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Expected to Work/Barriers to Full Employment Policy & Procedures

Published Date: September 30, 2014
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04 Special Groups

Persons with Immigration Status

General Eligibility

Income Support, Training and Health Benefits Regulation, sections 10, 12 and 13


The following table is a summary of IS eligibility for the more common types of immigration status based on current Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) terminology and immigration conditions.

Immigrant Status

Conditions for IS Eligibility

Permanent Resident

Family Classes
(FC/Sponsored Immigrants

FC1   Spouse
FC2   Fiancé
FC3   Son/Daughter
FC4   Parents and   grandparents
FC5 Orphaned brother/sister/nephew/ niece/grandchild
FC6 Child to be adopted
FC7 Other relative
FC9 Child adopted by a Canadian Citizen or permanent resident
FCC Common-law partner (same or opposite sex)
FCH Member of the family class but the person was permitted forward for reasons of humanitarian or for public policy reasons

Sponsors must sign a Sponsorship Undertaking to be financially responsible for the sponsored immigrant and their dependents for the duration of the sponsorship.

  • Prior to April 1997, sponsorship undertakings were valid for between 1 to 10 years.
  • After April 1, 1997, family sponsorships were for a 10-year period.
  • Effective June 28, 2002 the period of sponsorship varies from 3 to 10 years, depending on the age and relationship of the sponsor to the sponsored immigrant.

The circumstances under which a sponsored immigrant may be eligible for IS.

  • Sponsor has abandoned the immigrant and the worker is satisfied the immigrant has made reasonable efforts to secure financial support from the sponsor
  • Applicant has been neglected or abused by the sponsor
  • Sponsor has been proven unable to provide financial support

Refugees and Protected Persons
(Persons in Need of Protection)

CR = convention refugee and protected persons
DC (prior term) = designated class
PD (prior term) = post-determination refugee
RA = Asylum Country Class
RS = Source Country Class

If the Government of Canada or a private sponsor(s) has agreed to provide financial support (generally for one year), they are not eligible for IS. 

Some refugees have sufficient financial resources to become self-supporting and therefore have no sponsorship in place.

After the sponsorship period has elapsed, these refugees may be eligible for IS.

Economic Classes

Business Immigrants:
EN = Entrepreneur
NV = Investor
SE = Self-Employed
LC = Live In Caregivers
PV = Provincial Nominee
SK = Skilled Workers
ND = Independent (pre-IRPA)
AR = Assisted Relatives (pre-IRPA)
PH1 = Permit Holders (applying for permanent residency)

Immigrants who are in economic classes may be eligible for IS providing they meet all eligibility criteria; however, the reason they were eligible to immigrate to Canada was that they had sufficient funds to be self-supporting in Canada (therefore their finances would have been thoroughly reviewed).

Temporary Resident

Foreign Workers

Not eligible for IS

Foreign (International) Students

Not eligible for IS


Not eligible for IS, including children

Temporary Resident Permit Holders (formerly Minister’s Permit)

Not eligible for IS

Exception:  individuals approved by the Alberta Government, and those individuals who have been recognized as Victims of Human Trafficking by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Refugee Claimants


Refugee claimants may originally have been in Canada as Temporary Residents (temporary workers, students, visitors, temporary resident permit holders), in Canada illegally or filed a claim at a port of entry. Once a person initiates a claim for refugee protection in Canada (refugee claimant), this person may be eligible for IS while awaiting the Immigration and Refugee Board decision.

Claimants who are denied Convention Refugee status who appeal the decision continue to remain eligible for IS benefits for the duration of the appeal process. While awaiting their appeal outcome, refugee claimants are not eligible for federal or provincial employment and training initiatives.

Refugee claimants become ineligible for IS benefits once all appeal mechanisms have been exhausted through Citizenship and Immigration Canada.


Immigrant Children/
Non-Canadian Children

When one parent meets IS eligibility criteria, dependent children are eligible for IS.

Children on visitor or tourist visas are not eligible for IS.

