Express Entry – How It Works and the Ranking System

Express Entry will manage applications for permanent residence under these federal economic immigration programs:

Provinces and territories will also be able to recruit candidates from the Express Entry system through their Provincial Nominee Programs to meet local labour market needs.

Ministerial Instructions set out the rules for governing the Express Entry application management system.

The Express Entry system has two steps:

Step 1) Potential candidates complete an online Express Entry profile

Potential candidates will complete an online Express Entry profile. This is a secure form that they will use to provide information about their:

  • skills,
  • work experience,
  • language ability,
  • education, and
  • other details that will help us assess them.

Those who meet the criteria of one of the federal immigration programs listed above will be accepted into a pool of candidates.

Anyone who does not already have a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) (if you need one), or a nomination from a province or territory, must register with Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Job Bank. Job Bank will help connect Express Entry candidates with eligible employers in Canada.

Candidates are also encouraged to promote themselves to employers in other ways, such as using job boards, recruiters etc.

In most cases when there is a job being offered to a candidate, employers will need an LMIA from ESDC. The LMIA process ensures employers have made an effort to hire Canadians for available jobs. There will be no LMIA fee for permanent resident applications.

Step 2) The highest-ranking candidates in the pool will be invited to apply for permanent residence

Candidates will be ranked against others in the pool using a point-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System. Points are awarded using the information in their profile.

Candidates with the highest scores in the pool will be issued an Invitation to Apply. Candidates will be awarded points for:

  • a job offer, and/or
  • a nomination from a province or territory, and/or
  • skills and experience factors.

A candidate can get additional points for:

  • a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment, or
  • a nomination by a province or territory

These additional points will make a candidate rank high enough to be invited to apply at the next eligible draw of candidates.

If someone is invited to apply, they will have 60 days to submit an online application for permanent residence.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada will process the majority of complete applications (meaning those with all the necessary supporting documents) in six months or less.

Candidates can stay in the pool for up to 12 months. If they do not get an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence within 12 months of submitting an Express Entry profile, they may submit a new profile. If they still meet the criteria, they can re-enter the pool. This will prevent backlogs and ensure quick processing times.

Express Entry – Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) criteria

A) Summary of points per factor for Express Entry candidates
A. Core / human capital factors Points per factor – With a spouse or common-law partner Points per factor – Without a spouse or common-law partner
Age 100 110
Level of education 140 150
Official languages proficiency 150 160
Canadian work experience 70 80
B) Summary of points per factor for Express Entry candidates
B. Spouse or common-law partner factors Maximum 40 points
Level of education 10
Official language proficiency 20
Canadian Work Experience 10
A. Core/human capital + B. Spouse or common-law partner factors Maximum 500 points (with a spouse or common-law partner) Maximum 500 points (without a spouse or common-law partner)
C) Summary of points per factor for Express Entry candidates
C. Skill Transferability factors Maximum 100 points
Education Maximum 50 points
With good/strong official languages proficiency and a post-secondary degree 50
With Canadian work experience and a post-secondary degree 50
Foreign work experience Maximum 50 points
With good/strong official languages proficiency and foreign work experience 50
With Canadian work experience and foreign work experience 50
Certificate of qualification (for people in trade occupations) Maximum 50 points
With good/strong official languages proficiency and a certificate of qualification 50
A. Core/human capital + B. Spouse or common-law partner + C. Transferability factors Maximum 600 points
D) Summary of points per factor for Express Entry candidates
D. Additional points (maximum 600)
Arranged employment 600
PN nomination 600
A. Core/human capital + B. Spouse or common-law partner factors + C. Transferability factors + D. = Grand total – 1,200

CRS – Core factors

Core / human capital factors With a spouse or common-law partner (Maximum 460 points) Without a spouse or common-law partner (Maximum 500 points)
Age Number of points (100 maximum) Number of points (110 maximum)
17 years of age or less 0 0
18 years of age 90 99
19 years of age 95 105
20 to 29 years of age 100 110
30 years of age 95 105
31 years of age 90 99
32 years of age 85 94
33 years of age 80 88
34 years of age 75 83
35 years of age 70 77
36 years of age 65 72
37 years of age 60 66
38 years of age 55 61
39 years of age 50 55
40 years of age 45 50
41 years of age 35 39
42 years of age 25 28
43 years of age 15 17
44 years of age 5 6
45 years of age or more 0 0
Level of Education With a spouse or common-law partner – Number of points (140 maximum) Without a spouse or common-law partner – Number of points (150 maximum)
Less than Secondary school (high school) credential 0 0
Secondary school (high school) credential 28 30
One-year post-secondary program credential 84 90
Two-year post-secondary program credential 91 98
Post-secondary program credential of three years or longer 112 120
Two or more post-secondary program credentials AND at least one of these credentials was issued on completion of a post-secondary program of three years or longer 119 128
University-level credential at the Master’s level OR an entry-to-practice professional degree. CIC only accepts as an entry-to-practice professional degree, those degrees issued in relation to an occupation listed at NOC Skill level A and for which licensing by a provincial regulatory body is required. 126 135
University-level credential at the Doctoral level 140 150
Official languages proficiency – first official language
Reading, writing, speaking and listening total points for each ability:

