Terms and definitions related to permanent residence

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.

This page currently includes only information about some economic and non-economic classes and the permanent resident card and status. This page will change as the rest of the permanent residence manual chapters are modernized. In the meantime, consult relevant IP and OP manual chapters for information about other permanent resident programs.

Acknowledgement of receipt (R10 passed) letter

An acknowledgement of receipt (R10 passed) letter is issued to an applicant (or their representative, if applicable) once their application for permanent residence has passed the R10 completeness check. The letter is issued by the Centralized Intake Office. If the application was submitted electronically, this letter is sent to the applicant (or their representative, if applicable) via their MyCIC account; otherwise, the letter is sent by mail. This letter should not be confused with the electronic receipt of the application for permanent residence letter. This is the official acknowledgement of receipt letter and it may be used to support a bridging open work permit if all other requirements are met.

Applicant

A person who has filled out and submitted a complete application for permanent residence.

Arranged employment

Pursuant to R82(1), “arranged employment” means an offer of employment, in an occupation listed in Skill Type 0, Skill Level A or B of the NOC, that is made by an employer other than an embassy, high commission or consulate in Canada or an employer that appears on the list referred to in R203(6), for full-time work in Canada that is non-seasonal and indeterminate.

Base nominations

Provincial and territorial "base" nominations are made through Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams that exist outside Express Entry and are subject to regular PNP processing standards. They are also referred to as non-Express Entry streams.

Business or investment activity

A private sector for profit activity, but excluding any activity related to a state-owned enterprise.

Canadian educational credential

Pursuant to subsection R73(1), "Canadian educational credential" means any diploma, certificate or credential, issued on the completion of a Canadian program of study or training at an educational or training institution that is recognized by the provincial authorities responsible for registering, accrediting, supervising and regulating such institutions.

Candidate

This term should be used in relation to Express Entry / profile / submission. It refers to a person in the Express Entry pool. Candidates in the pool are ranked against others in the pool. Employers with a Labour Market Impact Assessment may hire Express Entry candidates.

Come to Canada number

A temporary number given to a person who completes the Come to Canada wizard. The number allows the person to carry answers over from the Come to Canada wizard to the profile builder section of their MyCIC account so the individual does not have to answer those questions again.

Come to Canada wizard (the wizard)

An IRCC website online tool that gives candidates a sense of whether they meet the eligibility requirements of certain programs. All information is provided in a non-secure environment. Personal information, such as a candidate’s name, is not collected.

Common-law partner

“Common-law partner” is defined in R1(1).

Convention refugee

A Convention refugee is a person who, by reason of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion:

  • is outside each of their countries of nationality and is unable or, by reason of that fear, unwilling to avail themself of the protection of each of those countries; or
  • not having a country of nationality, is outside the country of their former habitual residence and unable or, by reason of that fear, unwilling to return to that country [A96].
Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)

The Comprehensive Ranking System, or CRS, determines a candidate’s position in the Express Entry pool. It ranks prospective skilled immigrants by looking at their skills, work experience, language ability, education and other factors that we know lead to success in Canada.

Dependent child

Since October 24, 2017, the definition of “dependent child” is as follows:

A dependent child, in respect of a parent, is a child who

  1. has one of the following relationships with the parent:
    1. is the biological child of the parent, if the child has not been adopted by a person other than the spouse or common-law partner of the parent
    2. is the adopted child of the parent
  2. is in one of the following situations of dependency:
    1. is less than 22 years of age and is not a spouse or common-law partner
    2. is 22 years of age or older, has depended substantially on the financial support of the parent since before the age of 22 and is unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition

Between August 1, 2014, and October 23, 2017, the definition of “dependent child ” was as follows:

A dependent child, in respect of a parent, is a child who

  1. has one of the following relationships with the parent:
    1. is the biological child of the parent, if the child has not been adopted by a person other than the spouse or common-law partner of the parent
    2. is the adopted child of the parent
  2. is in one of the following situations of dependency:
    1. is less than 19 years of age and is not a spouse or common-law partner
    2. is 19 years of age or older and has depended substantially on the financial support of the parent since before the age of 19 and is unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition

Until July 31, 2014, the definition of “dependent child” was as follows:

