The Federal Skilled Worker Program is Canada’s leading and most popular immigration program. It has come a long way since launching in 1967.
Many prospective Canadian immigration candidates around the world were excited to learn that, following a four-month hiatus, as of last week Express Entry invitations are once again being issued under the very popular Federal Skilled Worker Program.
In recent months, marked by a global pandemic, the federal government had implemented restrictive policies in several areas of its operations, with immigration being one of the most affected.
One of the consequences of this situation has been that the federal government has slowed down, and in some cases halted, immigration and admission processes for a number of immigration programs.
Between March and last week, for instance, only Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applicants were invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada through the Express Entry system.
Now that measures are being lifted across Canada, the federal government has once again begun to invite candidates in all the programs managed through its flagship application management system, including the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP).
The FSWP is one of four programs managed under Express Entry and the one that accounts for nearly half of the total invitations that are issued through the system annually.
In fact, according to Express Entry’s 2019 year-end report, FSWP candidates accounted for the largest proportion of all those granted permanent residence (both principal applicants and accompanying spouses and dependants) with 58,173 admissions out of a total of 109,595.
Click here to see if you’re eligible for Canadian immigration
The Significance of the FSWP in the Context of Canadian Immigration Policy
When it was first established in the late nineteenth century, the Canadian immigration system was largely limited to the admission of “white” Americans and Europeans.
The first regulatory changes to address this issue and to reverse the most overtly discriminatory aspects of Canadian immigration policy were introduced in Canada in 1962.
Another important change in Canadian immigration was made in 1967, when the world’s first points system was introduced to rank potential immigrants taking into account factors such as professional skills, education level, language ability. At the time, priority was given to educated Anglophones and Francophones of working age who had family connections to Canada.
The point system made it possible to target potential immigrants whose characteristics coincided with new national economic needs and interests.
However, it was not until a decade later, with the introduction of the 1976 Immigration Act, that Canada officially became a destination for migrants from all over the world. This is because the new law focused on three main admission criteria: an assessment of applicants based on points for professional qualifications, education and language ability rather than based on ethnic origin or nationality. The 1976 Act was also designed in such a way that it placed more emphasis on family reunification and humanitarian considerations, cultural goals and diversity rather than on Canada’s economic interests.
Beginning in the mid-1990s, skilled workers started to account for the majority of Canada’s immigrants. Canada now welcomes some 60 per cent of its immigrants each year under the economic class. This is due to Canada needing more skilled workers to support its economy in light of its aging population and low birth rate.
Today, the FSWP continues to be seen as one of the most effective vehicles and transparent approaches for selecting immigrants who will be economically successful in Canada.
Applying Under the Federal Skilled Worker Program Today
To be eligible under the FSWP, prospective immigrants must meet the following minimum requirements:
- have at least one year of work experience in a skilled occupation classified under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level 0, A or B.
- have a validated language ability equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in English or French across all abilities (reading, writing, listening, and speaking); and
- have a Canadian educational credential (certificate, diploma, or degree) or foreign credential and Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report.
Candidates are assessed on the basis of a unique point grid that takes into account factors such as age, education, work experience, arranged employment, language skills and adaptability.
The highest-ranked candidates in the Express Entry pool are issued invitations to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
Thankfully, as of last week, FSWP candidates are once again the lucky recipients of such invitations. Do not hesitate to go ahead and submit an Express Entry profile if you meet the requirements of the FSWP.