  • 32 with a spouse or common-law partner
  • 34 without a spouse or common-law partner
With a spouse or common-law partnerMaximum 128 points Without a spouse or common-law partner Maximum 136 points
For each ability 32 34
Less than CLB 4 0 0
CLB 4 or 5 6 6
CLB 6 8 9
CLB 7 16 17
CLB 8 22 23
CLB 9 29 31
CLB 10 or more 32 34
Official languages proficiency – second official language
Reading, writing, speaking and listening total points for each ability:

  • 5.5 with a spouse or common-law partner
  • 6 without a spouse or common-law partner
With a spouse or common-law partnerMaximum 22 points Without a spouse or common-law partner Maximum 24 points
For each ability 6 6
CLB 4 or less 0 0
CLB 5 or 6 1 1
CLB 7 or 8 3 3
CLB 9 or more 6 6
Canadian work experience With a spouse or common-law partnerMaximum 70 points Without a spouse or common-law partner Maximum 80 points
None or less than a year 0 0
1 year 35 40
2 years 46 53
3 years 56 64
4 years 63 72
5 years or more 70 80
Subtotal – Core / human capital factors Out of 460 points Out of 500 points

CRS – Spouse or common-law partner factors (if applicable)

Spouse or common-law partner factors With spouse or common-law partner – number of points per factor Without spouse or common-law partner (0 points – does not apply)
Spouse’s or common-law partner’s level of education 10 0
Less than secondary school (high school) credential 0
Secondary school (high school) credential 2
One-year post-secondary program credential 6
Two-year post-secondary program credential 7
Post-secondary program credential of three years or longer 8
Two or more post-secondary program credentials AND at least one of these credentials was issued on completion of a post-secondary program of three years or longer 9
University-level credential at the Master’s level OR an entry-to-practice professional degree. CIC only accepts as an entry-to-practice professional degree, those degrees issued in relation to an occupation listed at NOC Skill level A and for which licensing by a provincial regulatory body is required. 10
University-level credential at the Doctoral level 10
Spouse’s or common-law partner’s official languages proficiency – first official languageReading, writing, speaking and listening– total points for each ability Maximum 20 points 0 (does not apply)
For each ability 5
CLB 4 or less 0
CLB 5 or 6 1
CLB 7 or 8 3
CLB 9 or more 5
Canadian work experience Maximum 10 points 0 (does not apply)
None or less than a year 0
1 year 5
2 years 7
3 years 8
4 years 9
5 years or more 10
Subtotal – Core / human capital + Spouse or common-law partner factors 500 500

CRS – Skill transferability factors

Skill Transferability factors Maximum 100 points for this section
Education Maximum 50 points for Education
With good official language proficiency and a post-secondary degree Maximum 50 points
Points for CLB 7 or more on all first official language abilities, one or more under 9 Points for CLB 9 or more on all four first official language abilities
Secondary school (high school) credential or less (levels 1 & 2) 0 0
Post-secondary program credential of one year or longer (levels 3,4 & 5) 13 25
Two or more post-secondary program credentials AND at least one of these credentials was issued on completion of a post-secondary program of three years or longer (levels 6,7 & 8) 25 50
With Canadian work experience and a post-secondary degree Maximum 50 points
Points for education + 1 year of Canadian work experience Points for education + 2 years or more of Canadian work experience
Secondary school (high school) credential or less (levels 1 & 2) 0 0
Post-secondary program credential of one year or longer (levels 3,4 & 5) 13 25
Two or more post-secondary program credentials AND at least one of these credentials was issued on completion of a post-secondary program of three years or longer (levels 6,7 & 8) 25 50
Foreign work experience Maximum 50 points for Foreign work experience
With good official language proficiency and foreign work experience 50 points
Points for foreign work experience + CLB 7 or more on all first OL abilities, one or more under 9 Points for foreign work experience + CLB 9 or more on all four first OL abilities
No foreign work experience 0 0
1 or 2 years of foreign work experience 13 25
3 years or more of foreign work experience 25 50
With Canadian work experience and foreign work experience Maximum 50 points
Points for foreign work experience + 1 year of Canadian work experience Points for foreign work experience + 2 years or more of Canadian work experience
No foreign work experience 0 0
1 or 2 years of foreign work experience 13 25
3 years or more of foreign work experience 25 50
Certificate of qualification (trade occupations) Maximum 50 points for this section
With good official language proficiency and a certificate of qualification Maximum 50 points
Points for certificate of qualification + CLB 5 or more on all first OL abilities, one or more under 7 Points for certificate of qualification + CLB 7 or more on all four first OL abilities
With a certificate of qualification 25 50
Subtotal:
A. Core + B. Spouse or common-law partner + C. Skill transferability factors
600
Additional points Maximum 600 points
1) Arranged employment OR 600
2) Provincial or territorial nomination 600
Grand total Maximum 1,200 points

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One of our licensed immigration consultants can speak with you in person, online or on the phone about your unique immigration situation and give you a breakdown of your options.bookappointment

Express Entry: What Prospective Candidates Need to Know

Canada is changing its economic immigration programs to give more opportunities to prospective skilled immigrants. Starting January 2015, skilled foreign workers will have access to Express Entry, which will cover Canada’s key economic immigration programs:

  • the Federal Skilled Worker Program,
  • the Federal Skilled Trades Program,
  • the Canadian Experience Class, and
  • a portion of the Provincial Nominee Program.

