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Economic / Skilled Worker immigrants

Region: Ontario Answer # 677

Economic immigration is one of the most common immigration categories for people who wish to become permanent residents of Canada based on their skills, either from Canada or overseas. Economic classes are identified as one of the following:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program
  • Quebec Skilled Workers
  • Provincial Nominee Program
  • Canadian Experience Class

The economic categories are for applicants who have specific occupational skills and experience that meet the needs of Canada’s labour market and who will contribute to the Canadian economy. This includes management occupations, professional occupations, and technical occupations and skilled trades.

1. Federal Skilled Worker Program

A prospective applicant to the Federal Skilled Worker Program must meet basic and minimum requirements for their application to then be evaluated. The evaluation will be based on how many points the applicant receives in the six selection factors.

Basic requirement

All applicants must have at least one year of continuous and paid full-time work experience (or an equal amount in part-time), that is:

  • in a single occupation
  • within the last 10 years
  • at skill type 0, skill levels A or B of the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC)

In addition, you must:

  • have this work experience in one of the eligible occupations; or
  • have a qualifying offer of arranged employment, or
  • you are an international student who is enrolled in a PhD program in Canada (or who graduated from a Canadian PhD program within the past 12 months).

Minimum requirements: language skills and education

Along with the basic requirements, applicants to the Federal Skilled Worker Program must also meet the minimum requirements for language skills and education. In order to demonstrate that you have the minimum language skills necessary to be eligible to have your application processed, you will have to take a language test from an agency approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

To meet the minimum educational requirements, you must have:

  • a Canadian diploma, certificate or credential, and/or
  • a foreign educational credential, and an Educational Credential Assessment by an agency approved by IRCC to show that your foreign education is equal to a Canadian secondary or post-secondary educational credential.

The language skills test results, and proof of your educational credentials must be included in your application.


Six selection factors: points system

If an applicant meets the basic and minimum requirements, their application will be processed. The next step is an evaluation on how well they rate in the following six selection criteria categories:

  1. Skills in English and/or French, Canada’s two official languages
  2. Education
  3. Work experience
  4. Age
  5. Whether the applicant has arranged employment in Canada
  6. Adaptability (how well they are likely to settle here)

Applicants are rated based on a points system. An applicant must have a minimum of 67 points to be eligible to immigrate. Before submitting an application, an applicant can estimate how many points they will earn by filling out the forms on the IRCC website.

Employment or proof of funds 

Unless applicants are currently working or authorized to work in Canada, or have a valid offer of arranged employment, they must show that they have enough money to support themselves and their family after they arrive in Canada. The funds required depends on the number of family members immigrating. The amounts are subject to change by IRCC. Generally though, Skilled Worker immigrants must have at least $10,000 when they enter Canada, plus an additional $2,000-3,000 for each dependent.

As part of the application, the applicant and the applicant’s dependents must pass a security check and a medical exam by a designated physician.


2. Federal Skilled Trades Program

The Federal Skilled Trades Program is for people who want to become permanent residents based on being qualified in a skilled trade.

To apply, applicants must:

  • Plan to live outside the province of Quebec (The province of Quebec chooses its own skilled workers),
  • Meet the required levels in English or French for each language ability (speaking, reading, writing, and listening),
  • Have at least two years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience) in a skilled trade within the five years before applying,
  • Meet all job requirements for that skilled trade as set out in the NOC, and
  • Have an offer of full-time employment for a total period of at least one year or a certificate of qualification in that skilled trade issued by a provincial or territorial body.

In Canada, only the provinces and territories can issue certificates of qualification in the skilled trades. Therefore, applicants must confirm what is required in the relevant province or territory.


3. Quebec Skilled Worker Program

To be accepted as a Quebec-selected Skilled Worker, you must first make an application to the Quebec government for a certificate of selection. This application will include a medical exam and a police check. If the Quebec government accepts your application and issues you a certificate, you must then apply to IRCC for permanent residence.

To find out more about the Quebec Skilled Worker Program, visit the Quebec Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion.


4. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

The PNP allows the Canadian provinces and territories to nominate people for permanent residence if they meet specific labour market needs of the province or territory in question. Applicants who qualify under the PNP will have their applications for permanent residence processed in priority to other applications.

Workers can qualify under the PNP in various types of employment, such as skilled workers, semi-skilled workers, investors and international student graduates. For more information, visit IRCC.


5. Canadian Experience Class

Foreign nationals who have lived in Canada for some time, including temporary foreign workers or foreign students, may qualify to become a permanent resident under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).  For more information, refer to topic 668 Canadian Experience Class applications in this section.


How to apply

As of January 1, 2015, applicants under most of the above programs, except Quebec Skilled Workers, can only be processed through a newly introduced Express Entry online immigration management system.

Once an immigrant meets the qualifications to be eligible for permanent residence status under the Skilled Worker Class, for either the Federal Skilled Worker Program or the Federal Skilled Trades Program, they must complete the IRCC application. The application process is essentially the same for each.

Application packages are available for both programs which give detailed instructions on the process and list all forms that can be completed online. The Generic Application Form for Canada must be both completed and validated online, by clicking the ‘Validate’ button on the form. Print the Generic Application and all other forms along with the barcode page that appears after the Generic Application is validated.


Applicants must also pay a processing fee for themselves and any family members. The processing fee depends on how many people are included in the application. The processing fee is non-refundable, even if the application is rejected. Additionally, there is a Right of Permanent Residence Fee per adult applicant. The processing fee for Skilled Trade Worker applications can be paid either online or by filling out a Fee Payment Form included in the application package. The fee for Federal Skilled Worker applications can only be paid by using the Fee Payment Form.

Other fees that applicants for both programs are responsible for include: a medical exam; police certificate; and language testing. Visit IRCC for a complete list of application fees.

Temporary changes due to COVID-19

Due to the current pandemic, the Government of Canada has implemented temporary changes to various immigration programs and procedures. For the most up-to-date information, visit canada.ca.

More information on how to apply as a Skilled Worker Class immigrant, and how to obtain forms, is also available from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. To find foreign consulates and embassies in your province, click here.


Get help

A criminal record will delay, and can even prevent you from getting your immigration status. To erase your criminal record, call toll-free 1-888-808-3628 or learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.

To determine whether you are able to immigrate under one of the Skilled Worker or other IRCC programs, and to ensure that your application is properly prepared, contact our preferred Immigration experts,

RightWay Canada Immigration Services

Bright Immigration Consultants

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