The Canadian Federal Skilled Worker Immigration program is how the majority of new immigrants become permanent residents in Canada. The purpose of the program is to screen incoming foreign nationals for their ability to become economically established once they arrive, and allow for the entry of immigrants who fill voids in the labour market and contribute to the Canadian economy.
Do you qualify for the Canada Federal Skilled Worker Immigration Program?
The Minimum Requirements
Are you a skilled worker?
To qualify for the program, you must possess at least one year of full-time skilled work experience. For your work to qualify as full-time employment, you must work at least 30 hours per week throughout the required year. This year of experience must occur within the 10 years before your Skilled Worker application is submitted.
To determine if your occupation qualifies as skilled work for the purposes of a Canadian Skilled Worker application, consult the most recently published National Occupation Classification. This database is maintained by the Canadian government, and assigns a code to practically every occupation imaginable. To be considered a skilled worker, your occupation must either qualify as a skill type 0 (management occupations), or your skills must meet the criteria for skill levels A or B.
To determine if your occupation qualifies as a skill type 0, use the NOC database to search and locate the four digit NOC code associated with your job. If the first digit of the code is 0, that occupation falls within the management occupations category.
If your occupation does not fall within the management occupations category, your job must require a skill level A or B. To determine the skill level required for a job, the NOC evaluates the education and training requirements associated with each occupation. If the second digit of the NOC code for your job is 0 or 1, your occupation requires a skill level of A. If the second digit of the NOC code for your job is 2 or 3, your occupation requires a skill level of B.
As part of your application, you will need to prove that the occupation you performed meets the occupational description attached to the NOC code you believe best describes your job. This is most often accomplished using letters of reference from your employer.
To qualify for the program, you must take an approved language test that shows you are competent enough in English and/or French. The test will assess your skill in the following areas: writing, reading, listening, and speaking. You must score at least a 7 in each of these categories. Your test results must be included in your Express Entry profile, and must be dated within 2 years of the date your application is submitted.
If you were educated in Canada you must have a certificate, degree or diploma from a Canadian high school or post-secondary school.
If you have a foreign education, you must obtain an Educational Credential Assessment report from an approved agency that demonstrates that your education is equivalent to a certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian high school or post-secondary school.
Selection Factors: The Points System
If you meet the minimum requirements, Canadian Immigration officials will then assess your application based on a series of selection factors. For each factor, you will be assigned a score based on your strength in that area. There are 100 points available, and you must score a passing grade to qualify for the program. The current passing grade is 67.
The factors are as follows:
Education (25 points). The points awarded range from 5 points for a high school credential to 25 points for a Ph.D.
Language Ability (28 points). These points will be awarded based on your performance in the four areas of your language test.
Work Experience (15 points). Points are awarded for the number of years of skilled worked experience you possess.
Age (12 points). Full points will be awarded to applicants who are between 18 and 35 years old. For every year beyond 35, one point will be deducted.
Job Offer/Arranged Employment (10 points). If you are fortunate enough to have received an offer of employment from a Canadian employer, who has based the offer on a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment, your application will be awarded 10 points.
Adaptability (10 points). Points in this category will be awarded if you have a spouse with strong language test scores, if you or your spouse have more than two years of study experience in Canada, if you or your spouse has more than one year of work experience in Canada, if you have a close relative who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or if you have arranged employment in Canada.
The applicant and any accompanying family members will have to show that they are able to legally enter Canada. This means that you cannot have any criminal record, and you must be of good health.
Proof of Funds
To qualify for the program, you must show that you have the money needed to support yourself and your family following your entry into Canada. You can be exempted from providing this proof if you are currently able to legally work in Canada or if you have a valid job offer in Canada.
As of January 2015, the Canadian Federal Skilled Worker Immigration application process occurs electronically, using a system called Express Entry. To apply, you must create an online Express Entry profile that includes all the information required to demonstrate that you meet the minimum requirements and your selection factors score is high enough that you are eligible for the program. Once your profile is completed, you will enter a ranked pool of candidates. On a biweekly basis, Express Entry draws occur, and members of the candidate pool receive invitations to apply for permanent residence in Canada. You can remain in the pool for 12 months. If your profile is not selected in that time, you must re-register.
Why should you hire an immigration lawyer to assist with your skilled worker immigration application?
As the above outline demonstrates, the Canadian Federal Skilled Worker Immigration process is technical and complex. Entry into Canada is highly competitive, and the advice given to you by an immigration lawyer will ensure that your application is as strong as possible. An experienced immigration lawyer will also be able to perform a preliminary evaluation of the strength of your skilled worker application, and can advise you on whether it is wise to proceed using this method or if another avenue for entry would be more suitable for you.
If you are considering submitting a skilled worker immigration application, contact DUVADIE Law at 613-422-1155 or Toll-Free at 422-1155, so we may begin to work on your behalf.
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