The Expression of Interest Immigration System

On October 22, 2013, the Conservative Government of Canada tabled its latest omnibus budget bill, titled “A second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 21, 2013 and other measures” (the “2nd 2013 Budget Implementation Act“)  Totalling 327 pages, the 2nd 2013 Budget Implementation Act introduces the “expression of interest” immigration system into the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, sc 2001, c 27 (“IRPA”).

Division 16 of the 2nd 2013 Budget Implementation Act states:

Division 16, Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
Amendments to the Act
290. Part 1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is amended by adding the following after the heading “IMMIGRATION TO CANADA”:

 

Division 0.1
Invitation to Make an Application
Application for permanent residence — invitation to apply

10.1 (1) A foreign national who seeks to enter or remain in Canada as a member of a class that is referred to in an instruction given under paragraph 10.3(1)(a) may make an application for permanent residence only if the Minister has issued them an invitation to do so, the invitation has not been cancelled under subsection 10.2(5) and the applicable period specified in an instruction given under paragraph 10.3(1)(k) has not expired.

Limitation

(2) An instruction may be given under paragraph 10.3(1)(a) only in respect of a class that is part of the economic class referred to in subsection 12(2).

Expression of interest

(3) A foreign national who wishes to be invited to make an application must submit an expression of interest to the Minister by means of an electronic system in accordance with instructions given under section 10.3 unless the instructions provide that they may do so by other means.

Inadmissible foreign national

(4) A foreign national may not submit an expression of interest if they have been determined to be — and continue to be — inadmissible for misrepresentation.

New expression of interest

(5) A foreign national who has submitted an expression of interest may not submit another one before the expiry of the period referred to in an instruction given under paragraph 10.3(1)(f).

Change in circumstances

(6) A foreign national who is invited to make an application must, before making the application, advise the Minister of any change in their circumstances that relates to any of the criteria on the basis of which they were invited.

Expression of interest — processing

10.2 (1) In processing an expression of interest, the Minister

(a) is to determine whether the foreign national is eligible to be invited to make an application by applying the criteria set out in instructions given under paragraph 10.3(1)(e) and is to advise the foreign national of the determination in accordance with instructions given under paragraph 10.3(1)(l); and

 

(b) subject to subsection (2), is to determine whether, in accordance with instructions given under paragraph 10.3(1)(i), the foreign national occupies the rank required to be invited to make an application and, if so, is to issue the invitation in accordance with instructions given under paragraph 10.3(1)(l).

 

Limitation
(2) A determination under paragraph (1)(b) may be made only if the number of invitations that have been issued is less than the number provided for in an instruction given under paragraph 10.3(1)(j).

 

Electronic system
(3) The Minister is to use an electronic system to carry out any applicable instruction given under subsection 10.3(1) and to make a determination under paragraph (1)(a) or (b).

 

Compliance with instructions
(4) An expression of interest must be processed in compliance with any applicable instruction.

 

Cancellation of invitation
(5) The Minister may cancel an invitation to make an application if
(a) the invitation was issued in error; or
(b) a change in the foreign national’s circumstances results in their no longer meeting the criteria on the basis of which they were invited.

 

Instructions
10.3 (1) The Minister may give instructions governing any matter relating to invitations to make an application referred to in subsection 10.1(1), including instructions respecting

 

(a) the classes in respect of which subsection 10.1(1) applies;

 

(b) the electronic system referred to in subsections 10.1(3) and 10.2(3);

 

(c) the submission and processing of an expression of interest by means of the electronic system;

 

(d) the circumstances in which an expression of interest may be submitted by means other than the electronic system and respecting those other means;

 

(e) the criteria that a foreign national must meet to be eligible to be invited to make an application;

 

(f) the period during which a foreign national remains eligible to be invited to make an application;

 

(g) the personal information that the Minister may disclose under section 10.4 and the entities to which that information may be disclosed;

 

(h) the basis on which an eligible foreign national may be ranked relative to other eligible foreign nationals;

 

(i) the rank an eligible foreign national must occupy to be invited to make an application;

 

(j) the number of invitations that may be issued within a specified period, including in respect of a class referred to in an instruction given under paragraph (a);

 

(k) the period within which an application must be made once an invitation has been issued; and

 

(l) the means by which a foreign national is to be advised of any matter relating to their expression of interest, including an invitation to make an application.

 

Clarification
(2) For greater certainty, an instruction given under paragraph (1)(j) may provide that the number of invitations that may be issued in any specified period in respect of a class be zero.

 

Application of instructions
(3) An instruction given under any of paragraphs (1)(a), (b) and (f) to (l) applies in respect of an expression of interest that is submitted before the day on which the instruction takes effect, unless the instruction provides otherwise.

 

Publication
(4) Instructions given under subsection (1) must be published on the Department of Citizenship and Immigration’s Internet site. Instructions given under any of paragraphs (1)(a), (d) to (g), (k) and (l) must also be published in the Canada Gazette.

 

Criteria provided for under other Divisions
(5) For greater certainty, an instruction given under subsection (1) may provide for criteria that are more stringent than the criteria or requirements provided for in or under any other Division of this Act regarding applications for permanent residence.

 

Disclosure of information
10.4 For the purpose of facilitating the selection of a foreign national as a member of the economic class or as a temporary resident, the Minister may disclose personal information provided to him or her by the foreign national under section 10.1 and referred to in an instruction given under paragraph 10.3(1)(g) to an entity that is referred to in an instruction given under that paragraph.
I have read several Access to Information Act results which contain information about how the Expression of Interest system will work.  I haven’t discussed it before in this blog because I considered it premature until legislation was introduced in the House of Commons.  Now that the legislation has been introduced, I hope to update this post with additional information.
In the meantime, here are some Citizenship and Immigration Canada public backgrounders on the system.

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