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What is a Skilled Worker?

For immigrants to Canada, the skilled worker classification has some minimum requirements.  For one, work experience in a specific field must be a minimum of 1 year (1,560 hours). This is further defined as continuous full-time work, or part-time hours that comprise the minimum. Work must be fully paid - gathered in the last 10 years - and in the same line of work.

The National Occupational Classification also has defined “skill levels”. Applicants must have the work experience to satisfy the NOC – otherwise, they are not eligible. Skilled workers must also meet language requisites (Canadian Language Benchmark). Beyond taking a language test (speaking, reading, writing), applicants must present an Educational Credential Assessment.

Like other immigration streams, there are selection factors for skilled workers. These selection factors are based on a point system and allow applicants to be assessed according to factors:

  • Language skills (English/French)
  • Work experience specific to skills
  • Relevant education and training
  • Presentation of an actual job offer
  • Adaptability as a skilled immigrant

In some cases, immigrating skilled workers are able to make their application through the Express Entry Pool. This process requires a number of “earned points” once the selection factors have been assessed. Using a points system allows the immigration department to ascertain whether an applicant will qualify as a skilled worker through the Express Entry pool.

Applicants should also know that there are situations where a skilled worker must go right to a province (or a territory) for assessment. There are also situations where a potential Canadian employer must provide an applicant with additional experience/training. And finally, there may be cases where a “certificate of qualification” is needed to work in a province/territory.

With every application under the skilled worker stream, processing will be far more streamlined when all requisites are fully satisfied. This is especially true when submitting supporting documents - anything that is outstanding will only delay the processing.   




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