Tell me about these changes
Dear Ms Powell, I saw online that professionals can sponsor themselves to become citizens of Canada. I tried a few years ago, but I didn’t get through. A friend said that there have been changes to the system, and since I am a manager at a bank and my husband is a mechanic, we stand a good chance. My sister is also interested, and she works at a hotel as a chef. Can you please tell me what the changes are and how we can qualify? – C.J.
The Canadian government has several programmes under which individuals can apply to become permanent residents, and later, citizens. The programmes are monitored by Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Although family sponsorship is possible for parents, grandparents, children under 18 years, to name a few, many individuals have found that self sponsorship is a viable option.
To qualify, individuals need to satisfy the requirements under the Federal Skilled Trades Programme, Federal Skilled Worker Programme, Canadian Experience Class, and Provincial Nominee Programme. These are called economic programmes, and applications are accepted through the express entry system.
The express entry system was introduced in January 2015 as an electronic system used to select individuals who qualify under one of the above programmes to invite them to apply for permanent residence of Canada. There is no cap on the number of applications being accepted and there is no strict occupation list. Individuals who receive an invitation to apply can expect to get permanent residence in approximately six months.
The key is to have the highest possible score based on age, adaptability, language ability, education, work experience, job offer, and provincial nominee. The aim is to get a maximum of 1,200 points based on those criteria.
Each individual will be required to enter personal information accurately into the Canadian government system. Points will be awarded using the comprehensive ranking system. In previous articles, I outlined how to maximise your scores and to receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence. IRCC has been having regular rounds of invitation to qualifying individuals. Therefore, it will be up to the individuals to take steps to improve their scores to over 450, based on the past trends.
Recently, the Canadian government made changes to the points granted to applicants based on their job level or national occupational classification and job offers with or without labour market impact assessment report (LMIA) and study in Canada.
Previously, there was a scramble to get a job offer from a legitimate employer who had an LMIA report as only LMIA- exempt jobs or jobs with LMIA reports were worth 600 points. No point was granted to offers without an LMIA.
However, under the new rules, which came into effect on November 19, 2016, an individual can get between 50-200 points for a qualifying job offer. A professional or manager who has education and experience in certain jobs, or a CEO, directors, or managerial jobs such as legislators, managers in the financial, trade, communications, broadcasting health, education, social services, community services, membership organisations, construction, transportation, production, would could gain an extra 200 points just for occupation.
Occupations such as human resource manager, purchasing manager, financial managers, fire chiefs, police officers, administrative assistants, legal assistants, insurance underwriters, bookkeepers with a qualifying job offer could get 50 points.
This is a relief to many potential applicants as there is no longer a strict requirement for LMIA. However individuals with an LMIA would still get additional points under the new system.
The skilled trades occupations are still eligible and in demand. These include cooks, bakers, chefs, butchers, industrial, electrical, construction, equipment operation, technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture, processing, manufacturing, utilities supervisors, and central control operators. All these skills are automatically classified as skill type ‘B’ and will be admitted into the pool. If an individual has a job offer, then an additional 50 points will be granted.
Previously, no extra point was awarded for Canadian study. The only benefit was that those individuals who studied in Canada were exempted from providing the standard educational credential assessment report.
Under the new system, additional points are being awarded for Canadian study as follows: 15 points for one-or two-year post-secondary programme; 30 points for a three-year programme, master’s, or PhD. The applicant will need to prove that they were physically present in Canada in a programme for at least eight months.
Many international students are relieved to see this change as this means that their chances of receiving permanent residence after a minimum of one year of study have improved significantly.
The provincial nominee programme is still the most valuable way of gaining 600 points to get an ITA for permanent residence.
Once an ITA has been granted, a candidate has 90 days instead of 60 days in which to submit all the supporting documents for final processing.
It is expected that around 51,000 international applicants will receive permanent residence in 2017. The key is to have a strategy to ensure that you maximise your points in order to be selected.
I strongly recommend that you meet with an immigration lawyer to assess your eligibility and have an immigration plan.