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Shabnam Akrami is the Managing Partner and Founder of Akrami & Associates.

Federal Skilled Worker Program Qualifying Occupations

Federal Skilled Worker Program Qualifying Occupations

Applying for the Federal Skilled Worker Program: Qualifying Occupations

Prior to January 2015, the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program provided a list of 50 qualifying occupations. However, on January 1, 2015 the new and improved online Express Entry Immigration system was introduced under the Economic Class. Under Express Entry, the updated Federal Skilled Worker program offers more flexibility in terms of qualifying employment options.

In order to apply under the Federal Skilled Worker stream in the Express Entry system, you must first meet the minimum requirements set out for the FSW qualifications. If you do meet the FSW minimum requirements, then you can submit an online application under this stream through Express Entry.

Initially, under the Express Entry system, you will submit something called an “expression of interest” profile. All expression of interest submissions are put in a pool of applicants and ranked according to Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) criteria. This is a system which applies to all Express Entry applicants, including Federal Skilled Worker, Canadian Experience Class, and Federal Skilled Trades. Some of the criteria evaluated for the CRS includes: Age, Level of Education, Official Languages Proficiency, Canadian Work Experience, as well as a host of Skill Transferability Factors. There are also points awarded for those who apply with a spouse that has the necessary qualifications.

High ranking candidates under the Express Entry system will be likely to receive an “invitation to apply” from the government. Once this invitation to apply is received, candidates have only 60 days to submit a full application online. If you upload all necessary information in the next 60 days and are successfully processed, you will receive Permanent Residence in Canada. The advantage of the new Federal Skilled Worker program under the Express Entry system is that it expedites processing and can allow candidates to receive a Permanent Resident visa in a much shorter period of time than before.

Specific Conditions Applicants must meet in order to apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Stream

If you want to apply as a Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) under Express Entry, the conditions are as follows:

Proof of language proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages (English or French)

  • Must meet a minimum of Canadian Language Benchmark 7 in all four skills
  • Must be tested by a recognized third party (for example: IELTS)

Canadian secondary or post-secondary degree, or an Educational Credential Assessment by one of the following recognized ECA organizations:

  • World Education Services
  • Comparative Education Service – University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
  • Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada
  • International Credentials Assessment Service of Canada
  • Medical Council of Canada

Have proof of necessary financial resources to support yourself and your family once you arrive in Canada

Have 1 year of continuous full-time paid work experience (or the equivalent in part-time) continuous employment

  • Must be within the last 10 years
  • Must be in a National Occupation Classification (NOC) 0, A, or B occupation

Undergo a successful medical examination and security background check

Score a minimum of 67 points on the six selection factors for Federal Skilled Workers

Some of these specific conditions will be examined in more detail in the following section.

1 Year Continuous Full-Time Paid Work Experience (or Equivalent Part-Time) Continuous Employment

  • Work experience is a key requirement for the Federal Skilled Worker stream. You must show that you have performed at least 1,560 hours of continuous paid work in a job from the National Occupational Classification (either 0, A, or B). Due to the requirement of paid work, volunteer work or an unpaid internship cannot be used to calculate hours. The job must have been consistent, which means that you didn’t change jobs during the period you are using to calculate your minimum hours.
  • Regulations state that the skilled work experience can be either full-time or part-time within the last 10 years. This affords the applicant quite a bit of flexibility. For example, for full-time, if you worked a minimum of 30 hours per week for 12 months, that would qualify you for the minimum 1,560 hours. For part-time, if you worked a minimum of 15 hours per week for 24 months, that would give you the requisite 1,560 hours.
  • It’s important that the duties of your job match the occupational description in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) database. Otherwise, your work experience will not qualify under the Federal Skilled Worker stream for Express Entry. For example, if you go to the NOC Database and select NOC 1241 – Administrative Assistants, you will find the following information:
  • Basic job description (usually one or two sentences)
  • Example Titles: These are alternate titles that a job typically has. For Administrative Assistant some example titles are: Executive Secretary, Sales Secretary, Office Administrative Assistant, etc.
  • Main duties: This details some common duties performed in the selected occupation. For Administrative Assistant some example duties are: order office supplies and maintain inventory, determine and establish office procedures, set up and maintain manual and computerized information filing systems, etc.
  • Employment requirements: This section outlines minimum education requirements needed for the selected occupation. For Administrative Assistant these are: completion of secondary school, completion of a one or two year college or other program for administrative assistants or previous clerical experience

By matching up your job experience with the NOC database, you can confirm that you have relevant work experience for the Federal Skilled Worker stream under Express Entry.

