Federal Skilled Worker Program Remains Open After Quebec Program Reaches Cap

CIC News
Published: August 19, 2014

The announcement earlier this month that the cap for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program had been reached for this most recent application cycle was a disappointment for many potential applicants, but a silver lining has appeared in the form of the federal economic immigration programs.

The principal alternative immigration program for individuals who hoped to apply under the Quebec Skilled Worker Program is the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Like the Quebec Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Worker Program is based upon an individual’s human capital. This means that an applicant does not require a job offer in order to be eligible to apply for permanent residency in Canada. Applications made under the Federal Skilled Worker Program are thus assessed based on an applicant’s ability to become economically established once they immigrate to Canada. These applications do not require sponsorship from an employer nor a relative in Canada.

The Federal Skilled Worker Program will take in 25,000 applicants, plus their dependents, to Canada under this application cycle. They will arrive in Canada as permanent residents. These 25,000 places are spread across 50 occupations that are deemed by the federal government to be in demand by employers. There is a cap of 1,000 places for each occupation, and some of these caps are filling up quickly. Persons who were hoping to apply to the Quebec Skilled Worker Program but missed out should note that the list of occupations under the Federal Skilled Worker Program differs from the Quebec program. Consequently, it is important to check which occupations remain open. Federal Skilled Worker (Professional) applicants must:

  • Have at least one year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in the past 10 years in one of the aforementioned 50 eligible occupations; and
  • Pass a minimum threshold of language ability for one of Canada's two official languages (English/French).

Furthermore, the cap of 25,000 does not apply for applicants who:

  • Qualify for Arranged Employment with a Labour Market Impact Assessment and a full-time, permanent job offer from a Canadian employer; or
  • Have completed a PhD in Canada, or have completed two years of study in Canada towards a PhD, in both cases at a recognized institution. There is a cap of 500 in place for this stream.

In addition, Federal Skilled Worker applicants must attain at least 67 points based on Citizenship and Immigration Canada's (CIC) immigration selection factors. Nobody is exempt from the language testing requirement, so passing one of the language tests recognised by CIC as soon as possible is paramount.

Aside from the Federal Skilled Worker Program, potential applicants may still apply under this Quebec immigration program if the applicant has received a written offer of employment from a Quebec employer.

“The comforting prospect for persons who wished to apply under the Quebec Skilled Worker Program is that the door to Canada may not be closed to them, though their route may now be more complicated,” said Attorney David Cohen.

“The applicant can wait until the next application cycle of the Quebec program, but that entails the risk of the program being changed and his or her eligibility being placed in jeopardy. The no-risk solution is to explore other avenues and access sound information on all the immigration programs that are open currently.”

The Quebec Skilled Worker Program has proven to be a popular route to Canada for many immigrants. Along with the Federal Skilled Worker Program, these programs represent two of the most favoured ways to immigrate to Canada. There are, however, more than 60 immigration programs offered by the federal government and provinces.

New rules regarding the intake of and processing of new applications for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program will come into effect on April 1, 2015.

To find out if you are eligible for one of over 60 Canadian immigration programs, please fill out a free online assessment today.

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