For three more months, the Federal Skilled Worker immigration stream into Canada remains open for application. What is to happen after that, nobody knows.
The Federal Skilled Worker Program is the most popular immigration program on the federal Canadian level, as it applies to the broadest group of people who look at Canada as a future home. Skilled workers in a wide variety of sectors are welcome to apply, and migrate without a job offer at hand.
The program was revised and re-opened in May 2013, after it had been closed for admissions for almost a year. The new program offered professionals in 24 occupation categories the opportunity to apply based on factors like their education, work experience, language proficiency, etc.
In total, 5,000 applicants will be accepted through the FSW program, which will close for admissions on April 30, 2014.
Due to a cap of 300 applications per occupation category, nine of these categories have already been closed, and 15 categories remain open as of today.
If a person wants to migrate to Canada based on this programme, s/he must do so right now, advise immigration consultants.
“With so much about the future unclear, applicants who think they are eligible to submit today would be well advised to do so,” said Attorney David Cohen, who was quoted on the website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). “With a little more than three months left until the end of April, an organised applicant could certainly prepare and submit under the current eligibility requirements.”
What are the options?
Skilled workers in the medical field are most likely to successfully obtain a visa through the program at the moment. Seven occupations in this sector have remained on the list, being the following:
Audiologists and speech-language pathologists
Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists’ assistance
Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologist
Medical radiation technologists
Cardiology technologists and electrophysiological diagnostic technologist
Similarly, engineers are welcomed in the country, with an urgent need for professionals in this field in certain states. Job offers aside, engineers in the following fields may apply through this programme:
Further, Canada opens the door for geoscientists and oceanographers, industrial instrument technicians and mechanics and land surveyors.
What should be done?
In order to qualify as a candidate for any of the above-mentioned categories, one must have at least one year of continuous full-time paid work experience in an eligible occupation in the last 10 years. This experience must be demonstrated.
Further, the applicant must demonstrate a level of language proficiency in English or French. In order to demonstrate language ability, a test score must be provided with the application. These test scores must be derived from certain language testing systems, and meet the standards set by the CIC.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the tests accepted as proof of English proficiency for the FSWP. Applicants submitting IELTS scores must meet at least CLB level 7 in all four language abilities. This amounts to a score of 6.0 in each language ability in the IELTS test.
Finally, the applicant must meet or exceed a 67-points threshold based on factors such as education, age, language skills, work experience, and adaptability.
Since the changes to the programme, the applicant must have education abroad assessed against Canadian education standards by designated organisations. There are currently four organisations permitted to provide accreditation, being the World Education Services, Comparative Education Services, International Credentials Assessment Services of Canada and for medical applicants the Medical Council of Canada.
Why there is no time to lose?
Submitting an application is not an easy task. Every year, applications are sent back or rejected due to errors that could have been avoided. In addition, thousands of applicants miss the boat every year because the cap was reached before they completed or they did not start their application on time.
Once the intake has been closed, it is uncertain when the door opens again.
The Government of Canada has not announced what will happen after April 30.
However, major changes are again under way, with a transition to an entirely new economic immigration system known as the Expression of Interest (EOI) system expected to be implemented by 2015.