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Independent Skilled Worker Immigration Category for Canada


ARCHIVAL INFORMATION BELOW - for historic reference only

Canada's Immigration Minister Announces Changes - September 18, 2003

Canada Immigration Rules Change Sept 18, 2003
Independent Skilled Worker Category

Information posted by Lowe and Company CanadaVisaLaw.com

On September 18, 2003, Canada's Immigration Minister, Dennis Cordere, announced a dramatic reduction in the required points for Independent Skilled Workers, from 75 to 67.  Also, anyone who applied to immigrate prior to December 31, 2001 will have the benefit of being assessed under the old or new Immigration regulations.

The Minister had been under pressure from Immigration lawyers and community groups for over a year for unfairly imposing new Regulations on applications in process, and the 75 point pass mark.  Lawyers across Canada had filed lawsuits against the government, exposing it to hundreds of millions of dollars of potential damages.

Four Implications of this change:

  1. Easier to Qualify:  As a result of the changes, the basic qualifications for an Independent Skilled Worker may be:
    a) 21-49 years old 10 points
    b) Bachelors degree (or 2 year Trade Cert) 20 points
    c) Fluent in English 16 points
    d) 4 years Skilled Work experience 21 points
      TOTAL 67 points

    If you don't meet one of these criteria, and you either have a job offer in Canada, or some other connection to Canada as per the Adaptability rules, you can also pass.
  2. Flood of new applications:  We expect the changes will result in many new cases, which will increase processing times.  Prospective immigrants should apply as soon as possible
  3. Refusals may be reviewed:  If you were refused bewteen January 2002 and September 2003, you may be eligible for reassessment, depending on the timing of the application and the refusal decision, as well as the reasons for the refusal.
  4. Benefit for pre-2002 applications:  Independent Skilled Workers or Business Immigrants who had filed their immigrantiion application prior to December 31, 2001 wil be given the benefit of either the Old regulations OR the new regulations.

At Lowe & Company, Canada immigration lawyers in Vancouver we are constantly monitoring changes to Canada's Immigration laws for the benefit of our clients.  Find out how we can help you!  See CanadaVisaLaw.com

Return to Introduction to Canada Immigration Law of CanadaVisaLaw.com

The information below was in effect prior to the announcement made Sept. 18, 2003 as outlined above

Independent Skilled workers are immigrants who have education, skills and experience which will help the Canadian economy.  They are assessed on a Point System, and require at least 75 points to pass. 

Good candidates will have at least 14 years of education, speak English and/or French proficiently, be between 21 and 49 years of age, and have at least 2 years of work experience in a skilled occupation.  You can get more points if you studied or worked in Canada, or have relatives in Canada.

You must also prove that you have enough funds to live in a major city in Canada for 1 year.  A family of 3 people must have at least $13,900 CD (about $8,500 US).

Age 10
Education 25
Language 24
Work Experience 21
Arranged Employment 10
Adaptability 10

Explanation of new criteria

Age Immigrants between 21 and 49 will get full marks of 10, and 2 points are deducted for each year before 21 and after 49.
Education Points are given for diplomas, trade certificates, or formal apprenticeship programs, as well as for College or University degrees.   Canada needs skilled tradespeople as well as people with academic qualifications.
For example, if you have a Master's degree, you can get up to 25 points; a Bachelor's degree will get 20 points; and a 2 year post secondary trade certificate will get you 15 points
Language You can get up to 16 points for high proficiency in either English or French, and up to 8 points for high proficiency in the other language.  If you don't have at least a working knowledge of either language, it will be very difficult to pass.
Work Experience This is a major change which will open up opportunities for immigrants who may not have qualified before.  Instead of points for certain specified jobs, work experience in ANY skilled occupation described in skill levels A, B or O on the National Occupation Classification list will qualify.

Immigrants will receive 15 points for 1 years experience, 17 points for 2 years, 19 points for 3 years and 21 points for 4 or more years of experience.

This opens the door for managers, doctors, lawyers, and other occupations which has been closed for many years.  The government has the power to disqualify specific occupations, but has not done so yet.

Arranged Employment If you have a company in Canada willing to hire you, and they can prove that you won't be negatively affecting the Canadian job market, you can get 10 points for this.  If you are already working in Canada with a Work Permit, you may also get 10 points.
Adaptability In this category, you can obtain a maximum of 10 points for any or all of the following:
  • your spouses' education (up to 5 points);
  • time spent in Canada studying or working (5 points);
  • having Arranged Employment, as above (5 points); or
  • having relatives in Canada who are citizens or permanent residents (5 points).

You must apply for independent immigration at a Canadian visa office outside of Canada. If your point assessment is high enough, and if the points can be verified independently by the documents submitted with the application, you may not need an interview.

About independent skilled worker application fees

family class | independent skilled workers | investors | entrepreneurs
| self-employed

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