The recent reopening of the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program has generated significant attention from prospective immigrants around the world. With 50 occupations eligible for the program, and intake caps that are more generous than in years past, many applicants who were not able to apply under previous FSW cycles may now find themselves eligible this year.
“The current FSW program has received unprecedented levels of interest,” said Attorney David Cohen. “It is almost certain that, given this interest, the competition to submit applications before caps are filled is greater than ever before.”
One way for an applicant to increase his or her chances of being accepted for review by the FSW program is to submit multiple applications. Not all applicants are eligible to submit multiple applications, as each new submission must be under a separate occupation. However, for those who are able to do so, submitting multiple applications may increase their likelihood of having an application accepted before program caps are filled.
Eligible Occupations for the FSW Program
A total number of 25,000 applications will be accepted under the current FSW stream. Applicants must have skills and experience in one of 50 eligible occupations in order to apply. A maximum of 1,000 applications will be accepted for any one occupation, so as to ensure that a diverse array of submissions is received.
For the purposes of Canadian immigration, all occupations are given unique National Occupation Codes (NOCs). Each NOC encapsulates a specific occupation group, such as ‘civil engineers’. Detailed descriptions of the occupation as well as standard job duties and education or experience requirements are also provided by the government.
The current eligible occupations cover a variety of professional fields, including information technology, health care, engineering and financial services.
Submitting an Application under Multiple NOCs
The Government of Canada allows applicants to submit multiple permanent residency applications at the same time. However, separate government processing fees must be paid for each application.
The FSW program requires applicants to have worked in an eligible occupation for at least one continuous year within the last ten years. With this in mind, there are several scenarios where an individual could be in a position to submit more than one application to the FSW program. A few examples are:
- An applicant worked in one eligible NOC and then, after changing career paths, worked in a completely different NOC. Assuming other eligibility requirements are met, he or she may be able to submit applications under both separate NOCs.
- An applicant worked in one eligible NOC (such as financial auditors and accountants) and was then promoted to a similar eligible NOC (such as financial managers or senior managers in financial services). Any and all of these NOCs could be eligible for the FSW program.
- An applicant worked in a position where his or her job duties overlap with another NOC. For instance, a computer programmer may also perform duties that are attributed to a software developer. If a substantial amount of duties, including all of the essential duties, can be met for both NOCs, it may be possible to apply under both.
- Both the applicant and his or her spouse/common law partner are eligible to apply under one or more NOCs.
Advice for Applicants
The time it takes for intake caps to fill will vary greatly depending on the popularity of a given occupation. In the past, some occupations have met their caps in a matter of days or weeks, while others fill up more slowly. At this time, the Government of Canada has not yet released information on the number of applications it has received since May 1, 2014.
According to Attorney David Cohen, individuals who believe they are eligible under multiple NOCs may increase their chances of acceptance by submitting multiple applications. This is especially the case for people who plan to submit applications for popular fields such as nursing and information technology. Since no information on application intake has yet been provided by the government, there is no way of knowing how close these popular occupations are to filling the 1,000 application cap.
“It is a shame when, every year, many applicants are turned away because their occupation is already full,” said Attorney Cohen. “Submitting under multiple occupations, if possible, helps an applicant hedge their bets and have the best chance of being accepted for review. It is well worth the extra effort and expense in order to rest assured that he or she did everything possible to gain Canadian Permanent Residency.”
As for the additional government processing fees, Attorney Cohen pointed out that any applications returned due to the cap being filled will have their government processing fees returned as well. Because of this, there is a high likelihood that applicants who submit multiple applications will get some of their money back.
“I encourage my clients to look at their applications as investments,” he said. “Investing in Canadian Permanent Residency has the potential to change not only their lives, but the lives of their family and loved ones for generations to come. They owe it to themselves to have the absolute best shot at immigrating to Canada, and for some this includes submitting multiple applications.”