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Canadian Visa and Immigration Glossary

Visa and Immigration Glossary relating to Canada.

Business Immigrant
Canada has three classes of business immigrants, each with separate eligibility criteria: investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed persons. Applications can be made for only one class, even if the applicant fulfils the requirements of the other classes. Once an application is submitted, the class cannot be changed.
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The spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner and children of a landed immigrant. A dependent child is either a biological child or an adopted child. Children can be dependent if they meet one of the following conditions:
  • They are under age 22 and unmarried or not in a common-law relationship;
  • They have been full-time students since before age 22, attend a post-secondary educational institution and have been substantially dependent on the financial support of a parent since before age 22 and, if married or a common-law partner, since becoming a spouse or a common-law partner; OR
  • They are age 22 or over and have been substantially dependent on the financial support of a parent since before age 22 because of a physical or mental condition.
Before June 28, 2002, dependants were defined as:
  • The spouse of a landed immigrant and the children of that immigrant who were unmarried and under 19 years of age; OR
  • Continuously enrolled as full-time students in an educational institution and financially supported by their parents since reaching age 19 (or if married before age 19, from the date of their marriage); OR
  • Due to a medical condition, unable to support themselves and are dependent on their parents for financial support.
Economic Immigrant
People selected for their skills and ability to contribute to Canada's economy, including skilled workers, business people and provincial nominees.
An immigrant who has been admitted to Canada by demonstrating that they:
  • Have managed and controlled a percentage of equity in a qualifying business for at least 2 years in the period beginning 5 years before they apply; AND
  • Have a legally obtained net worth of at least CA$300,000.
Family Class
A class of immigrants to Canada made up of close relatives of a sponsor in Canada, including:
  • A spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner;
  • Dependent children; parents and grandparents;
  • Children under age 18 whom the sponsor intends to adopt in Canada;
  • Children of whom the sponsor is the guardian;
  • Brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces and grandchildren who are orphans under age 18; and
  • Any other relative, if the sponsor has no relative as described above, either abroad or in Canada.
Based on the initial entry method, the number of people identified as entering the CIC system (and presumably the country) for the first time. CIC commonly measures foreign student flows and foreign worker flows. Flows are calculated based on the earliest effective date of any valid permit issued to a foreign student or a foreign worker. The Monitor's quarterly figures measure foreign student flows and foreign worker flows as opposed to stocks (see stock definition for more details).
Foreign Student

A temporary resident who has been approved by an immigration officer to study in Canada. The study permit identifies the level of study and the length of time the individual may study in Canada. Students do not need a study permit for courses of 6 months or less if they will finish the course within the period of stay authorized upon entry, which is usually 6 months.

Before June 28, 2002, students did not need a study permit for English and French as a second language courses of 3 months or less. Every foreign student must have a student authorisation, but may also have been issued other types of permits or authorisations.

Foreign Worker
A foreign national who has been authorised to enter and remain in Canada, on a temporary basis, as a worker. This category excludes foreign students and people who have been issued employment authorisations for humanitarian reasons. Every foreign worker must have an employment authorisation, but may also have other types of permits or authorisations.
Government-Assisted Refugees
People who are selected abroad for resettlement to Canada as Convention refugees under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act or as members of the Humanitarian-protected Persons Abroad Classes, and who receive resettlement assistance from the federal government.
An immigrant who has been admitted to Canada because they:
  • Have business experience as defined in the Regulations; and
  • Have invested CA$400,000 before receiving a visa.
The Canadian government allocates the investment to participating provinces and territories, which guarantee the investment and use it to develop their economies and create jobs. The investment is repaid, without interest, after 5 years.
Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS)

A joint undertaking by a sponsoring group and CIC to sponsor refugees requiring special assistance and whose admissibility depends upon the additional support of a sponsor.

In order to resettle successfully, these refugees may require more than a 12-month sponsorship. Under the JAS Program, CIC provides financial assistance to cover the cost of food, shelter, clothing and essential household goods. The sponsor's role is to provide orientation, significant settlement assistance and emotional support.

Refugees sponsored under the JAS program are identified as having special needs that will likely result in a longer or more difficult period of integration.

The permission given to a person to live in Canada as a permanent resident. An immigrant who has been "landed" is a permanent resident.

Level of Skill
Skill levels for foreign worker occupations are derived from the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. They are:
  • 0 - Managerial
  • A - Professionals
  • B - Skilled and Technical
  • C - Intermediate and Clerical
  • D - Elemental and Labour
  • E - Not Stated (This category is the result of special programs and of foreign workers who were able to enter Canada initially with no requirement for a foreign worker permit).
Level of Study
There are 5 levels of study shown for the foreign student population in Canada. They are:
  • University - Foreign students pursuing undergraduate, postgraduate (master's and doctoral) and other studies at university institutions in Canada.
  • Trade - Foreign students pursuing education in a vocational trade at non-university educational institutions in Canada (such as technical and vocational institutions, CEGEP, and colleges).
  • Other Post-Secondary - Foreign students pursuing a post-secondary level of study, not specifically university or trade level. This category may include language institutions, private institutions and university qualifying programs.
  • Secondary or Less - Foreign students attending primary or secondary educational institutions in Canada.
  • Other - Foreign students who could not be classified at any of the above levels of study.
Live-in Caregiver

A temporary resident of Canada who has successfully completed the equivalent of Canadian secondary school; has 6 months of full-time training in a field or occupation related to that for which they are seeking a work permit; is able to speak, read and understand English or French at a level sufficient to communicate effectively in an unsupervised situation; and signs an employment contract with the future employer.

Participants in this program may apply for permanent resident status in Canada after completing 2 years of live-in caregiving employment within 3 years of arrival in Canada.

This category includes people classified as Post-Determination Refugee Claimants or members of the Deferred Removal Order Class.
Permanent Residence for Protected Persons in Canada
People who have been determined to be Protected Persons by the Immigration and Refugee Board in Canada or through the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment, and who have been granted permanent residence as a result.
Provincial Nominee
An immigrant selected by the provinces and territories for specific skills that will contribute to the local economy. The Regulations establish a provincial nominee class, allowing provinces and territories that have agreements with CIC to nominate a certain number of workers. A nominee must meet federal admissibility requirements, such as those related to health and security.
Principal Applicant (Business Applicant)
The person who best meets the definition for one or more of the types of business immigrants and in whose name the application for immigration is made.
Principal Applicant (Economic Applicant)
The person who is likely to earn the most points in the self-assessment and in whose name the immigration application is made.
Privately Sponsored Refugees
Refugees selected abroad for resettlement to Canada who receive resettlement assistance from private sources.
Refugee Protection Claimant
A person who has arrived in Canada and who seeks the protection of Canada. If such a person receives a final determination that he or she has been determined to be a Protected Person, he or she may then apply for permanent residence.
Self-Employed People
An immigrant who has (a) shown that they can and intend to create their own employment in Canada and (b) that they can contribute significantly either to the Canadian economy as farmers or to the cultural or athletic life of Canada.
Skilled Worker
Immigrants selected for their skills, which will ensure their success in a fast-changing labour market and benefit the Canadian economy. The Regulations stress education, English or French language abilities, and work experience involving certain skills, rather than specific occupations.
Stock statistics measure the number of people present in the CIC system on a specific date in each year of observation. CIC commonly measures foreign student stocks and foreign worker stocks. For a foreign student or a foreign worker to be counted as present in the stock, he or she must have a valid student or work authorisation on that date. Any foreign student or foreign worker who has been granted landed status on or before the observation date is excluded from the stock count from that date forward.