There is often a lot of confusion about the "points" required for immigration to Canada. In particular, there is confusion between the points needed for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Comprehensive Rating System (CRS) points needed for selection under express entry. So let's clear this up once and for all!
The first point to understand is that Express Entry (EE) is not an immigration program. Rather, express entry is a system for managing applications and selecting candidates who will be invited to apply for Canadian PR (permanent residence). Candidates interested in immigrating to Canada through the express entry system first create a profile, which allows them to enter the pool of candidates in the express entry system if they are eligible.
To be eligible to create a profile under express entry, a candidate must meet the eligibility criteria of one of the actual immigration programs that are managed by express entry. Specifically, express entry is used to manage three immigration programs: Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
So what about points then? Well, each of these three immigration programs uses its own criteria to determine whether you are eligible under that particular program. As an example, let's consider the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). This program has minimum requirements for skilled work experience, language ability, and education. Specifically, candidates need at least one year of continuous work experience classified under NOC 0, A, or B. For language ability, the candidate must achieve at least Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in our four abilities (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). And for education, the candidate must have a certificate, diploma or degree from a secondary or post-secondary educational institution. Candidates who meet the minimum criteria are then assessed using a point system on these and other criteria such as age and adaptability. At the time of this writing, a minimum of 67 points out of 100 possible points is required to pass and be considered eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP).
Once found eligible for the FSWP or one of the two other programs (FSTP or CEC), the candidate can then proceed to create an express entry profile and enter the pool of eligible candidates. The express entry system has its own points system known as the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Each candidate in the pool is awarded points based on their age, education, work experience, and other relevant factors. When an express entry draw is held, a minimum score is indicated and every candidate in the pool exceeding the minimum score will be sent an invitation to apply for PR (permanent residence in Canada).
This is why candidates applying under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) are often confused about the FSWP points vs. the CRS points. You need to meet the minimum pass mark for FSWP (67 points out of 100) to be eligible for express entry. Then, you need to meet the minimum selection score for one of the express entry selection rounds to be finally invited to formally apply for PR.
Some references are included below to help you study these issues in more depth. If you are still confused or want to discuss your specific situation with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC), or if you want an RCIC to review your application forms and supporting documentation, please book your Canadian immigration consultation session today! It's a small investment to help you avoid mistakes that could cost you the opportunity to immigrate to Canada and obtain Canadian citizenship!
Of all the challenges of starting a new life in a new country, finding a job in Canada is one of the most critical steps for new immigrants. As many new Canadians will tell you, getting that first job and that first "Canadian" work experience is not always easy. It is particularly hard on those who immigrate to Canada as "skilled workers", but find out the hard way that this does not automatically mean that a job will be waiting for them when they arrive. In this post, I have put together some tips and resources that can help in finding a job in Canada.
First, let's start with some tips. Many new Canadians find the job search and recruitment activities in Canada a bit different than what they are used to. Often times it is small things, but they make a difference in the eyes of a recruiter or a hiring manager. The candidate themselves and their skills and experience don't change. It is simply a matter of how they present themselves in a resume/CV and in-person during an interview. New immigrants to Canada may find this frustrating, as they are confident that they can do a great job and work hard. But unfortunately, to get your foot in the door you must first be able to present yourself professionally and prove to the recruiter and hiring manager that you have the skills and experience necessary to do the job.
So here are some tips:
1) Be Flexible: Your first job may not be exactly what you want. It may not match the job you were doing before coming to Canada. You may even have to accept a more junior role to start. Of course, you should always target your desired job and level. But the point is to be flexible if needed. Write down all the skills you have and think of all the types of roles you could apply them to so you can come up with a wider set of jobs that you can apply to. With time and experience, it will become much easier to move your career towards your goals.
2) Work While You Apply: It is often easier to get a job when you are currently employed, than when you are not. This is not fair, especially to new Canadians who have uprooted their lives and quit good jobs in order to immigrate to Canada. Unfortunately, this is the reality you have to accept. From a hiring manger's point of view, when they see a person applying who has been unemployed for several months (or years), the decision to hire them becomes much more difficult. But you might ask, how can I work while I'm still applying? It makes no sense! The idea is that you should try to do something with your time. Can you work part-time? Or even volunteer somewhere? Try to show employers that you are active and eager to work. A long the gap on your resume might reflect that you are not doing anything with your time and that you lack motivation.
