At the beginning of this month, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) launched new guidelines to assess immigration applicants’ ability to immigrate to Canada through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) under the Economic Class. These new guidelines allow for Canadian immigration officials to have wider latitude in deciding which applicants are likely to become economically established in Canada.
CIC reserves the authority to grant visas and make final decisions on immigration applications processed by provincial governments. Before the introduction of the new policy, federal immigration officers only needed to conduct a medical and security screening on PNP applications. Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP) are in some cases a much more attractive program for foreign workers than alternative pathways to Canadian immigration, such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), which requires that the applicant provide official language test results.
According to the new guidelines, individuals applying under the PNP may be required to submit additional documentation, at the federal stage of processing of their application, if a visa officer determines that they are unlikely to become economically established in Canada. The new guidelines do not specify what type of documentation could be requested, however it is not unreasonable to suspect that official language tests could be required upon request.
Determining the eligibility of an applicant —whether the applicant can be economically established or not —is the essential element to every application submitted under a program in the economic class of immigration. In general, immigration officers look at the applicant’s language proficiency, work experience, and education, and identify any mismatch between applicants’ abilities and their occupation using the National Occupation Classification (NOC). For example, if the applicant has only basic proficiency in English and has a PhD, but accepts a job as a customer service agent providing support to customers in English, his application might be refused.
In the end, the new measures introduce a new level of evaluation on PNP applications PNP in order to ensure the future economic success of incoming workers. However, the PNP programs are designed to select individuals who are likely to succeed in Canada and immigration officers still uphold procedural fairness and must give applicants a chance to provide further support for their applications before settling on a final refusal.
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