How to Clear the Gray Area in the Federal Skilled Worker Program

Federal Skilled Worker Program

Are you interested in applying to the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)? As of January 1st, the main method of applying for FSWP has changed, and a new system known as Express Entry has been introduced – however, according to critics, the new system may need to be “fine-tuned”.

In total, 779 candidates – around 26 per cent of the estimated 3,000 who applied – were selected in the first ever round of Ottawa’s overhauled and revamped system.

The decisive factor in all this? Those selected had managed to secure a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) by a prospective employer, which automatically added an extra 600 points on their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.

Why Is an LMIA so Important?

An LMIA essentially proves that a candidate possesses skills that are highly sought after and in high demand. Looking at the bar that was set on the first draw, successful candidates had to have scored a minimum of 886 points out of a possible 1,200. The rest of the points were made up from personal factors such as qualifications, language skills, age, and work experience (up to a possible 600 points).

Here’s what Toronto immigration lawyer Sergio Karas had to say: “It’s the first draw under the new Express Entry program and the numbers were quite low. The pass mark was 35 per cent lower than the max. The kick of it is to get a positive LMIA.”

He continued: “But LMIAs are incredibly difficult to get. It’s such a laborious, time-intensive and complicated process for employers. Service Canada now looks for things to refuse an application. Why would employers spend the time and money on these applications?”

Clear the Gray Area

It’s been suggested that the applicant pool could be widened by making some people exempt from having to obtain LMIAs, since some countries already have trade agreements with Canada and workers from those counties don’t actually require such documents.

Until then, it’s obvious that without securing a job offer or Provincial Nomination (the latter of which is LMIA-exempt), you may find yourself without the necessary extra points to make the cut and be drawn from the pool as a successful candidate.

Although we highly recommend taking the time to increase your skill points by working on aspects such as language ability or increasing your qualifications, it’s also paramount that you make efforts to find a prospective employer. The Canadian job bank can match potential migrants with Canadian employers who need vacancies filled.

Federal Skilled Worker Program eligibility

If you think you might qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you can determine your eligibility online via the CIC’s guidelines. However, FSWP is more open than previous immigration programs, with decidedly less limits than the old FSWP.

Why Legal Help for the Skilled Worker Program is Vital

The documentation and processes involved in successfully obtaining an  Immigration visa are complex and usually require legal expertise.  We have helped thousands of individuals to successfully get Canadian permanent residence and we can help you too!

If you’re interested in applying for the federal skilled worker program, simply fill our free immigration assessment form and we will get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your eligibility and options.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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