Three years ago, I wrote about provincial nominees being denied entry to Canada at Ports of Entry. It proved to be very informative to many people who did not realize that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) could refuse immigration applications from provincial nominees. While it is certainly the case that a provincial nomination certificate will generally lead to CIC approving a permanent residence application, this is not always the case.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR“) provide that an immigration officer may issue a negative substituted evaluation and refuse an application where the officer is not satisfied that a provincial nomination certificate is an appropriate indicator of whether an applicant will be able to successfully establish themselves economically in Canada. Subsections 87(3) and (4) of the Regulations state that:
Substitution of evaluation
(3) If the fact that the foreign national is named in a [provincial nomination certificate] is not a sufficient indicator of whether they may become economically established in Canada and an officer has consulted the government that issued the certificate, the officer may substitute for the criteria set out in subsection (2) their evaluation of the likelihood of the ability of the foreign national to become economically established in Canada.
(4) An evaluation made under subsection (3) requires the concurrence of a second officer.
I have reproduced below an excerpt from the recently decided Federal Court decision Kousar v. Canada, 2014 FC 12, which illustrates this point. Because Kousar was a Federal Court case, CIC’s refusal reasons become part of the public record. Accordingly, while I was not the lawyer involved with either the initial application or the court case, I was able to obtain and publish the refusal decision.
Kousar involved a refusal based on an officer’s determination that the applicant’s overall IELTS band-score of 3.5 indicated that the applicant was unlikely to establish herself economically in Canada. The applicant was unable to overcome the officer’s concerns. The officer’s refusal states:
The issue of CIC refusing provincial nominees due to language concerns despite the provinces having approved their provincial nomination applications has become common enough that there is developing jurisprudence on it.
In Jalil v. Canada, 2015 FC 113, Justice Locke stated that it was appropriate for officers to assess language ability based on the job that was proposed, and not on the ability of the applicant to possibly find work in other areas. He stated:
The third argument raised by the Applicant in an effort to show that [CIC’s refusal] was unreasonable is that the Officer focused too much on the Applicant’s intended occupation. In my view, the [CIC refusal] was reasonable in this aspect since it was in this intended occupation that the Applicant indicated she planned to become economically established. Other jobs she referred to (e.g. at Tim Hortons or McDonalds) were intended simply to fund the Applicant’s efforts to become qualified in Canada. It does not appear that the Applicant’s plan was to become economically established by virtue of these other jobs.
In Kousar, Justice Zinn stated that an applicant’s statement that they could find part-time or casual work elsewhere should also not be given much weight. He stated:
In my view, in assessing whether an applicant will be able to become economically established in Canada, it is not inappropriate for an officer to initially focus on that applicant’s training and occupation. The ability of an applicant to perform those duties in Canada, and the job market for those skills, is where economic establishment is most likely to be found. However, I agree with the Applicant that “the Court has not found the legislation to contain a requirement that the person become economically self-sufficient in their qualifying occupation, or that a person has to join and participate in the labor market in a particular occupation when they arrive in Canada:” Rezaeiazar v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2013 FC 761 para 82. Accordingly, if economic establishment is not found when the person’s qualifying occupation is examined, the officer must look elsewhere. I am satisfied from the passage quoted above, that the officer here did just that; he or she looked at what the Applicant said she would do — “basic odd jobs” — and determined that the Applicant would nevertheless be unable to become economically established.
In my view, it was not unreasonable for the officer to conclude that engaging in basic odd jobs, likely on a part time or casual basis since Ms. Noreen intended to attend University, is not proof of the ability to become economically established. This is explicitly stated in Manual OP 7b, which officers refer to when evaluating applications: “…part-time or casual work would not normally meet the requirement to participate in the labour market in the sense it is intended here” (emphasis added). Part-time work does not qualify as participation in the labour market because “participation in the labour market must be in a way which allows the individual to fully support themselves [sic], not merely contribute to the costs of their upkeep” (emphasis added). It is not unreasonable to conclude that Ms. Noreen would not be able to fully support herself and her three daughters, even with the assistance of her husband, if she is only working on a part-time or casual basis.
Finally, in Chaudhry v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2015 FC 1072, Justice Southcott summarized the jurisprudence nicely, stating that a visa officer is entitled to focus primarily on the intended occupation of a provincial nominee, because that is the occupation which the applicant proposes will allow him or her to become economically established. The visa officer should also consider alternative occupations proposed by an applicant to determine whether the applicant could thereby become economically established, in the sense of being economically self-sufficient.