A dependent child, in respect of a parent, is a child who

  1. has one of the following relationships with the parent:
    1. is the biological child of the parent, if the child has not been adopted by a person other than the spouse or common-law partner of the parent
    2. is the adopted child of the parent
  2. is in one of the following situations of dependency:
    1. is less than 22 years of age and not a spouse or common-law partner
    2. has depended substantially on the financial support of the parent since before the age of 22—or if the child became a spouse or common-law partner before the age of 22, since becoming a spouse or common-law partner—and, since before the age of 22 or since becoming a spouse or common-law partner, as the case may be, has been a student in both of the following situations:
      1. continuously enrolled in and attending a post-secondary institution that is accredited by the relevant government authority
      2. actively pursuing a course of academic, professional or vocational training on a full-time basis
    3. is 22 years of age or older and has depended substantially on the financial support of the parent since before the age of 22 and is unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition
Education

  • “Educational credential” is defined in R73 as any diploma, degree or trade or apprenticeship credential issued on the completion of a program of study or training at an educational or training institution recognized by the authorities responsible for registering, accrediting, supervising and regulating such institutions in the country of issue.
  • “Full-time” is defined in R78(1) as requiring at least 15 hours of instruction per week during the academic year, including any period of training in the workplace that forms part of the course of instruction.
  • “Full-time equivalent” means, in respect of part-time or accelerated studies, the period of time that would have been required to complete those studies on a full-time basis.

See also: Full time studies (CEC)

Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)

An Educational Credential Assessment, or ECA, is a report issued by an organization designated by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration that verifies the authenticity of a foreign diploma, certificate or credential, and assesses its equivalence to a Canadian educational credential.

Electronic facilitation counterfoil (eFoil)

An eFoil is created automatically in the Global Case Management System when an officer generates a temporary resident permit or a Confirmation of Permanent Residence for a visa-exempt foreign national. This virtual document is issued to ensure that visa-exempt foreign nationals are permitted to embark on their flight, following airline verification of their passport and travel documents via the Canada Border Services Agency’s Interactive Advance Passenger Information system (it should be noted that this system is currently available in air mode only).

Electronic receipt of the application for permanent residence letter

An electronic receipt of the application for permanent residence letter is automatically issued to an applicant (or their representative, if applicable) on receipt of their electronic application for permanent residence. This letter is sent to the applicant through their MyCIC account. This letter cannot be used to support a bridging open work permit and it should not be confused with the acknowledgement of receipt (R10 passed) letter.

Enhanced nominations

Provincial and territorial nominations made through the Express Entry system are called "enhanced nominations". Enhanced nominations are processed online and are subject to the six-month or less processing standard (in 80% of cases).

Equivalency assessment

Pursuant to R73(1), “equivalency assessment” means a determination, issued by an organization or institution designated under R75(4), that a completed foreign diploma, certificate or credential is equivalent to a completed Canadian educational credential as defined above.

The equivalency assessment will also include an assessment by the organization or institution of the authenticity of the completed foreign diploma, certificate or credential.

Exemption

A25(1) authorizes the Minister to grant an exemption from most applicable criteria or obligations of the Act, if they are of the opinion that it is justified by humanitarian and compassionate considerations.

Examples

  • Exemption from criminal inadmissibility A36(2)
  • Exemption from requirement to apply for permanent residence from outside Canada.
Express Entry pool (the pool)

Potential candidates who have submitted an Express Entry profile may be placed in the Express Entry pool if they meet the minimum entry criteria. Initially referred to as the Express Entry pool and thereafter as the pool.

Express Entry profile

A potential candidate fills out an Express Entry profile to express their interest in coming to Canada. The Express Entry profile is filled out after the potential candidate has completed the Come to Canada wizard and created a MyCIC account. Potential candidates can access their profile by logging into their MyCIC account.

Express Entry profile number

Given to an Express Entry candidate who successfully enters the pool, a profile number is used to add a profile to the Job Bank so potential employers can confirm the candidate is in the Express Entry pool. It is used by provinces and territories through the P/T Portal to confirm a candidate is actually in the Express Entry pool and by IRCC for internal reasons.

Express Entry system

This will be used to manage the intake of economic immigration applications under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, Canadian experience class and a portion of the Provincial Nominee Program.

Extrinsic information

Extrinsic information (which needs to be disclosed to the applicant so they have a chance to respond) is:

  • information that is from a source other than the applicant
  • information that the applicant does not have access to, or is not aware of, and that is being used in the decision.

