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Canadian Visas

There are many different types of Canadians visas available for immigration purposes, but knowing which one is needed can be a confusing process. Here are some of the country’s most commonly used visas:

Express Entry is a file management system that was introduced by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) on 1st January 2015. The Express Entry system applies to the whole of Canada, except Quebec. A candidate must use Express Entry if they want to apply under the:

- Federal Skilled Worker Programme
- Federal Skilled Trades Programme
- Canadian Experience Class Express Entry Provincial Nominee programme.

Candidates will submit their applications electronically/online and will be measured by a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

Potential candidates will complete an online profile, and a score will be generated. Different scores will be generated depending on whether a candidate has a spouse or not. The candidate will be placed in a pool and will be ranked against others in the pool.

Candidates will be ranked based on:

- Human Capital Factors (age, education, language, Canadian work experience) and Spouse/Common-law Partner Factors (if applicable) = 500 points maximum
- Skill Transferability Factors (combination of language, education and work experience) = 100 points maximum
- Arranged Employment/Provincial Nomination = 600 points maximum

Only the highest-ranked candidates, and those with qualifying offers of arranged employment or
Express Entry provincial/territorial nominations, will be issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. Draws will be held regularly. There is no minimum threshold but CIC will post the low point score / range when they do the draws.

If a candidate does not have Arranged Employment then they must register with Job Match to connect with eligible Canadian employers. The Job Match profile is linked to the candidate’s Express Entry profile.

The principal applicant must do a language test for their Express Entry profile to be complete; the spouse should also do a language test if extra points are to be claimed. There are different thresholds depending on application category.

Accepted English tests are as follows: www.celpiptest.ca  and www.ielts.org.  

Only general test results will be accepted. To claim points for French, the Test d’Evaluation Franc╠žais (TEF) needs to be completed. www.francais.cci-paris-idf.fr

The principal applicant will also need to get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) done by an authorised body for their non-Canadian education credentials if they are submitting an application under the Federal Skilled Worker Category. It is suggested that an ECA is done for other categories (by both the principal applicant and the spouse) in order for points to be claimed in the CRS. Authorised assessing bodies are listed on the CIC website www.cic.gc.ca  

A candidate may receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and will then have 60 days to submit their full application. If no ITA is received then the candidate will be in the pool for 12 months, and will then have 60 days to renew their candidate profile. It is expected that the processing time, after receipt of the full application, will be six months.

Federal skilled worker programme (FSWP) Applications for the FSWP are managed via Express Entry – so an Express Entry profile will need to be created as the first step. An applicant will need to meet the requirements of the FSWP and will also need to meet the threshold of Express Entry, in order to be given an Invitation to Apply.

The FSWP selects immigrants based on their ability to succeed economically in Canada. It used to be known as the ‘points system’ - this is because it measures applicants using a selection grid worth up to 100 points. The current pass mark remains at 67. Each applicant is awarded points for various factors - official language ability, age, education, work experience, employment already arranged in Canada, and adaptability (such as previous work experience or education acquired in Canada).

 
Canadian passport sitting on suitcase
 
What are the minimum requirements?

- You must have at least one year of continuous full-time (or an equal amount in part-time) skilled work experience within the last 10 years. “Skilled work” means that your work experience must be level O, A, B of the NOC.

The more work experience that you have, the more points you will get. You must show that you did the duties set out in the lead statement of the occupational description in the NOC, including all the essential duties and most of the main duties listed. If you cannot show that your work experience meets the description in the NOC, you are not eligible under this program.

- Even if English (or French) is your native language you must still take a language test approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that shows you meet the level for speaking, listening, reading and writing. You will need to meet the minimum language level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 – the higher you get the more points you will score.
 
You must show that you meet the requirements in English or French by including the test results when you complete your Express Entry profile. Your test results must not be more than two years old on the day you apply for permanent residence. For English, you should do the IELTS (General) or the CELPIP (General) test and for French you should do the TEF.

- Unless you have a Canadian education credential, you will need to have your foreign education credentials assessed, so that points can be properly allocated. You must provide an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from an agency approved by IRCC.

The report must show your foreign education is equal to a completed Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree. You will need to enter the information from the report (including the reference number) in your Express Entry profile.

If you meet all the conditions set out in the minimum requirements, IRCC will assess your application based on the six selection factors in the federal skilled worker points grid.

The selection factors are:

- Language skills in English and/or French (Canada’s two official languages)
- Education
- Work experience
- Age
- Valid job offer (Arranged Employment) that is, one that is supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment
- Adaptability (for example) previous work or study in Canada, a close family member who is Canadian and lives in Canada.

Unless you are currently working in Canada with Arranged Employment, you must show that you have enough money to support yourself and your family after you arrive in Canada.

