Federal Skilled Trades Class: 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.

Membership in the Federal Skilled Trades Class is based on a pass/fail system in which applicants must meet all of the requirements of R87.2(3). Once you have completed the assessment you can determine whether the applicant is a member of the class and either continue processing or refuse the application:

Scenario Action by officer

The applicant meets all of the requirements to become a member of the Federal Skilled Trades Class

  • approve the application, or
  • consider substituted evaluation if warranted by circumstances

The applicant fails to meet any one of the requirements to become a member of the Federal Skilled Trades Class

  • refuse the application, or
  • consider substituted evaluation if warranted by circumstances

The officer is unable to make a decision as to whether the applicant meets the requirements to become a member of the Federal Skilled Trades Class, due to lack of information or documentation, or there are serious doubts as to the accuracy or legitimacy of the documents submitted

  • write to the applicant explaining the concerns and allow the applicant to respond to those concerns through correspondence/documentation and/or an interview, or
  • refuse the application

Substituted evaluation

If the requirements in R87.2(3), whether or not they are met, are not accurate indicators of whether the foreign national will become economically established in Canada, an officer may substitute their evaluation for the requirements (R87.2(4)). A second officer must concur with a substituted evaluation.

Substituted evaluation may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Officers may consider any relevant factors. The fact that an applicant “almost met” the requirements of the Federal Skilled Trades Class is not, in itself, sufficient grounds to recommend the use of positive substituted evaluation.

Do not confuse substituted evaluation with humanitarian and compassionate authority (A25(1)), which enables the Minister or his/her delegates to grant permanent residence or an exemption from any applicable criteria or obligation of the Act if justified by humanitarian and compassionate considerations relating to the foreign national.

If an applicant or their representative requests orally or in writing that the officer consider exercising their substituted evaluation powers in the applicant's favour, officers must examine the circumstances. There is no requirement that the applicant be interviewed in cases when the applicant did not make a compelling case for substituted evaluation. If the officer does not consider substituted evaluation appropriate under the circumstances, indicate this in the file notes and in the formal refusal letter, along with a brief summary of the reasons. When referring to substituted evaluation in writing use the terms in the legislation, such as “substituted evaluation” or “ability to become economically established in Canada.”

Situations when an officer decides to use substituted evaluation Action by officer

The applicant meets all the requirements to become a member of the Federal Skilled Trades Class (i.e. negative substituted evaluation)

  • communicate their concerns to the applicant in writing and provide sufficient opportunity for the applicant to respond to those concerns, through correspondence/documentation and/or an interview
  • obtain written concurrence from a designated officer
  • provide reasons for the use of negative substituted evaluation in GCMS notes and in the formal refusal letter sent to the applicant.

The applicant did not meet any one or more of the requirements to become a member of the Federal Skilled Trades Class (i.e. positive substituted evaluation)

  • obtain written concurrence from a designated officer
  • add a note in GCMS providing reasons for the use of positive substituted evaluation.

Fraud detection and deterrence

Interviews, site visits, and telephone checks are the most effective ways to detect and combat fraud.

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