nomination spreadsheet) directly to the CIO via Entrust. The spreadsheet tracks all nominations issued, including both non-Express Entry and Express Entry nominations.
Processing offices must follow procedural fairness guidelines (PDF, 597.29KB) in OP 1 if they are not satisfied that a PNP applicant meets the regulatory criteria to become a member of the provincial nominee class. In such cases, the office must inform both the applicant and the PT of their concerns, and both parties must have the opportunity to respond and provide additional information/documentation in support of the application/nomination.
Note: The Yukon Community Pilot (YCP) was launched in January 2020 by the Yukon government to meet Yukon’s economic development and labour market needs. The YCP is a new stream under the Yukon Nominee Program that allows more employment flexibility for up to 50 nominees working in specific Yukon communities. The nomination issued by the Yukon government will be community restrictive instead of employer restrictive. Under this initiative, nominees will be issued an open work permit allowing them to work for up to 3 employers within a specific community, rather than 1 specific employer. The pilot will run for 5 years. Applications will be accepted until June 22, 2025.
The participating communities are
- Dawson City
- Haines Junction
- Watson Lake
These permanent residence applications will be coded in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) under Special Program as YUKONCP.
See the Yukon Community Pilot (YCP) for more information.
Ability to become economically established
The ability to become economically established criterion applies to the principal applicant.
As the nominating province or territory (PT) assesses this criterion before issuing its nomination, the nomination itself should be considered the primary indicator of an applicant’s ability to become economically established, unless there is additional evidence that would indicate otherwise. In some cases, adverse information may come to light that raises concerns about an applicant’s ability to become economically established. For example, an applicant relying exclusively on the financial guarantee of their relative residing in the province or territory raises concerns that the applicant is not able to become established economically without such assistance. In this case, officers may wish to request additional information and documentation from applicants to demonstrate and support their ability to become economically established.
A prospective nominee may have a child who does not meet the definition of “dependent child” under the IRPR, and therefore cannot be included in the application for permanent residence. If a province or territory decides to issue a nomination to this dependent in their own right, the dependent would then have to submit their own application for permanent residence and would be assessed on the merits of their own ability to become economically established.
Factors to examine when determining the ability to become economically established
In cases where, in light of adverse information, the officer is not satisfied that a nomination is a sufficient indicator of an applicant’s ability to become economically established in Canada, they may examine certain factors as part of the overall assessment to determine the applicant’s ability to become economically established.
These factors may include, but are not limited to
- the current job or job offer
- language ability, for example
- language test results
- the client’s language(s) of education
- the language of work experience
- the ability to communicate in an interview
- work experience
- education and training
The weight given to these factors may vary on a case-by-case basis. For example, when a nominee has a high level of education such as a PhD and is nominated for a low- or intermediate-skill level service position, this mismatch may be reasonable when the job is an entry-level opportunity. If the same PhD candidate were nominated for a position as a welder and lacked the relevant training and work experience, there would be little alignment between the nominee’s labour market intentions and their skills and abilities.
The applicant’s intention and ability to enter the labour market to fully support themselves is an indicator of their ability to become economically established. If the officer is not satisfied that the individual intends to enter the labour market, they may consider refusing the application.
The officer’s comparison of the requirements of the occupation (indicated by the National Occupational Classification [NOC] in the submitted nomination) with all the information provided by the applicant is critical in determining the applicant’s ability to become economically established. Reference the appropriate NOC version (2016 or 2021) used by the nominating PT.
The officer must examine all information provided to ensure that the elements of the application are consistent before making a final determination. The applicant should be invited to address any concerns that arise, in accordance with the principles of procedural fairness.
Negative substitution of evaluation and requirement for concurrence
Subsection R87(3) provides authority for an officer to substitute their own evaluation of a foreign national’s likelihood of being able to become economically established in Canada, if the foreign national’s nomination is not a sufficient indicator. A second officer must concur with the substituted evaluation (subsection R87(4)).
Intent to reside in the nominating province or territory
IRCC must be satisfied that the applicant intends to reside in the nominating province or territory (PT) before issuing the permanent resident visa. As the nominating PT assesses this criterion before making its nomination, the nomination should be considered a good indicator of an applicant’s intent to reside in that province or territory. Nevertheless, if adverse information comes to light regarding an applicant’s intention to reside in the nominating PT, the applicant should be invited to address any concerns, in accordance with the principles of procedural fairness.
When seeking permanent resident status, whether at a port of entry or local IRCC office in Canada, applicants must establish that they still intend to reside in the province or territory that has nominated them. For more information, see Examination before granting permanent residence to a provincial nominee.
Exclusions from membership in the PNC
Officers who have reason to believe that an applicant, whose nomination was issued after September 2, 2008, was nominated on the basis of a passive investment, should interview the applicant and/or request additional documentation to satisfy subsection R87(5), (6) and (9) requirements.
Assess cases where the nomination was issued before September 2, 2008 according to the regulations in effect immediately before September 2, 2008.
A passive investment occurs when an individual invests capital in a business or organization without being actively involved in its day-to-day management. Such an investment is prohibited under subsection R87(5) and foreign nationals are not considered members of the provincial nominee class if their nomination was based on the provision of capital or their participation in an immigration-linked investment scheme unless any of the following apply (subsection R87(6)).
- the capital provided to a business is not made primarily for the purpose of deriving interest, dividends or capital gains
- the foreign national controls, or will control, at least 33 ⅓ percent of the equity in the business, or has made a minimum of $1 million equity investment in the business
- the foreign national will participate actively, on an ongoing basis, in the management of the business
- the terms of investment in the business do not include a redemption option.
The percentage of equity controlled by both the principal applicant and their spouse or common-law partner may be considered.
Immigration-linked investment scheme
Persons are excluded from membership in the provincial nominee class if they intend to or have participated in an immigration-linked investment scheme as defined in subsection R87(9). The definition includes any strategy or plan where
- the agreement or arrangement was entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring status or privilege under the Act or
- one of the objectives is to facilitate immigration to Canada and
- one of the objectives of the promoters of the strategy or plan is to raise capital
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