As well as all of the above requirements, IRCC will check to make sure that you and your family are admissible to Canada, so medicals and criminal checks must be provided. You must also plan to live outside the province of Quebec.

Federal Skilled Trades (FSTP)

The Federal Skilled Trades Programme (FSTP) is for people who want to become permanent residents based on being qualified in a skilled trade. This category is geared at attracting more skilled tradespeople to Canada. It is not a points system but rather is a ‘pass/fail’ system. An applicant must have either Arranged Employment or a Canadian Certificate of Qualification in order to qualify, amongst other requirements.

Applications for the FSTP are managed via Express Entry – so an Express Entry profile will need to be created as the first step. An applicant will need to meet the requirements of the FSTP and will also need to meet the threshold of Express entry, in order to be given an Invitation to Apply.
 
The minimum requirements are:

- You need to have at least two years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience) in your skilled trade in the last five years. This work experience must be post-qualification. You must meet the job requirements for that skilled trade as set out in the National Occupational Classification (NOC), except for needing a certificate of qualification – so make sure you check the relevant NOC.

- You must have EITHER an offer of full-time employment from up to two employers for at least one year of continuous full-time work OR a Canadian Certificate of Qualification in your skilled trade.

In Canada, provinces and territories issue Certificates of Qualification in the skilled trades. To get a certificate, the provincial or territorial trades’ authority must assess your training, trade experience and skills to decide if you are eligible to write an exam to be certified. You will need to write the exam in Canada. Some Certificates of Qualification are endorsed by the Red Seal if they are inter-provincially recognized.

- You must meet the required levels in English or French for each language ability (speaking, reading, writing and listening) – these are Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 for speaking and listening, and Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4 for reading and writing.
 
Canada Skyline - Toronto - Halo Financial
 - You must show that you meet the requirements in English or French by including the test results when you complete your Express Entry profile. Your test results must not be more than two years old on the day you apply for permanent residence. For English, you should do the IELTS (General) or the CELPIP (General) test and for French you should do the TEF.
- There is no education requirement for the Federal Skilled Trades Program. But, if you want to earn points for your education under Express Entry, you either need a Canadian education credential or you will you will need to have your foreign education credentials assessed, so that points can be properly allocated. You must provide an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from an agency approved by IRCC. The report must show your foreign education is equal to a completed Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree.

You will need to enter the information from the report (including the reference number) in your Express Entry profile.

Many trade qualifications cannot be assessed by an ECA, which is proving a large hindrance to this program. Do note that you will only benefit from getting an ECA if your foreign education is equal to a completed Canadian high school diploma or greater. As well as all of the above requirements, IRCC will check to make sure that you and your family are admissible to Canada, so medicals and criminal checks must be provided. You must also plan to live outside the province of Quebec.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

The Canadian Experience Class Program (CEC) allows those with temporary Canadian work experience to apply to become permanent residents. Applications for the CEC are managed via Express Entry – so an Express Entry profile will need to be created as the first step. An applicant will need to meet the requirements of the CEC and will also need to meet the threshold of Express Entry, in order to be given an Invitation to Apply.

If you are a temporary foreign worker in Canada, you often have the qualities to make a successful transition from temporary to permanent residence. Although the CEC is a ‘pass / fail’ program, you still need to meet the points under Express Entry. Your Canadian work experience will give you extra points.

What are the minimum requirements?

- You need to have at least 12 months of full-time (or an equal amount in part-time) skilled work experience in Canada in the three years before you apply. This does not need to be consecutive. Self-employment and work experience gained while you were a full-time student (for example, on a co-op work term) does not count under the CEC. “Skilled work” means that your work experience must be level O, A, B of the NOC.
- You must meet the required levels in English or French for each language ability (speaking, reading, writing and listening) – these are Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 for NOC 0 or A jobs OR Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 for NOC B jobs. You must show that you meet the requirements in English or French by including the test results when you complete your Express Entry profile. Your test results must not be more than two years old on the day you apply for permanent residence. For English, you should do the IELTS (General) or the CELPIP (General) test and for French you should do the TEF.

There is no education requirement for the CEC. But, if you want to earn points for your education under Express Entry, you either need a Canadian education credential or you will you will need to have your foreign education credentials assessed, so that points can be properly allocated. You must provide an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from an agency approved by IRCC. The report must show your foreign education is equal to a completed Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree. You will need to enter the information from the report (including the reference number) in your Express Entry profile.

As well as all of the above requirements, IRCC will check to make sure that you and your family are admissible to Canada, so medicals and criminal checks must be provided. You must also plan to live outside the province of Quebec.

As you can see, the Canadian visa process is complicated and needs careful planning and consideration. Contact us for a recommended visa specialist who can help find out about the best route for you.
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