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CANADA
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Skilled Worker / Independent Class Federal Program

Permanent Resident Canada | Immigration To Canada

Canada’s Federal Immigration Program - Canada’s Point System For Immigration

Under Canada’s immigration selection point system an applicant must attain a specific number of points based on several selection criteria including: education, work experience, intended occupation, language skills, age and personal suitability. Applicants must presently score a minimum of 67 points.

Recent Changes to Canada’s Skilled Worker Program

Canada's guidelines for the admission of Skilled Professionals for permanent residence are reviewed on an annual basis. 

Federal Skilled Worker Program to re-open May 4, 2013

The new selection system for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) will take effect on May 4, 2013 at which time the program will re-open for applications. These changes will not apply to people who have applied to the FSWP prior to May 4, 2013 with a qualifying arranged job offer or under the Ph.D. stream. 

The changes to the FSWP points grid will place greater emphasis on the applicant’s age and language proficiency and will provide additional adaptability points for spousal language ability and Canadian work experience. In addition we will see the introduction of the Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) for all credentials earned outside of Canada.

The Changes to the FSWP are as follows: 

Pass Mark – The pass mark will remain at 67 points.

Minimum Language Proficiency – Points allocated for language ability (in either English or French) will be raised from 16 to 24. Points for ability in the second official language will be reduced from 8 to 4. In order to be eligible to apply, applicants must reach a Canadian Language Benchmark of 7 which is equivalent to “adequate intermediate proficiency.”

Emphasis on Younger Workers  - Up to 12 points will be awarded to individuals aged 18-35. Previously, the same points were awarded for individuals between the ages of 21-49. Points will diminish until the age of 46. However, there will be no age limit for applying.

Amending Work Experience Points – The maximum number of points awarded for foreign work experience will be decreased from 21 to 15 points. In order to achieve maximum points, applicants must have 6 full years of experience, as opposed to 4.

Credential Assessment – Designated non-government organizations will be contracted by the government to authenticate educational credentials and determine their equivalency in Canada. Individuals who hold credentials that are not recognized in Canada will not be eligible to apply to the FSWP.

Arranged Employment – Canadian employers, whose workers are applying through the FSWP, will have to secure a Labour Market Opinion (LMO). FSWP applicants, whose prospective employment includes a positive or neutral LMO, will receive up to 15 points.

Changing Adaptability Requirements – A principal applicant to the FSWP who has Canadian work experience will be awarded a maximum of 10 points. 5 points will be awarded for study in Canada. Spousal adaptability will now be assessed on the basis of language skills, as opposed to education.

In order to receive points for relatives in Canada, the relative will have to meet a minimum age threshold of 18 years.

Caps and Processing Times - The new FSWP will be limited to applicants in NOCs O, A, and B, but will not be limited to particular occupations. There will be an overall cap or limit to the number of applications that will be accepted for assessment by CIC however, this number has not yet been announced.  CIC has said applications under the new FSWP will be processed in a few months, rather than a few years.  

These changes will not apply to people who have applied to the FSWP prior to May 4, 2013 with a qualifying arranged job offer or under the Ph.D. stream: 

1.     Eligible Occupations List

The eligible occupations stream will have an overall cap of 5,000 new applications and sub-caps of 300 applications in each of the 24 occupations on the list. Four organizations have been designated to conduct educational credential assessments (mandatory for applicants submitting foreign educational credentials). Applicants must show proof that they meet the minimum threshold of Canadian Language Benchmark 7 in all four language skill areas: speaking, reading, writing and oral comprehension.

  • 0211 Engineering managers
  • 1112 Financial and investment analysts
  • 2113 Geoscientists and oceanographers
  • 2131 Civil engineers
  • 2132 Mechanical engineers
  • 2134 Chemical engineers
  • 2143 Mining engineers
  • 2144 Geological engineers
  • 2145 Petroleum engineers
  • 2146 Aerospace engineers
  • 2147 Computer engineers (except software engineers/designers)
  • 2154 Land surveyors
  • 2174 Computer programmers and interactive media developers
  • 2243 Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics
  • 2263 Inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safety
  • 3141 Audiologists and speech-language pathologists
  • 3142 Physiotherapists
  • 3143 Occupational Therapists
  • 3211 Medical laboratory technologists
  • 3212 Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists' assistants
  • 3214 Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists
  • 3215 Medical radiation technologists
  • 3216 Medical sonographers
  • 3217 Cardiology technicians and electrophysiological diagnostic technologists, n.e.c. (not elsewhere classified)

2.     Skilled Worker Applications Submitted with Arranged Employment

Generally speaking, arranged employment means an offer of "indeterminate employment in Canada." This may apply if a foreign national is currently in Canada working with valid authorization or if they hold an Arranged Employment Opinion issued by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Arranged Employment Opinions do not authorize Foreign Nationals to work and are issued for the purpose of applying for Canadian Permanent Residence under the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

An Arranged Employment Opinion is based on the following factors:

  • The job offer is permanent
  • The job offer is genuine
  • The wages and working conditions offered are comparable to those offered to other Canadians working in that occupation; and The employment is full-time and not seasonal.

 3.     The PhD stream 

The PhD stream was introduced on November 5, 2011. The PhD option is open to graduates of and international students currently enrolled in a doctoral (PhD) program delivered by a recognized post-secondary educational institution in Canada.

There are two ways to be eligible:

You are an international student currently enrolled in a doctoral (PhD) program, delivered by a recognized post-secondary educational institution located in Canada, and: 

  • have completed at least two years towards the completion of your PhD,
  • are in good academic standing, and 
  • are not a recipient of a Government of Canada award requiring you to return to your home country to apply your knowledge and skills

OR

You have completed a PhD program from a recognized post-secondary educational institution located in Canada no more         than 12 months before your application is received by the Centralized Intake Office (CIO) and:

  •  you have not received a Government of Canada award that requires you to return to your home country to apply your knowledge  and skills; or
  •  if you were a recipient of such an award, you have satisfied the terms/conditions of the award.

Contact Us

For further information with respect to U.S. and Canadian immigration or to find out if you or a company employee is eligible for temporary or permanent relocation to Canada or the U.S., we invite you to contact our experienced immigration lawyers and attorneys by contacting PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP at:

1-800-993-9971 or by clicking here: “Contact Us”.