Dear Ms Powell,
I am currently a final-year student at the University of Technology, where I am completing my degree in computer science. It is my wish to apply for residency in Canada after completing in April 2014. I currently have a maternal uncle and his family who live in the Ontario whom I visited this past summer. How do you suggest I go about completing the process if it's viable?
Based on the information provided, various options are available to you. However, the best option would be to seek to apply under the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW). Earlier this year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) reopened this option and posted a list of occupations that are eligible to apply. This list will be updated on annually basis.
A computer science degree will no doubt provide you with various opportunities, both in Jamaica and Canada. This year, the list of eligible occupations include computer programmers, interactive media developers and computer engineers. However, only 330 applications were scheduled to be accepted this year. This quota has been reached, however, do not be discouraged, as this same category could reopen in subsequent years. The key is to prepare yourself for this.
Since you are just completing a computer science degree, I would recommend that you pay specific attention to developing your experience and skills, so that you may qualify as at least one of the following:
1. Information systems analyst/ consultant
2. Database analyst
3. Data administrator
4. Software engineer and designer
5. Computer programmer
6. Interactive media developer
7. Web designer and developer
To be eligible to immigrate to Canada through FSW, you will need to demonstrate your skills and ability to successfully integrate in the Canadian society. A person is chosen based on education, work experience, language, age and extra points are given if you have relatives legally residing in Canada who can be of some support to you.
I have reviewed the information submitted, and while you could be a suitable candidate in the future under the FSW, you will first need to have a minimum of two years' full-time work experience in your chosen field.
There may be other options opened to you if you are able to secure a job offer/arrange for employment within a qualified Canadian company. You would then only need to apply for a work permit.
Enrol for studies
When you complete your bachelor's degree, you could make an application to do a master's degree at one of Canada's prestigious universities. A master's degree programme in computer science is usually a two-year programme. On completion, or when you are in the last semester of an existing master's programme at an eligible publicly funded university, you may apply for permanent residence in Canada through the Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP). At that time, you do not need to have any work experience or prearranged employment.
I will emphasise that CIC can change its rules and policies at any time, so you will need to keep up to date with changing policies. If you realise that you qualify under a programme, do not hesitate, act immediately before the rules change. If you are not sure whether you qualify, you should contact an immigration lawyer to do an assessment on your behalf and to guide you with your application. Remember, it will take time to complete the applications accurately and to gather the requisite documents, so if you are serious about relocating, establish a plan of action and follow through.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with offices located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, real estate, personal injury, family, commercial and administration of estates. Submit your questions and comments to: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject line: Immigration. Tel: 613-695-8777