Candidates who are invited to apply for permanent residence under the Express Entry system will benefit from fast processing times of six months or less.

Express Entry will also provide a pathway for skilled workers to connect with potential job opportunities in Canada prior to arrival.

Express Entry will ensure that the candidates who are most likely to succeed economically – not simply those first in line – are able to immigrate to Canada.

How Express Entry Works

Image described below

Step 1

Potential candidates create an online Express Entry profile

Express your interest in coming to Canada as a skilled foreign worker. Starting in January 2015, create an online Express Entry profile and tell us about your skills, work experience, language ability, education and other details.

Before doing this, you will need to take a language test in English or French. If you were educated outside of Canada, you may also need to have your education assessed against Canadian standards. More information on language and education assessments is available online.

If you meet the criteria of one of the federal economic immigration programs subject to Express Entry, you will be placed in a pool of pre-screened candidates.

If you do not already have a Canadian job offer or a nomination from a province/territory, you must register with the Government of Canada’s Job Bank. Job Bank is an easy, online search tool that will help you get matched with jobs in Canada based on your skills, knowledge and experience.

Express Entry Pool

You will be given a score to determine your place in the Express Entry pool using a Comprehensive Ranking System that includes factors known to contribute to economic success (such as language, education, and work experience).

There will be regular draws of candidates from the Express Entry pool, inviting them to apply for permanent residence. Candidates with the highest scores, including those who have a valid job offer or a provincial/territorial nomination, will be invited to apply.

Your Express Entry profile will be valid for 12 months. During that time, you will need to update your profile if circumstances change, such as your level of education or language test results.

Important: Filling out an online Express Entry profile is not a guarantee that you will qualify for permanent residence. If you are invited to apply for permanent residence, information provided in your Express Entry profile will be verified at that time.

Step 2

Selected candidates are invited to submit an electronic application for permanent residence

You will receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence if you:

  • have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada (subject to the Labour Market Impact Assessment process in place at that time);
  • have been nominated by a province or territory; or
  • are among the top ranked in the pool based on your skills and experience.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada will process the majority of complete permanent residence applications received within six months or less.

Candidates in the Express Entry pool who do not receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence after 12 months can resubmit their profile and re-enter the pool if they still meet the criteria.

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One of our licensed immigration consultants can speak with you in person, online or on the phone about your unique immigration situation and give you a breakdown of your options.bookappointment

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and allegations of abuse

McDonalds and Tim Hortons employ over 9000 foreign workers. Their numbers are in par with the overall increase of foreign workers between 2006 to 2012. The number of approved foreign worker positions in accommodation and food services grew from 4,360 to 44,740.

Immigration Canada is once again being accused of failing to protect Canadian workers by allowing big fast food chains, such as McDonalds Canada to hire underpaid foreign workers in favour of Canadian workers. The new allegations also paint the grim reality of how the foreign worker program is also failing to uphold Canadian values and treat foreign workers at the same standard as Canadians.

In recent weeks, news of serious allegations of abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, centering McDonalds Canada have surfaced. This on the heels of a year where the program was given negative publicity after a number of news came out accusing the program of failing to measure up to the standards that former Immigration Minister and now Employment Minister, Jason Kenney and the Canadian Government have repeatedly said it wants to uphold. In April of 2013, there was a public outcry over Royal Bank of Canada replacing a small group of Canadian staff with temporary foreign workers. Ottawa in turn, announced several measures intended to close loopholes in the program. They included temporarily suspending the accelerated labour market opinion process, which allowed approved employers to bring in foreign workers faster, and removing an option that allowed employers to pay foreign workers up to 15 per cent less than the average comparable wage in the region.

The Government of Canada has decided in the midst of these latest allegations, to launch an extensive investigation in order to determine the facts and decide whether or not actual abuse of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program has been committed by the Restaurant Industry and its employer participants. The Labour Market Opinions in this area and industry have therefore been suspended, and employers in question have been given notice of the pending investigation into the abuse of the Labour Market Opinion process.

This decision has taken many by surprise, including businesses as they decried a lack of consultation and said the move would force some employers to close shop. There are also the thousands of foreign workers whose work permits are about to expire and they are not able to apply for an extension and may be forced to leave Canada. This latest spotlight on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program has also shed light to what many see as abuse of foreign workers who receive a lower average salary than a Canadian or a permanent resident.

“I knew a shoe was going to drop, but this was both shoes. This is a far bigger reaction than what I thought,” said Dan Kelly, head of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

“In the minister’s province of Alberta many small businesses will teeter on [the brink of] survival based on this decision.”

Jason Kenney said his office will not process any new or pending labour market opinion applications in the food sector. The opinions are required before permission is granted to hire a temporary foreign worker. As well, any restaurant that has already obtained an LMO but hasn’t yet filled the position will be unable to do so.

“Abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will not be tolerated,” Kenney said in the statement.

