When you apply to immigrate to Canada under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you’ll need to demonstrate that you have acquired enough of the skills and experience necessary to be considered for permanent residency.
But what exactly counts as skill? And how do you make sure your application doesn’t run afoul of any of the program’s strict eligibility requirements?
In this guide, we’ll explore the definition of a skilled worker, in both an occupational and non-occupational context, as well as which factors count towards meeting these criteria and which don’t.
Canada’s immigration policy favours candidates who have experience in Canada’s labour market, as opposed to new immigrants with experience in their country of origin.
But what exactly counts as skilled work? To find out, we asked the Canadian government to define their understanding of a skilled worker, and the answer surprised us.
Are you sure you know what skills qualify you for permanent residency? Let’s take a look at the official definition below
A skilled worker is any worker who holds one or more skills, such as mathematical knowledge, business savvy, or artistic ability. Skills may be listed on an individual’s resume.
Employers look for workers with specific skill sets because these workers are often better suited to specific jobs than others; a worker who can only use her hands to perform manual labor would have little use for a factory job that requires computers and electronics, for example.
In some cases, these skills may have been acquired through education in school or on-the-job training; for instance, an electrical engineer needs mathematical knowledge as well as practical experience with building tools like circuit boards.
Skills can also be obtained from independent research—although it’s important to get approved advice before pursuing advanced study in most fields.
While most people associate skilled workers with high salaries, there are many examples of unskilled workers who earn substantial amounts of money thanks to their skills.
This is especially true in certain entertainment industries, where stars can earn millions per year just by being themselves.
For example, Paris Hilton made $2 million per episode when she starred in The Simple Life television show. Many other famous actors make millions each year without holding down day jobs at all!
Requirement 1 – Education
In order to qualify as skilled workers, candidates must have at least a high school diploma. While having an associate’s degree is not usually enough to count as skilled workers, some jobs may include associate degrees as preferred or required qualifications.
Additionally, candidates should be aware that certain companies place different degrees on different scales—some companies may consider only PhDs skilled.
When in doubt, look up what skills are required for your job and make sure you meet them. There’s no reason to pay any attention to anyone who says having an associates degree is enough or isn’t enough if you want a well-paying job.
You should know better than anyone else if your degree meets the requirements for your job or not. If it doesn’t, then either get more education or find another job.
The internet has made it easy to research exactly what skills are needed for a particular job. If someone tells you something different from what you’ve found online, they’re wrong and trying to mislead you. Don’t listen to them!
Requirement 2 – Work Experience
Let’s say that you want to immigrate to Canada on the basis of work experience. This can be tricky, because there are two different pathways for skilled workers.
Your pathway depends on how your experience is classified in Canada. For instance, if your job involves operating complex or expensive equipment or software, it’s considered specific and may not count as much as general experience.
If you’re an accountant, for example, and have only ever worked with small-scale accounting systems at small companies, it might not be enough to qualify as specific experience.
Instead, you’d need more general experience working with accounting systems at larger companies before your skills would count as specific.
On top of that, some jobs aren’t eligible under any circumstances—for example, jobs involving manual labour aren’t eligible no matter what kind of experience they involve.
If you’re unsure about whether your job qualifies under one category or another (or both), contact CIC directly before applying so they can tell you which category best describes your situation.
And remember—if there’s any doubt about whether your position will qualify under either category (or both), don’t apply yet!
Requirement 3 – Language Proficiency
According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, foreign nationals who wish to obtain permanent residence under the skilled worker program are required to possess sufficient language skills.
These include an ability to communicate in English or French at a basic or higher level. If you are able to demonstrate that you speak either of these languages fluently, no further proof is required.
The government also requires you have knowledge of Canadian society, including democratic institutions, rights and responsibilities; however, if you have lived in Canada for at least 1 year since turning 18 years old, your knowledge can be shown through a Canadian Language Benchmark test.
For all other candidates, a standardized test must be taken within 3 months of submitting an application.
If you do not meet any of these requirements, it may still be possible to apply under another category such as skilled tradesperson or entrepreneur. Contact us today for more information on how we can help!
Other Important Factors
Important factors such as motivation, energy, respect for peers, ability to build relationships and care for others are also considered.
Not only must an applicant possess job skills, but they must also be willing to learn new ones. The most skilled workers are those who can teach their fellow workers so that everyone is constantly improving their skills.
This not only benefits individuals but makes for a better work environment. Teamwork is one skill that workers are often judged on during interviews.
Applicants should demonstrate team spirit by being able to recognize other’s strengths and weaknesses, supporting them in areas where they need help and teaching them how you would do things if you were in their position.