Canadian Immigration Questions and Answers with Attorney David Cohen

CIC News
Published: December 31, 2014

Every month, Attorney David Cohen will answer a few general Canadian immigration questions submitted by our readers. Here are this month’s questions and answers.

1. My points add up to 70 under the current Federal Skilled Worker points system. Should my wife also write an IELTS test so that I can get an additional five points? Is it worth going for the extra five points even though I am eligible for the program right now? Will the extra points be beneficial in getting my application accepted through the Express Entry system.

There are many potential benefits to having your spouse write the IELTS.

First, as a safety measure for your FSW point total. You may think that you have 70 points, but ultimately encounter difficulty obtaining a favorable degree equivalency, language test score of your own, or the necessary documentation to support your work experience. The extra five points may bring you back above 67 points if you come up short elsewhere.

Second, for the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Under Express Entry, being eligible for the FSW program is now just the first step. Eligible applicants submit their profiles into a pool where they are ranked against each other using a different scoring system referred to as the CRS. Obtaining additional points can help increase someone’s ranking and his or her likelihood of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence. A spouse or common-law partner’s English proficiency is considered under the CRS, and having him or her obtain an IELTS result can help increase your CRS ranking.

Third, to open up other options. Your spouse may qualify as a principal applicant herself, either for this program or for a different provincial or federal program. By having her IELTS result ready, she may be able to submit a profile or apply quickly if another immigration program for which she is eligible opens.

The potential benefits should always be weighed against the risk. The test costs time and money and it is possible that your spouse does not have a high enough IELTS result to benefit your application.

2. If I want to immigrate to Canada, is it mandatory to have a job offer from a Canadian employer?

There are many ways to immigrate to Canada without a job offer. Several Canadian immigration programs, including the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, do not require Canadian job offers. Successful FSW applicants obtain Canadian permanent residence and can live or work anywhere in Canada. Provincial Nominee Programs also result in Canadian permanent residence.

A common misconception about the Express Entry system is that a job offer is required in order for a candidate to receive an Invitation To Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. This is not the case. However, a qualifying job offer of arranged employment from a Canadian employer that is supported by a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment will result in an ITA being issued to an eligible candidate in the Express Entry pool.

3. All my documents are ready but I still cannot achieve my minimum IELTS score. What can I do?

An IELTS score is required to immigrate to Canada as a Federal Skilled Worker (FSW). There are several options available for candidates who are having difficulty with their IELTS:

  • Improve English. There are many resources available to practice for the IELTS and improve your score. Our law firm can recommend a program for you. Using an IELTS prep class and/or improving your English can help you on a future test.
  • Improve French. Canada has two official languages, and the federal economic immigration programs accept IELTS or CELPIP for English and TEF for French. Some applicants do better in French than English. If you think you can improve your French to the requisite level, you may want to consider writing the TEF.
  • Explore other immigration options. Canada has different language requirements for different programs. The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) requirement, for example, is not currently the lowest. The Canadian Experience Class has two different requirements depending on your job classification. Our law firm will be happy to evaluate all of your Canadian immigration options to see if you have options, based on your current language proficiency.

4. In order to get the additional 600 points under the Comprehensive Ranking System for obtaining a qualifying offer of arranged employment from a Canadian employer, is it required that the position carries a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment?

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is required in order to claim 600 points under the Comprehensive Ranking System for a qualifying job offer. There are no exceptions to this requirement.

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