Ian Tostenson, president of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association, said he agreed the program needs review but that Kenney has overreacted. “There are a lot of small business people in British Columbia who are wondering what this means for them. It’s chaos. We would have really liked a heads up.”

Vancouver based Immigration Consultant and managing director of CICS Immigration Consulting Inc., Alex Khadempour, also agreed that a review of the program is needed. However, he believes a bigger issue needs to be looked at and talked about. “Do Canadians want to continue to go towards the direction where many foreign workers, especially in certain sectors, being treated as second class? Not only are we seeing a declining working environment, including lower pay, but we are also seeing the Canadian government closing the doors on them becoming permanent residents.” His comment refers to the recent changes in the Canadian Experience Class, a permanent residency program, where food service supervisors where removed from the program.

Which Canadian Employers are directly affected by the moratorium?

To be affected by the moratorium, employers must meet 2 criteria.

The employer MUST be:

Classified under North American Industry Classification System 722, defined as establishments primarily engaged in preparing meals, snacks and beverages, to customer order, for immediate consumption on and off the premises. This subsector does not include food service activities that occur within establishments such as hotels, civic and social associations, amusement and recreation parks, and theatres. However, leased food-service locations in facilities such as hotels, shopping malls, airports and department stores are included.

AND

Currently applying for LMOs for occupations related to specific National Occupational Classification codes(NOC 2006). List of NOC codes occupations affected by the moratorium in the Food Services Sector (NAIC 722):

  • 6641 Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers and Related Occupations
  • 0631 Restaurant and Food Service Managers
  • 6212 Food Service Supervisors
  • 6453 Food and Beverage Servers
  • 6611 Cashiers
  • 6241 Chefs
  • 6242 Cooks
  • 6252 Bakers
  • 0611 Sales, Marketing and Advertising Managers
  • 0621 Retail Trade Managers
  • 0632 Accommodation Service Managers
  • 0651 Other Services Managers
  • 6211 Retail Trade Supervisors
  • 6213 Executive Housekeepers
  • 6214 Dry Cleaning and Laundry Supervisors
  • 6215 Cleaning Supervisors
  • 6216 Other Service Supervisors
  • 6221 Technical Sales Specialists – Wholesale Trade
  • 6251 Butchers, Meat Cutters and Fishmongers – Retail and Wholesale
  • 6411 Sales Representatives – Wholesale Trade (Non-Technical)
  • 6421 Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks
  • 6451 Maîtres d’hôtel and Hosts/Hostesses
  • 6452 Bartenders
  • 6484 Other Personal Service Occupations
  • 6622 Grocery Clerks and Store Shelf Stockers
  • 6623 Other Elemental Sales Occupations
  • 6651 Security Guards and Related Occupations
  • 6661 Light Duty Cleaners
  • 6662 Specialized Cleaners
  • 6663 Janitors, Caretakers and Building Superintendents
  • 6681 Dry Cleaning and Laundry Occupations
  • 6682 Ironing, Pressing and Finishing Occupations
  • 6683 Other Elemental Service Occupations

Which Temporary Foreign Workers are affected by the moratorium?

Temporary foreign workers already in Canada who have a valid work permit issued under a Food Services Sector LMO may continue working as per their present work permit conditions.

Temporary foreign workers who have been approved for a work permit by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) but have not yet arrived in Canada will not be affected. They will remain eligible for a work permit at a port of entry, if they are otherwise admissible to Canada.

Foreign nationals who have not yet had a decision made on their work permit application will be affected. Foreign nationals who submitted their work permit application prior to the suspension will be notified that their work permit application is suspended until a final decision is made on the LMO.

Foreign nationals who apply directly at a port of entry, a visa post or inland office for a work permit after their LMO has been suspended cannot be issued a work permit based on that LMO.

What happens to a person who is currently in Canada and whose work permit from an affected occupational area is about to expire, and who was about to apply for an extension?

The LMO will have been suspended; therefore the processing of the work permit extension application will also be suspended until a final decision on the suspended LMO is made by ESDC.

When their original work permit expires, a person in this situation may have implied status if their work permit application was submitted prior to the expiry of their present work permit. This means that they will be able to remain in Canada and continue working for the same employer that appeared on their original work permit. People in this situation will continue to have implied status until a final decision is made on their work permit extension application.

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One of our licensed immigration consultants can speak with you in person, online or on the phone about your unique immigration situation and give you a breakdown of your options.bookappointment

Breaking News: New 2014 Occupation List and Cap limits for Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

Breaking News FSWP 2014April 23, 2014 —  Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today announced new measures in key economic immigration programs to prepare for next year’s launch of Express Entry, Canada’s new active recruitment model.

To prepare for the launch of Express Entry in 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will begin accepting applications under new caps for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC), starting May 1, 2014. These measures will ensure a steady supply of skilled workers who are settling in Canada permanently and helping to supplement the Canadian workforce in areas where there are skills shortages.

Federal Skilled Worker Program:

Federal Skilled Workers are chosen as permanent residents based on their ability to prosper in Canada. They are assessed according to a selection grid made up of six factors, including language, education, work experience, etc.