Examples

  • Information received from an anonymous source that is integral to the decision.
  • Following a request about the authenticity of documents, the visa office replies that the documents are not authentic. Although the documents were submitted as part of the H&C application, the information related to their authenticity will be used as the basis for the decision or as a determinative factor.
  • Opinions from medical officers and provincial health authorities.
Family member

For the purposes of the Act, other than A12 and A38(2)(d), and the Regulations, “family member” in respect of a person means:

  • the spouse or common-law partner of the person;
  • a dependent child of the person or of the person's spouse or common-law partner; and
  • a dependent child of a dependent child referred to in R1(3)(b).
Full-time studies

Canadian experience class education requirement for applications received in the Post-Graduation stream before January 2, 2013

For the purposes of CEC, and to allow for greater flexibility, full-time studies are not explicitly defined within the Regulations, and therefore the definition that will apply is the one used by the post-secondary institution which issued the educational credential.

Full-time work

For CEC applications received on or after January 2, 2013

Pursuant to R73(1), “full-time work” means at least 30 hours of work over a period of one week, and pursuant to R73(2) “work” means an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned.

For CEC applications received before January 2, 2013

Pursuant to R87.1(3)(a), “full-time work” means at least 37.5 hours of work over a period of one week. Full-time equivalence, or 1,950 hours of paid employment over a period of at least 12 months will also be considered.

Calculating work experience for CEC

The full-time work experience requirement for applicants in the CEC may be met by the equivalent in part-time, paid work experience (e.g., more than one part-time job held simultaneously or one or more part-time jobs held over the equivalent of at least one year of full-time work).

Work experience can be calculated by adding up the number of weeks of full-time (or equivalent) paid work, for example:

  • 30 hours/37.5 hours per week in one job, or a total of at least 30 hours/37.5 hours per week in more than one job) in one or more skilled occupations at:
    •  Skill Type 0 (Managerial occupations);
    • Skill Level A (Professional occupations); or 
    • Skill Level B (Technical occupations and skilled trades) of the NOC.
  • Work experience must be acquired over a period of at least one year; work in excess of 30 hours/37.5 hours per week over a shorter period cannot compensate for any shorter overall period of experience.

For a student who had graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution, only work experience gained after graduation will count towards meeting the work experience requirement (e.g., post-graduate work permit).

For FSW applications received on or after May 4, 2013

Pursuant to R73(1), “full-time work” means at least 30 hours of work over a period of one week, and pursuant to R73(2), “work” means an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned.

For FSW applications received before May 4, 2013

Pursuant to R80.7, “full-time work” means at least 37.5 hours of work over a period of one week.

The full-time work experience requirement for applicants in the Federal Skilled Worker Class may be met by the equivalent in part-time paid work experience (e.g., more than one part-time job held simultaneously or one or more part-time jobs held over the equivalent of at least one year of full-time work). However, the part-time work experience must have been accumulated over a continuous period pursuant to R75(2)(a).

Calculating work experience for FSW

Work experience can be calculated by:

  • adding up the number of continuous weeks of full-time (or equivalent in part-time) paid work (i.e., 30 hours/37.5 hours per week in one full-time job, a combined total of at least 30 hours/37.5 hours per week in more than one part-time job,
  • 15 hours per week in one part-time job over a period of two years, etc) in one or more skilled occupations at Skill Type 0 (Managerial occupations), Skill Level A (Professional occupations) or B (Technical occupations and skilled trades) of NOC 2011.

Note: Work in excess of 30 hours/37.5 hours of paid work over a period of one week cannot compensate for less than one year of full-time work experience.

For Federal Skilled Trades

Pursuant to R73(1), “full-time work” means at least 30 hours of work over a period of one week, and pursuant to R73(2) “work” means an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned.

The full-time work experience requirement for applicants in the Federal Skilled Trades Class may be met by the equivalent in part-time, paid work experience (e.g. more than one part-time job held simultaneously or one or more part-time jobs held over the equivalent of two years of full-time work).

Calculating work experience for FST

Work experience can be calculated by adding up the number of weeks of full-time (or equivalent in part-time) paid work in a skilled trade occupation (e.g. 30 hours per week in one job over a two-year period, 15 hours per week in one job over a four-year period, or a total of at least 30 combined hours per week in more than one job over a two-year period).

Note: Work in excess of 30 hours of paid work over a period of one week cannot compensate for less than two years of full-time work experience.

General round of invitations

IRCC controls how many Express Entry candidates are invited to apply for permanent residence through a system of "rounds of invitations". Rounds of invitations are done at a frequency and in numbers that align to IRCC's processing capacity and annual levels targets. If the instructions for a round of invitations do not specify which immigration program the candidates must be eligible for, the invitations are based solely on the CRS score, and this is referred to as a "general round of invitations".

