Wed | Aug 12, 2020

Immigration Corner | Navigating the visa application process

Published:Tuesday | November 19, 2019 | 12:35 AM
Deidre S. Powell
Deidre S. Powell

Dear Miss Powell,

I am a pharmacist and I am interested in living in Canada. A friend left a few years ago and she said she went up as a federal skilled worker. However, most people here are talking about the Express Entry Programme. I’m not sure which programme to use. My wife is a teacher and we want to take our family to Canada but not sure if we should use the Express Entry Programme or the Federal Skilled Worker Programme. Which should we use? Do we need a lawyer to do it for us? We await your response.


Dear KF

There is no Express Entry Programme. The Government of Canada introduced the Express Entry System in 2015, which is an electronic system that manages economic programmes such as Federal Skilled Worker Programme, Federal Skilled Trade Programme, The Canadian Experience Class and some Provincial Nominee Programmes.

The system gives the Canadian Government an opportunity to create a pool of possible candidates who may be eligible to live permanently in Canada. This allows the government to efficiently process applications with most applications being processed within six months of being submitted.

Express Entry System

A Comprehensive Ranking Score is given to each person that is admitted and ranked in the pool. The scores are based on core human capital factors, accompanying spouse or common-law partner factors; skill transferability and other factors relating to a provincial nomination and having qualifying job offer. The total number of points that a single applicant can get is 1,200 under the comprehensive ranking system. An individual’s rank will determine whether they are selected at any given point.

The Express Entry System is a two-step system. First, to get in the pool, individuals must be able to clearly demonstrate that they qualify under one of the above economic programmes, the Federal Skilled Worker programme is one of them. Your profile will be assessed, and you are given points based on the information you provide. Second, to be chosen from the pool and invited to apply for permanent residence, individuals will need to ensure that their scores are among the highest-ranking scores at the time when Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are sending out invitation to individuals to apply for permanent residence.

Federal Skilled Worker Programme

This programme has not changed much over the years. To qualify as a federal skilled worker, you are required to clearly demonstrate that you satisfy the minimum requirements to be admitted into admitted into the express entry system based on the number of points you get on the selection factor grid.

Your application will be assessed based on your age, education, work experience, whether you have a valid job offer, English and/or French language skills and adaptability or factors that demonstrate that you can do well in Canada.

These factors are part of a 100-point grid used by IRCC to assess eligibility for the Federal Skilled Worker Program. The minimum pass mark for Federal Skilled Worker is 67 points. You must be able to score 67 and above for your application to be admitted into the express entry pool of candidates eligible for consideration for permanent residence.

Who can represent you?

You appear to be good candidates who could be admitted into the pool. However, time is of the essence when dealing with these applications. You want to ensure that you do the application right the first time. An experienced immigration lawyer who is a member of a Canadian Law Society can guide you on how to ensure that you are one of the highest ranking individuals in the pool. Therefore, I urge you to use an authorised and experienced lawyer or representative to ensure that you have the correct information and do not waste time submitting an ineligible application.

You must note that IRCC will only accept applications from an authorised representative. IRCC has a guide on their website to show you how to select an authorised representative. You may also consult past articles on The Gleaner website or on my blog on this topic. An applicant can waste valuable time and money, if you use an unauthorised individual or company and if an incomplete or inaccurate application is submitted.

The application process is more competitive than before. Therefore, you should ensure that a complete an accurate application is submitted the first time so that you do not miss the opportunity to be ranked highly and to receive an early invitation to apply for permanent residence of Canada.

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. Submit your questions and comments to: Email: subject line: Immigration Tel: 613-695-8777.