  • Overall cap of 25,000 applications in eligible occupations stream
  • Cap of 500 applications for PhD eligibility stream
  • No limit on applicants who have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer
  • Sub-caps of 1,000 applications for each of the 50 eligible occupations below (their 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) code is included in brackets):
  1. Senior managers – financial, communications and other business services (0013)
  2. Senior managers – trade, broadcasting and other services, n.e.c. (0015)
  3. Financial managers (0111)
  4. Human resources managers (0112)
  5. Purchasing managers (0113)
  6. Insurance, real estate and financial brokerage managers (0121)
  7. Managers in health care (0311)
  8. Construction managers (0711)
  9. Home building and renovation managers (0712)
  10. Managers in natural resources production and fishing (0811)
  11. Manufacturing managers (0911)
  12. Financial auditors and accountants (1111)
  13. Financial and investment analysts (1112)
  14. Securities agents, investment dealers and brokers (1113)
  15. Other financial officers (1114)
  16. Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations (1123)
  17. Supervisors, finance and insurance office workers (1212)
  18. Property administrators (1224)
  19. Geoscientists and oceanographers (2113)
  20. Civil engineers (2131)
  21. Mechanical engineers (2132)
  22. Electrical and electronics engineers (2133)
  23. Petroleum engineers (2145)
  24. Information systems analysts and consultants (2171)
  25. Database analysts and data administrators (2172)
  26. Software engineers and designers (2173)
  27. Computer programmers and interactive media developers (2174)
  28. Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians (2232)
  29. Construction estimators (2234)
  30. Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians (2241)
  31. Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics (2243)
  32. Inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safety (2263)
  33. Computer network technicians (2281)
  34. Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors (3011)
  35. Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (3012)
  36. Specialist physicians (3111)
  37. General practitioners and family physicians (3112)
  38. Dietitians and nutritionists (3132)
  39. Audiologists and speech-language pathologists (3141)
  40. Physiotherapists (3142)
  41. Occupational therapists (3143)
  42. Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists (3214)
  43. Medical radiation technologists (3215)
  44. Medical sonographers (3216)
  45. Licensed practical nurses (3233)
  46. Paramedical occupations (3234)
  47. University professors and lecturers (4011)
  48. Psychologists (4151)
  49. Early childhood educators and assistants (4214)
  50. Translators, terminologists and interpreters (5125)

Federal Skilled Trades Program:

This program is for people who want to become permanent residents based on being qualified in a skilled trade.

  • Overall cap of 5,000 applications
  • All 90 skilled trades from the following NOC Skill Level B groups are eligible (with sub-caps of 100 applications each):
    • Major Group 72: Industrial, electrical and construction trades;
    • Major Group 73: Maintenance and equipment operation trades;
    • Major Group 82: Supervisors and technical occupations in national resources, agriculture and related production;
    • Major Group 92: Processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators;
    • Minor Group 632: chefs and cooks;
    • Minor Group 633: butchers and bakers.

Canadian Experience Class:

This program is for people who already have skilled work experience in Canada and want to immigrate permanently.

  • Overall cap of 8,000 applications
  • Sub-caps of 200 applications each for any NOC B occupation
  • Six ineligible occupations: administrative officers (NOC code 1221), administrative assistants (1241), accounting technicians/bookkeepers (1311), cooks (6322), food service supervisors (6311), and retail sales supervisors (6211).

The new Ministerial Instructions will also re-confirm the existing pause of applications to the federal Immigrant Investor and Entrepreneur Programs.

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One of our licensed immigration consultants can speak with you in person, online or on the phone about your unique immigration situation and give you a breakdown of your options.bookappointment

Canada to make both Irish and UK temporary skilled workers a priority in 2014 through the IEC program

Ireland Canada IECIreland has had a difficult last six years. The Celtic Tiger Economy refers to the economy of the Republic of Ireland between 1995 and 2000, a period of rapid real economic growth fuelled by foreign direct investment, and a subsequent property price bubble which rendered the real economy uncompetitive. The Irish economy expanded at an average rate of 9.4% between 1995 and 2000 and continued to grow at an average rate of 5.9% during the following decade until 2008, when it fell into recession. Since 2008, many Irish youth have been looking for opportunities abroad.

Irish national youth speak good English, are well educated by world renowned universities, come highly skilled and can easily assimilate into developed economies in countries such as Canada. Traditionally, Irish Nationals have come to Canada via the IEC (International Experience Canada) Program, which has been continuously upping their quota of Irish visas extended every year. The working holiday visa under IEC has worked well in the past. The Program has served as a two year work experience open permit for foreign nationals between the ages of 18 and 30. It is understood that at the end of a working holiday visa, that the foreign national return to their home country, and be in possession of a departure ticket as well as the needed travel funds and medical insurance to ensure their stay is fully covered. A participation fee of CDN$150 is also payable at time of application.

The IEC Program – History and growth

The highly anticipated opening of the IEC Program on March 13, 2014 was capped at its maximum quota (3,850 applicants) within 7 minutes. We anticipate a second round shortly; however, it is proving challenging for applicants to successfully obtain their visa through this program as demand for the program outweighs current resource levels to run the program.