Intrinsic information

Intrinsic information (which does not need to be disclosed to the applicant) is:

  • information that is provided by or readily available to the applicant; and
  • information that the applicant is aware will be used in the decision.

Example

Information provided by an applicant's spouse at an interview to determine the bona fides of a marriage is considered intrinsic because the applicant has access to it and would reasonably expect it to be used in the decision.

Invitation to Apply (ITA)

An Invitation to Apply, or ITA, is given to Express Entry candidates who have the highest Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores at the time of an Express Entry round of invitations.

Candidates who have a provincial or territorial nomination or qualifying offer of arranged employment (supported by an LMIA) will be given 600 points in the CRS and are highly likely to receive an ITA. Those who receive an ITA have 60 days to apply. This deadline is indicated in the client's correspondence, which they can access in their MyCIC account. Candidates who are issued an ITA have three options: they can respond to the ITA; they can ignore it (in which case they are removed from the Express Entry pool); they can decline it, in which case they return to the pool for consideration in future rounds of invitations.

Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Fund

The capital derived from payments made by approved immigrant investors under the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital class, and any income—including interest and capital gains—generated by the investment of the payments, for the purposes of investment as venture capital.

Job Bank

An electronic listing of jobs provided by employers from across Canada. Candidates without a job offer or a provincial or territorial nomination will be required to register with the Job Bank to complete and submit their Express Entry profile. Express Entry candidates can be matched with Canadian employers and jobs based on their skills, knowledge and experience.

Job Seeker validation code

Express Entry candidates receive this four-digit code when they submit their Express Entry profile in their MyCIC account. This code is automatically generated by the system. Candidates need their Job Seeker validation code to register for the Government of Canada's Job Bank. The validation code is also required by provinces and territories who wish to nominate a candidate through the P/T portal.

Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

An LMIA (formerly known as a Labour Market Opinion) is an assessment an employer in Canada must apply for before hiring a foreign worker. A positive LMIA will show that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian or permanent resident is available to do the job. A positive LMIA is sometimes called a confirmation letter. Employers must contact Employment and Social Development Canada to apply for an LMIA.

Letter of Interest

The notification that IRCC will send to candidates in the pool when a province or territory has expressed interest in their profile.

Language skill area

Pursuant to subsection R73(1), “language skill area” means speaking, oral comprehension (listening), reading and writing.

Marriage

“Marriage” is defined, with respect to a marriage that took place outside Canada, as a marriage that is valid both under the laws of the jurisdiction where it took place and under Canadian law [R2].

Minimum entry criteria (MEC)

A candidate must meet the Express Entry minimum entry criteria (MEC) to qualify for the Express Entry pool and to be eligible to receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence. They must also meet the MEC when they submit their application for permanent residence to IRCC. See the MEC section in the Express Entry program delivery instructions for details.

MyCIC number

This number is given to a person once they have created a MyCIC account. It is then used by a candidate to log into MyCIC.

National Occupational Classification

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is the official governmental classification and description of occupations in the Canadian economy. The NOC identifies and groups occupations in the Canadian economy by skill type and level based on the tasks, duties and responsibilities of the occupation.

Note: On January 31, 2012, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Statistics Canada replaced the 2006 edition of the NOC with the 2011 edition. Applications received in the Economic Classes are to be assessed against the 2011 edition of the NOC. However, in order to facilitate processing of applications in these classes, IRCC will continue to accept positive/neutral Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) that are assessed and issued by ESDC against the 2006 edition of the NOC, and work permits issued based on these LMIAs, provided the NOC 2006 occupation code can be correlated to an eligible NOC 2011 occupation code at the time of application to IRCC. Applicants will be assessed considering the current NOC version (i.e., issued in 2012).

Net worth

The fair market value of all of the assets of an applicant and their spouse or common-law partner, excluding the fair market value of their primary residence, minus the fair market value of all of their associated liabilities.

Notification of interest

Provinces and territories interested in a particular candidate will indicate their interest through the P/T portal. When this occurs, the candidate receives a system-generated message in their MyCIC account that advises them that a province or territory would like to consider them for nomination. This message is a "notification of interest".

Notionalize (and notionalization)

In their Express Entry profile and application for permanent residence, foreign nationals who have a mental or physical disability that prevents them from completing all four sections of their language tests will be able to notionalize their missing language score(s), i.e., calculate an average score based on completed scores using IRCC's online calculator.

