The Federal Skilled Worker Program is Canada’s flagship immigration program for workers, allowing the country to welcome tens of thousands of newcomers every year based on their ability to become established in Canada’s workforce.

Let’s look at the process — from checking your eligibility to getting your Permanent Resident (PR) card.

Step 1: Check your eligibility.

Using the eligibility criteria outlined above, ensure that you meet the minimum requirements for the program for work experience, language proficiency, and education. Plus, make sure you check your score on the FSW points grid.

Step 2: Obtain the documents your need to create a profile.

In order to create your Express Entry profile, you’ll need three types of documents:

  1. Identification: Make sure you have a valid passport.
  2. Language Proficiency: You need test results from an approved language test that you took within the two years prior to creating your profile. For English, candidates may take the IELTS or CELPIP For French, the TEF and TCF are the two available options. Candidates with some ability in both English and French can be awarded additional points for ability in their second language.
  3. Education: For education completed outside of Canada, you need an Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA).

Step 3: Create an Express Entry profile

This step is completed on the IRCC website. You will be asked to provide some personal information, some of which is self-declared (such as your work history), and some of which must be accompanied by the documents from the previous step.

Step 4: Improve your profile and ranking under the CRS

If your CRS score is below the cut-off required to receive an invitation to apply, consult our guide on how to improve your CRS score.

One popular method of increasing your CRS score is to re-take your language tests. If your scores could be improved, it may be worthwhile to take some time to study and then sit the exam again.

There are other potential ways to improve your ranking, such as completing additional work experience or seeing if you are eligible under one of the Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee Program streams, particularly those in the province in which you work(ed). Your experience and skills may be in demand in the province, and so there could be a 600-point bonus waiting for you.

Step 5: Receive an invitation to apply

This is arguably the step that brings the most joy, as it allows you and your family, if applicable, to submit an application for permanent residence. From this point, you will have 60 days to submit a complete application. ITAs are issued when IRCC conducts one of its draws from the Express Entry pool.

Step 6: Complete a medical exam, provide security background checks, and submit an e-application

All FSWC applicants are screened for potential medical and criminal inadmissibility. With your application, you will need to show that you have completed a medical exam with an IRCC-recognized panel physician.

In addition, you have to provide a police background check (also known as a clearance certificate) from each country you have lived in for at least six months since the age of 18. The e-application, which must be submitted within 60 days of receiving an ITA, must also include detailed work reference letters from previous employers.

Given the tight time frame, it is a good idea to gather the background checks and work reference letters before you receive an ITA.

Step 7: Your e-application is reviewed

A Canadian immigration officer will review the submitted e-application and let you know if anything else is required.

Step 8: Receive confirmation of permanent resident status and complete your landing

80 percent of applications submitted under the Federal Skilled Worker Class are processed within less than six months. When a person is approved, he or she receives a confirmation of permanent residence (COPR) document. An officer at a Canadian port of entry or at the IRCC office signs and dates this document when the permanent residence is granted.

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