3) Re-Write Your Resume/CV: The typical resume in Canada probably looks a bit different that it does in an immigrants home country. Therefore, just bringing the same resume and sending it in job applications probably won't work. Here are a few pointers:
a) Remove your photo, data of birth, gender, and other personal information such as marital status or how many kids you have. While this type of information is standard in some countries, it is not typically included in a Canadian job application. Your resume should focus on your education, skills, and professional accomplishments. Including personal information immediately gives the impression that an applicant is new in Canada and not yet aware of how to conduct themselves in a professional setting.
b) Focus your resume on specific accomplishments you have made. Descriptions that describe generic functions such as team management, sales, marketing, etc. at a very high level do not give any insight into why an employer should hire you. If you managed a team, talk specifically about some accomplishments such as how you built or grew a team, new methodologies or processes you built and the results achieved, improvements in efficiency or profitability you made, and so on. Similarly for any other type of role. This is your opportunity to show the employer what you can do for them.
c) Highlight your key skills/accomplishments at the top of your resume. This section usually goes at the very top and is a summary of the strongest points that you have to offer. You can include degrees, certifications, major well known employers, specific accomplishments and achievements, and specific skills you have. Doing this can trigger the interest of an employer to look further and read the rest of your resume.
d) Include keywords. Of course, make sure the resume is easily human-readable, and don't stuff too many keywords because that can make your resume look fake. Rather, try to thoughtfully work in all the keywords that you think an employer would be looking for. If you are in IT, include the names of operating systems, programming languages, development environments and frameworks, tools, and anything else you think are relevant. It may be obvious to you, but often resumes are searched by keyword, and the initial recruiters screening resumes may not know details of your role. So if you don't match the keywords, your resume will not even be looked at.
e) Do all of the above while being brief! I typically recommend a two page resume because it's brief but still gives you enough room to include a detailed description of your skills and experience. Whether you decide on one, two, or three pages, the key point here is to convey the message efficiently, because most employers will not spend more than a few minutes looking at your resume when screening applications. Once you are selected for an interview, you will have an opportunity to get into depth as required.
4) Present Yourself Professionally: When meeting with an employer in an interview or even a less formal setting such as a job fair, make sure you present yourself professionally. Dress well and take care of your personal hygiene. Prepare yourself with some specific phrases or summaries about yourself, your skills, and your previous experiences. This will go a long way to make sure you present a focused and coherent message about yourself. Speak confidently and be calm. Make sure you listen intently when being spoken to so you can respond appropriately. Avoid talking about personal matters, politics, religion, or any other controversial issues. Making statements or repeating stereotypes targeting people of a certain gender, race, or background are completely unacceptable in Canada. If you have to make "small talk" to break the ice, talk about the weather - a favorite topic for Canadians!
With a flexible approach, a solid resume, and some preparation for meeting potential employers, you will be ready to start applying for jobs. But where should you start? These days, most job applications are made online, however, don't forget to check for in-person opportunities to apply for work. In particular, retail and restaurant jobs are often posted in the establishments themselves, and resume submission can be made in person. Here are some resources you should consider looking into:
1) The Canada Job Bank: It is recommended for you to create a profile and start applying for jobs on the job bank even before arriving in Canada. You will often find jobs here that are not posted anywhere else. As with all job searches, it is highly competitive and you won't hear anything back from most job posting you apply to. But don't give up and keep trying. You never know where your next job will come from! Visit the Job Bank.
2) Search Jobs on Google: Google's search engine has a new feature for searching for jobs using their super easy search engine. All you have to do is go to Google and search for a term like "jobs in Canada" or "jobs in Toronto". You can even specify a type of job like "jobs for engineers in Canada". You will see a special jobs box show up listing jobs that match your query.
3) Use LinkedIn: You can use LinkedIn's jobs section to search for, find, and apply for jobs. Before you do so, you should make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated and professionally written. Make sure it matches your resume since most employers will check your LinkedIn profile if they are interesting to learn more about you. You can put more details on LinkedIn and include a longer employment history since you are not limited in space. Being active on LinkedIn including commenting, liking, and posting original content can also raise your profile. Combine this with a strategy to build your network thoughtfully. Find the right opportunities and approach, don't just send random invites to people. If you don't have a profile yet, get started today on LinkedIn.
4) Connect with your local settlement agency: There are many settlement agencies in Canada that are dedicated to helping new Canadians settle into their new life in Canada. They can provide support with housing, health, employment, and education. Many also run programs to match newcomers with mentors who can help them navigate the employment landscape, network, and prepare for job interviews. Here are a few to get you started:
Arriving in a new country for the first time and knowing that this will be your new home can be exciting, but also a little bit scary. However, rest assured that millions have immigrated to Canada successfully, and almost all eventually are able to build their own successful and happy life in Canada. Keep the tips in this article in mind, and use the resources provided, and you will be way ahead of most other newcomers to Canada.
If you are thinking about immigration to Canada, and would like to speak to a professional about available immigration programs and whether you would qualify, book an immigration consultation session with us and we'll be happy to help!
