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Immigration Corner: What's the best way to get to Canada?

Published:Monday | August 10, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Dear Ms Powell,

I have been working as a customer service representative at a bank for the past four years and I would like to move to Canada. I tried applying under the express entry programme, and when I did the online assessment, it said I was ineligible. Someone said it's because even though I have seven subjects, I wouldn't qualify as I don't have a degree or diploma. She said if I study in Canada, I might be able to get citizenship that way. Is this true? How do I apply to study in Canada and become a citizen?

- TP

Dear TP,

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has made several changes over the last 12 months to their policies and procedures dealing with applications for study permits and have introduced the highly competitive express entry system. This new system is based on individuals' scores using factors such as age, education, experience, language ability, and adaptability.

Citizens of other countries may be granted the right to become permanent residents of Canada if they satisfy the requirements under the existing rules for application under the Federal Skilled Trade Programme, the Federal Skilled Worker Programme, the Canadian Experienced Class (CEC), or Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP). To qualify under any of these programmes, individuals need to demonstrate that they are able to get the minimum required points and fall within the occupations being accepted.

As a customer service representative, you should note that your occupation falls within Level C of the National Occupational Classification (NOC). So even if you score the minimum of 67 points, you would not qualify to enter into the pool of candidates under the express entry system based on your occupation. Only occupations that fall under NOC skill levels O, A, and B will be admitted into the pool. A full list of those occupations may be found on CIC's website. Generally speaking, occupations that are at minimum of a supervisory level and above would qualify. Professional occupations such as accountants, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, pilots, lawyers, CEOs, and engineers would qualify if they get the requisite points.


studying a very good idea


It is a very good idea to apply to study in Canada, especially since you obviously have the potential to do very well in school based on the number of subjects that you already have.

It is also a fact that individuals with a degree or diploma stand a better chance of being able to get the requisite number of points and becoming a permanent resident of Canada.

Individuals who receive a diploma or degree outside of Canada would need to apply for an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from one of the authorised institutions to certify that the international degree or diploma is the equivalent to a similar accreditation in Canada.

Individuals who receive their diploma or degree from a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada will not need to apply for an ECA.

Once an individual has completed studying in Canada, the next step would be to apply for a postgraduate work permit, gain Canadian work experience (skill levels O, A, B), then apply under CEC through the express entry system (assuming that is the system in place at the time of the application) to become a permanent resident. After you have received permanent residence and lived in Canada for a minimum of six years and satisfy all the other requirements, you may apply to become citizen.

Your first step would be to apply to a DLI to be accepted in a programme with duration of a minimum of one year. Once you have received the acceptance letter, then your next step would be to apply to CIC for your study permit.

You will need to complete all the requisite forms, attach all the required documents, and pay the fees. Ensure that you complete the most recent forms that are available at the time of your application.

If you do not have a temporary resident/visitor's visa for Canada, you should also ensure that you complete the required form at the same time.

Be prepared to present proof that you are able to afford the programme and have a clean bill of health and security record.

Some of the documents and information you will need to present are:

1. Proof of payment of the requisite fees or proof that you can afford to pay the requisite school fees without becoming bankrupt; or

2. Proof that you qualify for or have access to a student loan or scholarship; or

3. A letter from a person, organisation, or institution that will be providing you with funding. That individual will need to provide proof of his source of funding;

4. Present your biometric data;

5. Valid passport;

6. Two recent photographs taken in accordance with the specifications.

You may be required to provide additional documents based on your individual circumstances. If you have other issues or concerns or would like more information and personal assistance with the application process, contact an immigration lawyer directly.

• Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars. Submit your questions and comments via email to info@deidrepowell.com. Subject line: Immigration Find her on Facebook: jamaicanlawyer