Many prospective immigrants were excited to learn that the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program reopened to applicants on May 1, 2014. The program, Canada’s most popular, is open to applicants with education and experience in one of 50 eligible occupations.
While some aspects of the FSW program remain unchanged from the previous application cycle, there are some important changes as well. Here are ten things prospective applicants need to know about the FSW program as it stands today:
1. 35 new occupations have been added
Out of the 50 total eligible occupations, a full 35 of these occupations were not previously eligible. These include popular jobs in fields such as finance, nursing, health services, and management. To view the full list of 50 eligible occupations, please click here.
2. Previous applicants can re-apply
Individuals who applied to a previous cycle of the FSW program, but had files returned because their cap had been filled, may apply again if they continue to meet eligibility criteria. Individuals whose applications have already been accepted for processing do not need to send in a second application.
3. Selection criteria has not changed
No eligibility or selection criteria has been changed. This means that applicants must still score at least 67 points on the FSW selection grid in order to be selected for permanent residency. Points are attributed for factors such as language skills, education, work experience, age, and adaptability to Canada.
4. Educational assessment reports can be reused
An individual who has already had his or her educational credentials assessed by a designated organization may reuse their assessment report for application under the current FSW program. Applicants should include the original report that was returned to them with their previous application.
A copy of the original report may be used in the following circumstances:
In this case, the applicant should send a copy of his or her refusal letter as well as a note explaining that their original educational assessment was not returned.
5. Multiple applications may be accepted
If an individual has a year or more of work experience in more than one eligible occupation, he or she may apply to the FSW program under each occupation. Generally speaking, applicants may apply as many times as they like, under the same program or multiple programs. However, they must pay a separate application fee for each application.
6. No new forms are required
No additional forms are required under the newest application cycle. The already existing application forms and application guide may be used for submission.
7. Part-time work may be accepted
Applicants can count part-time work experience towards their work experience requirement. This work must be paid, continuous, and must take place within ten years of the date of application.
8. Language requirements have not changed
Applicants must still provide proof of language proficiency in English or French. This is done by providing results from a designated third party language exam.
As before, applicants must meet minimum language thresholds in order to apply to the FSW program.
9. Processing times are faster
The Canadian government has expressed its intention to bring processing times for the FSW program to under one year. Recent applicants to the program have indeed begun to receive decisions on their applications within this timeframe.
10. Last chance to apply to the FSW program
On January 1, 2015, a new immigration intake system known as Express Entry will come into force. This system will pre-select applicants for a range of immigration programs, including the FSW program. As it currently stands, this is the last opportunity for applicants to apply directly to the FSW program.
“When applying to the FSW program, it is essential for applicants to pay attention to the details of their applications,” said Attorney David Cohen. “Incomplete or incorrect applications may be returned. With so many people around the world focused on this program, it is important for prospective immigrants to act quickly and efficiently to secure their place in the queue.”
To find out if you are eligible for the FSW program, or any of over 60 Canadian immigration programs, please fill out a free online assessment today.