The broad majority of newcomers to Canada become residents through economic immigration programs.
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Canada’s immigration targets for 2018-2020 indicate that almost 200,000 new economic immigrants are going to be welcomed to the country annually.
This indicates that there are many opportunities for individuals of foreign nationality with the skills required to fill the labour gaps within the Canadian economy.
Economic immigration refers to those immigration programs which are targeted at positively affecting the Canadian economy. The vast majority of economic immigration programs aim to draw in skilled workers to Canada.
Skilled workers are permitted to fill shortages in Canada’s workforce and build lasting careers contributing to the Canadian economy.
Skilled worker immigration programs are permanent resident programs, and successful applicants receive Canadian permanent resident status.
Express Entry refers to the system Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses to manage applications to 3 major federal Skilled worker immigration programs.
- Federal Skilled worker (FSW)
- Federal Skilled Trades (FST)
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
Additionally, many provinces operate Provincial Nomination Programs (PNPs) streams that are aligned with Express Entry. Candidates who are eligible for any of the programs managed by Express Entry must submit a profile to the Express Entry pool.
All Express Entry candidates are then assigned a score on the basis of their profile using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), no matter the program that they’re eligible for.
This score is assigned based on various criteria, including age, education, language proficiency, work experience, and connections to Canada.
Candidates with the highest ranks are issued invitations to apply for permanent residence in periodic Express Entry draws. Upon invitation, processing times are as fast as 6 months.
Federal Skilled Worker
All Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) candidates must have at least 1 year of skilled work experience. However, this program doesn’t require a connection to Canada, thereby, it is often a perfect immigration option for foreign nationals living outside of Canada.
Please, let it be noted that the program does have strict eligibility requirements regarding work experience, level of education, age, and language proficiency.
Federal Skilled Trades
In order to qualify for the Federal Skilled Trades (FST) program, candidates must have a minimum of two years of work experience within a skilled trade. This experience must have been gotten within the previous 5 years.
Additionally, eligible candidates must have either have received an offer of full-time employment for a position lasting a minimum of 12-months or a certificate of qualification in their skilled trade which is provided by a Canadian provincial or territorial authority.
Canadian Experience Class
The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is an economic immigration program with the requisite for some Canadian experience.
Candidates must have a minimum of 12 months of full-time, skilled work experience, completed in Canada within the previous 3 years.
This program isn’t an option for individuals of foreign nationality who don’t possess this Canadian experience.
Provincial Nominee Programs for Skilled Workers
Canada’s provinces and territories operate unique immigration programs designed to satisfy their individual economic and demographic needs.
These are called Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). Many of those programs are aimed at skilled workers who can fill gaps in provincial and territorial workforces, so there is a spread of options for skilled workers.
Quebec Immigration for Skilled Workers
The province of Quebec retains significant autonomy and authority over its immigration policies and procedures, especially in comparison to other provinces and territories.
For this reason, Quebec facilitates its own immigration programs which are outside of the federal Express Entry system.
Applications made for permanent residence through the province of Quebec follow a two-step process. First, it’s necessary to apply to the Quebec government to receive a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ).
Once an applicant obtains a CSQ, they’re then allowed to submit a paper-based application for permanent residence to Canada’s federal immigration authorities. The province of Quebec operates two major permanent residence programs for skilled workers:
- Quebec Experience Program (PEQ)
- Quebec Skilled worker (QSW)
Quebec Experience Program
The Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) program requires skilled workers to be living in Quebec and to possess 12 months of full-time, skilled work experience completed within Quebec within the previous 2 years.
The program features a faster time processing for applications than Quebec skilled worker (QSW) but it also has stricter eligibility requirements. This program requires applicants to demonstrate advanced intermediate knowledge of oral French.
Quebec Skilled Worker
The Quebec Skilled worker Program (QSW) program could also be an option for skilled workers living outside of Quebec, because it doesn’t necessarily require a Quebec connection.
The QSW program uses a points grid to assess eligibility for the program and to rank candidates against each other.
Candidates who are interested in this program must submit an electronic Expression of Interest (EOI) using the Arrima Portal.
The lead competitive candidates are going to be invited to use the program.
Work experience gained while on short-term working papers may increase the candidate’s eligibility for permanent residence immigration programs.
To get a Work permit, candidates usually require an employment offer from a Canadian employer.