Person in need of protection

A “Person in need of protection” is a person in Canada whose removal to their country or countries of nationality or, if they do not have a country of nationality, their country of former habitual residence, would subject them personally:

  1. to a danger, believed on substantial grounds to exist, of torture within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention Against Torture; or
  2. to a risk to their life or to a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment if
    1. the person is unable or, because of that risk, unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country;
    2. the risk would be faced by the person in every part of that country and is not faced generally by other individuals in or from that country;
    3. the risk is not inherent or incidental to lawful sanctions, unless imposed in disregard of accepted international standards, and
    4. the risk is not caused by the inability of that country to provide adequate health or medical care.
Potential candidate

Refers to a foreign national who is not yet in the Express Entry pool.

P/T portal

A secure, web-based portal through which provinces and territories (PT) will be able to access Express Entry candidates. This is where PTs will go to confirm the Express Entry profile number provided by the candidate; to identify candidates of interest for their respective PNP; and, to track their activity in the pool and the actions of candidates to whom they have issued a nomination certificate.

Program-specific round of invitations

IRCC controls how many Express Entry candidates are invited to apply for permanent residence through a system of "rounds of invitations". Rounds are done at a frequency and in numbers that align to IRCC's processing capacity and annual levels targets. A "program-specific round of invitations" includes only candidates holding the specified rank and appearing to meet the eligibility requirements of the specified program (e.g., top-ranked Canadian experience class candidates only).

Province or territory certificate of qualification

This is a document issued by the body that governs trades in a province or territory. It proves that a person is qualified to work in a certain skilled trade, i.e., they have passed a certification exam and meet all the requirements to practice their trade in that province or territory. Depending on the province, this certificate may be called a "certificate of qualification" or a "qualification certificate."

Protected person

A protected person is a person on whom refugee protection is conferred under A95(1) and whose claim has not subsequently been deemed to be rejected under A108(3) or A109(3), or whose refugee protection application is deemed to be rejected under A114(4) [A95(2)].

Protected temporary residents class

A foreign national is a protected temporary resident and a member of the PTR class if the foreign national holds a temporary resident permit and

  1. became a temporary resident under a temporary resident permit for protection reasons after making a claim for refugee protection outside Canada under A99; or
  2. was issued a Minister's permit under section 37 of the former Act after seeking admission to Canada under section 7 of the former Regulations or section 4 of the Humanitarian Designated Classes Regulations [R151.1].
Qualifying offer of arranged employment

In Express Entry, a qualifying offer of arranged employment means that the employer has obtained a Labour Market Impact Assessment. Candidates who have a qualifying offer will receive an additional 600 points under the Comprehensive Ranking System. More information about qualifying offers can be found in the Express Entry program delivery instructions.

Restricted occupations

  • R73 defines restricted occupations as those so designated by the Minister following a review of labour market activity and consultations with other stakeholders.
  • R75(2)(a) stipulates that experience in a restricted occupation cannot be used to satisfy the minimal requirements of a skilled worker.
  • R80(2) stipulates that no points can be given under the experience factor of the skilled worker selection criteria for experience in a restricted occupation.

At the time of publication, there were no occupations designated as restricted. However, for current information about restricted occupations, refer to the IRCC web site.

Round of invitations

A round of invitations occurs on a specific time and day when IRCC issues Invitations to Apply to the top-ranking candidates in the Express Entry pool. A round of invitations can be performed for the pool as a whole (Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) rank only) or specific to a program (CRS rank for federal skilled worker only). Every round of invitations has a set of instructions that the electronic system uses to invite candidates from the pool. These instructions are posted on the IRCC website before each round of invitations, and include the date and time of the round of invitations, the number of candidates that will get an Invitation to Apply, and if it applies, which specific immigration program will be included. Round of invitations is used as a noun (i.e., "the current round of invitations has resulted in…").

Skilled trade occupation

Pursuant to R87.2(1), a “skilled trade occupation” is defined as an occupation in one of the following categories belonging to Skill Level B of the NOC, unless the occupation has been designated a restricted occupation by the Minister:

  • Major Group 72, industrial, electrical and construction trades;
  • Major Group 73, maintenance and equipment operation trades;
  • Major Group 82, supervisors and technical occupations in natural resources, agriculture and related production;
  • Major Group 92, processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators;
  • Minor Group 632, chefs and cooks; and
  • Minor Group 633, butchers and bakers.
Spouse

“Spouse” is not defined in the Act or the Regulations, and takes the ordinary and usual definition of the term.

Submit/ submitted/ resubmit

The action of completing and delivering (electronically or otherwise) an Express Entry profile to IRCC. A candidate may resubmit their profile after the 12-month validity period has ended.

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