Thousands of skilled professionals are needed to work in Canada in a range of occupations that require a post-secondary education (such as a university degree), but many employers cannot find enough qualified Canadian workers to fill job openings. Many of these skilled professions are in such fields as management, information technology (IT), engineering, financial services, healthcare and education. Therefore, the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) was created to grant Canadian permanent residency to qualified foreign professionals and their eligible family members so they will move to Canada to live, work and contribute to the country’s economy and multicultural society.
The FSWP is a points-based Canadian immigration program in which points are given for six selection factors: (1) English and/or French language skills; (2) education; (3) relevant work experience; (4) age; (5) arranged employment in Canada; and (6) adaptability. A minimum of 67 out of 100 points possible is required, plus other criteria must be satisfied.
The main applicant must also have at least one year of full-time paid work experience (i.e., 1,560 hours) during the past 10 years in a qualifying occupation categorized at Skill Type 0, Skill Level A or Skill Level B on Canada’s 2011 version of the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
In addition to meeting these requirements, the main applicant must possess adequate language abilities in English or French (the two official languages of Canada) as demonstrated by a satisfactory score on an approved language evaluation test, such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam for English or the Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) for French (test scores must be less than two years old).
Furthermore, an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from an approved assessing agency is required for the FSWP to determine to what extent the education received by the main applicant outside of Canada is comparable to an education received inside Canada.
Other requirements for immigration to Canada through the FSWP include meeting the good health and character criteria. “Proof of Funds” may also be requested to demonstrate that an applicant has adequate financial resources to support his/her family after moving to Canada.
Since January 1, 2015, applicants for immigration to Canada through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) must file an Express Entry profile with the Canadian immigration officials. The Express Entry profile is filed online and it contains the relevant details about the applicant and any family members who will also be applying for immigration to Canada. In order to file the Express Entry profile for immigration to Canada through the FSWP, the applicant will need to have already received the results from his/her English and/or French language evaluation test(s) and Educational Credential Assessment (ECA), since these results will be requested for the profile.
After the Express Entry profile is submitted, a Canadian immigration official will review the information and a Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS) will be calculated for various factors (a total of 1200 points is possible). If an applicant appears to meet the eligibility requirements for the FSWP (or another Canadian immigration program that qualifies for Express Entry), his/her profile will be entered into the Express Entry pool of candidates for up to 12 months.
Candidates in the Express Entry pool who receive a qualifying offer of employment in Canada, or who are nominated for the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) by a Canadian province or territory, or who are among the highest scoring candidates in the pool, may be offered an Invitation to Apply (ITA). Once the ITA is issued, the Canadian visa application and the related fee(s) and supporting documents (e.g., the language test score, ECA, medical exam results, police certificate, proof of funds, etc.) must be submitted within 90 days and then a visa decision is usually made within six months.
If approved for Express Entry immigration to Canada through the FSWP, the main applicant and his/her eligible family members will be issued a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and a Permanent Resident (PR) Visa to Canada will be stamped inside their passport(s). These must be presented at the port of entry when the new permanent residents first move to Canada. After immigrating to Canada, a Canadian Permanent Resident Card will be mailed to the immigrant(s) and must be carried as an official form of identification and proof of permanent resident status in Canada.
There are many benefits of being granted Canadian permanent residency, including:
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