This year’s IEC Program made a further 2,500 work permits available to Irish Nationals who already have a secured job offer in Canada, and an additional 500 work permits were issued to Irish foreign nationals who were willing to do a cooperative educational program as part of their Post-Secondary studies to gain international work experience in their field. And these current quotas of work permits are expected to grow.

Canada needs highly skilled workers and wants to attract them to fill temporary skilled labour shortages specifically in the western provinces. Canada has recently renewed a commitment to Ireland to extend the open permit after several visits to Ireland by Minister of Citizenship & Immigration in 2012 and praised Irish apprenticeship programs for their certification standards. The Calgary Economic Development has just sent a delegation of 6 companies to Dublin’s Working Abroad Expo Recruitment Fair (March 22-March 30, 2014) in order to recruit skilled labour to fill Alberta’s current shortages.

Trade agreement set-up between Canada and the UK and Ireland

Canada wants to do even more to attract skilled labour from Ireland and the United Kingdom. On March 14, 2014, it was announced by CIC that a new international study will be launched, in an effort to help British and Irish tradespeople assess their skills against Canadian trades criteria, fully supported by CIC. In other words, streamlining the foreign credential recognition process for people coming from these countries is a high priority for the Canadian Government. The ACCC (Association of Canadian Community Colleges) and the UK NARIC (United Kingdom National Recognition Information Centre) have signed an agreement to work together for mutual recognition of skills, competencies and certifications. Both organizations will work with employers as part of the CIC-funded Canadian Immigrant Integration Program, which provides settlement and integration services to newcomers in Canada. Specifically, the organizations will be concentrating on the following areas of international competency which are in high demand across Canada:

  1. Heavy Duty Equipment Technician
  2. Construction Electrician
  3. Welder
  4. Carpenter
  5. Steamfitter/Pipefitter
  6. Plumber
  7. Machinist
  8. Industrial Mechanic (Millwright)
  9. Powerline Technician

As well, electronic tools are currently being developed, and UK NARIC expects to have an electronic guide published that will feature all the provincial and territorial apprenticeship authorities, which will be a “textbook” to be used by employers, workers, and trade associations in order to assess credentials quickly and fast-track the process for a foreign national to obtain their trade certification. This program intends to assist the Federal Skilled Trades Program applicants under the Federal Stream, in creating an international partnership and streamlined process of integration into the Canadian economy.

What to do if you want to immigrate to Canada

If you are currently a tradesperson from Ireland or the United Kingdom, you want to ensure that you know which program you wish to apply for to immigrate to Canada. As mentioned before, there is the IEC Program but it quickly reaches its cap, preventing further applicants from applying. If you have a job offer, you can apply for a work permit to come to Canada. If you meet the area of skills needed across Canada in the Trades, then the Federal Skilled Trades Program may be a good fit. There are other Federal Programs and Provincial Programs which also may be considered such as the Canadian Experience Class Program, the Provincial Nominee Programs, as well as special projects (Pilot Projects). Before applying, consider talking to either a trusted advisor or an immigration expert that can advise you on the best program for you. It is vital to do your research into Canadian culture, to look at foreign credential recognition as the first order of business, and to consider the expense of immigrating to a new country as a temporary worker. For skilled workers already in Canada, you will want to ensure that you have started additional applications working towards permanent residency status should you wish to stay in Canada.

Some final considerations

As the Federal Government continues to develop strategies to attract temporary foreign workers and to meet the economic demands of Canadian industry, it is abundantly clear that good sources of workers are coming from Ireland and the UK due to their adaptability and skills. As the IEC Program has reached its quota since launching in March 2014, many Canadian employers may not successfully recruit their temporary workers this year. Demand is high and is only expected to grow. But again, there are other options available to these employers and workers, should they wish to avail of other immigration programs on offer in either of the Federal or Provincial programs. And CICS Immigration can certainly help in assessing your eligibility in looking at other immigration avenues to pursue.

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The Canadian Experience Class program sees its first major changes

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) has been one of the most popular economic Canadian immigration programs in the past 2 years. As of today, significant changes have been made to the program.

Canadian Experience Class continues to gain momentum as the most popular economic immigration program

Since the Conservative government came to power, Canadian immigration regulations have gone through many changes. These changes have received a mixed reaction from all sides. The government has been loud and clear that it prefers to have its new immigrants with Canadian work experience, as this would make it easier for newcomers who will likely make the most of their abilities while undergoing a more seamless social and economic transition to Canada. So far, over 25,000 have become permanent residents since the CEC program initiated in late 2008. The number of applicants becoming permanent resident through this program continues to climb every year.

Immigration Minister, Chris Alexander announced a few major changes to the program as a measure to make to make the program more ‘efficient':

“The government is taking concrete action to reduce backlogs and processing times. By making these changes to the Canadian Experience Class, we are moving toward a more effective and efficient immigration system.”

The changes that have been published are:

Between November 9, 2013 to October 31, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will accept a maximum of 12,000 new applications under the CEC.

Because of an overrepresentation in the CEC applications received to date, the following six occupations will no longer be eligible for the CEC starting November 9, 2013:

  • cooks (NOC code 6322);
  • food service supervisors (NOC 6311);
  • administrative officers (NOC 1221);
  • administrative assistants (NOC 1241);
  • accounting technicians and bookkeepers (NOC 1311); and
  • retail sales supervisors (NOC 6211).

