Sun | Aug 19, 2018

Immigration Corner | Am I eligible?

Published:Tuesday | February 14, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Ms Powell,

I am a professional with over five years' work experience, and I have been trying to get to Canada for the past three years. I spoke to an immigration consultant and he said I was eligible, however, when I submitted the application via the express entry portal, it said that I was not eligible to apply. I do not know who to believe right now and I am very frustrated. Why would my profile be ineligible when I am a professional?

- E.M.

Dear E.M.,

The express entry system is designed to give individuals points based on work experience, education, language, age, and other factors. Once you have entered your information correctly, the system will calculate your score to see if you qualify under the Federal Skilled Worker Programme, The Federal Skilled Trade Programme, the Provincial Nominee Programme, or the Canadian Experienced Class Programme.

The term 'professional' is subject to further evaluation to ensure that you actually qualify under one of the economic programmes. Before you can apply under the express entry system, you must ensure that you are able to satisfy the minimum requirements stipulated by Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Your education level will be evaluated, along with your job experience. Acceptable work experience is that which was obtained after you received the minimum educational requirement for the particular job (usually after a degree or diploma). This does not include jobs as an intern or apprentice.

That means that if you have a degree or diploma from a non-Canadian university, you must get your credentials assessed and have a report to show that you have a degree or diploma equivalent to Canadian educational standards. The Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report is valid for five years.




You will also need proof of your language ability, and you will need to have your language results in hand before applying. The acceptable examinations are the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the General Training Examination, and the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Programme (CELPIP) General Test.

These examinations cannot be done online, so you have to book your examinations to sit them in person. Currently, only the IELTS is provided in Jamaica at the University of the West Indies. You will be tested on your reading, writing, listening, and speaking ability. If you are married, then both you and your spouse should sit the examination to maximise the points you are awarded under the system.

The English examination results are only valid for two years, so check to ensure that your report has not expired.

Individuals are sometimes deemed ineligible if they do not have the required settlement funds, which is based on the number of individuals in your family. You should ensure that you have no less than CAD$12,500 in savings or investments before you even consider applying.

Points are also given to individuals if they have a close relative who is either a permanent resident or citizen living in Canada. You will need the individual to provide you with proof of his status.

If you have a valid job offer, usually supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) report; a provincial nominee, Canadian postsecondary education; and French language examination results, then these factors can improve your scores and ensure that you are deemed eligible.

The key factor to note is that you do not just want to be deemed eligible and admitted into the pool. You want to be selected and given an invitation to apply for permanent residence. Therefore, your goal is to maximise the number of points that you can get. Another important factor is to ensure that you enter your information correctly as simple errors could lead to your profile being deemed ineligible.

- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public. Submit your questions and comments to Subjectline - Immigration. You can also find her at