- This article outlines the factors that determine whether a candidate can become economically established in Canada through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
- To be eligible for a provincial nomination, a candidate must have the ability to become economically established in Canada, which means that they should be able to support themselves financially.
- IRCC officers assess an applicant’s ability to economically establish on a case-by-case basis, taking into account factors such as occupation, language ability, overall work experience, and education.
Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is the main pathway for economic-class immigrants. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) release an annual Immigration Levels Plan, outlining permanent residence admissions targets by immigration class and program. In 2023, the plan targets 105,000 new permanent residents through the PNP. To be eligible for a provincial nomination, a candidate must satisfy several conditions outlined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).
In a recent update, IRCC provided processing instructions to guide how they assess an applicant’s ability to become economically established under the PNP. This article provides insight into the assessment process, outlining the factors that determine whether a candidate can become economically established in Canada.
Ability to Become Economically Established
To be eligible for a provincial nomination, a candidate must have the ability to become economically established in Canada. This means that the candidate should be able to support themselves (and any eligible dependents) financially. Most PNP applications contain much of the same information and have some similar eligibility criteria as an application for permanent residence to IRCC, even though they are two separate applications. In most cases, getting a provincial nomination is considered sufficient proof of a candidate’s ability to become economically established.
However, in some cases, immigration officers may need to look beyond the provincial nomination and examine other factors, such as the candidate’s current job (or job offer), language ability (test results, the language of work experience, how they communicate in an interview), overall work experience, and education. If the officer discovers anything that raises red flags, it can lead to further questions.
IRCC officers will examine a candidate’s ability to economically establish on a case-by-case basis. For example, IRCC may have questions for a highly educated person who is nominated for a low or intermediate-skilled occupation. IRCC says this can be perceived as a bit of a mismatch, but it may adequately explain the candidate’s application. If the same candidate was offered a position that they were not trained for or experienced in, the officer can question the candidate’s labor market intentions.
Occupation and Retaining the Job
IRCC officers will compare the candidate’s occupation, based on the National Occupational Classification (NOC) code, with the information provided to determine their ability to retain the job. If the officer has concerns, the candidate will be invited to address them.
Relying on Financial Guarantee of a Relative
If an applicant is relying exclusively on the financial guarantee of a relative already residing in the province, the officer will examine the financial situation of the relative, their relationship with the applicant, and any other information that may help determine whether the applicant can become economically established in Canada.
Intention to Reside in a Province
The intention is a key factor for applicants who wish to obtain permanent residence through a PNP. The immigration officer must be satisfied that the applicant intends to reside in the nominating province or territory before issuing the permanent resident visa. The province or territory will assess this before nominating the candidate. Still, in cases where IRCC has cause to question the intent to reside, they will allow the candidate to address the concerns. This is to the principles of procedural fairness.
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The Growth of the PNP
The PNP was established in 1998 to help spread the economic benefits of immigration throughout the country. Immigration is a shared responsibility between Canada’s provincial and federal governments. Provincial governments can target local labor shortages and find candidates they believe are best suited to contribute to the provincial economy.
In its first year, Canada’s PNP admitted only 400 new permanent residents. The program has since been successful, and 117,500 will be admitted to Canada through the PNP in 2023. This growth is in line with the government’s goal to welcome over 1.2 million new permanent residents by 2023, with economic immigration being a significant component of that target.
The PNP is a vital pathway for economic-class immigrants to obtain permanent residence in Canada. While provincial nominations are generally considered sufficient proof of a candidate’s ability to become economically established, there are situations where IRCC may need to examine other factors to ensure the candidate meets the requirements. IRCC officers will examine each case on an individual basis, considering factors such as the candidate’s occupation, language ability, overall work experience, education, financial situation, and intent to reside in the nominating province. The PNP has been successful in helping to spread the economic benefits of immigration across Canada, and the program’s growth is in line with the government’s targets for economic immigration.