The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) selects immigrants based on their ability to succeed economically in Canada. After meeting eligibility requirements, applicants are assessed against selection criteria, also known as the “point’s grid.” There are 100 points available to applicants, with points awarded for official language abilities, age, education, work experience, employment already arranged in Canada, and adaptability. The current pass mark is 67.
While Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will not be accepting applications for the 24 eligible occupations until May 4, 2013, there are some new requirements that applicants can start preparing for, such as language tests and foreign educational credential assessments. The complete application process, featuring the new selection criteria, will be available on CIC’s website by May 4, 2013
One requirement for applying under FSWP is to have at least one year of full-time, continuous paid work experience in the past ten years in one of the 24 eligible occupations. The Canadian government officially considers an individual to have worked in a profession if they meet the following two points:
- Performed the actions described in the lead statement for the occupation.
- Performed a substantial number of the main duties, including all of the essential duties.
An FSWP applicant must score at least 6.0 on the IELTS General Training test in each of the four skills to meet the minimum language threshold of CLB 7.
Previously, employers have applied for an Arranged Employment Opinion (AEO) from Human Resources Skills Development Canada when they wished to hire a foreign national on a permanent, full-time basis and support their employee’s application for permanent residence through the FSWP.
Starting on May 4, 2013, CIC will no longer accept AEOs in support of an FSWP application. Instead, most offers of arranged employment will require a Labour Market Opinion.
Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)
Another important change that takes effect on May 4, 2013, is the introduction of the educational credential assessment (ECA). Prospective applicants may start the process of getting an ECA before May 4 if they are planning to submit a foreign educational credential. However, applicants should keep in mind the other program eligibility requirements listed above, i.e. whether they have a qualifying offer of arranged employment or are applying under the PhD stream or eligible occupations stream; and if they meet the minimum language threshold through a designated third-party test. Applicants who have Canadian educational credentials do not need to get an ECA, unless they are also submitting a foreign educational credential in support of their application.
The ECA process will help determine if the foreign educational credential is authentic and equivalent to a completed credential in Canada. For prospective applicants, the ECA can provide a realistic understanding of how their foreign educational credentials are likely to be recognized in Canada.
As of April 17, 2013, four organizations have been designated by the Minister to provide ECA reports for purposes of immigrating to Canada under the FSWP. Additional organizations may be designated by CIC in the future. The designated organizations are:
- Comparative Education Service: University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies;
- International Credential Assessment Service of Canada;
- World Education Services; and,
- Medical Council of Canada.
CIC will only accept ECA reports issued after the date the organization was designated by CIC to provide ECA reports for immigration purposes (i.e. April 17, 2013). An ECA report will be valid for immigration purposes for 5 years from the date that it was issued by the designated organization.
Eligible Occupations List
The eligible occupations stream will have an overall cap of 5,000 new applications and sub-caps of 300 applications in each of the 24 occupations on the list.
Eligible occupations (with their corresponding 2011 National Occupation Classification code):
- Engineering managers
- Financial and investment analysts
- Geoscientists and oceanographers
- Civil engineers
- Mechanical engineers
- Chemical engineers
- Mining engineers
- Geological engineers
- Petroleum engineers
- Aerospace engineers
- Computer engineers (except software engineers/designers)
- Land surveyors
- Computer programmers and interactive media developers
- Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics
- Inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safety
- Audiologists and speech-language pathologists
- Occupational Therapists
- Medical laboratory technologists
- Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists’ assistants
- Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists Medical radiation technologists
- Medical sonographers
- Cardiology technicians and electro physiological diagnostic technologists