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CANADA Federal Skilled Worker Visa

New Federal Skilled Worker Program to accept applications beginning May 4, 2013

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has announced that the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) will take effect on May 4, 2013 at which time the program will re-open for applications, Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced on December 19, 2012. In anticipation of this opening date, many prospective immigrants from around the world have already begun preparing their applications for submission.

The new selection system for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), “The government’s number one priority remains jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity. “The new Federal Skilled Worker Program criteria will ensure Canada is selecting the skilled immigrants our economy needs, who are the most likely to succeed and fully realize their potential in Canada.”

The improvements to the FSWP point’s grid are based on a large body of research which has consistently shown that language proficiency and youth are two of the most important factors in the economic success of immigrants.

The final changes to the FSWP selection criteria include:

  • Text - Minimum official language thresholds and increased points for official language proficiency, making language the most important factor in the selection process;

  • Increased emphasis on younger immigrants, who are more likely to acquire valuable Canadian experience, are better positioned to adapt to changing labor market conditions, and who will spend a greater number of years contributing to Canada’s economy;

  • Introduction of the Educational Credential Assessment (ECA), so that education points awarded reflect the foreign credential’s true value in Canada;
  • Changes to the arranged employment process, allowing employers to hire applicants quickly, if there is a demonstrated need in the Canadian labor market; and
  • Additional adaptability points for spousal language ability and Canadian work experience.

“For too long, too many immigrants to Canada have experienced underemployment and unemployment, and this has been detrimental to these newcomers and to the Canadian economy,” said Minister Kenney. “The transformational changes to the FSWP will help ensure that skilled newcomers are able to contribute their skills fully to the economy as soon as possible. This is good for newcomers, good for the economy, and good for all Canadians.”

There are two new steps to the new selection system. First, applicants will have to demonstrate that they meet the minimum language threshold, which is level 7 of the Canadian Language Benchmark assessment system.

Second, applicants will have their education credentials assessed prior to arriving in Canada. Assessment of foreign educational credentials will provide prospective newcomers with a more realistic understanding of how their credentials compare to education standards in Canada. It will also give them the opportunity to upgrade their education prior to coming to Canada if they choose.

These changes will not apply to people who have applied to the FSWP prior to May 4, 2013 with a qualifying arranged job offer or under the Ph.D. stream.

As recently announced, due to the actions taken over the past months, new applications under the FSWP will be processed in a few months, rather than a few years. In order to ensure fast processing times and to avoid backlogs, the new FSWP will accept a fixed number of applications each year.

In the medium term, the Government is also moving forward to develop and implement an Expression of Interest (EOI) model, which will provide employers with access to a pool of skilled workers.


The Federal Skilled Worker visa is designed for individuals who have the qualifications, skills or experiences to fill Canada's skill shortages and contribute to the Canadian economy. Over 50,000 Federal Skilled Worker Visas will be made available in 2013-2014.
Applicants to the Federal Skilled Worker visa must demonstrate that they meet the minimum visa requirements including having work experience in a high skilled occupation, and either have a Canadian job offer or be a graduate of a Canadian PHD program. In addition, applicants must meet the pass marks on a points-based assessment. Successful applicants will obtain Canadian permanent residence, which will entitle them to live and work in Canada with few restrictions. Canadian permanent residents may also be eligible for Canadian citizenship.


Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has set specific basic requirements that all applicants must meet in order to apply for a Federal Skilled Worker visa.
To qualify for skilled migration, applicants must be able to satisfy the basic visa requirements related to an applicant's health and character.
In addition to meeting the basic visa requirements, applicants must also pass a points-based assessment. Points can be claimed in areas related to an applicant's age, English or French language ability, work experience, qualifications and ability to adapt to life in Canada. The minimum pass marks for the Federal Skilled Worker visa is 67 points.


If you meet the above minimum requirements, your application will be processed according to the six selection factors in the skilled worker point’s grid*, which are:

  • Your education;
  • Your abilities in English and/or French, Canada’s two official languages;
  • Your work experience;
  • Your age;
  • Whether you have arranged employment in Canada
  • Your adaptability and;
  • Proof of funds (financial self-sufficiency)


Successful applicants and holders of a Canadian Federal Skilled Worker visa become permanent residents of Canada. Permanent resident are entitled to live, work and study in Canada on a permanent basis.
Additional benefits of Canadian permanent residences includes access to government-subsidized education and healthcare (Medicare), as well as unrestricted access to Canada's labor market and associated insurance and pension benefits. Permanent residents also have the ability to apply for Canadian citizenship and the opportunity to sponsor family members to join them in Canada.


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