CIC already has a large inventory of applications in these occupations and will continue processing them to a final decision.

In addition, CIC will establish sub-caps of 200 applications each for National Occupational Classification (NOC) B occupations. These are mostly technical and administrative jobs or those in the skilled trades. NOC 0 and A (managerial and professional) occupations will not be sub-capped, but they will be subject to the overall cap of 12,000 applications.

Finally, CIC will maintain the same language criteria for applicants but will verify them upfront as of November 9, 2013. The current language requirements are Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 for NOC 0 and A occupations, and CLB 5 for NOC B occupations. This new measure will ensure that applicants who do not meet the minimum language requirements are screened out earlier and processing resources can be concentrated on those who are more likely to qualify.

At the same time, this is more client-friendly, as applicants who do not have the required language proficiency will have their applications returned to them along with the processing fee.

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Montreal Tops List of Best Cities for International Students

Cultural attractions like the iconic Montreal Museum of Fine Arts helped give Montreal the top spot in the ‘social experience’ sub-index of the Sea Turtle Index

An index commissioned by the Bank of Communications (BoCom), one of the largest banks in China, places Montreal, Canada as the best city in the world for international students.

Other Canadian cities that ranked well include Toronto (4th) and Vancouver (15th).

Created by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) with design input from BoCom management, the Sea Turtle Index (a name referring to Chinese students who study abroad only to return, like sea turtles, to their country of origin) ranks foreign student destinations according to five sub-indices:

  • Educational returns: the international value of the education provided in the city relative to its cost
  • Financial returns: the openness of the investment environment to foreign nationals and the amount of volatility risk that could effect investment returns
  • Real estate returns: the return on investment in the local real estate market
  • Work experience: the local job market for foreign students and graduates in terms of availability of jobs, wages and low-taxes
  • Social experience: the city’s level of culture, worldliness and multi-culturalism

Of the 80 cities included in the index, Montreal came in 6th place in the ‘educational returns’ sub-index, behind only Cambridge (1st), Oxford (2nd), London (3rd), Seoul (4th), and Beijing (5th).

Montreal benefited from having comparatively affordable universities and cost of living while providing high quality tertiary education. Vancouver and Toronto also had their score helped by their low cost of living, although not as much as Montreal which was found to be a more affordable place to live.

None of the American cities included in the study made the top 10 in the educational returns category, despite several being home to some of the best educational institutions in the world. The poor showing was largely due to the high cost of tuition for their undergraduate programs.

Some cities, including Singapore, Hong Kong and New York, saw their educational returns ranking pushed down due to a high cost of living.

The EIU included a ‘financial returns’ sub-index owing to the fact that the parents of international students and often international students themselves like to make investments in the city where the students live.

None of the North American cities included in the study made the top 30 in this sub-index, due in Canada to relatively high taxes and in the United States to excessive “money laundering regulations and terrorism legislation” stifling financial freedom.

Hong Kong placed first in this ranking, followed by Auckland, New Zealand (2nd) and Santiago, Chile (3rd), which benefited from having comparatively few regulations on finance and banking that restrict international capital flows.

Three Canadian cities made the top 30 in the ‘real-estate returns’ sub-index: Toronto (4th), Montreal (12th), and Vancouver (13th), while Hong Kong took the top spot thanks to its hot real estate market.

Canadian cities did well due to a combination of well-performing real-estate markets and avoidance of the boom-busts that affected many other world cities in the period leading up to and following the global mortgage crisis.

Canada’s openness to foreign investment also helped push its cities above those in countries with real-estate markets that have seen substantial gains in recent years but which have more restrictions on foreign property ownership, like Shanghai, Bangkok, Mumbai and Seoul.

Immigration rules benefit Canada

Canadian cities took the top five spots in the work experience sub-index due to immigration laws that allow foreign students, upon completion of their study programs, to obtain post-graduate work permits that are valid for durations equaling the length of their study in Canada.

This contrasts with the U.S. where international students have few options to stay and work in the United States upon completing their studies.

Edmonton’s combination of a hot labour market and low provincial taxes gave it an edge over its Canadian counterparts and earned it the top spot in the ranking, followed by Hamilton (2nd), Toronto (3rd), Vancouver (4th) and Montreal (5th).

Montreal managed to also share the top spot in the ‘social experience’ sub-index with London, England, thanks to its low rates of violent crime, high cultural diversity and its world renowned cultural attractions.

Canada’s high levels of multiculturalism and low crime rates helped three other Canadian cities: Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton, make the top 30 in this ranking.

As incomes in China rapidly grow, parents in the country’s large and education-minded population are increasingly able to afford a foreign university education for their children.

Therefore the good showing of Canadian cities in the Sea Turtle Index, which caters mostly to Chinese students seeking to study abroad, portends well for Canadian efforts to make the country a top destination for international students.

With the federal government having committed itself to making it easier for international students to stay and work in Canada and become permanent residents through programs like the Canadian Experience Class, Canada’s appeal to international students could increase even more in coming years.