Score a Minimum of 67 points on the six selection factors for Federal Skilled Workers

In order to even qualify under the Federal Skilled Worker stream under Express Entry, an applicant needs to show that they can score a minimum of 67 points in the six selection factors. To assess how well you could score, you may refer to the following summary of each section according to criteria and points value:

Education (maximum points: 25)

For the education category, you will receive points based on how your academic qualifications would translate to the Canadian education system. As mentioned previously, this will require getting an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) done.

For points earned in this category, the minimum amount of points received would be for having the equivalent of a Canadian high school diploma (5 points). The maximum amount of points received would be for having the equivalent of a Canadian university degree at the Doctoral (PhD) level (25 points).

Proficiency in English or French (maximum points: 28)

For the official languages category, you will receive points based on your language capabilities in either English or French. This is measured with the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) system and is determined by the results of a language test such as IELTS.

For points earned in this category, the minimum amount of points received would be for having CLB 7 in each skill (speaking, listening, reading, writing) in either English or French (16 points). Any skill scoring below CLB 7 makes an applicant non-eligible for the FSW stream. 24 points received would be for having CLB 9 or higher in all skills in either English or French. To get the full 28 points, you would have to be able to score a CLB 5 in each skill for a second official language. For example, you have CLB 9 in all English skills and at least CLB 5 in all French skills.

Experience (maximum points: 15)

For the work experience category, you will receive points based on how many years of work experience you have in your chosen occupation.

For points earned in this category, the minimum amount of points would be for having 1 year of full-time work experience (9 points). The maximum amount of points would be for having 6 or more years of full-time work experience (15 points).

Age (maximum points: 12)

For the age category, you will receive points based on how old you are at the time of your application.

For points earned in this category, the minimum amount of points goes to those applicants either under age 18 or 47 or older (0 points). The maximum amount of points goes to applicants between the ages of 18 to 35 (12 points).

Adaptability (maximum points: 10)

This is a more complex category and requires a detailed breakdown of the criteria along with points values:

  • Your spouse or partner’s language level: If you are including your spouse or common-law partner in your Federal Skilled Worker application, he or she can score you points as long as he or she has CLB 4 in all skills in either English or French (5 points).
  • Your past study in Canada: If you finished a 2 year full-time academic program in Canada (full-time is at least 15 hours of class per week) and stayed in good academic standing the whole time, you apply for this criteria. This can be at the secondary or post-secondary level (5 points).
  • Your spouse or partner’s past study in Canada: Same conditions as above (5 points).
  • Your past work in Canada: If you completed at least 1 year of full-time work (NOC 0, A, or B) in Canada with a valid work permit or proper authorization, you apply for this criteria (10 points).
  • Your spouse or partner’s past work in Canada: Same conditions as above, except it does not have to be NOC 0, A, or B (5 points).
  • Arranged employment in Canada: If you have arranged employment in Canada as described in the next section (5 points).
  • Relatives in Canada: If you or your spouse / common-law partner have a relative who is 18 or older and is residing in Canada as a citizen or permanent resident, you can score points. Possible relatives are: parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, child of a parent, child of a grandparent, or grandchild of a parent (5 points).
  • Arranged employment (maximum points: 10)

This is the most complex category and details all of the conditions for arranged employment in Canada. If you qualify for one of these conditions, it will give you 10 points on the Federal Skilled Worker point grid. To find out if you qualify for these points, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada web page and look at “Arranged employment in Canada.”

Contact Akrami & Associates

Applying as a Federal Skilled Worker under Express Entry is a great way to potentially receive permanent residency in Canada. It is a complex process to apply, but if you feel that you could meet the qualifications, contact our team of Canadian immigration lawyers and consultants today so that we can help you assess your chances and prepare the best possible application.

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