How to Prepare for New Canadian Immigration Rules

New Canadians taking the Citizenship Oath. The Federal Skilled Worker Program will resume in January 2013 with new rules, and you can take steps now to increase chances of being eligible.

A guide provided by Jim Metcalfe of Pace Immigration provides tips on what hopeful Canadian immigrants can do to prepare for changes to the Federal Skilled Worker Program:

Now that the Minister of Immigration  has signalled his intention to change the selection criteria for the Federal Skilled Worker program, it is a good idea to plan ahead if you want to apply.

The guide advises that would-be applicants take steps now to prepare to apply rather than waiting until the new occupation list is released, as it could be too late by then. It cites past openings of the Federal Skilled Worker Program to new applications which saw the quotas for some listed occupations fill up over night.

The specific steps suggested by the guide are:

  1. You and your spouse doing an English or French language test, (the IELTS test and TEF test, respectively), as the new FSW assessment rules will award points for language proficiency for both the principal applicant and the spouse, rather than only the principal applicant as is the case now.
  2. Prepare a resume, and ensure the experience listed matches the description of duties and responsibilities in the NOC (National Occupation Classification) for the occupation you are applying under. Also look through the NOC to see if you qualify for other occupations.
  3. Prepare your “education documents, transcripts and course descriptions” as the new FSW program will require that you to get an assessment of the foreign credential’s equivalent value in Canada.
  4. Prepare “biographical documents and proof of funds”.
  5. If you have a spouse or common-law partner, make sure they make the same preparations in case your spouse’s occupation is on the list.
  6. If you need further assistance, consult with a qualified professional.

CICS Immigration Consulting recommends considering these additional steps as well:

  1. Improve your English and/or French language skills. Language will play a bigger role under the new FSW assessment rules.
  2. Look for a job in Canada: temporary foreign workers in skilled occupations (defined as as skill type 0, A or B in the NOC) will only require one year of full-time Canadian work experience to qualify for the Canadian Experience Class under coming changes, rather than 24 months of work experience required now. The new Federal Skilled Worker Program will also award more points for Canadian work experience than foreign work experience.
  3. If you have a long time horizon for immigrating to Canada and are willing to enter a new line of work to do so, consider starting a career in a skilled trade, like welder, heavy duty equipment mechanic and millwright, as they are in high demand in Canada and will offer a new route to immigration through a newly created Federal Skilled Trades Program.