Acquiring Permanent Resident Status: The Economic Classes

AuthorJamie Chai Yun Liew; Donald Galloway
Generally speak ing, foreign nationals may select one of three routes
to obtain perma nent resident status. They may apply under one of
the economic classes, under the family class, or under the refugee or
humanitarian class.1 In this chapter, applications of the f‌irst type are
Members of the economic classes m ade up 62 percent of the total num-
ber of permanent residents admitted into Canada in 2012.2 Thus, this
category represents a signif‌icant part of our immigration program.
1 There are also ot her exceptional routes that may b e taken. For example, a per-
son who is admitte d into Canada under a tempora ry resident permit (TRP) may,
in some circum stances, later apply for perma nent resident status. The perm it
holders class i s described in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations,
2002 SOR/20 02-227, ss 64–65.1 [Regulation s]. In addition, and again exception-
ally, the ministe r may grant permanent re sident status for public policy rea sons
under the Immigration an d Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27, s. 25.2 [IR PA].
2 Citizen ship and Immigration Ca nada, Annual Report to Parliame nt on Immigration
2013, onli ne: CIC df/pub/annual-report-2013.pdf at 14
[Annual Report, 2013].
Acquiring Per manent Resident Status: The Econom ic Classes 133
However, the statistic is somewhat deceptive. It should be noted that
a large percentage of this total i ncludes dependants of principal ap-
plicants who may be included with in an application.3 While principal
applicants may have skill s and experience that w ill allow them to con-
tribute to the economy, the same may not be true of dependants.
This immigration stream was designed to achieve the goal of per-
mitting Canad a “to pursue the maximum social, cultura l and economic
benef‌its of immigrat ion.”4 With this objective in mind, policie s, pro-
grams, and bureaucrat ic structures have been developed to f‌ill labour
market shortages and develop the Canadi an economy with a boost of
specif‌ic skills, expertise, and other resources.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA ) currently specif‌ies
that “a foreign national may be selected a s a member of the economic
class on the basi s of their ability to become economically established
in Canada.”5 Program details are framed in the Immigration and Refugee
Protection Regulations6 and other instruments, t hus affording the gov-
ernment the opportunity to respond to immediate shortages and the
needs of the day. It is an opportunity that the current government has
grasped with alacrity. There has been an explosion of regulatory ad-
justment and micromanagement in this branch of immigration. While
f‌lexibility, open-ended legislation, and enthusiastic, hyperactive govern-
mental administration may en hance the achievement of objectives, it
presents applicants and pract itioners with the daunting challenge of
remaining well in formed about ever-changing criteria, proces ses, and
A foreign national may be selected as a memb er of the economic
classes by applyi ng as one of following: (a) a skilled worker, (b) a busi-
ness immig rant, or (c) a caregiver. Under each of these headings, one
f‌inds different subcategories. Each subcategory and program is explored
be lo w.
1) Skilled Workers
Several objectives in the I RPA are related to the admission of skilled
workers: (a) to permit Canada to pursue the maximum socia l, cultural,
and economic benef‌its of immigration; (b) to support the development
3 Citizensh ip and Immigration Canad a, Facts and Figures 2013, online: CIC es/statistics/ facts2013/permanent/02.asp [Fac ts
and Figures 2013].
4 IR PA, above note 1, s 3(1)(a).
5 Ibid, s 12(2).
6 Regulations, abo ve note 1.
of a strong and prosperous Canadia n economy, in which the benef‌its
of immigration are shared across all regions of Canada; (c) to support,
by means of consistent standards and prompt processing, the attain-
ment of immigration goals est ablished by the Canadian government
in consultation with the provinces; and (d) to enrich and strengthen
the cultural and soci al fabric of Canadian society, while respecting the
federal, bilingual, and multicultural character of Canada.7
a) The Federal Skilled Worker Class (Regulations, Sections 75–85)
The Regula tions cha racterize the federal skil led worker class as “a class
of persons who are skilled workers and who may become per manent
residents on the basis of their ability to become economically estab-
lished in Canada a nd who intend to reside in a province other tha n the
Province of Quebec.”8
A successful application by an indiv idual in this category w ill lead
to an issuance of a permanent resident visa.9 Where the individual is ap-
plying from outside Canada, per manent resident status will be granted
after examin ation at a port of entry.10 For those applying from within
Canada, the status will be granted w ith the visa.11
The Regulations provide that an off‌icer a ssessing an application must
f‌irst determine whether the pri ncipal applicant is eligible to be asse ssed
in this category.12 The applicant must meet the def‌inition of a skilled
worker, which stipulates a set of minimum requirements focusing on
work exper ience.13 In addition, the applicant must supply education
credentials and ev idence of language skills in Engli sh or French.14 If
these requirements are not met, the assessment will terminate, and the
application will be rejected.
These requirements have been supplemented by inst ructions from
the minister of Citi zenship and Immigration, which further rest rict the
processing of applications.15 Initially, the instructions identif‌ied a list
of occupations in which applicants who did not have arr anged employ-
ment in Canada were required to h ave experience.16 Recently, the min-
7 IR PA, above note 1, s 3.
8 Regulations, above note 1, s 75(1).
9 Ibid, ss 70(1) and 70(2)(b).
10 Ibid, s 71.1(1).
11 Ibid, s 71.1(2).
12 Ibid, ss 70(1) and 72(1).
13 Ibid, ss 75–76 and 80.
14 Ibid, ss 78 –79.
15 The most recent min isterial instr uctions have been published on t he CIC web-
site at ish/department/ mi/.
16 See M inister of Citizensh ip and Immigration Canad a, Ministerial In structions 2
(MI 2) (2010), C Gaz I, 1669, online: p-pr/p1/2010/2010-06 -

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