Having a job offer from a Canadian employer can be a great way to optimize your chances of obtaining Canadian permanent residency. A genuine job offer may entitle you to a work permit or permanent residency under various Federal and Provincial immigration programs. Both levels of government recognize that individuals are more likely to be successful Canadian permanent residents if they are currently living in Canada, contributing to Canadian society and to the economy, or if they have arranged employment upon their arrival.
Individuals who have a permanent, full-time job offer from a Canadian employer may qualify for a permanent resident visa under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, without the requirement of one year of work experience in one of the 29 eligible occupations. A qualifying job offer must be for a skilled position (skill level A, B, or O in the National Occupational Classification Matrix).
There are two ways of qualifying for Arranged Employment under the Federal Skilled Worker Program:
- Obtaining an Arranged Employment Opinion:
With a genuine job offer, applicants are able to apply for an Arranged Employment Opinion (AEO). An AEO is essentially a job offer that has been approved by the government department known as Service Canada. Service Canada evaluates the position offered including the occupation, the wage the foreign worker will be paid and the working conditions. Service Canada is also concerned with whether the job offer is genuine, of a permanent nature and full-time. Currently, AEOs are taking approximately 6 months to process – this is a significant delay considering processing times under the Federal Skilled Worker category are approximately 12 months.
- Currently working in Canada on a valid work permit:
Applicants who are currently working in Canada on a valid work permit may qualify for Arranged Employment without having to obtain an AEO. The work permit will have to be valid both at the time the application is submitted as well as up until the permanent resident visa has been issued. These applicants are still required to have a permanent, full-time job offer from a Canadian employer.
Individuals in both categories are required to obtain 67/100 points based on six selection factors: education, work experience, official language proficiency, age, arranged employment and other adaptability factors. If an individual is in Canada on a work permit he/she will be able to obtain up to an additional 15 points. This significantly improves an applicant’s points total and many candidates with arranged employment are able to reach the current passmark.
Service Canada has recently announced that it will be making significant changes to the AEO process so that applications can be processed within a matter of weeks rather than months. However, until these changes have been made, it is advisable for a person who has obtained a full-time job offer from a Canadian employer to apply for a work permit, rather than an AEO because that individual will be able to come to Canada to work within a much shorter time-frame and be here until the issuance of their permanent resident visa.
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