Canadian Immigration for Skill Workers

To be considered a skilled worker when immigrating to Canada, there are a number of minimum requirements in terms of skilled work experience. The total work experience in a particular field must be at least one year (total of 1,560 hours). This must comprise continuous full-time work or an equivalent amount of part-time hours. The work must be paid – it means that volunteer work or an unpaid internship will not count. The work experience must have been attained in the last 10 years, and in the same job. There also additional “skill level” prerequisites that are defined in the National Occupational Classification. Applicants who aren’t able to clearly show that their work experience satisfies the description in the NOC will not be eligible to apply under this program.

Skilled worker applicants must meet minimum language requirements defined by the Canadian Language Benchmark. They must take a language test approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The test must achieve a specific level of speaking, reading and writing. To show success in meeting the requirements for English and/or French, applicants must include test results when completing an Express Entry profile. Test results for any applicant cannot be more than 2 years old when applying for permanent residency. In terms of education, immigrating skilled workers must have an Educational Credential Assessment from an agency that is approved by CIC. In short, foreign education must be equal to Canadian secondary school or post-secondary school.

As with many immigration programs, there are specific selection factors for the skilled worker category. In Canada, the selection factors are gauged by a point system, allowing applicants to be appropriately assessed, while being considered for immigration based on specific factors:

  • English and/or French skills
  • Basic education and training
  • Prior work or job experience
  • Age at the application period
  • Possession of a valid job offer
  • Adaptability as an immigrant

Beyond the essential requirements for skilled worker immigration, there are other requisites that apply to Canadian immigrants, regardless of admission category. Applicants must be admissible to Canada (a criminal record, for example, will render the candidate inadmissible). As well, applicants must plan to live outside of the province of Quebec.

For many skilled laborers who want to live in Canada, it may be possible to use the immigration department’s Express Entry pool. This will require a certain amount of earned points when the selection factors are assessed. The total points attained will indicate whether the applicant can qualify for the Express Entry pool.

In some cases, it may be necessary for an applicant to go directly to a province or territory to be assessed. It may also be necessary for a Canadian employer to provide an applicant with some experience and/or training.Finally, there may be a need for a special certificate of qualification to work in a province or territory.

In all circumstances, the process for skilled worker immigration will be far more productive and timely when an applicant can fully satisfy department requisites. This is particularly true when supporting documentation is submitted as requested - anything outstanding during the application process will only delay the proceedings.    

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