Canada needs Skilled Workers – well educated and highly trained management staff, professionals and technicians such as scientists, nurses, managers, accountants, engineers, professors, and more. Prospective Skilled Worker immigrants intending to reside outside of Quebec must first qualify for at least 1 of the following programs:

  1. Federal Skilled Worker Class;
  2. Federal Skilled Trades Class; and/or
  3. Canadian Experience Class.

Every candidate must then compete with other prospective Skilled Worker immigrants through the Express Entry system to receive an Invitation to Apply (“ITA”)for permanent residence.

Definition of Skilled Worker

All occupations are classified in the National Occupation Classification (NOC) system established by the federal government. Each occupation has suggested titles, duties and employment requirements. Occupations are classified into Level “0” (management), Level “A” (professional), Level “B” (technical occupations or skilled trades) and Levels “C” and “D” (low skilled positions).

In immigration matters, “high skilled” work refers to Level “0”, “A” or “B” occupations.

Express Entry Prerequisite: Eligibility for a Skilled Worker Immigration Program

Before applying for Skilled Worker immigration through the Express Entry System, one must qualify for at least 1 of 3 possible Skilled Worker Immigration programs:

  1.  Federal Skilled Worker

Federal Skilled Workers are those with 1 year of continuous paid full time (or part time equivalent) and high skilled work experience within the 10 years prior to applying. A minimum amount of savings may also be required depending on the size of the applicant’s family.

Successful applicants also need at least 67 points out of 100 on the Federal Skill Worker points system where the factors are:

  • Education;
  • Official Language Proficiency, with a minimum of CLB Level 7 for English or NCLC 7 for French;
  • Work Experience in a high skilled occupation;
  • Age;
  • Arranged Employment in Canada for a permanent, full time, high skilled occupation; and
  • Adaptability

We have successfully navigated the Federal Skilled Worker Class system throughout its numerous revisions and have a keen understanding of the nuances behind the factors.

  1.  Federal Skilled Trades

Skilled Trades Workers are those with 2 years of paid full time (or part time equivalent) work experience obtained within 5 years prior to applying. The work experience must be in 1 of the following NOC “B” groups:

  • Industrial, Electrical and Construction Trades;
  • Maintenance and Equipment Operation Trades;
  • Supervisors and Technical Occupations in Natural Resources, Agriculture and Related Production;
  • Processing, Manufacturing and Utilities Supervisors and Central Control Operators;
  • Chefs and Cooks;
  • Bakers and Butchers.

Applicants must also have either a Canadian certificate of qualification or an offer for 1 year of continuous full-time work. The qualifying offer may also require a positive LMIA or be in an eligible NOC occupation. Determining eligibility for this class takes careful understanding of both the trades system and the immigration system. For more information, please see our section on Skilled Trades or speak to our office.

  1. Canadian Experience Class

Canadian Experience Class (“CEC”) applicants must have at least 1 year of paid full time (or part time equivalent) and high skilled work experience in Canada within the 3 years prior to applying. Self employment, unauthorized work and work as a full-time student are not eligible.

Minimum official language skills are also required:

  • For NOC “0” and “A” occupations: CLB 7 (English) or NCLC 7 (French)

Express Entry: The Comprehensive Ranking System (“CRS”)

All Express Entry System candidates enter the same pool regardless of which Skilled Worker Immigration Class they are qualified for. Periodically, candidates with the highest points according to the CRS will be chosen and awarded with an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence. CRS factors affecting your profile competitiveness are valued differently:

The number and quality of competing candidates will constantly vary. The timing of and number of available ITAs will also vary. Lowe & Company can advise you how to optimize your CRS to strengthen your likelihood of receiving an ITA.

Express Entry: Invitation to Apply and Electronic Application for Permanent Residence

An ITA is only valid for 60 days. A complete and well supported permanent resident application needs to be submitted within that time. In many situations, preparing the physical documents only once the ITA is received is too late. Various documents take time to obtain, including official language proficiency exams, police certificates, certified translations, and more. Too much time waiting in the Express Entry pool is also a concern. Expired documents such as passports and official language proficiency exams can be a headache to juggle. It is our job to handle files correctly and we are accustomed to monitoring immigration deadlines and timelines so that you do not have to.

BC Provincial Nomination Program

For Skilled Workers intending to reside in the province of British Columbia, the BC PNP has 2 available categories:

  1. 1. Express Entry BC – Skilled Worker

This category (mentioned briefly above) offers priority processing at both the BC PNP nomination stage and federal permanent residence application stage. To qualify, applicants must meet both:

  • at least 1 of the 3 Express Entry classes: Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades or CEC; and
  • at least 1 of the 4 BC PNP Skills Immigration sub-categories: Skilled Worker, International Graduate, International Post-Graduate or Health Care Professional.
  1. Skills Immigration:

The 6 BC PNP sub-categories are:

  1. Skilled Worker

For those with high skilled work experience and a valid permanent full-time job offer from an eligible BC employer.

  1. International Graduate

For graduates with a degree, diploma or certificate from a recognized Canadian university/college obtained within the previous 2 years. Applicants must also have work experience in a NOC “0”, “A” or “B” level occupation and a valid permanent full-time job offer from an eligible BC employer.

  1. International Post-Graduate

For graduates with a Master’s or Doctoral degree from a recognized BC post-secondary institution and in 1 of 9 eligible natural, applied and health science programs.

  1. Entry-Level or Semi Skilled

For those with a valid permanent full-time job offer from an eligible BC employer whom they have been working a minimum 9 consecutive months with prior to applying. There are 3 eligible industries: Tourism & Hospitality, Long Haul Trucking, and the Food Processing Industry. Applicants must also have proven official language skills and a minimum 12 years of education.

  1. Health Care Professional

This program is partnered with the government organization Health Match BC. The eligible occupations are: physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals.

  1. Northeast Pilot Project

For those with a valid permanent full-time job offer in a NOC Level “C” or “D” occupation (excluding Live-in Caregivers) with an eligible BC employer in the designated Northeast Development Region of BC.   Applicants must also have proven official language skill, a minimum 12 years of education and a minimum 9 consecutive months of work experience with that employer. This Pilot Project may expire March 31, 2016 unless renewed.

The BC PNP has numerous advantages, including a work permit support letter to facilitate work permits for successful nominees working with their BC employers. However, the program has its own unique policies, officers, mandate and processing style. At Lowe & Company, we are well acquainted with both the BC PNP and the federal immigration system; we can offer insight into your application from both perspectives so that your application is at its best for every step of the way

 *The BC PNP is also currently operating its Tech Pilot program, but it is a program that overlays the other programs and selects for individuals with job offers for specific occupations.