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Men Outnumber Women 2-1 Among Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada

Many temporary foreign workers are employed by immigrant-run businesses like the above, and data from Citizenship and Immigration Canada shows that the majority are men (CICS News)

The gender makeup of Canada’s foreign worker population is like that of foreign workers around the world, with men outnumbering women by a large margin.

The data, collected by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), shows that over 143,000 men entered the country in 2012 as temporary foreign workers (TFWs), over double the approximately 70,000 TFWs who were women.

Men, who are the primary breadwinner in most households around the world, are often driven to work abroad by pressure to provide for their families, when wages in their own country are inadequate.

A recent MacLean’s story on outgoing foreign remittance from individuals in Canada reports that the country has the highest foreign remittance rate in the world, at $667.57 per capita, suggesting that many of these TFWs are in fact sending the money they earn in Canada to family living in their country of origin.

Differences between genders in temporary foreign worker occupations

The CIC data also points to male and female TFWs tending to work in different types of occupations. While 75 percent of male TFWs worked in occupations that have well defined skill levels (e.g. managerial, professional, skilled and technical), only 40 percent of female TFWs did the same.

Six out of ten female TFWs were categorized as working in occupations where the skill level was not stated, which usually either means an individual is a family member of a foreign worker, or they are working in an unskilled occupation.

More women becoming permanent residents than men

Despite men outnumbering women in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), slightly more women become permanent residents in Canada than men every year.

TFWs with skilled work experience in Canada can qualify for permanent residence through economic class immigration programs like the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC), however the number of men who become permanent residents through economic class programs is only slightly higher than the number of women.

This could suggest that more women apply for permanent residency from outside the country than men, making up for the larger number of men whose path to permanent residency was through the TFWP.

What puts women over the top in the total permanent residency numbers is the family class immigration programs, which grant 37 percent more women permanent residency than men, mostly as a result of more foreign women being sponsored for immigration by their Canadian spouse than foreign men.

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Nova Scotia Looking to Increase Immigration to Province

Halifax harbour at night. Nova Scotia’s premier is hoping to boost the province’s economy by inviting more skilled immigrants to the province and encouraging them to settle

Nova Scotia, one of Canada’s Maritime provinces, is seeking to increase the number of skilled immigrants that settle in the province, according to a new provincial strategy announced earlier this year.

The Maritimes region of Canada, which includes Nova Scotia, has suffered from chronic economic malaise over the last two decades, with the highest unemployment rates, the fastest aging population, and the lowest population growth rates of any region in the country.

Attracting skilled immigrants is seen as one way to address the critical skills shortage facing the region and reversing the looming population contraction.

Immigrant worker controversy

The use of immigrants and temporary foreign workers by the Maritime provinces to meet labour shortages has met some controversy however, as the region has the largest pool of unemployed workers in the country relative to its population.

Reforms by the federal government to the Employment Insurance system in 2012 were designed in part to reduce the reliance of seasonal workers in resource sectors in the Maritimes on EI for the portion of the year when they’re off work, in order to encourage more of the region’s population to work year round.

Still, the governments of the Maritime provinces continue to insist that skilled immigrants are an important tool for alleviating their demographic problems and bringing economic vitality to the region.

Nova Scotia Nominee Program

Nova Scotia has been pressing the federal government in recent years to increase the number of immigrants it allows it to nominate annually through the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP), and as a result has seen its cap increase by 200 nominees, to a total of 700, in 2012.

The increase in its cap is not as fast as the provincial government would like, so it has been looking for ways to maximize the number of nominations it has available to it.

In a strategy announcement published in late February, the Nova Scotia government said that the international graduate stream of the NSNP would be eliminated, and foreign graduates seeking to apply for permanent residency through it would be redirected to the post-graduate stream of the federal Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

The province says this will allow it to nominate more skilled workers using the spots freed up by moving the foreign graduate nominees to the federal program, and increase the total number of immigrants it invites to the province.

The Nova Scotia government also notes that skilled worker nominees are more likely to bring their families to Canada with them, thereby further increasing the population boost that the redirection of international graduates to the CEC will provide to the province.

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Nearly 10,000 Immigrants admitted through Canadian Experience Class in 2012

A total of 9,780 individuals became permanent residents of Canada through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) in 2012 (Citizenship and Immigration Canada)

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced on Thursday that the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) admitted a record 9,780 immigrants in 2012, a 30 percent increase from the number admitted in 2011.

The increase is part of a long term plan to make the CEC a bigger part of the immigration system, which CIC set upon after concluding that individuals with prior Canadian work experience were more likely to successfully integrate into Canada’s labour market and economy as permanent residents.

The CEC requires a foreign national to have work experience in Canada in a skilled occupation, defined as an occupation in NOC 0, A or B, in order to qualify for permanent residence.

The requirements for qualifying under the CEC were made more permissive in January 2013, when the minimum two year Canadian work experience requirement was reduced to one year.

For applicants in the post-graduate stream of the program, the time frame during which they could obtain their work experience was increased from up to two years prior the date of the application, to three years.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney lauded the increase in the number of people using the CEC in 2012, and said the program benefits the Canadian economy.

“The CEC allows these skilled and educated individuals to bring their skills and talents, contribute to our economy and help renew our workforce so that Canada remains competitive on the world stage,” said Kenney.

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