Processing Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applications: Determining admissibility

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.

Admissibility - procedural fairness

Like all other applicants, provincial nominees must not be inadmissible to Canada. Responsibility for the assessment of inadmissibility for the purpose of IRPA is solely that of the federal government. The Federal-Provincial/Territorial agreements include provisions on consulting nominating provinces and territories before refusal of PNP cases. The Agreements outline whether consultation should occur for all or specific refusal grounds, as well as the timeframe within which the province or territory has the opportunity to respond before the final refusal decision is made. For detailed information about determining admissibility, refer to ENF 2 / OP 18 – Evaluating Inadmissibility.

In order to follow procedural fairness, officers must make applicants aware of any concerns about their admissibility and must provide them with an opportunity to address those concerns. If the nominating province provides input directly or via the applicant in response to a procedural fairness letter addressed to the applicant, that input should be considered along with the applicant’s own input. Provincial or territorial input is, however, not determinative; the decision with respect to the applicant’s admissibility must be made by the IRCC officer. All extrinsic information, including information received from the province, must be disclosed to the applicant if it will be considered negatively by the IRCC officer. The applicant should be given an opportunity to respond to any such information. For more information about procedural fairness, refer to OP1 – Procedures.

Inadmissibility for financial reasons (A39)

As with all immigration classes, provincial nominees are subject to A39 which states that a foreign national is inadmissible for financial reasons if they are or will be unable or unwilling to support themselves or any other person who is dependent on them, and have not satisfied an officer that adequate arrangements for care and support, other than those that involve social assistance, have been made. The onus is on the foreign national to satisfy an officer that they are not inadmissible.

While provinces/territories should assess the foreign national’s ability to become economically established in Canada when making their nomination decision, their assessment does not relieve the IRCC officer of the duty to be satisfied concerning the foreign national’s admissibility and ability to become economically established in Canada.

Examining the applicant’s ability and willingness to support themselves and their dependents (A39)

When an officer has serious concerns regarding a provincial nominee’s financial admissibility, the officer must follow procedural fairness.

Circumstances in which an officer may have concerns regarding a provincial nominee’s financial admissibility may include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • The principal applicant is already working in Canada as a temporary foreign worker in a low-paying occupation. The applicant’s family is residing outside Canada. The applicant has been nominated by a province in a low-skilled, low-paying occupation, and the application for permanent residence includes accompanying dependents. Although the principal applicant has managed to support themselves on their wages as temporary foreign worker in the low-skilled, low-paying occupation, the officer has concerns as to whether such wages will be sufficient to support their accompanying dependents, particularly should these dependents not have financial resources or skills of their own with which to support themselves in the Canadian labour market.
  • The nomination and application for permanent residence were made on the basis of an offer of employment in Canada. However, the officer becomes aware that the offer of employment has been withdrawn or cancelled before the permanent resident visa has been issued. The principal applicant has limited financial resources from which they may draw upon to financially support themselves and any accompanying dependents. Following consultation by the IRCC office, the province or territory maintains its nomination despite the officer’s concerns with respect to the nominee’s financial position and the absence of other mitigating factors such as very low unemployment rates for the type of work performed by the applicant.

The determining factor under A39 is whether the principal applicant will be in a position to support themselves, and any dependents, in Canada without recourse to social assistance. In making a determination with respect to an applicant’s financial admissibility, officers must consider the totality of the information on file and all submissions made on a given case. Officers may elect to consult measures such as the Low Income Cut-Offs (LICO) prepared by Statistics Canada. Though not a determining factor, the LICO serves as a reasonable indicator of an applicant’s likely ability to financially support themselves and their family. Officers may also ask the nominating province how they assessed the applicant’s ability to financially support him/herself when making their nomination decision.

The nominating province may also provide input directly to the visa office or via the applicant in response to a procedural fairness letter addressed to the applicant. Officers should consider any such input from the nominating province, in addition to the applicant’s own response. However, input from the nominating province is not a determining factor, and the IRCC officer must make the final decision.

Affidavits of financial support from family or friends in Canada that may accompany provincial nominee applications are not recognized under IRPA or IRPR and should not be considered by officers in determining whether an applicant is financially admissible.

Making a decision on the applicant’s ability and willingness to support themselves (A39)

Upon consideration of all the information available, including the applicant’s response to any concerns outlined in a procedural fairness letter, if it appears that the applicant will be able to financially support themselves and their dependents without requiring social assistance, the applicant and their dependents are financially admissible.

Refusals on the basis of financial inadmissibility pursuant to A39 must be documented  in GCMS notes. Officers should include the principal applicant’s income and any other anticipated family revenue in Canada as well as all possible sources of assistance available to the principal and any arrangements the applicant has made. The officers notes should clearly explain all the factors that they have considered in making their determination with respect to the applicant’s financial admissibility, and the officer must clearly explain why they are not satisfied as to the adequacy of the applicant’s financial resources and arrangements.

Evaluating source of funds for business nominees

IRCC requires that applicants nominated in a provincial or territorial business, entrepreneur, self-employed or similar nomination stream submit detailed information about their business experience, proposed business activities in Canada, and acquisition of assets in order to assess some aspects of admissibility. All nominees in a provincial or territorial business stream must complete and include in their permanent resident application, the form Schedule 4A which has been designed to facilitate the assessment of admissibility and potential for economic establishment.

Applications should not be refused under eligibility simply because the source of the applicant’s funds is unclear, nor should they be refused for non-compliance simply because the applicant refuses to reveal their source of funds. Since the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) does not require that the officer consider this information for selection purposes, it could be difficult to defend refusals based purely on a failure to provide information.

However, all applicants, including provincial nominees, must establish that they are not inadmissible. In this regard, they must account for their activities and the source of their funds when questions about admissibility arise and officers should insist on receiving satisfactory information.

Officers should examine the information provided on the Schedule 4A form for consistency with the rest of the application. If the officer is concerned that the applicant may have provided different information to IRCC than to the province, the province should be consulted. If the applicant possesses wealth which appears to be inconsistent with their business and personal history, the officer should request further clarification.

Refusals may be warranted in cases where an officer is not satisfied as to the applicant’s admissibility and has provided the applicant with the opportunity to address these concerns in accordance with principles of procedural fairness.

Applicants who do not respond to the procedural fairness letter, or who do not provided satisfactory information, should be refused under A16(1) in that they have failed to provide relevant evidence and documents required for the purpose of the examination of their application.

For more information on procedural fairness, see OP 1 Procedures. For more information on inadmissibility and non-compliance, see ENF 2.

Inadmissibility for misrepresentation (A40)

The application of A40 in provincial nominee cases does not differ substantially from procedures in all other immigrant cases.

In some cases, the nominating province may wish to withdraw the nomination, but where an officer is satisfied that misrepresentation has occurred and the applicant is found inadmissible under A40, the case can be refused whether or not the nomination is withdrawn.

For more information on Misrepresentation, please see ENF 2: Evaluating inadmissibility.

PNP applications submitted through Express Entry must also be evaluated on A11.2. Consult the instructions for assessing an e-application on A11.2 for situations where an applicant may be refused on A11.2 and/or misrepresentation.

Unauthorized work experience

While provinces do not consider unauthorized work experience in Canada as qualifying for nomination under their respective programs, it is possible that a person who has worked in Canada without authorization could be nominated by a province. Despite being nominated by a province, a person who has worked in Canada without authorization has failed to comply with A30(1), and on that basis could be found inadmissible under A41. For more details on inadmissibility for non-compliance, see ENF 2: Evaluating inadmissibility.

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