Fri | Oct 19, 2018

Immigration Corner; Top five pathways to Canadian residency

Published:Monday | June 8, 2015 | 10:52 AM

Dear Ms Powell,

I have been contemplating my options for immigration. I looked at England, Australia and the United States and I am now ready to make Canada the place for my family. I’m however a little confused about the secret to becoming a permanent resident of Canada. I don’t just want a work permit. I want to take my husband and two children with me. What are the different routes that we could take to make Canada our new home?
- NH

Dear NH,
Canada is an excellent choice for immigration with your family. It is the country of choice for most professional and skilled workers. I will discuss the five most common pathways to becoming a permanent resident of Canada. These are through the Federal Skilled Workers Programme, Federal Skilled Trades Programme, Canadian Experience Class, Provincial Nominees Programme, and Family Sponsorship.  Individuals who qualify under these programmes may apply through the Express Entry System to be selected for permanent residence. This is applicable for all programmes, except for family sponsorship and some of the provincial nominee programmes. 
If you qualify under one of the existing programmes, you will be accepted into the express entry pool; given a Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS) which will determine when or if you receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
Your CRS is based on your core/ human capital, your spouse or common law, skill transferability and other factors such as a valid job offer or a provincial nomination. This will determine if or when you receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence. CIC selects individuals based on a draw that they conduct approximately on a monthly basis.

1. Federal Skilled Workers Programme
The Federal Skilled Workers Programme is for individuals who have work experience in skilled and professional occupations. To qualify, your job must be listed under the Canadian National Occupation Codes (NOC) skill level O, A or B.  These are usually senior managers, supervisors or professional occupations.  A few examples of these occupations are posted on my website at

Each potential candidate is assessed and given a score based on their current and past professional work experience, education, language ability, age, adaptability and a number of other factors.  To be eligible you will need to have a minimum score of 67 in order to qualify.

That means that an individual must have done at least 1,560 hours of paid work in one of the eligible management, technical or professional occupations within the last 10 years.

Also, you must have sufficient funds to resettle your family or proof of a valid job offer in Canada. An individual will need to show a minimum of approximately CAD$12,000 or in your case, since you are married with two children, you will need to show approximately CAD$23,000 in disposable funds. 

You will need to take and pass a language proficiency test. The most popular is the IELTS, General Training Examination.  The University of the West Indies has a test centre and you may call 876.977.0887 for information or book the examination online at:

If you have a post-secondary degree or diploma from a non-Canadian school, you will need to get your credentials assessed. You should apply for a Canadian Education Credential Assessment Report (ECA) from a CIC authorised agent. You will need to provide the agent with a copy of your diploma or degree, along with a sealed copy of your transcript for them to provide you with a report. A list of these agents is also on my website.  

2. Federal Skilled Trades Programme

The Federal Skilled Trades Programme (FSWP) is for people with experience in a skilled trade. The FSTP is also one of the programmes available to you through the new electronic express entry system.

To qualify, you must have done a minimum of 3,120 hours of paid work in one of the eligible trades within the last 10 years. The eligible occupations include the following types of occupations:

• Industrial, electrical and construction trades,
• Maintenance and equipment operation trades,
• Supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production,
• Processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators,
• Chefs, cooks, butchers and bakers.

You will also need to also show the necessary language skills.  Although an ECA report is not required, you would increase your score and likelihood of being selected if you have one. 

3. Canadian Experience Class

The Canadian Experience Class is for applicants have had experience working in Canada within the last three years.  This experience cannot include work experience gained while a full time student.

The work experience must be in a job which is classified under skill level O, A, B.  These jobs are usually managerial, supervisory, professional, and technical or skill trades jobs. 

You will also need to submit proof of language proficiency and an ECA report in order to qualify.

4. Provincial Nominees

If you wish to live in a specific province or territory, you can apply through the Provincial Nominees Programme (PNP).  This is a two-step process, which starts with an application directly to a specific province or territory.

If the first stage of your application is successful, the province will nominate you to submit an application for Permanent Residence to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.  Some provincial nominee may be asked to submit their application through the Express entry pool in order to receive and invitation to apply for permanent residence.

Each province/territory has its own application criteria, based on immigration and economic needs and you must confirm your intentions to stay in that particular province. However the most common nominations are usually for managerial, professional, skilled and semi-skilled individuals who are deemed “work-ready” immigrants. 

Each province has posted its own list of eligible professions.  One popular option is the Alberta Self-Employed Farmer Stream that seeks to attract farm owner/ operators who have the management skills and financial resources to be able to purchase and manage a farm in Alberta.

5. Family Sponsorship

Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor their spouses, common law partners, parents, grandparents, dependent children and other relatives, provided that they satisfy the various criteria.  A sponsor must be at least 18 years old and able to support you financially. 

I have written extensively about each programme in the past and these articles are available on my blogs and on the Jamaica Gleaner website. 

Other Programmes
This list is not exhaustive. They are however the most popular.  You should note that there are other programmes available for entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals in sports, agriculture and the arts that may apply for permanent residence through specialised programmes.
There may be other options available to you based on your particular situation.  To find out if you qualify under any of these programmes or other programme, I would suggest that you consult with an immigration lawyer.  You may also find out if you qualify by completing the free online assessment at

Good luck to you through this process.


Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, real estate, commercial, personal injury, family and administration of estates. Email: subjectline: immigration. Call 613.695.8777 Facebook: jamaicanlawyer Twitter: deidrespowell.