Persons in Canada Illegally

Not eligible for IS

Family Class (Sponsored Immigrants)

Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada may undertake to sponsor a family member under the Family Class status of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).  The period of sponsorship varies depending on the relationship with the sponsor and the age of the sponsored person.  Undertakings begin upon the person's entry into Canada and continue from the date the person became a permanent resident until the duration listed above ends.

A notation about the duration of undertaking should be in the Remarks section (#39) on the IMM 5292 Confirmation of Permanent Residence. In the case of the IMM 1000 Immigrant Visa or Record of Landing, the duration will almost always be 10 years.  For those clients who provide a Permanent Resident Card, there will be information regarding the Immigrant Category; however there will not be any available information about the length of the undertaking.

CIC determines the ability of a sponsor to provide for the basic needs of a family member based on criteria contained in the IRPA (and its Regulation), including whether the sponsor and co-signer (if applicable) are in default of any previous sponsorship or are in debt to CIC.

Refugees or Protected Persons
The IRPA allows foreign nationals to apply for refugee protection while outside Canada and to be selected for resettlement in Canada.

Government Assisted
Through the Resettlement Assistance Program, CIC agrees to provide immediate and essential services and financial support for one year, or until their income is sufficient to meet their needs and those of any accompanying dependents, whichever comes sooner. In some special cases federal government assistance can be extended by up to an additional two years.  CIC, through the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP), only covers "urgent or essential" medical care and only covers medications and vaccines if the individual's medical condition poses a "risk to public health". 

Privately Sponsored
Organizations, groups of at least five Canadian citizens or permanent residents, may sponsor convention refugees or members of designated classes and their families under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program. Entering into this type of Sponsorship Undertaking means that group is agreeing to provide settlement assistance, food and shelter to refugees. The Sponsorship Undertaking must meet the requirements of the IRPA (and its Regulations). Private refugee sponsorships usually last for a one-year period; however, they may be extended to three years under exceptional circumstances.

Refugee Claimants
Refugee claimants are Foreign Nationals who are Temporary Residents (e.g. visitors, Temporary Resident Permit Holder, foreign students, foreign worker, etc.) or in Canada illegally who apply for refugee status within Canada or at the port of entry. As a refugee claimant from within Canada, these individuals are not eligible for CIC assistance nor will they be eligible for Refugee Assistance Program once they are accepted as Convention Refugees, Protected Persons or Designated Class refugees. They may be able to obtain a Work or Study Permit from CIC until their claim is determined by the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Refused Refugee Status
Refugee claimants who have been denied refugee status are referred back to the federal government to return to their place of origin. The removal order is stayed if the claimant applies for leave for a judicial review of the decision. People who have been issued a removal order can apply for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment. If the person decides to apply, they can obtain a new Work or Study Permit (free of charge) while they are awaiting a decision by the Immigration and Refugee Board. The person remains eligible for Income Support until all mechanisms of appeal are exhausted through CIC.

Temporary Resident

Visitors to Canada have to show financial support for the duration of their stay in Canada. Temporary Residents are responsible to cover all of their own financial needs including medical coverage in the event of an emergency.

Foreign Worker 
All temporary workers must meet the general requirements for visitor admission, including obtaining a visa (if applicable). They will have obtained a Work Permit from abroad, or in some cases, at the port or entry.

Foreign (International) Student
Students must meet visitor requirements. Students and their spouses can be granted Work Permits under certain conditions.

Temporary Resident Permit Holder  
Temporary Resident Permit Holders are eligible to apply for a Work or Study Permit. Persons with the status of Temporary Resident Permits are responsible for their own support. Temporary Resident Permit holders who allege that they are destitute or who have medical needs are referred to CIC. The only Temporary Resident Permit Holders who may be eligible for IS, if they meet all other eligibility criteria, are those who have been approved for entry into Canada by the Alberta Government, and those who have been recognized as Victims of Human Trafficking by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Persons in Canada Illegally 
Foreign Nationals who overstay their status as temporary residents, work or study with authorization or are otherwise inadmissible under IRPA must be referred to the federal government.