Ministerial Instructions

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) of 2002 provides the legislative authority for Canada’s immigration program. IRPA contains various provisions that allow the Minister to issue special Instructions to immigration officers to enable the Government of Canada to best attain its immigration goals. Ministerial Instructions (MIs) are typically issued for limited periods of time, and can touch on a diverse range of issues, from temporary resident processing to federal skilled worker selection and application intake measures. Applications are currently being processed under the following MIs:

Ministerial Instructions (MI1)*: Federal Skilled Workers

Under the first set of Ministerial Instructions (MI1) issued on November 29, 2008, CIC began to limit the type of Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) applications received to the following categories:

  • a) applicants with an arranged employment offer;
  • b) applicants with work experience in one of 38 in-demand occupations; and
  • c) applicants in Canada as students or temporary foreign workers.

MI1 was applied retroactively to FSW applications received on or after February 27, 2008. Read the full text of MI1.
*Note that MI1 was superseded by MI2’s issuance (see below)*

Ministerial Instructions (MI2)*: Federal Skilled Workers, Canadian Experience Class, Immigrant Investor Program

As part of the second set of Ministerial Instructions (MI2) released on June 26, 2010, CIC capped the number of new FSW applications to be processed at 20,000, not including applications with an arranged employment offer. The Department also responded to evolving labour market trends by issuing an updated FSW eligibility list of 29 occupations, each capped at no more than 1,000 applications. In addition, FSW and Canadian Experience Class principal applicants became subject to mandatory language testing. MI2 also included a temporary pause on new federal Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) applications. Read the full text of MI2.
*Note that FSWP and IIP provisions in MI2 have been superseded by those in MI3 (see below)*

Ministerial Instructions (MI3)*: Federal Skilled Workers, Immigrant Investor Program, Entrepreneurs

Effective July 1, 2011, the third set of Ministerial Instructions (MI3) further limited the intake of new FSW applications by lowering the global cap to 10,000, with sub-caps of 500 for each of the 29 priority occupations. It introduced an annual cap of 700 for new applications made under the federal Immigrant Investor Program, and also included a temporary moratorium on Entrepreneur applications while that program undergoes review. Read the full text of MI3.
*Note that MI3 remains in effect despite the issuance of MI4*

Ministerial Instructions (MI4): Parents and Grandparents, Federal Skilled Workers

On November 5, 2011, CIC issued the fourth set of Ministerial Instructions (MI4), which introduced a temporary pause on new sponsorship applications for Parents and Grandparents for up to 24 months. It also created a new eligibility stream for international PhD students under the FSW Program, with annual applications capped at 1,000. Read the full text of MI4.

Ministerial Instruction regarding the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa

An additional Ministerial Instruction was issued on December 1, 2011, to introduce the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa. The Super Visa is a temporary resident multiple entry visa with a duration of up to ten years that will allow applicants to remain in Canada for up to 24 months without the need for renewal of their status. Read the full text of the Super Visa MI.

Ministerial Instructions (MI5)*: Federal Skilled Workers, Immigrant Investor Program

Effective July 1, 2012, CIC’s fifth set of Ministerial Instructions (MI5) introduced temporary pauses on accepting new applications to the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program (with some exceptions) and federal Immigrant Investor Program (IIP). These pauses have no impact on FSWP and IIP admissions as they are set in the Annual Immigration Levels Plan and there are more than enough applications in our inventory to meet current and future admission targets for both these programs. Read the full text of MI5.

*Note that MI5 supersedes MI3 measures related to FSW and IIP, but does not affect MI4.*

Ministerial Instructions protecting vulnerable foreign workers from the risk of abuse and exploitation in sex trade related businesses

Effective July 14, 2012, ministerial instructions will direct immigration officers not to process any work permit applications from foreign nationals seeking employment in businesses that are in sectors where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation – namely strip clubs, escort services and massage parlours. In addition, effective July 28, 2012, foreign nationals issued new open work permits will be restricted from working in these sex trade-related businesses through a condition placed on their work permits. Read the full text of the protecting vulnerable foreign workers MI.

Ministerial Instructions (MI6): Federal Skilled Trades Program

This set of Ministerial Instructions was issued to coincide with the coming into force of the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) on January 2, 2013. The Instructions specify that CIC will process a maximum of 3,000 applications under this program each year, provided they meet certain criteria. Within the overall cap, a total of 43 occupations are eligible for FSTP processing under MI6. Of these, 26 occupations are not subject to sub-caps, while 17 occupations are limited to 100 applications each. FSTP applicants must also meet minimum language thresholds in order to be eligible for processing.

Read the full text of MI6.

Ministerial Instructions 7 (MI7): Start-Up Visa Program 

Issued on March 30, 2013, CIC’s seventh set of Ministerial Instructions (MI7) introduced the Start-Up Visa Program. The Start-Up Visa Program is a new pilot program under the Economic Immigration Class which provides sought-after entrepreneurs and innovators with permanent residency and access to a wide range of business partners. Applicants for the start-up visa require a commitment from a designated Canadian angel investor group or venture capital fund  to invest in their business idea before applying to CIC for permanent residence.

The Start-Up Visa Program is the first to be created under section 14.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which allows the Minister to issue instructions to create economic immigration programs that are limited to a duration of five years. Under this authority, these programs are limited to no more than 2,750 applications per year in total.

If the program proves successful during the five-year trial period and the Department wishes to maintain it, CIC will formally introduce the new economic class in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. Read the full text of MI7.

Ministerial Instructions 8 (MI8): Federal Skilled Workers

Effective May 4, 2013, the eighth set of Ministerial Instructions (MI8) lifted the general pause on the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). It re-established an eligible occupations stream, with an overall cap of 5,000 new applications and sub-caps of 300 applications in each of the 24 eligible occupations. MI8 coincided with the coming into force of the modernized FSWP, which included new minimum language requirements and mandatory educational credential assessments of foreign educational credentials. MI8 also re-set the cap for PhD applicants under the FSWP (1,000 new applications each year) and for the Federal Skilled Trades Program (3,000 new applications each year) to May 4, 2013 thru April 30, 2014. Lastly, the MI renewed the temporary pauses on the Immigrant Investor Program and the Federal Entrepreneur Program. Read the full text of MI8.

Ministerial Instructions 9 (MI9): Parents and Grandparents

On June 15, 2013, new Ministerial Instructions (MI9) were issued that manage the processing of new applications for sponsorship of Parents and Grandparents as a member of the family class.  These MIs contain two measures.  One, the temporary pause on the acceptance of new applications for sponsorship of Parents and Grandparents – which has been in place since November 5, 2011 and was due to expire in November 2013 – will remain in place until January 1, 2014 in order to align with the expected coming into force of program changes. Two, the MIs establish that beginning January 2, 2014, a maximum of 5,000 new complete applications for sponsorship of Parents and Grandparents will be accepted for processing each year. This limit, which is necessary to support the continued reduction of the current backlog of applications, will remain in place unless a new MI is issued in the future. Read the full text of MI9.

Ministerial Instructions 10 (MI10): Canadian Experience Class

On November 9, 2013, new Ministerial Instructions (MI10) were issued to manage the intake of new applications in the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). From November 9, 2013 to October 31, 2014, CIC will accept a maximum of 12,000 new CEC applications. Most National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level B occupations are further sub-capped at 200 applications each. Work experience in six NOC B occupations can no longer be used to qualify for the CEC. NOC 0 and A occupations are not sub-capped, but are subject to the overall cap of 12,000. Read the full text of MI10.

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