In our previous newsletter, we reported that individuals eligible to immigrate to Canada under the current Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) should do so as soon as possible, as they are currently able to apply directly to the program. As of January 1, 2015, Canada will transition to a new expression of interest immigration selection system called ‘Express Entry’, in which the federal government and provincial governments, as well as Canadian employers, will be able to select potential immigrants from a pool of candidates who have declared an expression of interest in immigrating to Canada and who meet the eligibility criteria for at least one of Canada’s economic immigration programs.
We can now additionally report that the first of the eligible occupations for the current FSWP has reached its cap of 1,000 applications accepted for assessment by the government of Canada. Applications made by computer programmers and interactive media developers (NOC 2174) will no longer be accepted under the current FSWP. Other occupation caps, including Financial and investment analysts (NOC 1112), are close to becoming capped out. It is therefore important that people who are eligible under the FSWP and have work experience in one of the remaining 49 eligible occupations either prepare and submit an application before his or her occupation becomes capped out, or investigate their other options.
What to do if your occupation is capped out
If you find that your primary occupation is capped out, you may have other options for immigration to Canada:
- Overlapping occupation descriptions under the FSWP
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) provides a description of main duties and sample occupation titles for each eligible FSWP occupation. In some cases, these duties and titles overlap across different National Occupation Classification (NOC) codes. Take, for example, Computer programmers and interactive media developers. An applicant who was eligible under this occupation might also be eligible as an Information systems analyst or consultant (NOC 2171), Database analyst or data administrator (NOC 2172), or Software engineer/designer (2173). The preceding three occupations have not yet capped out.
- Previous work experience in another occupation
The FSWP requires an applicant to have at least one year of work experience in an eligible occupation in the past 10 years, but this does not necessarily have to be the applicant’s current or most recent occupation. An applicant could have made a career change in the past 10 years. If the applicant finds that his or her current occupation is capped out, he or she might be eligible under another occupation. For example, a computer programmer who used to work as a civil engineer within the last 10 years may be eligible to apply as a civil engineer (NOC 2131).
- The applicant’s spouse might be eligible for immigration to Canada
Applying for Canadian immigration is a family affair. An application includes a principal applicant and his or her spouse or children. If the principal applicant’s occupation is capped out and he or she is married, the spouse’s work history should be examined for experience in one of the eligible occupations for the current FSWP.
- A valid job offer from a Canadian employer
Under the current FSWP, Arranged Employment is possible when a Canadian employer extends an offer of full-time permanent employment in Canada to a foreign skilled worker. If an applicant has such an offer, he or she is not subject to the cap on his or her occupation. There is no cap for applicants with a qualifying job offer from a Canadian employer.
- Provincial Nomination Program
The Provincial Nomination Program (PNP) allows provinces to nominate individuals who wish to immigrate to Canada and who are interested in settling in a particular province. Each Canadian province (except for Quebec, which has a different selection system), has its own unique PNP. These programs are typically tailored to suit the provinces’ labour market needs and, as such, provide streams for particular occupations. A valid job offer from a Canadian employer in the province to which the applicant is applying is required under these programs.
- Wait until 2015
If an applicant finds that his or her occupation is capped out, he or she can wait until January, 2015, and make an expression of interest in immigrating to Canada under the Express Entry selection system. He or she could then be selected by the federal government, a Canadian province, or a Canadian employer for immigration to Canada under either the new Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, the Canadian Experience Class, or a Provincial Nomination Program. Applicants who wait should bear in mind that there is no guarantee of being invited to apply for immigration to Canada if they make an expression of interest.
“For an applicant who finds that his or her occupation has reached its cap for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, he or she should know that there could be alternative ways of immigrating to Canada,” says Attorney David Cohen. “It’s important to take a step back and see what other options you may have. Sometimes it helps to see the bigger picture.”
What to do if your occupation remains open
The FSWP assesses candidates based on their ability to become economically established upon immigration to Canada using a points-based system. Applicants must score at least 67 points based on the criteria set by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
In addition to fulfilling eligibility, occupation and points requirements, applicants must show that they have sufficient settlement funds to support themselves and their dependents (spouse and children) after arrival in Canada. All applicants and their dependents must also undergo medical examinations and security clearances.
Now is the time to take action
“Candidates for the current Federal Skilled Worker Program are now working against the clock on two fronts. On the one hand, a candidate has to prepare and submit a full application before this application cycle ends, which could be on December 31, 2014. On the other, he or she must keep an eye on the number of spaces remaining for his or her occupation,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“Candidates who fulfil the criteria of the current Federal Skilled Worker Program should apply now, knowing with a degree of certainty that they will be able to immigrate to Canada. From January, candidates will be relying on being cherry-picked by either the federal government, a province, or a Canadian employer under the Express Entry selection system. We’re in the final stages of the current Federal Skilled Worker Program — time is of the essence.”
To find out if you are eligible for the current Federal Skilled Worker Program, or any of over 60 Canadian immigration programs, please fill out a free online assessment today.
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