Processing Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applications: Determining membership in the class

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.

The requirements to be considered a member of the PN class are found in R87, namely that the applicant:

  • has the ability to become economically established in Canada
  • is named in a nomination certificate issued by the government of a province or territory
  • intends to reside in the province or territory that nominated them.

Subsection 87(5) of IRPR excludes persons from membership in the PN class who:

  • have been nominated under a passive investment proposal; or
  • intend to or have participated in an immigration-linked investment scheme; and
  • do not fall under one of the exceptions listed in subsection IRPR subsection 87(6).

See Exclusions from membership in the PNP Class for more information about passive investment and immigration-linked investment schemes.

Provincial/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 paper-based (non-Express Entry) process or through Express Entry. Nominations made through the paper-based 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 paper-based 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.

Ability to become economically established

The ability to become economically established applies to the principal applicant.

An economic 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 establish economically without such assistance. 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 Regulations, and therefore cannot be included in the application for permanent residence (PR). If a province or territory decides to issue a nomination to this dependant in his/her own right, that dependant would then have to submit their own application for PR and would be assessed on the merits of their own ability to economically establish.

Factors to examine when determining the ability to economically establish

In cases where the officer is not satisfied that the issuance of 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 economically establish. These factors may include, but are not limited to:

  • current job or job offer
  • language ability
  • 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-level service position, this mismatch may be acceptable 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 his or her skills and abilities.

An indicator of the ability to become economically established is the applicant’s intention and ability to enter the labour market in order to fully support themselves. If the officer is not satisfied that the individual intends to enter the labour market, they should consider refusing the application. Part-time or casual work that would not generate enough income to fully support the applicant may not meet this requirement.

Critical in determining the applicant’s ability to economically establish is the officer’s comparison of the requirements of the occupation (indicated by the NOC in the submitted nomination) with all of the information provided by the applicant. Reference the appropriate NOC version (2006 or 2011) used by the nominating PT.

The officer must examine all information provided to determine that there is consistency throughout the elements of the application before making a final determination. The applicant should be invited to address any concerns which arise, in accordance with the principles of procedural fairness.

Negative substitution of evaluation and requirement for concurrence

R87(3) provides authority for an officer to substitute their own evaluation on the likelihood of the ability of a foreign national 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 (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 before issuing the permanent resident visa.

When seeking PR status, whether at a Port of entry (POE) 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 as a Provincial Nominee.

Exclusions from membership in the PN Class  

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 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.

Passive investment

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 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 (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 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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