Good news for immigrants to Canada whose move has been disrupted by the COVID19 pandemic! CTV news reports that Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino has indicated that COPR holders who have not been able to travel to Canada due to COVID19 travel restrictions will eventually be allowed to complete their immigration process, once COVID19 travel restrictions are removed. Thousands of immigration applicants who successfully received their Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and permanent resident visas since the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic have not been able to actually travel to Canada due to travel restrictions.
Exemptions have been in place for those whose COPR was issued prior to March 18, 2020. There are also exemptions for certain international students, temporary workers, and family re-unification. However, thousands of prospective immigrants who received their COPR after March 18, 2020 have not been eligible to travel to Canada. This has impacted many families, since the expectation once an applicant receives their COPR and permanent resident visa is that they will start to prepare to permanently move to Canada. This involves quitting jobs, selling personal belongings, and making arrangements to travel to Canada. The uncertainty regarding when these immigrants will be able to take the final step of travelling to Canada so they can start their new lives as permanent residents of Canada has been difficult for many of these families.
Although no timelines have been given, the good news in Mr. Mendicino's comments is that even if COPR documents have expired, they will be renewed and extended to allow their holders to travel to Canada. So while the waiting continues for these families, at least they can rest assured that it is a matter of time before travel restrictions are removed and that their COPR will be extended. In normal circumstances, COPR documents cannot be extended, a fact that has understandably been a major concern for holders of these documents. Mr. Mendicino's comments should re-assure the holders of these expired COPR's that there will be a path for them to complete their immigration process to Canada.
It remains to be seen when travel restrictions will be finally removed to allow travel to return to normal. Canada has been targeting to complete a major vaccination campaign across the country by the end of the summer in 2021. In recent days, it appears that the availability of vaccine doses has been improving, potentially opening the door for an acceleration of the vaccination timeline. Of course, all this depends on no further outbreaks, variants, or waves causing any further disruption.
For now, expired COPR holders can only wait and monitor the situation, and hope that they will be able to join us in Canada soon to start their new life as Canadian permanent residents!
The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) English language test is a crucial part of many immigration applications to Canada. If you have considered immigrating to or studying in Canada, you may have heard about the IELTS. The IRCC accepts two tests to prove English language proficiency: the IELTS and the CELPIP. The IELTS is much more widely available and is the most popular choice for most candidates.
The IRCC only accepts the IELTS "General Training" test, and not the "Academic" option. Please refer to the relevant IRCC website pages to learn the details of the language testing requirements. This is not the purpose of this article, but rather, our goal here is to give some pointers and direct you to some resources to help with scoring well on the IELTS.
One of the key resources to learn about the IELTS is the British Council IELTS page, where they provide information on test, how to register for it, the test procedures, how you will receive your results, and so on. There is also a special page dedicated to preparing for the IELTS exam, which provides free courses and practice tests to help you get ready and improve your score.
The IELTS is a difficult test for non-native English speakers. It is not easy to get a higher score. No one can achieve a perfect score on the IELTS. Even native English speakers would find it hard to achieve that. However, this does not mean that you cannot take some actions to help maximize your score.
If your English language communication skills, including speaking, listening, reading, and writing are not strong, then your strategy should be to first take English language courses to improve your skills. No amount of test preparation will help you if your underlying English language skills are weak. But just remember, no one is born speaking English! Whether we learn it from our parents as young kids, or we learn it in school, or maybe even we start learning it as adults, we all start with no knowledge of English and build on it with practice. Therefore, your goal in this situation should be to improve your listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.
If your English language skills are already strong enough that you can study or work in and English speaking environment, you may feel that you are ready to take the test. However, even if you are very fluent in English, it is a good idea to take an IELTS preparation course, or at least read a book on preparing for the IELTS exam. Your goal in this scenario is to be familiar with the test style, and what to expect during the test. You want to minimize any surprises during the test so that you can focus on putting forward your best performance.
It is important to know which of these two camps you are in. If you need to strengthen your core skills, no amount of test prep courses or re-takes will help you achieve a high score. Your best course of action is to improve your underlying skill by practicing speaking, listening, reading, writing. If you are in the second category where you have solid English skills, you may still benefit from extra courses to practice before you take the test. But you will definitely want to do some prep courses and take a number of practice tests until you are comfortable with the test format and style.
With some research, you will find many resources online, many of them free. Here are some samples for you to consider:
If you have tried the IELTS once, twice, or more and still haven't got the score you need, don't despair. Just remember, even if you feel that your language skills are already strong but you repeatedly get a low score, this is a signal that you need more practice. Don't under estimate the impact a few weeks of focused study can make. For best results, you can even hire a 1-on-1 language teacher specializing in IELTS. Remember, the cost and effort might seem too much right now, but when you achieve your dream of immigrating to Canada, it will be well worth it.