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What is the Professional and Skilled Worker Program?

What is the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

Canadian Skilled Worker Immigration Explained.

The Canadian federal government has put in place measures to attract and to retain foreign skilled workers as a way of improving the economy and enriching the social fabric of Canada. One such measure is the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP).

The Federal Skilled Worker Program allows foreign nationals to immigrate to Canada by applying for permanent residence in order to live and work in Canada. As the name implies, the Skilled Worker immigration program is directed towards individuals who have work skills that they can bring to Canada in order to fill vacancies in the labour market.

The basic requirement of the program is to have at least one year of skilled work experience. Skilled work is defined as Skill Types 0, A and B in the National Occupation Classification (NOC), which summarizes the titles and duties of a wide range of occupations. There are hundreds of skilled occupations described in the NOC, ranging from secretaries and office administrators, to managers, technicians, professionals like engineers, nurses, doctors and lawyers, and those in Internet Technology occupations, among many other occupations.

In addition to having skilled work experience, those applying under the Skilled Worker category should have some form of post-secondary education, speak fluent English or French, and be younger than 35 years of age in order to have a good chance of being approved under the program.

Federal Skilled Worker applications will be processed through the Express Entry immigration selection system. Qualified applicants must first create an Express Entry profile, and wait to see if they are selected for immigration. Those who receive an invitation to apply may file an application for permanent residence under the Skilled Worker category. Once filed this application will take approximately six months to process, after which a permanent resident visa will be issued to the skilled worker applicant and his or her immediate family members.

There is no requirement to have a job offer in Canada in order to qualify under the Skilled Worker category, nor do you need to be in Canada to make the application. Anyone in any country can apply provided that they meet the criteria of the program, and receive a high enough score to be invited under the Express Entry.

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Eligibility Criteria for Professional Skilled Worker Program in Canada

In addition to having at least one year of work experience, to qualify as a Skilled Worker you must score at least 67 points on a point system which assesses an individuals’ qualifications. The different factors under the point system include:

  • Work Experience. You must have worked at least 1 year full-time or its equivalent in paid work experience within the last 10 years. This work must have been in a skilled occupation. Work experience carries a total of 15 points, with a pass mark of 9 points to qualify in the first place.
  • Education. The more educated you are, the better. If you do not have Canadian education credentials, your foreign education credentials will need to be assessed. You will need to provide an ECA (Educational Credential Assessment) report from an IRCC-approved agency. Formal education carries up to 25 points.
  • Arranged Employment. If a Canadian employer is willing to make a job offer and obtain an LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment), then 10 points can be claimed for arranged employment. This also applies to those who are in Canada with a work permit that is based on an LMIA or otherwise employer-specific, assuming they are able to get an offer of a permanent position from their employer.
  • Language. You must pass the minimum threshold of language ability in English or French. You need a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark of (CLB) 7. Language skills carry a total of 28 points, 24 for first official language and 4 for the second official language.
  • Age. You must be within the prescribed age limit. Age carries up to 12 points.
  • Adaptability. You must demonstrate adaptability, which means the ability to adapt to the Canadian way of life. You get up to 10 points for this factor.

Other Considerations

Apart from obtaining sufficient points under the selection criteria, some of the other major requirements of the program are as follows:

  • You must show you have enough settlement funds to support yourself and your dependents once you get to Canada. Note that “proof of funds” does not apply if you are currently working in Canada under Arranged Employment.
  • You must undergo and pass medical examinations.
  • You must get security clearance, which you get after criminal checks and other security screening.

Why Hire a Lawyer?

Using the services of a lawyer for your Skilled Worker / Express Entry application is definitely recommended as these programs involve complex criteria and detailed documentary requirements. An immigration lawyer experienced with the Skilled Worker program will make sure that your case is properly prepared and presented, reducing the time and trouble involved in the preparation of the application, and greatly reducing the risk of refusal or of serious complications during the application process.
At the Law Office of Matthew Jeffery, we have many years of successful experience assisting clients through the Skilled Worker program. We are a Toronto-based Canadian Immigration law firm dealing with all immigration-related matters ranging from Express Entry and Skilled Worker applications to immigration appeals and from permanent resident card renewals to citizenship applications.
Please fill out the Skilled Worker Free Assessment Form on our website and we will assess your qualifications and contact you with further details if you are qualified to make a Skilled Worker application.

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You can speak to one of our lawyers to get answers to any questions you may have on FSWP and FSWP application.