Express Entry: Assessing an electronic application on section A11.2

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.

Processing offices should notify the Immigration Program Guidance Branch (IPG) (formerly Operational Management Branch [OMC]) if they observe trends of concern or trends that could serve to inform policy and procedures related to Express Entry [e.g., observations about the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) or the application triage criteria]. Anyone who has a trend to report should send a description of the trend to IPG, who will share the information with the appropriate leads within Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

When an Express Entry candidate submits an electronic application for permanent residence (e-APR) to IRCC, the individual is no longer a candidate but an applicant.

Section 11.2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) includes a new authority that supports the Express Entry system.

Under section A11.2, an officer may not issue a visa to an applicant who did not or does not meet the Express Entry minimum entry criteria (MEC) or did not or does not possess the qualifications for which they received their CRS score at the time when

  • the invitation to apply (ITA) was issued; or
  • the e-APR was received by IRCC.

When reviewing an application, processing offices must determine if

  • the applicant possesses the qualifications that they declared in their e-APR, as corroborated by the applicant’s supporting documentation; and
  • when the applicant submits their e-APR, the information provided in their Express Entry profile has not materially changed to the degree that the applicant would not have been issued an ITA in that round of invitations.

Accordingly, officers should refuse an application under section A11.2 if it is determined that

Note: At time of APR, PNP Express Entry applicants must demonstrate they meet the PNP program requirements and, for A11.2 assessment, that they meet the program requirements of one federal immigration program (FSWP or CEC or FSTP).

Processing offices must enter a decision on section A11.2 in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) before an application can be finalized. All applications must be processed in the Express Entry eligibility screen.

See below for instructions on how to assess a change in circumstance that is declared after an e-APR has been submitted.

When an application is refused under section A11.2, the officer should also assess if the application can be refused for failing to meet federal program requirements. When applications are refused, all applicable grounds should be invoked. Officers should also consider a finding of misrepresentation, where applicable.

Templates for refusal letters for the federal skilled worker class (FSWC), the federal skilled trades class (FSTC), the Canadian experience class (CEC), and the provincial nominee class (PNC) include options for refusal under section A11.2, for failing to meet program requirements, or both.

Change in circumstance declared in an e-APR

Express Entry candidates are responsible for ensuring that the information in their profile is accurate and up-to-date at all times.

When a candidate is issued an ITA, their profile information and their CRS score are automatically recorded in GCMS.

If a candidate decides to submit an e-APR, the system automatically transfers the information from their profile to their e-APR for their convenience. The candidate is required to ensure that the information is still accurate before they submit their e-APR to IRCC. If the information transferred from the candidate’s profile is no longer accurate, the candidate must update their application accordingly.

When an applicant submits an e-APR to IRCC, the information in their application is locked, and their CRS score at the time of their application is recorded in GCMS.

Processing offices must compare the information in the applicant’s profile at the time of the round of invitations to the information in their e-APR to ensure that the applicant meets the requirements of section A11.2. Note that not all discrepancies should result in a refusal.

Requirement to maintain the MEC

Ministerial Instructions created under the authority of section A10.3(1)(e) list the MEC for Express Entry. Applicants must meet the MEC to be accepted into the Express Entry pool and must also meet the MEC when they are issued an ITA and when they submit their e-APR.

If an applicant’s situation changes in the time between when they receive an ITA and when they submit their e-APR to such a degree that their qualifications fall below the MEC, the application must be refused under section A11.2. The officer must also consider whether the application should be refused for not meeting the minimum requirements of the federal program to which they are applying or for misrepresentation.

Requirement to maintain the CRS score

Ministerial Instructions given under the authority of paragraph A10.3(1)(h) determine the basis on which Express Entry candidates are ranked. Under section A11.2, applicants are required to maintain the qualifications that led them to be included in the top-ranked candidates to be issued an ITA in a particular round of invitations.

When a round of invitations occurs, IRCC invites the top-ranked candidates in the Express Entry pool to apply for permanent residence. Candidates in the pool are ranked based on self-declared qualifications in their profile and according to IRCC’s CRS. After each round of invitations, IRCC publishes the score of the lowest-ranked candidate to receive an ITA in that round of invitations.

An applicant’s CRS score is automatically recorded in GCMS at the time when

  • their ITA is issued; and
  • their e-APR is submitted.

At the time of the e-APR, processing officers should compare both CRS scores to determine which of the following scenarios should be applied:

  • If the applicant’s CRS score at the time of the e-APR is equal to or higher than the lowest-ranked score in the round of invitations, the application will not be refused under section A11.2, as long as the applicant’s supporting documentation corroborates their claims and they continue to meet the MEC for Express Entry, including the requirements of the program to which they were invited to apply.
  • If the applicant’s CRS score at the time of the e-APR is lower than the lowest-ranked score in the round of invitations, the application should be refused under section A11.2 for not having maintained the qualifications that would justify the ITA.

Ministerial Instructions related to the CRS may be revised periodically. Applications must be assessed under section A11.2 according to the Ministerial Instructions in force during the round of invitations to which the candidate is invited. In other words, an applicant’s CRS score at the time of the ITA and at the time of application should be calculated based on the Ministerial Instructions in place at the time of the ITA.

Evaluating PNC applicants under section A11.2

As per section A11.2, PNC applications that come through Express Entry must also meet the requirements of one of the three immigration programs managed through Express Entry (FSWC, FSTC, or CEC).

