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What is Canada Federal Skilled Worker Program and how to apply?

Federal Skilled Worker Program

Canada Skilled Worker Program, officially the Federal Skilled Worker Program [FSWP], is one of the three economic immigration programs managed by the federal government of Canada through the Express Entry system. The other Express Entry programs are those for individuals specialized in certain trades or those with previous Canada work experience [Canadian Experience Class or the CEC].  

An online system, Canada’s Express Entry is used by the Canadian government – through the medium of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada [IRCC] – for the management of applications for Canadian permanent residence from skilled workers. To immigrate to Canada through the FSWP, a foreign skilled worker would be required to score 67 points on the Canada eligibility calculation. The FSWP has minimum requirements laid down for the three factors of skilled work experience, education, and language ability. 

For a skilled worker to be deemed eligible for the FSWP, they must score 67 points on a 100-points grid that assesses six factors – age, education, work experience, whether or not the candidate has a valid Canada job offer, language skills in English and/or French, and the likelihood of their successfully settling down in the country. The potential for successful settlement in Canada is also referred to as the ‘adaptability’ factor. 

In terms of the weightage given to each of the factors assessed, a maximum of 28 points is set aside for the language factor. Second, in terms of the maximum attainable points, is that of 25 points for education. Do keep in mind that an Education Credential Assessment [ECA] report will be required by a candidate that has completed their education from outside of Canada. 

An ECA report – by any of the designated organizations, such as the World Education Service [WES] – is required to determine the equivalence of foreign education to that of the education imparted in Canada. Skilled work experience is worth a maximum of 15 points, with 6 or more years of experience securing the maximum attainable as per the factor. 

With a maximum of 12 points set aside, the age factor comes next. A valid job offer in Canada – also referred to as “arranged employment” – and the factor of adaptability are worth 10 points each. Now, an individual can only apply for the FSWP under the Express Entry system if they are able to secure the required 65 points. 

Once the eligibility has been established, that candidate can proceed to submit their Express Entry profile online. A simple and streamlined process, an Express Entry profile can be created at any time by the candidate. Any changes and updation can easily be made in case of any subsequent change in the information provided by the applicant at the time of the creation of their Express Entry profile. 

So, your profile is in the Express Entry pool of candidates. What next? Simple, wait. 

Applying for Canadian permanent residence through the Express Entry system is by invitation-only. The federal government of Canada holds Express Entry draws from time to time. While some might be all-programs draws encompassing the FSWP, the FSTP, as well as the CEC; other federal draws might be program-specific instead. 

Often, IRCC might only invite those with a provincial nomination, under the Provincial Nominee Program [PNP] of Canada. For an FSWP candidate, the next part of the process commences when they receive an Invitation to Apply [ITA] from IRCC. Candidates invited can submit their application for permanent residence in Canada. 

Here, an important thing to be kept in mind is that it is the highest-ranked Express Entry profiles that are invited. Not all Express Entry candidates receive an invitation. The rank of an Express Entry profile in the pool will be as per the Comprehensive Ranking System that allots a score – out of a maximum of 1,200 points – to each profile. 

The best way to guarantee an ITA by IRCC is by securing a highly competitive CRS score. A CRS can be improved by bettering the language test results, securing a valid job offer, or becoming a provincial nominee. Incidentally, a low CRS score being a deterrent is one of the Top 7 myths of Express Entry

A valid job offer from a Canadian employer can fetch up to 200 CRS points for an Express Entry candidate. A PNP nomination, on the other hand, is worth 600 CRS points, thereby guaranteeing an ITA by IRCC in the next federal draw to be held. As of April 26, 2021, there were 353 Express Entry profiles that were in the CRS score range of 601-1,200. The total number of profiles in the IRCC pool, on the other hand, was 167,159. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada has been focusing more on inviting those that might already be within Canada, such as those eligible for the CEC or provincial nominees. As no all-program IRCC draws have been held so far in 2021, no FSWP, or even FSTP, nomination has been issued so far this year. Hence, looking ahead, the recommended course of action for a skilled worker with their profile in the Express Entry pool, would be that of securing a PNP nomination, getting their invitation to apply through the provincial route instead.

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