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An Expat Guide To Moving To Canada Under The Skilled Workers Program

There are many ways to gain citizenship in Canada, one of the most popular being through the Skilled Workers programme. A ‘skilled worker’ is someone with suitable education and work experience, and who is fluent in one of Canada’s official languages.The concept of the skilled worker programme is to invite people who have a skill set that may be beneficial to the country. There are around 347 eligible occupations that are part of the National Occupational Classification system, that apply to this programme. They can be from those that work in Human Resources to to Land Surveyors or from Industrial Designers to Air Traffic Controllers. Having the right occupation that fits the programme is only the first step; there are further requirements that must be met in order for the application to be considered.

Application overview

The candidate must possess one year of continuous full-time paid work experience or similar in part-time continuous employment within ten years prior to application.

The work experience must be classified as a Managerial Occupation, Professional Occupation, Technical Occupation or Skilled Trades. The candidate must also score sufficient points under the skilled worker point grid comprising of six selection factors. The candidate requires a minimum of 67 points to pass.

The points come from six factors.

Factor 1: French and English language ability

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Applicants must be able to speak French, English or both. The applicant must show test results from a language test provider before applying for a visa. This can be from the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Test d’Evaluation de Francais (TEF).

Linguistic ability is tested using different components, such as speaking, listening, reading and writing. The candidate must reach a benchmark corresponding to the Canadian Language Benchmark of 7 – which means the candidate must score a minimum of 4 points in each of the four categories. Therefore, a total of 16 points must be achieved out of the possible 28.

Factor 2: Education

Education qualifications are another requirement, where the candidate must have a Canadian secondary school certificate or post-secondary school qualifications such as a college diploma or university degree. If the candidate has neither of those but holds a foreign qualification, they can also be used. There are 25 points available in the education bracket. Those who hold a university PHD degree or equivalent qualification are granted 25 points; those who hold a masters’ degree are granted 23 points. Those with an ‘entry to practice’ degree, with a licence to practise medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, optometry or law are granted 23 points. Two or more degrees post-secondary, where a minimum of one has lasted more than 3 years, offer 22 points. If the candidate holds one degree that lasted for a duration of 3 years, 21 points are offered, 19 points for 2 years and 15 points for one year. A high school diploma or equivalent qualification is granted 5 points.

Factor 3: Work Experience

Those applying for the federal skilled workers programme, the candidate must have had extensive work experience in a skilled role. They need to have totalled at least 1,560 hours of work within a year, which must have been gained in one or more paid jobs and have been completed in the past 10 years.

There is a maximum of 21 points available for the work experience section. If all the requirements have been met, the candidate is granted 15 points based on the one year of experience. However, an additional two points is granted for every extra year gained up to the 21 points mark.

Factor 4: Age

Age is a contributing factor to a candidate’s federal skilled workers programme application. The age points are granted based on the age the candidate is when the application is received.

Candidate under 17 years of age are granted 0 points. 18-35 year olds are granted the maximum 12 points, and this decreases by one point per year after 35 up until 47, where 0 points are granted.

Factor 5: Employment

There are 10 points granted for those candidates who already have a secure job offer or are currently working in Canada; seasonal work is excluded though.

If the candidate is working on a temporary work permit, they can gain the full 10 points if the employer makes the employee a permanent member of staff.

Factor 6: Adaptability

The final factor offers 10 points for adaptability, which applies to the candidate and their spouse or partner. If the candidate’s spouse has received a Canadian Language Benchmark of 4, then 5 points are granted.

If the candidate or their partner has 2 years of full time education at secondary school or post-secondary school education, 5 points are granted.

If the candidate has has worked for at least one year in Canada previously on a valid work permit in one of Canada’s 347 eligible occupations, then 10 points are granted. If the candidate’s spouse has done so, then 5 points are granted.

If the candidate or their spouse have a family member aged 18 years or older living in Canada as a permanent resident or Canadian citizen, extra points can be granted. The eligible family members are parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling, aunt or uncle and niece or nephew.

Once the candidate achieves the minimum number of 67 points, the candidate must possess suitable settlement funding, undergo a successful security background check, and submit to a full medical examination.

After this, submission for an entry profile to the Express Entry pool is carried out and then the candidates’ profiles are ranked under a comprehensive ranking system. The highest ranked candidates are then invited to carry their applications forward for residency. However, the candidates who receive the invitation only have 60 days in which to submit it.

Have you lived in Canada as a skilled worker? Share your experience in the comments below, or answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!