A candidate may appear to meet the program requirements of more than one federal immigration program. When this occurs, the processing office must only determine that the applicant meets the requirements for one of the federal programs for which they have been tagged. Once the applicant is determined to have met the requirements for one of the federal immigration programs, there is no need for further assessment of the others.

Processing offices should assess PNC applicants for federal programs in the following order:

  • CEC
  • FSWC
  • FSTC

Should the applicant fail to meet the requirements of the first program considered, the processing office should consider the other programs in which the applicant has been tagged until either the applicant meets the requirements of one program or all possible programs in which the applicant has been tagged have been considered.

If it is determined that the applicant does not meet any of the tagged federal immigration programs, the application should be refused under section A11.2. Misrepresentation should also be considered, where applicable.

Exemption to section A11.2: candidates whose birthday occurs after they receive an ITA

An applicant may have a birthday after they receive an ITA but before they submit their e-APR. Their change in age may lower their CRS score below the lowest score in the round of invitations. It may also result in the applicant no longer meeting the minimum requirements of the FSWC and, consequently, no longer meeting the MEC, resulting in a refusal based on section A11.2.

When a change in age results in the candidate no longer meeting the MEC or having their recalculated CRS points score fall below the lowest points score in that round of invitations, officers should consider applying the public policy to exempt applicants for permanent residence from certain age-based requirements between invitation to apply and application, based on section A25.2. This consideration can result in an exemption from the refusal of an application under section A11.2.

This public policy also grants an exemption to applicants who may be refused for failing to meet FSWC program requirements when their birthday occurs between the ITA and e-APR.

Assessing for misrepresentation

Applicants are warned that if they misrepresent their qualifications in their Express Entry profile or their e-APR, they may face a five-year ban from submitting any further immigration applications to Canada, including temporary residence applications.

If there are discrepancies between the information in the applicant’s profile and the information in the applicant’s e-APR which are not the result of a legitimate change in the applicant’s circumstance, the officer should determine whether a finding of misrepresentation under section A40 applies.

For additional guidance on misrepresentation, processing offices should consult the misrepresentation section of chapter ENF 2. When processing Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applications, processing offices should also consult PNP applications: Determining Admissibility.

The procedures for determining misrepresentation, including procedural fairness, remain the same under Express Entry.

If both section A11.2 and section A40 apply, the application should be refused on both grounds.

Change in circumstance declared after an e-APR has been submitted

To assess an application under section A11.2, a processing office must consider the information in an applicant’s profile at the time of the round of invitations and the information provided when the applicant submits their e-APR. After an e-APR is submitted, an application cannot be refused due to a change in circumstance unless

  • the officer determines that the change occurred before the applicant submitted their e-APR and that the change would have caused the applicant to be refused under section A11.2: therefore, the application should be refused under section A11.2; or
  • the change in circumstance means the applicant no longer meets the minimum requirements of the program to which they are applying; therefore, the application may still meet the requirements of section A11.2 but can be refused for failing to meet program requirements.

For example, if an applicant marries before they submit their e-APR but informs IRCC of the marriage only after they submit their e-APR, the marriage can be taken into account as part of the section A11.2 assessment.

If, however, an applicant marries after they submit their e-APR, then informs IRCC of the marriage, the marriage cannot be taken into account as part of the section A11.2 assessment. However, the change in circumstance may affect whether the applicant still meets the program requirements. See below for details.

Changes to family composition

All family members must be examined as part of the e-APR, whether they are accompanying the principal applicant or not. Family members can be added to the application at any time during the process, including after the visa is issued, but prior to obtaining permanent resident status. Applicants are instructed to inform IRCC immediately if their family composition has changed (e.g., birth of a child, marriage, divorce).

Pursuant to subsection R4(1), the principal applicant may not include a spouse or common-law partner in their application if their relationship was entered into primarily to acquire any status or privilege under the Act or is not genuine. Similarly, in accordance with subsection R4(2), the principal applicant may not include an adopted child in their application if the adoption was entered into primarily to obtain any status or privilege under the Act or if it did not create a genuine parent–child relationship.

Section A11.2 does not apply when an applicant adds a family member to their application after the e-APR; however, the family member will have to be assessed, and the principal applicant must provide IRCC with the Additional Family Information form [IMM 5406] and pay the applicable fees online.

Settlement funds

Settlement funds are not included in the CRS. They do, however, relate to the program requirements of FSWC and FSTC and may, by extension, be included in the MEC for Express Entry.

Candidates applying under the FSWC or the FSTC are required to meet the settlement funds requirement, unless they are currently authorized to work in Canada and have a qualifying offer of arranged employment from an employer in Canada.

Note: Candidates invited to apply under the Canadian experience class do not have to demonstrate that they meet the settlement funds requirement. If candidates are requested to include proof of funds when applying for permanent residence, they may upload a letter explaining why proof of funds is not needed under Proof of Means of Financial Support in the document checklist.

A change in an applicant’s family circumstances may affect the applicant’s eligibility, depending on the settlement funds required by the program to which they are applying.

For example, if an FSWC applicant submits an e-APR and later informs IRCC that a new baby was born, the officer should re-assess the application to determine that the applicant still meets the minimum settlement funds as required by the IRPR. If the applicant does not have the required settlement funds, the application may be refused for not meeting program requirements. When an applicant fails to declare a child in their e-APR but later informs IRCC that said child exists (and existed when they submitted their e-APR), the application should also be assessed under section A11.2.

Processing officers should apply the principles of procedural fairness when determining whether applicants meet program requirements for settlement funds.

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