Frequently asked questions about the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

To be eligible for a Canada Immigration (Permanent Resident) Visa under the Skilled Worker category, candidates must:

  • have at least one year of continuous full-time, or equivalent, paid work experience in the past 10 years in a skilled occupation (National Occupational Classification skill level 0, A or B); or
  • qualify for Arranged Employment with a Labour Market Impact Assessment; or
  • have completed a PhD from a recognized institution in Canada; or
  • have completed two years of study at a recognized institution in Canada towards a PhD;

Candidates must also:

  • have settlement funds for settlement in Canada; and
  • pass a minimum threshold of language ability for one of Canada's two official languages (English/French).

In addition, Canada Federal Skilled Worker (Professional) applicants must attain at least 67 points based on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's (IRCC, formerly CIC) six immigration selection factors.

Finally, all applicants and their accompanying and non-accompanying dependents, under all categories of Canadian Immigration, must satisfy Canadian health and security/criminality requirements.

As of January 1, 2015, candidates who are eligible under the Federal Skilled Worker category must make an expression of interest in immigrating to Canada permanently through the Express Entry immigration selection system. Candidates are not able to apply directly to the program. If they are selected from the Express Entry pool and are issued an invitation to apply, they may then submit an application for permanent residency.
There is no eligible occupations list in place at this time. Applicants need to have at least one year of work experience in the past 10 years in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) code type A, B or 0.
Yes. The first step is to complete the free assessment form to determine eligibility for Canadian Immigration under the Skilled Worker category. Interested individuals who wish to know more about how Campbell Cohen can assist with an Express Entry application, are encouraged to get in touch. The Campbell Cohen team of immigration specialists would be pleased to respond to any questions.
Canada accepts Skilled Workers based upon their ability to become economically established in Canada. If the Canadian Immigration Visa Officer believes that the point total does not accurately reflect a candidate's ability to become economically established in Canada, the officer may choose to use his or her positive discretion, referred to as substituted evaluation, and accept the application even though the candidate did not meet the minimum points requirement. Substituted evaluation requires the concurrence of a second designated officer and may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Officers may consider any relevant factors. The fact that an applicant “almost met” the requirements of the Federal Skilled Worker Class is not, in itself, sufficient grounds to recommend the use of positive substituted evaluation. 

Yes. Canada accepts Skilled Workers based upon their ability to become economically established in Canada. If the Canadian Immigration Visa Officer concludes that you will not become economically established in Canada, the Visa Officer may use his or her negative discretion (referred to as substituted evaluation) and refuse an application even though the applicant scored 67 or more points. Moreover, an applicant may be inadmissible to Canada due to health or security issues, no matter how many points are rewarded under the Skilled Worker Category.  
Currently, the pass mark under the Skilled Worker category is 67 points. IRCC may raise or lower the pass mark without any advance notice. Potential applicants interested in submitting an application for Canadian immigration who currently score at least 67 points, and otherwise qualify for a permanent resident visa, are advised to submit an application at the earliest opportunity.
Canadian Immigration law and regulations permit the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to change the pass mark, and even to implement the change retroactively. Whether or not IRCC will impose a pass mark change retroactively is a separate issue. The Federal Court of Canada has indicated its disfavour with the practice of retroactivity in Canadian Immigration matters.
Under the Federal Skilled Worker category, an applicant must submit the following, in support of his or her application:

All candidates who receive an invitation to apply are also required to submit the following supporting documents along with their e-application:

  • Valid passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Language test results
  • Documentation attesting to work experience
  • Police clearance certificate(s)
  • Upfront medical receipt
  • Photographs of principal applicant and family members

It is important to note that many Canadian Immigration Visa Offices have their own specific document requirements that must be respected in order to avoid having an application returned, delayed or even refused. 

Express Entry is a two-step process. Language test results and documents attesting to a candidate's level of education, among other items of documentation, are required at the first stage, when a candidate creates an online profile. Remaining documentation (see question 9 above) will be required when the candidate submits an e-application.

If a candidate is claiming points for Arranged Employment, he or she must also include a letter from the Canadian employer confirming that he or she will be employed indeterminately upon receiving the Canada Immigration (Permanent Resident) Visa along with a copy of the positive Labour Market Impact Assessment issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

Under the Skilled Worker category, the following family members may be included in an application:

  • the principal applicant's spouse or common-law partner;
  • the principal applicant's dependent children and the dependent children of the accompanying spouse or common-law partner, up to 22 years of age;
  • the dependent children of the principal applicant's dependent children, and the dependent children of the dependent children of the accompanying spouse or common-law partner.
A request to transfer an application to another Canadian Immigration Visa Office may be made to the Canadian Immigration Visa Office processing the file. The Canadian Immigration Visa Office will decide, based upon “program integrity”, whether or not to transfer the application. In certain circumstances, the Canadian Immigration Visa Office processing a file may decide on its own to transfer the file to a different, more appropriate Canadian Immigration Visa Office, even without a request. 

Work experience is a critical requirement for a Federal Skilled Worker candidate. At a minimum, a candidate must have one year of full-time (or the part-time equivalent) of continuous work experience in an occupation at a skill level recognized by IRCC. Accumulated part-time work experience is acceptable. 
Work experience does not have to be related to the candidate's education, as long as he or she is performing or has performed the duties of the occupation for which he or she is claiming points.
Yes, as long as the work was paid and the duties performed were in an occupation whose skill level is recognized by IRCC.
An offer of employment is not required in order to qualify under the Skilled Worker category of Canadian immigration. Arranged Employment, however, may be a determining factor in a candidate's eligibility to enter the Express Entry pool. Moreover, candidates with a qualifying job offer of arranged employment supported by a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) are awarded 600 points under the Comprehensive Ranking System and will be invited to apply for permanent residence at a subsequent draw from the pool.

NOTE: The government of Canada has stated that changes to the Comprehensive Ranking System will come into force on November 19, 2016. As of that date, points awarded for job offers will change, and certain regulations regarding LMIAs will also change. To learn more about this and other changes, click here.

At a minimum, a candidate must have one year of full-time (or part-time equivalent) of continuous work experience in an occupation at a skill level recognized by IRCC. Accumulated part-time work experience is acceptable. It is assessed in proportion to a standard full-time working week of 37.5 hours. For example, a two-year part-time position requiring approximately 20 hours of work each week, will be counted as approximately one year of full-time experience.
Yes, a candidate will be awarded points under the Adaptability Factor if he or she, or his or her accompanying spouse or common-law partner, has a close relative who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and who is currently residing in Canada. To qualify as a close relative, the Canadian citizen or permanent resident must be a child, mother or father, brother or sister, aunt or uncle, niece or nephew, grandchild or grandparent.
Applicants for a Canada Immigration Visa under the Skilled Worker category may be required to attend a personal interview with a Canadian Immigration Visa Officer. Such interviews are held to ensure the information in the application is accurate, to clear up any uncertainties and to verify information.

Canadian Immigration Visa Officers may, under all categories of immigration, grant an interview waiver, depending on the qualifications of the applicant, the quality of the supporting documentation, and the overall credibility of the applicant.

In a small percentage of applications, an interview is held to evaluate security issues such as criminality, espionage, subversion, or terrorism.
Applications that are complete in every detail increase the chances of an interview waiver. Interview waivers, however, are granted at the discretion of the Canadian Immigration Visa Officer in charge of a candidate's file. It is not possible to apply specifically for a waiver. Even if an interview is waived, the Canadian Immigration Visa Officer reserves the right to call a candidate to an interview at a later date.


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